The Taiwan man seeing the world by bicycle

Taiwan adventurer Jacky Chen reaches Jerusalem on his seven-year mission to see the world from his bicycle.
PHOTO: AFP

Four years ago Jacky Chen quit his job as an electronics engineer and set off on his bicycle to see the world.

The 40-year-old man from Taiwan has travelled across the Americas, Europe and parts of the Middle East, sleeping in his tent or finding places to rest his head through apps like Couchsurfing.

In recent days, Chen has been in Jerusalem, taking in the sights and plotting the next stage of his journey which so far has taken him to 64 countries and across some 54,000km (33,750 miles).

He hopes to visit 100 countries and travel 100,000km before he's done and estimates it will take him about another three years.

Speaking at Jerusalem's Mount of Olives, with a panoramic view of the Dome of the Rock and the Old City in the distance, Chen said he preferred not to do much research on places before his arrival so he could form his own initial impressions.

"This city surprised me," he said of the ancient city, holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews, epicentre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and with a modern population of nearly 900,000.

"It is a big city but it is historical."

Some of the toughest moments Chen has had so far involved travelling through snowy weather, he said.

But in terms of danger, Chen said he had experienced very little, apart from nerve-racking moments when cars and lorries passed too closely to him on the road.

Chen began his seven-year odyssey in the US state of Alaska, has seen Machu Picchu and Paris, and now heads to Jordan before crossing to Egypt and cycling down the eastern side of the African continent. He will then move on to Asia to complete his journey.

Chen is by no means the first to set out on such a trip. In 2017, Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont set a world record by cycling around the globe in 79 days. But Chen isn't after a record, preferring adventure over accolades.

"The amazing thing is always the people I meet," he said, with the words "I am Jacky. I come from Taiwan" written on the back of his shirt.

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