Taiwan’s Jacky Chen has been treated to some Cariboo hospitality

Taiwan’s Jacky Chen has been treated to some Cariboo hospitality

Taiwanese man bicycling around the world

By this time next year Jacky Chen hopes to be in Rio de Janeiro in time for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

By this time next year Jacky Chen hopes to be in Rio de Janeiro in time for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

While he won’t be a competitor, he could possibly qualify.

The 37-year-old Taiwanese electrical engineer has embarked on a trip around the world by bicycle and was in Williams Lake last week.

Sitting at Caren Pritchard’s kitchen table Friday afternoon, Chen told the Tribune he departed from Anchorage, Alaska on June 5 of this year.

“I think it will take me three to five years to do it,” he suggested of his journey’s duration.

Chen is staying with Caren and her husband Todd because he found them on Couchsurfing.com.

The Pritchards have been offering couch surfing since 2009.

“We get lots of people,” Caren said. “It was dying down a bit in August but now I’ve been getting three and four requests a day.”

Chen started planning his trip about five years ago, inspired by a book written by a Japanese man who had biked around the world.

“He planned to do it in three and a half years, but it ended up taking him seven years,” Chen said.

Once he made up his mind, he trained for the trip by biking around Taiwan four times.

“It’s 1,200 kilometres. The first few times it took me 10 days and the third time I pushed myself and did it in five.”

Chen pulled out a computer and opened up his Facebook page titled “Go or die,” where he has a world map outlining his route.

He regularly posts photographs of the places he’s been and people he’s meeting along the way.

As he pointed to a photograph of a grilled cheese sandwich, he said it was the first one he’d ever eaten.

In Alaska he got lost and ended up in Eagle River Park.

When he asked a couple for directions to Palmer Lake, they asked him why he was going there.

“I told them I had couch surfing place to stay and they told me I could couch surf right there with them at their campsite.”

Grilled cheese was on the menu that day.

Another day it was pouring rain. He didn’t have any rain gear and was very cold so he disembarked and just walked with his bike.

A woman stopped and asked if he needed help.

She and her husband had recently lost their home to a fire and were staying with friends, but she asked if she could bring Chen to stay there too.

Another rainy day 100 kilometres from Dease Lake he met a man from Vancouver and his three adult sons on a hunting trip.

“They had a campfire going so I asked if I could camp with them,” Chen said.

“They told me of course.”

Before Chen left they loaded him up with some food and one of the sons, who lives in Kelowna, invited him to stay with him.

So far he has seen two bears, five moose,  two foxes and lots of little creatures.

And he’s had some bike troubles — a broken chain, backpack caught in a sprocket, punctured tire, a cracked rim and a bent brake disc.

While in Williams Lake, the guys at Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed fixed his bike for free, Caren said.

Along the way he’s discovered if he doesn’t have a couch surfing arrangement, then camping outside a health centre is the next best thing.

“There’s grass, which is softer for sleeping, and wifi,” he smiled.

And often if people see him there, because it’s a health centre they stop to ask if he’s OK.

On his last evening in Taiwan he took a photograph of himself and then shaved all his hair off and took another photograph.

Since then he’s taken a photograph of himself each day and once a week puts one photograph into a folder.

In a year he plans to make a video of his 52 photographs.

Normally he rides 120 kilometres a day and when he left Williams Lake he planned  to travel to Clinton where he’ll be couch surfing once again.

“My trip isn’t only about seeing the world, it’s about the people,” Chen said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Celebrate women in leadership, March 8, International Women’s Day 2021 (Unsplash)
EDITORIAL: International Women’s Day 2021 shines spotlight on achievements, ongoing inequities

COVID-19 increased gender-based violence, economic stress, the burden of care giving for women

Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Cleary Manning

Spreading positivity through music is one way Cleary Manning tries to make the community better

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read