Taiwanese, French cyclists create Asia-Europe 'green corridor'

11/12/2012 06:03 PM
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Rome, Nov. 12 (CNA) Three cyclists from Taiwan and France completed a six-month cycling trip across China and Europe on Friday, planting more than 300 trees along the way to promote environmental awareness.

Chang Yen-chung and Chen Chi-wen of Taiwan and Fleur Merlingeas of France embarked on the trip from Beijin on April 22, under the name Eurasia Green Gallery.

Setting off from Beijing, the three cyclists rode to Kazakhstan, Russia, Poland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and other countries, and finished in Vatican City just over six months later.

They planted 335 trees along the 16,000-kilometer route, according to Chang, a graduate from National Taipei University of Technology.

"We planted a green corridor across Europe" to raise public awareness of global warming, he told CNA.

Each time they planted a sapling, they would ask a local to take care of it, said Chang, 27.

In fact, one of the major challenges on the trip was finding people willing to take care of the trees, he said.

Another challenge was riding on the roads in Russia, which are bumpier than in other European countries, Chang said. In particular, the cyclists had to be careful of big trucks since Russian drivers do not yield to cyclists, he added.

Chen, a classmate of Chang, did not cycle the entire way because an old injury started acting up again, forcing him to stop in France. But Chang said he would like to do the trip again.

In order to go on the cycling trip, Chang and Chen had to quit their engineering jobs. Merlingeas, a 31-year-old French teacher in Taiwan, will marry her Taiwanese boyfriend after returning from the trip.

Chang said Merlingeas' presence on tour made it easier for the group to approach strangers because she is a woman.

The two are slated to fly back to Taiwan Nov. 14.

(By Cheng Chieh-yi and Hanna Liu)ENDITEM/ pc

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