Courage on wheels: Beijing cyclists with cerebral palsy bikes 70,000 km and more

A Beijing cyclist named Lucky embarks on an extraordinary adventure as he prepares to cycle from Sichuan to Lhasa on May 17. This incredible feat is considered one of the most challenging undertakings for cyclists, as the route covers a total of 2,166km of climbs that sometimes reach heights of 4000 and 5000km. For the 37-year-old, however, that should be a no-brainer as he has overcome one obstacle after another, the first being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child.

Born a miracle

Born an only child in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang Province, Lucky’s miraculous entry into the world dates back to 1986. His mother experienced a shattering delivery and was in a precarious and life-threatening condition. The situation escalated to such an extent that Lucky’s survival was at stake. When he reflected on the intense experience in a later interview, his mother spoke of the desperate measures taken by the doctor, who finally delivered Lucky safely into the world with forceps.

Lucky couldn’t crawl or sit like a normal child until he was two years old. His worried parents, who were both unemployed at the time, took him to the hospital when he was 19 months old. After a thorough diagnosis, Lucky was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. His parents had to take care of his medical needs while running a business they started after being diagnosed.

Around the age of six, Lucky recalls, he walked everywhere with a twisted gait, lost his balance when others bumped into him, and could barely speak. Other children his age occasionally viewed him from a different perspective, and some even used derogatory nicknames like “dummy” or “fool”.

Lucky started elementary school at the age of eight, and although he was bullied from time to time, he never felt that his physical disability made him any different from the other students in his class. Instead, he tried to fit in and make friends with his peers. Every day he came to school early to help with chores like mopping the classroom floor. Despite ridicule and strange looks from others growing up, Lucky never let these misunderstandings bother him.

After graduating from junior high school, Lucky enrolled in a vocational high school in Jiasuming, where he earned a degree in computer science. However, he had difficulty finding employment after graduation. Consequently, he decided to support his family’s business.

Happiness longs for independence

While some have accepted their situation and moved on as before, Lucky had a different attitude. He wanted independence and didn’t want to depend on his parents forever. He had long harbored a desire to explore the wide world beyond his hometown and finally took action by boarding a train bound for Beijing on July 18, 2006.

Lucky initially applied for a position as bao’an near Xihongmen. However, due to complaints from other employees, he had to quit the job after just three days. They noticed that his hands trembled while eating, which prevented him from performing his duties effectively.

With no other choice, Lucky sought the help of his uncle, who works in logistics in Beijing, to help him deliver and unload goods. Fascinated by the bustling metropolis, Lucky was keen to explore the streets and hutongs. After two months of work, Lucky offered to transport goods for his uncle within the fifth ring road. He even suggested that his uncle buy him a tricycle to save on transportation costs. Within three days of training, Lucky mastered the ability to ride a tricycle and began delivering goods on the street.

Lucky secured a job at CHEERS on October 8, 2011 where he was tasked with delivering wines. While working there, he met a colleague who had a passion for cycling and commuted 20 km to work every day. This piqued Lucky’s interest and he secretly bought his own bike without informing his family. Lucky, familiar with the streets of Beijing from his previous delivery experience, rented an apartment in Xihongmen while he worked in Jianguomen with the aim of one day commuting between the two by bicycle. To improve his cycling skills, he practiced short-distance cycling at night, gradually increasing the distance until he could commute by bike to work.

Lucky developed a strong passion for cycling in a short time. Although his legs often hurt on long journeys, he remained determined to ride his bike. One day, while driving, he was hit by a negligent driver and threw him more than ten meters into the air. While many would have been discouraged after such a traumatic experience, Lucky stayed true to his belief in cycling.

Lucky’s passion for cycling blossomed as he explored every corner of Beijing. From Pingu to Huairou and from Miyun to Mentougou – Lucky’s bike tours took him to all these places. For his peers, he was the one who disappeared over the horizon on his bike, leaving a trail of awe and admiration.

The unbreakable lucky guy

Lucky firmly believes that cycling has transformed his physical and mental well-being despite his previous ailments. He was dependent on numerous medications during a period of illness, but cycling helped him regain strength and gradually eliminated the need for pills. Lucky’s cycling program includes a 50km loop from Sihui to Bird’s Nest every three days and a monthly bike ride up Miaofeng Mountain, which he continued to pursue with unwavering determination.

Lucky’s bike journey has been well documented with over 200,000 images, each capturing a unique story. On July 2, 2014, he and 12 other cyclists started a 500km, eight-day cycling adventure around Qinghai Lake from Xining. Despite the challenges of such a strenuous route, Lucky remained resilient and kept pushing through, earning him the nickname “The Unbreakable Lucky”.

In seven years, from 2012 to the end of 2019, Lucky covered an impressive 70,000 kilometers. However, his determination to reach greater heights continues to grow. This year, on May 17, Lucky embarks on a new adventure with two other cyclists as they embark on the daunting 2,400km journey from Chengdu to Lhasa. This route is known for presenting challenges such as altitude sickness to even the most experienced cyclists, making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Running a challenging journey like this requires significant financial resources. Lucky, in particular, needs around RMB 60,000 to successfully complete this daunting task. Unfortunately, he has only managed to raise 10,000 RMB so far, making the task even more difficult for him. To make matters worse, he will be making the journey in less than seven days.

Lucky firmly believes that cycling has changed his life and made him more independent than other people with cerebral palsy. If you would like to help make Lucky’s dream a reality, you can show your support by scanning the QR code below. This will help him achieve his fundraising goal and continue his inspirational journey.

Note: You can add Lucky on WeChat to note your name and contribution and keep up to date with his journey by scanning the QR code in the poster below.

Read: How would you like to spend your weekends? Come to The Beijinger

Images: Courtesy of Lucky


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