Bryan James and Chen Guan Ming

Update – January 15th 2015

Chen has reached the town of Bellevue in WashingtonState, just East of Seattle as he proceeds down America’s West Coast towards Rio 2016. However we understand that Chen plans to cross America to New York and Washington before heading too far South and as anyone who knows Chen will realise, he will do exactly what he wants to do.

Chen returned to the UK in 2013 and met up with his rickshaw which we had kept in store for him. He then spent a few days in London’s Chinatown renewing friendships made in 2012 before heading off to Cambridge, the universitycity favoured by many Chinese.

Here, for the first time he hit the UK national press. His slow progress along the narrow but important road caused a massive traffic jam. They still did not report his, hard to believe, across the world story.

Whilst in Cambridge we managed to get the ACL shipping company to transport his chariot to HalifaxNova Scotia and Icelandair kindly sold us a low cost ticket to fly him via Rekjavik to meet up with his home on wheels in Halifax.

Chen was now against the clock needing to be in Liverpool in time to meet the tight sailing schedule. He set off along two busy trunk roads, the A14 linking the container port of Felixstowe with the Midlands and the A50 another major well used road linking Britain’s two busiest motorways, the M1 and the M6. And yes again, traffic jams were created and on two successive days the police, concerned about Chen’s safety contacted our Hayes office for help. With Shu Lian’s help Chen was safely escorted to quieter roads and still reached Liverpool in time.

In Liverpool Xiang Qing Huang, a friend from Guangzhou and our MD assisted by the very helpful ACL team loaded his rickshaw on board where it travelled amidst top of the range Jaguar saloons whilst we drove back to Oxford, the other university town Chen had planned to see.

When Chen arrived in Canada ahead of his rickshaw he was met by members of the Chinese community that we had managed to locate and they in turn alerted other groups as he ventured forth. Everyone of course had suggested that Chen made his way down Americas West Coast but, Chen being Chen, was determined to cross Canada first.

He did however heed advice and halt his journey ahead of the Canadian winter and flew home to see his elderly father who was not in good health. Sadly his father died but when our MD visited China in April 2014 he was able to meet Chen and his mother in their remote village, probably the first western visitor to be welcomed there. He was also able to meet the company that had made the rickshaw where now thousands of motorised trikes are mass produced and sold across the Far East.

When Chen returned to Canada he discovered that the heavy snows had caused the collapse of the barn where his rickshaw was being stored causing major damage which required repair before he could resume his journey.

Nether the less he pressed on across Canada and over the Rockies, no mean feat when considering that his bike is made of heavy metal, has no gears and carries his bed and luggage.

But on arrival in Vancouver a set back. He could not get a visa to enter America. So he returned to China where with the help of his friend Harrison he secured a 10 year visa and returned to Canada, arriving there on the 1st December, 2014.

Chen is on the move again

August 2013 – London and Chen moves on, firstly to Cambridge where he won a wide circle of friends and captured the imagination of BBC Cambridge.

He had planned to go on from there to Liverpool via Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon, Birmingham and Chester but then ACL shipping asked, “could Chen be in Liverpool for the 21st August sailing?”.

The ACL Shipping Line have been wonderful. Gemma in their PR department secured free carriage for Chen’s rickshaw and so it was an opportunity not to be missed. So Oxford and Birmingham were out instead Chen took the shortest route to Liverpool but “ooops”, he was stopped by police on the busy A14 trunk road, the fast dual carriageway carrying HGVs from Felixstowe docks to the Midlands.

This was not his first meeting with the police. He had already been stopped by the police on the A10. Not because of the massive traffic jam he was causing, (see the Times, 16.8.13) but out of concern for his safety. The police though have been wonderful, even mending a broken pedal at the roadside. When he again stopped by the police next day on the equally busy A50, they even summoned up a safety convoy to escort him to safety. Thank you officers and apologies to all those inconvenienced by his slow chariot. Discounts to you all!

Chen made excellent time and arrived at the Albert Dock in Liverpool centre. Our MD John and a newly acquired interpreter volunteer Xiang Qing Huang caught up with him that evening and next day escorted him to the ACL loading bay. There Lee Chapman and his number one team gave him VIP treatment and parked his home on wheels alongside some top of the range Jaguars which were also bound for Canada.

Then it was off to Oxford with a short call en route to our Warrington Office and then, if proof was ever needed, the devil looks after his own. We actually found a guest house run by Julia Tao, a lady from Shanghai and of course a Mandarin speaker, and if that was not enough, the nearby Vietnamese restaurant recognised Chen and gave all three of us a free meal.

On Saturday 24th We will collect Chen and take him to Heathrow where Icelandair will fly him to Halifax via Iceland. The fare they have quoted us was by far and away the lowest, less than 20% of the Air Canada fare and they could not even return any of our calls.

Chen arrives in Halifax late on Saturday, (1.00 am our time) and the Atlantic Compass is due to dock in Halifax early on Wednesday morning, the 28th.

What are Chen’s plans now

Chen returned to the UK on the 17th June 2013 courtesy of British Airways. He was met by members of Bryan James & Co and reunited with his beloved rickshaw.

Chen spent two nights in Harlington servicing his rickshaw but couldn’t wait to get back to central London and ChinaTown.

There he was welcomed by some of his many friends and feels he is in a home from home.

Since he has been back in London he has appeared on BBC London Television and he  has been greeted by many tourists from over-seas who remember seeing Chen on their local TV last year.

On the 24th June Chen accompanied by an artist friend, Wen Wu, joined our MD at the House of Lords, taking tea on the terrace with Lord Luce and other guests.

Now the battle is on to find a way of getting Chen and his rickshaw to North America. A shipping company has kindly offered to take his home on wheels but cannot take Chen which means a long wait in a strange land whilst the boat with his home on board arrives. And of course, Chen only speaks Mandarin.

Chen left London in August 2013 and managed to get a flight to Halifax, Canada. In his time in Canada, Chen traveled through Montreal and Ottawa. In December of 2013, Chen had to go back to China as his Mother and Father were unwell. While Chen was looking after them, unfortunately in February 2014, Chen’s Father passed away. Chen stayed in China until the beginning of May, which is when he went back to Canada.

Chen arrived in Toronto in June 2014 and in a shocking turn of events, Chen found out that, while his rickshaw was in storage at a friend’s farm in Toronto, it had been damage by the collapse of a farmhouse roof caused by the worst snow in Toronto in the last 20 years. It was taking a while for Chen to repair his rickshaw, however the kind Chinese people of Toronto began to help Chen repair his rickshaw and make a new covering, and Chen also had to order a special part from China for his rickshaw.

It didn’t take long for the special part to be delivered. Chen was able to fix his rickshaw and was on his way continuing his journey.

Now Mr. Chen Guanming is on a new epic journey and will travel through North American to South America for the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has to go through seven months of arduous journey, across 9 provinces, ride over the Rocky Mountains in Canada. The distance is up to forty thousand kilometers. He will be the first person in history to ride a rickshaw across Canada.

Can you help?

October 2012 – Chen is determined to continue his epic ride to Rio for 2016 but his immediate concern is the health of his elderly father back home in China. Chen has now flown home to see his father as they have not seen each other since 2010.

We have stored his rickshaw for him at a location close to the airport which has enabled him to transfer to the flight very easily.

When he returns in the Spring he will start the long rickshaw ride to South America and this where you can help.

He could go via Ireland taking one of the short ferry crossings to Belfast or Dublin but we have not been able to find details of a sea route from Ireland to North America that could take him and his rickshaw. Do you know of any routes?

We have been told that there is a car-ferry boat from Denmark to Iceland, calling in at the Faroe Islands and other boats from there to Nova Scotia, but we cannot find any details. Do they still operate? And is there a boat from Scotland to the Faroes or to Iceland that could take the rickshaw and Chen?

If we cannot find a possible northerly route before he returns to the UK in the Spring we might need to find a southerly route, (from Portugal?) direct to South America but this would deprive Chen of the opportunity to travel down through Canada, America and Mexico.

If you can help us with ferry details do please make contact.

Wednesday 26 September 2012 – A meeting was arranged by Mr John Beeston at The Royal Overseas Club in London with the extraordinary Mr Chen Guanming – to inform others of his story. This is a man who is cycling the world on a gearless rickshaw to promote the spirit of the Olympics. Chen arrived in London safely for the 2012 Games.

For those of you who attended the Chopsticks Club event on 11 September, you will have met the extraordinary Mr Chen Guanming – an amazing gentleman from Jiangsu Province who in true Olympian style has cycled from Beijing to London on a gearless rickshaw, to promote the spirit of the Olympics and who intends to travel from London to Rio, starting in April 2013 from London, to arrive in time for the 32nd Olympics in Rio de Janiero, in 2016.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18980693 for one of the many articles on Chen.

Whilst in London he met Chopsticks Club member, John Beeston who kindly brought him along to the Chopsticks Club.

Such was the interest in Chen’s travels, John Beeston organised a special event for him.

This provided an opportunity to answer all those still unanswered questions about his travels and find out even more. Chen battled with wolves in Tibet, bitter cold in Turkey and had to overcome many bureaucratic hurdles when crossing international borders.

There was a recital by soprano, Wang Chen, which brought the evening’s entertainment to an end.

Thursday 7th August 2014 - Chen is now in Winnipeg, Canada, and the kind people of Winnipeg have donated $2,143.48 to support Chen’s cause.

Saturday 9th August 2014 – Chen met Winnipeggers at the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre, followed by the tour around the WCCCC and Folklorama Chinese Pavilion performances.

Sunday 10th August 2014 – A cycling parade is being held from the legislative building to the Forks, in support of Mr. Chen Guanming’s cross Canada trek.

The Olympic Rickshaw Rider

At the Beijing games in 2008, a whole nation was inspired by the Spirit of the Olympics. So much so that one man, Chen Guan Ming, rode 800 kilometres from his home to the Bird’s Nest Stadium in his ageing rickshaw.

But while 800km might seem like an impressive feat to some, Chen had an even bigger goal in mind. So, on May 23rd, 2010, he gathered his possessions, hopped back into his rickshaw and started a mammoth two year journey to London!

Passing through 16 countries including Tibet, Iran, Greece and France, Chen arrived in London on July 9th 2012 to be welcomed by…

Nobody.

By a stroke of luck, our MD John Beeston noticed Chen slumped over the handlebars of his rickshaw on Lower Regent Street. Using his limited Mandarin, John discovered the story behind Chen’s journey, escorted him to Chinatown and took it upon himself to alert the world’s press.

Thanks to our hard work, Chen’s feat was acknowledged by the world’s media – and he was covered by outlets including BBC News, the London-based Chinese Phoenix TV, Sky and CNN. We also enlisted the help of FirstFound to provide Chen with a brand new website to help people keep tabs on his rickshaw odyssey.

With our help, Chen was provided with a ticket for the spectacular opening ceremony on July 27th before being honoured as a guest at a banquet held by the Chinese Olympic team.

The Future

An epic trek from China to London might seem like the journey of a lifetime, but Chen has even bigger aspirations. With help and support from Bryan James & Co, Chen will be heading onwards to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic games!

Read the full story at;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18980693

http://audioboo.fm/boos/898391-from-china-to-london-by-rickshaw-in-2-years

also around the world;

http://v.ifeng.com/news/world/201207/14981f8f-acdd-410e-b75f-c3913a011938.shtm

www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10822771

Find out more about Chen’s astounding ride, and his journey onwards to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games by visiting www.chenolympicrickshaw.com.

If you have any enquiries about this epic feat, or wish to help in any way please contact John Beeston at john@bryanjames.co.uk