SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- A man taking a rickshaw from China to London to Canada to New York City to Brazil rode through Scotch Plains Tuesday on Route 22 along his way east to New York.
Chen Guanming, who speaks little English, carries cards with him explaining his journey. The cards explain that he is a farmer from Eastern China who was so delighted when Beijing was awarded the Olympics that it inspired him to set off in his rickshaw to take the Olympic message of goodwill to every major Chinese city.
During the Beijing Olympics, he picked up trash outside the "Bird’s Nest" stadium to raise awareness of environmental protection in China. Then, in 2010, he began his journey to the London 2012 Olympics, passing through 18 countries to get there.
Now he is en route from London to Rio 2016, stopping in New York City on his way. According to his card, Guanming is not sponsored and is fully self-sufficient
TAP into caught up with Guanming in Mountainside on Tuesday, where he was making his way along Route 22 East — sometimes pedaling, sometimes pulling. When he came to a hill, he stepped off to pull the rickshaw with a long rope.
Motorists on Route 22 took in the strange sight. While Chen was being interviewed, Westfield resident Gloria Safar jumped out of her car and ran over for a picture. Safar said she has been following Guanming via a Facebook site updated by his followers.
“I have been following this guy on Facebook for a while now. I was out getting gas for my lawn mower and saw him. I can’t believe it’s him!” Safar said.
Through the Facebook page, Safar knew Guanming had traveled through Lancaster last week, and that yesterday he had trouble crossing at the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge. He ended up crossing at the Delaware River on Route 179, instead.
In addition to Facebook, Guanming’s card encourages people to learn more about his journey at the website http://www.bryanjames.co.uk/chen-guan-ming/.