Chen Guan Ming’s story is an amazing tale, fuelled by one man’s commitment to the Olympic spirit.
From the Tong Shan district of Xu Zhou City, China, Chen spent most of his life farming, and never travelling much further than neighbouring districts. But all that changed when the 29th Olympiad came to China in 2008.
Filled with the Spirit of the Olympics, Chen made the 800km trip to the spectacular Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing on his ageing rickshaw, before returning back to his home in Tong Shan.
But once you’ve been bitten by the Olympic bug, it’s hard to think about anything else…
Beijing to London
Which is why, on May 23rd 2010, Chen decided to embark on a truly epic journey. A two-year rickshaw ride from Tong Shan to London, England – the host city of the 2012 Olympic games.
Chen’s long and tortuous route took him through some of the world’s most troubled regions and difficult terrain, including flooded Thailand, the Himalayan foothills and war-torn Afghanistan. But despite the conditions, and being turned away from Singapore and Myanmar, Chen finally made it to London.
Arriving in the host city on July 9th 2012, Chen couldn’t have imagined the reception waiting for him…
Because nobody knew he was coming, nobody in London welcomed Chen. And with no English to explain his rickshaw odyssey to the locals, it didn’t look like anyone would recognise Chen’s feat.
Fortunately, John Beeston, MD of Bryan James & Co, spotted Chen slumped over the handlebars of his rickshaw. Using his limited knowledge of Mandarin Chinese, John discovered Chen’s amazing story and set out to tell the world.
Only a few days later, Chen had spoken to the BBC and CNN, been awarded a ticket to the opening ceremony of the London games, and been honoured at a dinner held by the Chinese Olympic team.
But despite riding across half of the world on a battered rickshaw, Chen’s story doesn’t stop here.
Back In London
Following a brief return to his native China, Chen Guan Ming is returning to London with the aim to continue his journey to Rio and then finally completing his round the world trip.
He had planned to return to the UK, courtesy of British Airways on 20th April but problems getting his visa in time led to a delay.
Then having convinced the UK authorities that he was really self supporting and a genuine adventurer he was giving his visa but now his air ticket could not be found.
Thankfully BA have come to his rescue on Chen flies from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport on the 17th June arriving in Heathrow, Terminal 5, later the same day.
If you can, please come and welcome Chen when he arrives at Heathrow on 17th June!
He will stay in London for a few days before heading North and then to Rio.
London to Rio?
Chen now has three years to make it to the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in time for the 2016 Olympics.
Bryan James will be helping him to arrange a trans-Atlantic crossing so that he can take his Rickshaw through North and South America, spreading the Spirit of the Olympics as he goes. And thanks to Bryan James’ web design partners FirstFound, you’ll be able to keep track of Chen as he rides his trusty rickshaw across another two continents!