Farmer bikes from China to London to see Olympics

A Chinese farmer has spent the last two years biking more than 30,000 miles across 16 countries with one simple goal in mind: to see the London Olympics.

BBC News reports when 57-year-old Chen Guanming watched the Olympic flag get passed to London's mayor in 2008 in Beijing he was inspired to attend the 2012 games. He decided to travel the only way he could: by rickshaw.

The story sounds too amazing to be true, but Chen, who is from the Jiangsu province in eastern China, has a passport, pictures, press clippings and book full of messages from around the world to document his journey.

He met with intense heat in Malaysia and Vietnam, and with deadly floods in Thailand. When he was denied a visa into Burma, he backtracked and cycled to Tibet where he scaled mountains. Once in Turkey, he was snowed in for four days.

He was supported along the way by donations and by couriering items for people. He arrived in London July 9th.

Incredibly, his story may have never have been told if a local man with a little knowledge of Mandarin hadn't noticed him sitting in his rickshaw on a London street looking "completely lost and downhearted."

"At first I assumed it was a tourist rickshaw," London resident John Beeston told BBC News. "Then I looked back and thought 'No, this is something different'."

Beeston was able to communicate with Chen, who speaks no English, and learn parts of his story. Beeston then took Chen to London's Chinatown, where Chen was able to explain his story in full. He has since been showered with admiration and offers of accommodation.

"It's like telling people that a Martian has landed in the garden," Beeston told BBC News. "But, what he's done isn't dissimilar to what Marco Polo did and the Italians named an airport after him."

Chen says he wants to spread a message of peace and environmental protection, something he attempted to do during the Beijing games as well. He also traveled on his rickshaw from his hometown to Beijing in 2008.

"I'm a big fan of Olympic Games," Chen told BBC News. "I wanted to come here because I wanted the whole world to support the Olympics and be part of it."

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