It’s not every day that an Israeli guy gets to discuss shampoo and underwear with Amish ladies riding on a horse-drawn carriage. Luckily for him, Yonatan Belik got to do just that.
Belik and his American friend Mike Reid came across Amish ladies and plenty more interesting people on their scooter tour of the 48 contiguous states of the United States. Their feat recently earned them the title of Guinness World Record holders for “Longest journey on a 50cc scooter.”
The two friends, former counselors at the Seeds of Peace camp that hones youth leaders from conflict zones, set up the Wheeling for the World (W4W) collective. They strive to effect change in the world while breaking some pretty fun world records.
On behalf of W4W, they biked their way through the 9,895-mile round trip from September to November 2019, gathering all sorts of experiences and friends.
“It was the perfect combination of adventure, friendship and storytelling with the goal of showcasing the beautiful diversity throughout the US expanding at a time of divisiveness and dehumanization of different groups in the US,” Belik explains.
Their adventure, they say, wasn’t free of surprises.
For Reid, it was all about “how open random strangers were to sharing their lives with us, whether it was hosting us in their homes, or showing us their favorite places in their neighbourhood,” he says.
“We are told to fear strangers throughout our lives, but this trip provided counterpoint to that popular opinion and gave us a path forward with strangers being friends we have yet to meet.”
For Belik, the biggest surprise was the aforementioned Amish encounter, which happened in Ohio.
“Despite our belief system, we all share so much in common and we got to celebrate our commonalities every single day with strangers who quickly became friends.”
Belik and Reid aren’t novices when it comes to breaking world records. In 2018, they joined forces with Seeds of Peace community members to break the record for the “Greatest distance on a kick/push scooter in 24 hours (team),” covering a whooping 1,630 miles.
And the world, it seems, is their oyster. The two are set on breaking another record in May this year, this time in Iceland, for “Longest journey on an electric unicycle while juggling three objects.”
Only a month later, they plan on traveling from Eilat in southern Israel to Metula in the north and back, in what they hope will constitute the “Longest journey on an electric unicycle.”
Asked for some top tips for any beginner bikers inspired by their trip, the two are adamant that it’s not as difficult as it seems.
“I’m a beginner biker and this was my first ride on a 50cc bike!” Belik says.” Make sure you have some experience on a vehicle with wheels, then get a motorbike, helmet, get out of the city and enjoy the ride!”
Reid concurs. “Yeah, do it! It does not matter what type of bike you have, how fast it goes, how long you’ve ridden for. What matters most is that you get off the couch and run, as fast as you can, into the unknown and uncomfortable. That is where you will find true adventure.”
For more information on Wheeling for the World, click here.