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Pete Jones's camp and bike in the Tienshan mountains, China (image:

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What's the furthest you have ever cycled? Perhaps you cycle to school or to work, or maybe at most a short cycling trip with friends? How would you feel about spending months on the road travelling solo from the UK to China, by bike?

For British cyclist Pete Jones, camping rough and cycling long distances through inhospitable terrain are second nature. Mr Jones is currently undertaking a mammoth trip across the Eurasian continent from Britain to China.

Pete Jones is no stranger to China. But he says many people there are puzzled by his passion for cycling, asking why he would choose to cycle when he can afford a car. Indeed, while there are an estimated 400 million bicycles in China, where it has long been the preferred form of transport, rapid economic growth has fuelled an explosive expansion in car ownership.

Edward Genochio, another British cyclist who completed a 41,000km trip to China and back, said one of his aims was to "promote cycling as a safe, sustainable and environmentally benign means of getting about".

In the UK, the last few years have seen a rise in the number of people choosing two wheels over four, with some estimates saying the number of people cycling to work has almost doubled in the last five years.

Politicians also see cycling as a way to boost their eco-credentials, with people such as London mayor Boris Johnson often riding to work under his own steam. But we may have to wait some time before we see him emulating Pete Jones in attempting to cycle all the way to China!



a short journey (usually going to a place and then coming back)

on his own, without anyone else

camping rough
spending nights in a tent in difficult conditions

inhospitable terrain
ground/a piece of land that is difficult to cross

second nature
integral part of his character

very long and very difficult

slightly surprised/baffled

rapid economic growth
when the production and consumption of goods and services becomes larger very quickly

become the reason for

explosive expansion
extremely quick growth

car ownership
here, the number of people who have cars

that causes little or no damage to the environment (and so can continue for a long time)

environmentally benign
causing little or no damage to nature/the environment

boost their eco-credentials
show people that they care about the environment

under his own steam
if you do something under your own steam, you do it without help

copying (someone else's achievements)

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Sport: cycling
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Olympics: cycling
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Cycling in London
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Edward Genochio's China trip
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Pete Jones: a short ride in the Tienshan *

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