London, the host city of the next Olympics, seems to have a special hold on thrill seekers.
Just a week after a trio of horse lovers launched their continental tour on horse back from Beijing to London, Spaniard Guim Valls Teruel is getting ready for an even more ambitious world tour.
But instead of riding a horse, he will make the Beijing-London trip on a solar-powered electric bicycle. This unprecedented attempt is aimed at promoting a global culture of energy conservation and waste reduction.
Guim Valls Teruel ready for his world tour by a solar-powered electric bicycle. [Courtesy of Guim Valls Teruel]
Guim will take off from the National Stadium (Bird's Nest) in Beijing on May 21 and is scheduled to arrive in London in time for the 2012 Games. He is expected to visit 68 countries, scattered over five continents, over three years.
"I have been in Beijing for about two years in which, thanks to my electric bicycle, I've had the opportunity to explore the most remote corners of this huge city," he says. "The electric bicycle, the most common means of transport in China after the bicycle, is simply amazing. It is the best choice for my world trip as it is noise and pollution-free and reasonably fast."
Guim plans to take three batteries with him and hopes to ride six hours per day, covering a distance of 60 km on average.
Wearing a pair of white sneakers, with a big red bag thrown over his shoulders, and a pair of black-framed glasses perched on his nose, it is hard to believe the 34-year-old Spaniard has visited 35 countries and done at least a dozen different jobs. "My parents were not at all surprised when I told them my plan, for they know I am always ready for traveling and experiencing something new," he says.
The idea of the world tour came to him during the Beijing Olympics. He lost no time quitting his job as a commercial director in Beijing and throwing himself into the preparation for the long trip.
He has launched a website http://www.electricbicycleworldtour.com and is looking to some sponsors to raise money for the trip, besides dipping into his own savings and some help from his parents. "Although till now, only a few sponsors have showed interest in my project, I have received many positive comments. Many people have left their contact details and have promised to host me when I pass by," he says.
A British-brand electric bicycle-maker, based in Shanghai, has stepped forward with the bicycles. Guim even flew to Shanghai, and received ten days' training on electric bicycle maintenance and repair.
Guim was born in Barcelona, the host city of the 1992 Olympics. He was a volunteer at the Games and cherishes those memories. Luckily, he also found himself in this city for the Beijing Olympics. "I believe I have a special bond with the Olympics, so I have no doubt I will be in London during the Games," he says.
(China Daily May 6, 2009)