Monday, December 14, 2009
On your bike ... for climate change
by Ben O’Halloran
HE got lost in Mongolia, robbed twice in China and Turkey and suffered sunstroke in northern Australia.
After 18 months covering 22 countries and some of the world’s toughest terrain, Kim Nguyen, 28, has arrived in Denmark – on his bike.
Attending the climate change conference in Copenhagen, Kim said he was lucky to have arrived in one piece. He was hospitalised three times.
“The most difficult part of my journey was in northern Australia and South-East Asia because of the heat,” he said, having repaired 15 punctures on his 18,000km ride.
“The coldest was Belgrade when I rode through a storm.”
The social worker who wants to promote sustainable travel says he plans to sail back to Australia once he raises enough money.
Sporting a beard he grew from Istanbul to Copenhagen, Kim left Brisbane on August 10, 2008, arriving in the Danish capital to coincide with Ride Planet Earth’s global campaign to fight climate change.
Cyclists from around the world joined Kim on his epic trek through some of the most beautiful and inhospitable parts of the planet, riders in Copenhagen accompanying him through the Danish capital on the last leg to the conference.
Speaking at the alternative climate conference Klimaforum09, Kim hopes to address delegates attending COP15 and pass on messages from around the world.
He set up a blogsite so people could follow him on his journey to the conference.
Kim’s bike ride covered East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and eastern and central Europe.
On day 390 of his ride along the Black Sea Coast, just before entering Turkey back in September, he wrote: “A young man … reached his hand into my back pocket and tried to pull out my wallet. I turned, furious, realising suddenly the reason for his lurking presence behind me. I pushed and shoved him in the chest as he tried to slide into the crowd, surprised at my own aggression, with the vague idea of intimidating him into a life of legitimacy.”
Kim’s friend Mamuka urged the young rider to leave immediately: “That man is a bad man. He has said he will kill you. This is Georgia, this is not Australia.”
Read Kim’s blog at http://rideplanetearth.org.