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7 year Olympic journey, on a bike, is over

Posted Sunday, August 24, 2008 1:15 PM ET
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In Beijing, riding bicycles is a way of life.

Even traffic lights have a bike symbol on them.

It's not uncommon to see hundreds of them lined up outside buildings where people work.

However, there is one bicycle, or tricycle to be more accurate, that is getting a lot of attention near the Bird's Nest. It's not really the tricycle that's popular, just the man pedaling it.

His name if Chen Guanming, but most people here already know that. He's become a sort of celebrity in Beijing, and China, for that matter.

He's 53 years old and used to work as a farmer.
But when Beijing was awarded the Olympics seven years ago, he thought it would be a good idea to spread the Olympic goodwill, and excitement, throughout China.

So, for the past seven years, that's exactly what he's been busy doing.

He doesn't speak English, but a Chinese woman who does helped me interview him. He says he felt very proud when China was awarded the Olympics and thought the games would be a good way to spread cheer for everyone.

So far, he has logged more than 65,000 kilometers spreading that cheer throughout China.

That's some 40,000 miles.

That's not a misprint. 40,000 miles.

KSL's Alex Cabrero spoke to one Chinese resident, who made it his personal mission to spread the Olympic Spirit throughout his country. It took him seven years, 40,000 miles, and a tricycle to do it.

His story started making its way throughout the country, so his arrival in Beijing, seven years later, made news here.

It also meant the Olympics were close.

After his story started spreading, he says people everywhere say hi to him. They stop him to take pictures and want to sign the outside covering of his tricycle.
Sometimes, he admits, it can get in the way of pedaling.
But then he remembers this is what he wanted, and if people get excited about the Olympics because of him, then that's okay.

Guanming isn't married and has no children, which allowed him to make this journey.

He slept inside the covering attached to his tricycle, where he also kept his food, pots and pans, and drinks.

During his journey, he also promoted his other personal mission, which was to not litter. Along the way, he cleaned up little bits of trash he found such as cigarette butts, paper, and bottle caps. He put it all in a bag, so that when he found a proper garbage or recycling bin, he would throw it away.

Now, with the Olympic Closing Ceremonies behind us, he's realizing his journey is over. Seven years is and was a long time.

For the first time in a long time, Guanming says he isn't sure what the road is ahead.

All he can think about now is flying back home and taking a long break.

And remembering all the adventures his Olympic Trek brought him.


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