29,200 kilometres into a cycle trip round China and just days from the finish, Wang Pingan’s bike was stolen, reports CNN. Fortunately for Wang, police in Shenzhen, in the southern Guandong province, managed to track down it down, meaning he didn’t have to finish his trip by foot as he had feared.
After graduating from university, Wang set off on his trip round China from his home in Guangxi province with a reported budget of around £70. Stretching that with the help of friends along the route, he had travelled for 460 days when he arrived in Shenzhen. Stopping to visit an electronics market, he locked up his heavily-laden mountain bike and within ten minutes, it had gone.
“I have been to so many places. I didn’t even lock my bike in some cities, but it wasn’t lost. How come it’s gone after I spent a little more than 10 minutes in Huaqiangbei?” he said.
He then posted a heartfelt plea for the bike’s recovery on social media.
"The bicycle itself doesn't have a high value, but spending more than a year with it, it's like a best friend who has accompanied me on my way, and taken me to every place without complaints.
"Thank you, my buddy, maybe I'll never see you again ... I remember I cried during the difficult times at the beginning of the trip and you were by my side."
He received a number of offers from across China to get a new bike, but refused, saying he would walk if the bike couldn’t be found.
Police described the junction from which the bike was taken as being "infested" by cycle thieves, but fortunately there was CCTV footage available.
"We don't want this lad visiting Shenzhen and having a bad memory of the city," said a police spokesman and after tracking down the thief, the bike was recovered, despite having already been sold.
Shenzhen was Wang’s penultimate stop and he will now go to Hainan Island before heading home.
In 2010, British long-distance cyclist, Greg Browning, was reunited with his bike after it was stolen in Singapore. Browning’s trip had taken him across Europe and through the deserts of central Asia and the mountains of China before his Condor Heritage was taken from railings outside the Ngee Ann City shopping complex.
The theft was reported in the Straits Times and a member of the public came forward after finding the bike abandoned in East Coast Park. A man was charged with attempted theft of the bicycle and Browning was able to continue to his destination in Australia.