Deaf biker on round-the-world trip aims for record

Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:34am EST
 
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By Rina Ota

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Vladimir Yarets has driven through more than 70 countries on his motorbike, hoping to set a record as the first deaf and mute person to travel around the world, and also to inspire disabled people like him.

Vladimir Yarets, 67, is from Belarus and he is aiming to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for his journey, which he began from his hometown Minsk in May 2000.

Yarets, who is currently in Singapore, lost his hearing as an infant but has little trouble communicating with people, using gestures and a ready smile. He also carries several message cards in English which help him.

In Singapore, he stands in front of a downtown shopping mall, sharing his maps, pictures and stickers from all around the world with curious passers-by and the media.

In 2000, he traveled through most of Europe, visited South American countries including Venezuela and Puerto Rico the following year and started the U.S. and Canadian leg of his trip in 2002.

A year later, while driving in Illinois he suffering extensive injuries after his bike crashed into a lorry. After several months of treatment, and a new bike donated by a U.S. BMW dealer, he finished his north American tour in 2006.

Since then, he has driven through Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan, also stopping in Taiwan and Malaysia. From Singapore, he hopes to travel to the Middle East and Africa.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

 
<p>Vladimir Yarets, 67, from Belarus poses with his motorbike in Singapore December 21, 2008. Yarets, who lost his hearing when he was an infant due to a Nazi bombing raid during World War II, is aiming to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first deaf person to travel around the world on a motorbike. REUTERS/Rina Ota</p>