513 days, 24 countries and 25,000 km… The Hong Kong born and raised post-80s, Linus Cheng, successfully completed his bike ride journey on 8th October 2017, from Tai Po to Cape of Good Hope in South Africa!
Linus is one of the authors at Lonely Planet and has always loved travelling. He did working holiday in Australia, volunteered at Japan’s 311 Earthquake, visited the orphanage at Tanzania…
Before going on this bike travel journey, Linus spent the full year to train his fitness and also did the route planning. Starting from his home in Tai Po and finishing at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The post-80s has set foot across over 15 lands, including Kazakhstan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Israel, Jordan and more.
Normally, it would only take about a day to get to Cairo in Egypt from Hong Kong. But it took Linus a year to get to this ancient city. “It might take me 3 to 4 days to get to an attraction that could be arrived within 3 to 4 hours on a bus. Yet, I really enjoy that as I could look at sceneries beyond the attractions, and this includes the friendly and welcoming locals in different cities.”
The Most Beautiful Scenery is Human Kindness
Seeing this foreign man riding his bike alone, many passers-by and drivers would warmly say hi to him and even offer him some simple supplies, encouraging him to keep on his journey. “A lot of the local people that you meet at the attractions are mostly businessmen, they treat you well for the business purpose. But for the local people that you meet on the road, they treat you well out of simple kindness.”
On the roadside of Uzbek, Linus met a fervent family – Karim. The Karim family deliberately parked the car on a side, cut a big watermelon open, and shared with Linus right away. They even invited him to go to their house and be their guest.
A Nightmare of The Journey – The Bike Is Gone
Bike is the most important asset of Linus during his bike journey, obviously. But outside a restaurant in Urumqi, Xinjiang, his bike ‘White Dragon’ was stolen. Fortunately, he was still within the territory of China at that time, so it was convenient for him to buy a new bike right away.
“When I stepped out of the restaurant, I thought I parked at a different location. There wasn’t even a trace of my bike there since even the bicycle lock was stolen together with the bike.”
Stomach Ache at the Desert
The most unwanted situation during the journey was being sick. After all, you’ll need a large amount of energy to complete the trip. Linus is thankful that he didn’t encounter any immense sickness during the travel. Yet, an unforgettable memory was that he had a bad stomach ache suddenly at a desert. And he just stopped and dealt with it in the middle of the desert.
“I don’t think there will be a lot of chances for you to go to toilet in public, and we are talking about desert here. Luckily, there wasn’t anybody in the desert at that time. Otherwise, taking off my bike outfit to go to toilet means that I poop in front of everyone naked.”
Has it Always Been A Happy Journey?
Riding bike among the snow is one of the biggest challenges of LinusObviously not. There were many challenges during the trip, but it’s part of bike travelling and Linus chose to deal with them with a positive mindset. Though having that being said, there were multiple times when the thought “Why didn’t I just take the bus/train and continue the rest of journey comfortably?” come across Linus’s mind.
After the hard part of the road trip, Linus realised that you’ll just have to endure and persevere a little more and a lot of challenges could actually be overcome.
Travel is My Happiness
Living in Hong Kong, it is common to be trapped in a mindset of money equals happiness. “I remember once I saw an ad, saying that investing in wealth means investing in happiness. And I didn’t get it. I mean, shouldn’t happiness be defined by yourself?” To Linus, travelling and witness the world with his own eyes is the definition.
During his solo travel, there’s a lot of time for Linus to ponder and reflect, and eventually know about himself more. “Travelling isn’t a way to escape and avoid problems in reality. Even you are away from home, there will still be a lot of challenges, and they might even be greater challenges than those awaits at home. So please, do not forget your initiative of why you chose to set off and go.”
Trip Coming Up….
Linus is already planning a new trip and he will be setting off in November already! He is not disclosing the exact place yet though but he said that he will be filming videos this time. Stay tuned to his Facebook Page for more!