Jerusalem: It was four years ago when Jacky Chen embarked upon a challenge after quitting his job as an electronics engineer: riding his bicycle across the world. The 40-year-old Taiwanese man has now traversed the Americas, Europe and parts of the Middle East, sleeping in his tent or finding places to rest his head through apps like Couchsurfing.
In recent days, Chen has been in Jerusalem, taking in the sights and plotting his next rides on his red and black Merida Wolf 3 cycle. “This is an adventure,” he said of his reasons for setting out on the journey, which has so far taken him to 64 countries and across some 54,000 kms. He hopes to visit 100 countries and travel 100,000 kms before he’s done and estimates it will take him about another three years.
Speaking at Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, a panoramic view of the Dome of the Rock and the Old City in the distance, Chen said he prefers not to do much research on places before his arrival so he can have his own initial impressions.
“This city surprised me,” he said of Jerusalem, holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews and the epicentre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but which also has a modern side and a population of nearly 900,000. “It is a big city but it is historical.” Some toughest moments he has had involved travelling via snowy weather.