Taiwanese man cycling round the world makes Polish pit stop
Jacky Chen had slept with coyotes in Alaska, had his bike stolen in Canada and his baggage in Mexico before stopping off to visit Polish pal in Gdańsk.
A Taiwanese man on a mission to cycle the world has taken a much need break with Polish friends in the northern coastal city of Gdańsk. After recuperation and repairs he continued his epic voyage, which might take him until 2022 to complete.
Jacky Chen has slept with coyotes in Alaska, had his bike stolen in Canada and his baggage in Mexico and persisted against snow in Turkey.
But after the 36,000 kilometres he’d covered since setting out to cycle the world in 2015, he took a much needed break with Polish friends in Gdańsk. And he already has fond memories of the country.
“I like Poland and Poles very much. Poland is a country with wonderful nature, beautiful forests and friendly people. I could count on their hospitality in Gorzów Wielkopolski and Gdańsk,” the 40-year-old recalled.
“I would like to stay with you longer, but my visa won’t allow it.”
In Poland he could also count on the help of workers at a cycle shop, without which his worldwide ambitions might have been thwarted.
The adventure started in 2015, when the electronics engineer from Taipei gave up work and set off to fulfil his dream of pedalling around the world.
“I wanted to share my impressions of the whole beautiful world with all my friends and family,” he explained. “I once read a book by a Japanese man, who also travelled the world on a bicycle. He showed me the way. Maybe one day I’ll also inspire someone.”
Having planned and saved for several years, Jacky Chen went to Alaska to start his adventure. It was when he posted on Facebook from Alaska that his Polish friend, Marcin Kalisz from Gdańsk, realised Chen’s talk of cycling the world was serious.
Kalisz first met Chen in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2015 while he was in the city with a friend for an electronics fair. One evening they got lost exploring the neighbourhood and could not find anyone who spoke English and knew the way. Then they saw Jacky Chen on his bicycle. Jacky – just returning for a two-week cycling tour – helped them back to their hotel, and the next day showed them around his home city. Three years later, Marcin Kalisz got the chance to return the favour.
Tracking his friend’s progress on Facebook, Kalisz knew that Jacky would soon be in Poland. “A few months ago I asked him if he planned to visit Poland, and if so, when. He said he would be here in the second half of June. I was glad when he finally asked if he could drop in on us,” he said. Kalisz had the chance to show Chen the TriCity area as well as arrange for essential bike repairs at a local cycle shop.
Now Chen is on the road again, heading for Scandinavia, then on the UK, France and Africa and the Middle East.