Epic bicycle trip across China ends in success for retiree

After cycling more than 10,000 kilometers in 120 days, Lai Shuangyi finally reached his destination, Sanya in South China’s Hainan province, completing his dream of cycling across China from the northernmost to the southernmost points.

Lai, 63, a retired civil servant in Mishan city, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, began to cycle as physical exercise four years ago when he received a bike from his son as a gift for Father’s Day.

From the first time he cycled in his hometown’s downtown area, he had the idea of a long-distance cycling plan.

In the past four years, he cycled nearly 50,000 kilometers, which gave him a lot of cycling experience.

Last July, Lai told his family that he’d decided to cycle across China.

His wife expressed great concern about his safety over such a long distance. At the same time, his plan was well received by another cycling enthusiast, Sun Maowu, who is 10 years younger than Lai. So Lai’s plan became feasible in that if they made the trip together, they could take care of each other.

As a veteran, Lai chose to start on the 90th Army Day, cycling northward to Mohe, China’s northernmost county.

“Sun’s care was a great help and encouragement for me to finish the trip,” Lai said. “He is much younger than me and he changed a lot of his habits to accommodate me.”

The special trip also gave them many memorable moments.

In Qingdao, East China’s Shandong province, an innkeeper who learned about their trek sent fresh fruit to their room.

In Hulun Buir, North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, they danced and drank with herdsmen who live on the grasslands.

When they reached a famous site, such as Tian’anmen Square in Beijing, they would take a photo as a souvenir.

On their journey they encountered storms, terrible road conditions and flat tires. Despite these, they persisted and finally reached their destination on Nov 18.

“It’s really a memorable journey that brought me lots of moving moments, as well as difficulties,” Lai told China Daily. “But anyway, I received great satisfaction and pride when I made my dream come true.”

“I just want to say thanks to those who provided help to us during the trip, which made us feel the warmth of the whole society,” Sun said. “During the trip, we had to try our best to overcome difficulties, which is as same as what we do in daily life.”

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