Moments ago, I finished watching a wonderful movie about life – that to be found while pushing pedals where normal people of affluent countries simply do not go. This was too hard by nearly anyone’s definition, and of course, that is the draw, both to undertaking a trip like this and the need to view films like this. Just when a cross country cyclist starts to feel proud of the accomplishment, along comes a chap like Tom Allen who sets a new level of what is possible.
Janapar means journey or road in Armenian. This is an apt title for a bicycle ride that covered 32 countries over the course of nearly four years. Sure enough, Englishman Tom rode a two wheeled bike, and sure enough, this is a website devoted to three wheeled recumbent trikes, but the essence of spirit and overcoming hardships are the same either way. When one is out on the open road of adventure using one’s own body power for motion across the miles, or should I say kilometers since this is of lands far away and different than my own, there is a camaraderie that spans from bikes to trikes. The experiences are there either way, and an overland triker can surely relate.
Janapar is a movie that was just released, and I wasted no time in ordering my DVD from merry old England. Professionally produced by James Allen, this movie will thrill any dedicated long distance cyclist adventurer. Living on a bike with a tent and minimal provisions, Tom faced month after month of uncertainty, having decided to embark upon his trek on a moment-to-moment basis. He was comfortably working with computer technology in England, but wanted to know first-hand what such a journey would be like. Two other cyclists began the journey with Tom. This is the movie of that journey.
In Yemen, he was not allowed to pedal a certain portion of road due to military security issues, thus had to ride in a truck with a group of soldiers, with one soldier standing at a huge machine gun as they sped along. Not all was dangerous however, like the time when Tom met Tenny, an Armenian gal, and the two really hit it off quite well. She even accompanied him on a portion of the ride, and, as might be expected, this relationship became a core dynamic of how Tom was to proceed – with his full freedom ride on the road, or along a path of compromise with Tenny.
Janapar reveals the full array of psychological demons faced by any cyclist riding long distances. It also portrays the joys and unexpected answers any long-haul pedal pusher finds out there in the wild and lonely places of our planet. Having cycled through many divergent countries, the viewer of this motion picture realizes from Tom’s filming that people are the same the world over, that we are all one life making our way during our time here. We all love, share, smile, laugh, cry, and help one another. The hospitality he was shown way out in the most remote of remote locales, by people who did not even speak his language, was truly heartwarming. You and I may be stuck in our narrow little worlds of daily life, but this film shows we are not alone.
I recommend this movie to anyone who seeks adventure beyond the rote mediocrity of mundane existence. Whether you are a dedicated long-haul cyclist, or an armchair warrior who still dreams, Janapar will magically transport you into an alternative reality that makes it all come to life. Live the adventure with Tom, and discover what extreme cycling is all about, while also learning the fate of Tenny. Where is she now? Well, you’ll have to order a DVD for yourself to find out. This movie makes me want to hit the road once again!
Click HERE to visit the Janapar website for more information.
You can also visit another website if cycle touring is in your blood: