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The 2007 event

A stupendous adventure for the 21st century!

Home The 2007 event Map The Team History Carfree Future
Arnold and Marieke Joff in China Olly Ting and Aaron in Paris FHL -1

By Olly Powell - Chief Disorganiser, 10 December 2007

The challenge was first issued in 2004 by myself and Ting. Since then individuals and teams had been signing themselves up to this unusual event. The riding began on 2 April, with Arnold and Marieke setting out from Tienmen square.

We had just three goals: To have the adventure of a lifetime, to promote carfree living, and continuing the theme of better mobility the third was to raise funds for the international wheelchair charity Motivation. £1,829 raised at last count.

It was to be a disorganised adventure planned and promoted entirely by volunteers. Participants were free to choose their own timing and route. Our lone German entrant: Daniel Lang, rode the opposite direction, starting in Paris, finishing in Beijing. The only key condition being to travel overland between Beijing and Paris, without using cars.

The largest group left Beijing on 10 June, exactly 100 years after the original Peking Paris challenge. We made a quick circuit of Tienmen Square, I gave a short speech, then off we went.

Assembled outside the olympic countdown Ting and Su Chun

We had a fantastic time in China, with the fastest riders crossing in around 40 days. Along there way there were pleanty of dust storms, wild weather, deserts, extreme heat, coal trucks, and unusual foods to keep us entertained. The greenway team made multiple hospital trips with a variety of ailments, but the rest of us stayed reasonably healthy.

Marieke in Kazakhstan

Everybody struck trouble in Central asia. Visa and beauracratic hassles, several road crashes and injuries, and at least three roberies with varying levels of violence. Arnold was injured whilst fighting drunken youths that attacked his campsite in Kyrgystan. My bike was damaged in a crash in Kyrgystan, and Fei Ta's bike was hit by a truck in Kazakhstan, as was mine.

Things got even more dangerous in Russia, both on road and off it. Fortunately there was only one major accident here, with Aaron Huang undergoing head surgery after a crash near Irkutsk. There were more robberies, sadly Brendon and Hung Lin were forced to abandon the trip after their tent was cut open by a knife wielding gang and their passports and money were taken.

Meanwhile Heather and Meng had taken a boat to Turkey, opting for a more southern approach to Europe. Heather returned to Australia after reaching Istanbul, due to the unexpected arrival of her first grandchild. Meng continued on his own through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria.

Daniel Lang had already crossed Turkey and was holed up in Iran recovering from stomach problems and trying to get visas to Turkmenistan and beyond. He finally spent almost a month in Iran, and had a tremendous time. He evetually got his visas and continued east at epic speed across the Stan countries of central Asia and into China.

Riding the Mosel Valley, Germany

For the rest of us the cycling improved considerably after Russia, though most were racing to meet planned finish dates by then. Two teams took the Ukraine-Poland route, whilst most of the Taiwanese riders went north through Scandinavia to avoid visa hassles.

First in to Paris was our Kiwi retirees Arnold and Marieke, arriving just ahead of Aaron, who traveled in style on the Trans Siberian express across Rrussia after recovering from his accident.

Party in Paris

Ting and I reached Paris on 10 October, just one day ahead of the greenway team. We had ridden all 12600km in 123 days on our home made bikes. Ting's brother Xia Ing and sister in law Jia Hua live in Paris, and we had a grand celebration at their appartment.

Su Chun's epic voyage finished on the 16th of October. Su Chun had ridden with Ting, myself and Frank most of the way across China, before going directly into Kazakhstan on her own. Her bike was stolen at one point in Russia, though she got it back the delay meant she couldn't make it all the way by bike on time. However she did manage an incredible 12738km in just 130 days.

Ting and Su Chun

Daniel Lang reached Beijing on the 23rd of November, having raced accross Tibet then Gansu, Ning Xia and inner Mongolia in the fading autumn. Roads that had been hot and sometimes rainy for my team were freezing by this time.

The last man peddling, Joff Summerfeld, seems to have gone astray in India, and at the time of writing had just reached Bangkok.

Olly Powell - Chief Disorganiser, 10 December 2007

As it happened...

January 2006: Newsletter 1

April 2006: Ting wins the womans category in the OZHPV challenge on her SWB recumbent.

May 2006: Arnold and Marieke cycled through Laos and Vietnam

June 2006: R&D update. Upgraded computer and CAD software so can begin the detailed design work now. Have also begun trials of front cowlings on my weekly Norton-summit ride.

August 2006: Ting began cycling Yunnan-Tibet road as part of the Kingdom of bicycles expedition.

October 2006: R&D update. Basic design complete.

November 2006: Newsletter 2

3/4/2007: Arnold and Marieke depart Beijing, the expedition begins!

10/4/2007: Meng, Ulla and Heather leave Beijing.

10/5/2007 Daniel departed from Paris (Daniel is riding B2P backwards) We hope to see him in central Asia somewhere soon!.

11/5/2007 Joff's Penny Farthing visits Tienmen square. See Joff's Blog for pictures.

10/6/2007 Olly, Ting, The greenway team, Candice, Aaron and Frank, Su Chun, Liao Hung all left Beijing.

22/6/2007 Olly, Ting, Frank, Su-Chun have done 1200km in 12 days but are holed up near Yinchuan waiting out the rain. Aaron is somewhere in Mongolia.

16/7/2007 Arnold and Marieke are in Kazakhstan, Meng and Heather in Kyrgystan, Olly and Ting waiting near Kyrgystan border, Aaron in Russia (wherabouts unknown), Frank and Su Chun both nearing Kazakhstan border via Urimuchi, Greenway team assumed still in Gansu, and Daniel (Paris to Peking) is in Iran. All going well!

14/9/2007 Heather Burge returns to Australia for the Birth of her first grandchild! Congratulations to Heather, for the new family member, and for reaching Istanbul. Heather hopes to complete the expedition at a later date.

14/9/2007 Arnold and Marieke Reach Paris! 13692km, after five and a half months, all the way on their beautiful touring bikes.

22/9/2007 Aaron Huang reaches Paris. Travelling by bike, train and boat via China, Mongolia, Russia, Scandinavia, Europe.

10/10/2007 Olly and Ting reach Paris. Exactly four months (123 days), 12600km, all on their home made recumbents.

11/10/2007 The Greenway team (Taiwan) reach Paris. 124 days! Travelling by bike, train and boat via China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Scandinavia. Europe.

16/10/2007 Yu Su-Chun reaches Paris. 12738km by bike, plus bus, train and boat travel in Scandinavia, alone since Urimuchi!

6/11/2007 Meng reaches Paris, in 218 days, with a combination of boats trains, buses and riding 13980km by bike. Boat from Russia to Turkey, then through Eastern Europe, Austria, Germany and France. Finishing the last part of the trip in snow.

23/10/2007 Daniel Lang reches Beijing.