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Around the World in 86 Days ... on Motorbike With Double-hand Transplant

old AFP , but his fingers can feel sensation. Seven years after his operation, he still has to swallow immunodepressants every day to prevent his body from rejecting his new hands.

A motorbike enthusiast since he was a teenager and a keen traveler, Kelz did a first 550-kilometre (342-mile) post-operation trip in October 2001 around his native Austria.

In 2003, he rode across South America before going around the world in 86 days through Russia, Japan and Canada in 2006, barely missing the symbolic 80 days from the title of Jules Verne's adventure classic thanks to breakdowns and customs problems, he said with a smile.

He even tackled Siberia, attaching a gigantic 85-liter (22.5-gallon) blue gas tank to his red 1,000cc 1976 BMW motorcycle to give him more freedom and self-reliance on the difficult roads.

Though he spoke no Russian, Kelz has only good memories of the trip, saying: "I have never experienced such hospitality as in Russia."

Today a police officer in Feldkirchen, the father of one -- he has a daughter, Andrea, 31, with wife Roswitha -- has added a few more skills to his repertoire and has a business card as singular as his own life journey: Theo Kelz - biker and 2006 round-the-world traveler - civil servant, mediator and conflict manager.

"Most conflicts result from a lack of information" and can be resolved around a table and with a little time," he said.

In any case, this survivor bares no grudge towards his attacker, who ironically blew off both his own hands in a suicide attempt at the time of his arrest and later took his life while in prison in 2000.

"Of course I forgive him. Otherwise I would be filled with hate and vengeance like Fuchs. I wouldn't be here," he said.

Kelz plans to publish a book on his life and travels in the autumn. A televised movie on Franz Fuchs, featuring interviews with some of his victims, including
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