Epic ride: Shanghai to Cape Town on a 250cc bike

Cape Town – A journey spanning two years reached its conclusion as Jieming Sun arrived at the Cape of Good Hope during February this year.

He started the journey from Shanghai on 6 June 2015, on a 250cc motorcycle with his best friend Nate Brown, but completed the trip on his own after Brown and Sun parted ways in London in December 2015.

Sun, who used to be a commodities trader and owner of his own pancake truck, said he'd always been fascinated by Africa.

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Twenty-seven-year-old Jieming Sun on his 250cc Yamaha in Cape Town. His final destination is Durban. From there he will fly back to China. Picture: Henk KrugerManigange Lake, Sichuan, China, with some local monks. Picture: Jieming SunCamping in a cave in Cappadocia, Turkey was one of the highlights of Jieming's motorcycle trip from Shanghai through parts of Europe to Africa. Picture: Jieming SunBeach benches on Girona beach, Barcelona. part of the trip included visiting some European countries Picture: Jieming SunThe medina of Fez is a labyrinth almost impossible for an outsider to navigate, even with a GPS, because the streets are so narrow and buildings tall enough that even GPS signals have a hard time. Even locals sometimes get lost. Picture

“I've been fascinated by Africa for many years and have always wanted to work there," he said. “After graduating and working for two and a half years, I decided to leave my job, ride there and explore the continent, and everything in between, mile by mile.”

He said that before he started the trip, a friend who completed a China-Europe motorcycle trip told him he “could leave immediately”.

“I had just quit my job and was spending all my waking hours planning, finding sponsors and thought that he was just kidding. Turns out, he was right – as long as you've taken the first step and set out, everything else will work itself out.”

'Living for myself'

Sun said the motivation behind the trip was that he wanted to live for himself.

“I spent the first 25 years of my life not really questioning why I did what I did," he explained. "I followed what everyone around me did; I went through school to get good grades, and got a good job to please my Chinese parents.

“But somewhere along the way I realised that I can and should live for myself.”

'The right choice' 

Sun said his father was against the decision to place his career on hold to complete the motorcycle trip to Africa.

“My dad strongly opposed my quitting. As a traditional Chinese parent, he wanted my life to follow a clear plan, where each step has a tangible and immediate benefit.

“By leaving a good job to take this trip, I'm putting my career on hold and although I think I have made the right choice, the freedom and uncertainty both scare and excite me.”

Cape Times

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