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Monday, August 16, 2010

Taiwanese World Cyclist Goes Into The Wild

Taiwanese world cyclist, Wu Shih-chang, has safely arrived in Vancouver B.C. after a harrowing test of nerves and strength pedaling through the Alaskan wilderness.

Wu reported encounters with hunger and bears during the Alaska leg of his global adventure in which he hoped to stick to his meager budget of only $8000 USD allotted for his entire trip.

The Taipei Times reports:

Wu said he first thought that riding around the world on a bicycle was a romantic thing to do. After setting out, however, Wu said he came to realize there was nothing romantic about it, as he instead had to deal with loneliness and learn to survive.

Every day, he was busy thinking about how to make his food last until the next food stop 100km down the road and about where he would set up his tent that evening.

Wu said that during the first few days of his ride in Alaska, he miscalculated and didn’t bring enough food. With the next shop more than 100km away, his blood sugar levels dropped and he started feeling dizzy, as all the trees seemed to be white. After that experience, he said he never dared set out again on an empty stomach.

The bears probably wouldn't be a problem during the fat days of summer, but should be avoided in the spring when there are young cubs and in the fall when food supplies dwindle before hibernation as Timothy Treadwell learned in 2003.

Carrying enough food may be a greater issue, especially being from Taiwan, where there is always a 7-11, roadside stall, betel nut stand and in some cases roadside produce available for easy purchase. Many Taiwanese underestimate the vastness of continental living. My father-in-law could not understand why I could not take him to visit Seattle, San Francisco, L.A., Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon in 4 days of driving. Concepts of "far" can seem much different around the world.

Most of all, I would really like to applaud Wu for his spirit of adventure. It takes guts, brains and courage.

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