Meet the Man Cycled From Switzerland to Shanghai – That’s Beijing | Instant News

What kind of person rides more than 30,000 kilometers and crosses 27 countries, from their home in the shadow of the Swiss Alps to the coast of the East China Sea? The same people who ran away to join the circus, of course. Meet Dave Muehlemann.

“I am a 40 year old man from Switzerland. I have done many different jobs in my life, but never for the big money, ”he introduced himself. “I’ve worked in an office, as a pizza chef, as a train waiter, and as a nurse caring for the elderly. I also toured my beautiful country as a circus manager. “

His stint in the circus – perhaps not surprisingly – that made him itchy feet … or itchy wheels. In 2013 he drove 3,500 kilometers south of Morocco to visit some friends he met while working at the great peak.

“Before I started, I didn’t ride a kilometer on my new bicycle. So, I have to admit, this is a naive project. But in amazing Morocco, I experience this way of traveling. “

So many flavors that he flew to Jordan and then cycled back to Switzerland from there. His ‘Mediterranean Tour’ covered 13,500 kilometers in eight months. As for this latest adventure, the original plan was to cycle to Japan.

“The idea came up in the fall of 2013 when I read that the Olympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020. Before my departure, I applied for a job at the Olympics. My goal is to be a small mover in the biggest sporting event in the world, and I hope to meet Roger Federer! “

Traveling through Kyrgyzstan

Traveling through Kyrgyzstan

Traveling through Kyrgyzstan

After COVID-19, he was forced to divert his route to Shanghai. However, the pandemic benefited Muehlemann in China.

“In normal times, I can only stay in China for two months. But with special situations, it’s five months. That makes it possible to cycle 8,150 kilometers from Yunnan and Shangri-La to Xi’an and Shanghai and to Hong Kong. This distance is the same as London to Beijing, when the crow flies. “

Traveling through India

Traveling through India

Traveling through India

Traveling through India

Taking things as they come and adapting to situations is part of Muehlemann’s philosophy.

“I’m not the kind of guy who wants to plan every detail. On the one hand, I was too lazy for that. And on the other hand, it often doesn’t make sense to organize too much; When traveling the world, you need to be flexible, and I also want to be able to make spontaneous decisions about my route. “

Muehlemann would sleep where he ended each day’s journey. “Sometimes I pitch a tent, other times I’m invited by my family, most of the time I go to the cheapest shabby hotel or guesthouse. One unforgettable night in Pakistan, some construction workers let me sleep in one of their bunk beds on the side of a remote and dusty road, with the trucks noisy all night. “

Muehlemann beachside beds in Pakistan

Pakistan is one of Muehlemann’s unexpected pleasures. “Through the media – and it is true – I learned that there were several terror attacks just a few years ago. I have a warning voice in my head while cycling through the region, so I plan to hurry through this part of my journey as quickly as possible, covering 150 kilometers a day.

“In the end, I was so shocked by the beauty of the mountains in the Hunza Valley and Gilgit-Baltistan that I cycled the shortest leg of the entire trip, integrating several hikes and taking a grueling six-day detour. The main road, Karakorum Highway, built by the Chinese for the Belt and Road Initiative, is in perfect condition. Next door it can be quite wild and raw – which I really like. “

Traveling through Pakistan

Traveled through Pakistan

Traveled through Pakistan, if you look closely, you can see that Muehlemann bicycle

Traveled through Pakistan

Traveled through Pakistan

Traveled through Pakistan

Traveled through Pakistan

Other highlights for Muehlemann include Tajikistan and the famous Pamir-Highway, which stretches across a barren plateau 4,600 meters above sea level, where she rarely encounters any other living soul.

Traveled through Tajikistan

Traveled through Tajikistan

Traveled through Tajikistan

Traveled through Tajikistan

Traveled through Tajikistan

Traveled through Tajikistan

Traveled through Tajikistan

Traveled through Tajikistan

Iranians, meanwhile, are arguably the friendliest.

“The attitude of welcoming Iranians is legendary – so much so that it is almost an exaggeration! I can’t say where I met the friendliest people, or where I got the best food. What I can tell you, however, is how many humans gave me something, without knowing me and often without much to themselves. It was astonishing and touching. “

There is no other place in China but Yunnan, Muehlemann said.

“This is an amazing region, very diverse in terms of nature and people, with 35 minorities. This is where I am given the most gifts from people. I spent time with a young and very generous man who, on the day I left his beautiful little village, gave me 60 warm quail eggs for my onward journey. Since it was too much for me, I shared it with girls and boys along my route. “

Warm quail eggs in Yunnan, China


Traveling through China

Traveled through China

Traveled through China

Traveled through China

Traveled through China

Traveled through China

Traveled through China

Traveled through China

Children in all countries are in the spotlight for Muehlemann.

“It’s really nice to be able to interact with them, even without the same language. I always take dozens of balloons with me and tie them to a thread so the kids can have a little fun. “

Children in Southeast Asia

Children in Southeast Asia

Children in Southeast Asia

Children in Pakistan

Children in Pakistan

A child looks at the sun

Muehlemann said that the mode of transportation he chose was a big advantage in terms of meeting people along the way, with people interested in a fully loaded bicycle. His trusted horse is the Papalagi GPi from MTB Cycletech – “a sturdy touring bike with a steel frame and the perfect ride partner for this ride, and even made in my hometown.”

The bike itself weighs 19 kilograms, while all the gear weighs 24 kilograms, with 3 kilograms of food and drink thrown in for a good measure. Putting all of that in the mountains of Pakistan will require a special diet, one can imagine. Not so, says Muehlemann: “I always eat what I taste, if possible, local food from the street. Nothing special.”

Muehlemann A trusted horse is Papalagi GPi from MTB Cycletech

In the end, his journey from his hometown near Zurich to Hong Kong took 30,200 kilometers, with 226 days in the saddle for 18 months, giving Muehlemann time to explore the city and country he is in, and “giving my bike some time to rest and recover. “

A truck overturned …

… and one got stuck in the mud

She hopes to inspire others to travel the world in the same way. “Anyone can do it: one week to Nanjing, three days to Hangzhou. It’s a mental problem – you just have to start, of course. “

Most surprising of all, perhaps, Muehlemann said she never felt like giving up – “No, never!” And will he do it all again? “If all goes according to plan, I will continue my journey from Shanghai to South Korea and Japan in the spring of 2021.”

Muehlemann in Shanghai

Follow Dave Muehlemann on Instagram @tokopedia. To interactive map of the journey, with pictures (and notes in German), Click here or scan QR code:


[All images courtesy of Dave Muehlemann]


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