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Pedal power puts student on right track

By Zhou Huiying in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-01 08:46

Cycling 4,300 kilometers in 22 days leaves him feeling empowered

Lin Jinmin poses in front of an entrance of Tsinghua University in Beijing during his cycling trip from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to Heilongjiang province. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

After cycling 4,300 kilometers in 22 days, Lin Jinmin finally reached his destination, Qiqihar Medical University in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

Lin, 18, started the journey from his home in Pingnan county in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Aug 1, a week after he received his admission letter from the university.

"When I finished my college entrance examination, I decided that I would choose a unique way to get to my university," Lin said.

"Unexpectedly, I was admitted to the farthest one on my university application form."

He spent only one night planning his route and took 10 kilograms of luggage with him. "In order to reduce the burden, I only took a few clothes, necessities and bike repair tools," he said.

Lin crossed the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the provinces of Hunan, Hubei, Henan, Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang, and the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin.

He had to ride a minimum number of hours every day to ensure that he arrived before the registration date. "The longest time I rode in one day was about 15 hours," he said. "Fortunately, after practicing distance running for 10 years I am in good physical shape.

"I don't like taking trains, planes or buses, although they are much more conventional than cycling. Cycling is the most environmentally friendly and healthy form of transportation."

The journey cost him 1,600 yuan ($242), about the same price as an air ticket from Guangxi to Heilongjiang. In order to save money, he stayed at cheap inns and spent no more than 10 yuan on each meal.

He encountered storms, terrible road conditions and flat tires during the journey.

"I didn't feel tired," he said. "It is the greatest thing I have done in the 18 years of my life. The experience helped me hone a spirit of persistence and fearlessness. I believe I can overcome any difficulty I meet in the future."

This is not the first time Lin has undertaken a long-distance bike ride.

During his first summer vacation in senior high school, he cycled around Guangxi and in the second summer vacation, he rode 840 kilometers from his home to Sanya, Hainan province.

"This was my longest journey and before it I had never gone to a city farther north than Guilin (in Guangxi)," he said. "At first, my parents disagreed with my decision out of concern for my safety.

"Finally, they agreed to my plan due to my determination and because I promised to call them every day to let them know everything was fine."

When he reached a university, such as Tsinghua University, Harbin Institute of Technology and Northeastern University, he would take a photo in front of the university's gate as a souvenir.

During the trip, Lin encountered many fellow travelers.

"I made lots of new friends during the trip," Lin said. "When I rode from Daqing to Qiqihar, I met a middle-aged cyclist. We rode together for nearly 100 km and he helped me change a tire on my bike."

Before parting, they had a meal together.

"From that man, I got my first glimpse of the enthusiasm and kindness of northeasterners, which brought me high expectations for my college life here," Lin said.

His cross-country feat has made him famous in his university.

Lots of his new schoolmates have sent their friend requests to him on WeChat or QQ, making his long trek all the more worthwhile.

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