Publication: Lianhe Zaobao, p9Date: 31 August 2010Headline: A Silk Route adventure with his bamboo bike
Shin Min Daily News
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An adventure to Silk Route with his bamboo bike
Inspired by bamboo, Mr Chuah Sun Soon, third-year student from the Singapore Management University (SMU), made his adventure to Silk Routewith his self-assembled bamboo bike. He also identified bamboo business opportunities and hopes to promote bamboo products in Singapore inthe future.Mr Chuah started his 110-day solo cycling expedition through part of the Silk Route after his exchange program in Kazakhstan and returned toSingapore on 19
Solo cycling expedition through 14 countries
This is not his first trip. In 2009, Mr Chuah rode a motorcycle from India to Russia, covering more than 12,000km.After his internship in Russia, Mr Chuah travelled through Siberia, Mongolia, China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysiaand returned to Singapore.
3,400 km Silk Route with dangerous road conditions
During his third expedition, Mr Chuah decided to ride a bamboo bike through the Silk Route, covering Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan andUzbekistan in Central Asia, but not Turkmenistan because of visa issues.The whole journey covered was about 3,400km and road conditions were very dangerous more than half the trip. For example, it was impossibleto cycle during sandstorms or steep ascents. This expedition was sponsored by Sports Council, Food Empire and Lee Foundation.Mr Chuah decided to cycle through the Silk Route because he was inspired during his first motorcycle trip in Iran and Pakistan. Because of timeconstraints, he managed to cycle through a part of the Silk Route in Central Asia and called his expedition “Cycle of Life”.Mr Chuah said: “When I passed through Iran and Pakistan, I thought the local culture was incredible. The people were very warm and cohesive.The locals were very friendly and were willing to share whatever they have. They are not as bellicose as we see on television programmes. So Iwant to go back and experience this feeling again.”This journey did not disappoint him.He said:”I once lived with a Tajikistan family, who provided me meals and accommodations and they even refused to accept my money. Isometimes felt I owed them. ”The idea of bamboo bike is not new and it has been popular in Europe for several years. Mr Chuah got the inspiration from the Internet but did notput it into action until last year when he decided to travel to the Silk Route.Mr Chuah believes that everyone likes travelling, but not everyone is able to find the meaning of the journey.He said: “I always like travelling with on two-wheels. But if I ride a normal bike, I can only share my experience with others. There is no any realimpact. But if I ride a bamboo bike, I can impart to others the skill and give back to the society.”Several months ago, when Mr Chuah was still on the expedition, some like-minded friends helped him set up a company to explore bamboobusiness opportunities.Mr Chuah stressed on the importance of giving back to society.“I want to share my experience with other Singaporeans, and also bring Eco-tourism to Central Asia.”
Sharing the skills with the less unfortunate in the society
Mr Chuah also hopes that he can teach the less unfortunate in society the skills in making bamboo bikes.“We are in talks with Yellow Ribbon Project to extend bamboo-bike making to ex-offenders in order to create more employment and studyopportunities,” he said.