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Chinese farmer was inspired by Boris Johnson to ride from Beijing to London... now he's off to the next host city...

A Chinese man who is aiming to ride his rickshaw from London to Rio de Janeiro to “promote the Olympic spirit” ahead of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games was advised by police in Cambridgeshire to get off the A14 dual carriageway, which has a 70mph speed limit, after traffic built up behind him, reports the BBC.

Chen Guan Ming, a 58-year-old farmer from Xuzhou, first decided to get pedalling to promote the Olympic spirit” – as a flag on his rickshaw exclaims – while sitting inside the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Games and saw Mayor of London Boris Johnson waving the Olympic flag as it passed to the British capital.

He rode his rickshaw from Beijing to London ahead of last year’s Olympics, and with the help of a free flight donated by a UK-based airline – BA, we’re guessing – flew into London to begin his trip to the next host city.

He will be financing the trip through giving rickshaw rides – it also doubles as his bed for the night – and performing odd jobs.

The BBC points out that Mr Chen was not breaking any laws, but adds that police advice when they caught up with him on Wednesday was to find an alternative route, with a spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police saying: "We offered him a map, but he didn't seem to want it.

"We were called at 13:29 BST to reports of a man riding a rickshaw along the A14, causing traffic problems.

"He was stopped and given words of advice not to travel on the A14, but he was committing no offences and went on his way."

The spokesman added: "I understand he's eventually heading to Liverpool."

However, it is not known how much of the police’s well-meant advice got through to the rickshaw pedaller – according to the BBC, Mr Chen is believed to know just four words in English.

Luckily, then, he'll be unlikely have come across this story from the London Evening Standard last year in which Mr Johnson, the man who inspired his transcontinental pedalling, branded rickshaws a "menace" and promised to ban them from the capital's streets.

It’s not the only unusual traffic hold-up the BBC has reported on this week; yesterday, there were tailbacks on the A3 close to Guildford due to 50 ducks waddling along the hard shoulder – complete with a police motorcycle escort. There's a video report here.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

7 comments

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The Acai [12 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm wondering which four English words he knows.
If he's learning on the fly I'm guessing it'll be 'pay some road tax'  3

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Simon_MacMichael [2456 posts] 3 years ago
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 4

Dave, how is that 'Like' button coming along for comments?

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northstar [1108 posts] 3 years ago
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More ignoring the elephant in the room.

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gazza_d [462 posts] 3 years ago
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So did the police give him an escort, or is that something only reserved for bloody ducks?

Reckon police must have admitted he was doing nothing wrong though clenched and gritted teeth.

I have masses of respect & goodwill towards the guy. He's a top man in my book

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PaulVWatts [111 posts] 3 years ago
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Peoples Daily article about his stay in London complete with picture of rickshaw: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/8358411.html
Hope they don't pick up on this article as it makes the Cambridgeshire Plod look pretty petty.

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UncleFred [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Saw him this afternoon crossing the M1 on the A453!

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Alan Tullett [1568 posts] 3 years ago
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You have to be a bit mental to cycle on the A14. I've cycled on a few A and dual carriageways recently when I went from Cambridge to Fareham (Hants) and back and it wasn't too bad but the A14 is very dangerous and I don't like going on it in a car let alone a bike. The only time I'd consider it would be early Xmas morning.