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Blazing pedals

[ 2014-07-17 16:46] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Former car mechanic Denizart Simoes has been cycling across 50 nations for the past 14 years, from the southern tip of Patagonia, where South America meets the Antarctic, to Egypt. The Brazilian plans to set a new Guinness World Record next month on Chinese territory with the aim to break German traveler Heinze Stucke's cycling record of 400,000 kilometers, set in 1995. It took Stucke two decades to achieve the milestone.

"Chinese people don't understand why I do it. Of course I'm trying to beat Stucke's record. He was my hero, when I was far away from him, but not so much anymore. But the main reason was to stop smoking," says Simoes. "I'd also split with my woman, so that was another reason."

Fittingly, the 50-year-old hopes to rewrite the tour record while at Chinese Taipei wearing a soccer jersey covered with red dragons: the logo of his home team Sao Paulo F.C.

"Standing still is boring. But if you keep moving, it's always something new. That's why I want to finish in Taiwan, which is where all the bike factories are," he says.

He dreams of being sponsored someday by Magura, a German company coveted for its forks and hydraulic brakes, with presence in Taiwan.

Simoes, who resembles a fiery but frazzled Super Mario gaming character after so much time on the road, claims to have put 395,000 km on his chronometer. This puts him about 5,000 km shy of Stucke's achievement. The additional 200,000 km that Simoes spent on planes, trains and automobiles was "collateral damage."

With four saddle bags, a tent, a large Brazilian flag and scores of photo albums, Simoes was holed up at the Latina Brazilian BBQ restaurant in Shanghai's Xujiahui locality last week to catch the early games of the 2014 World Cup.

The printed photographs, with their faded colors and frayed edges, point to how the world has changed since Simoes started his journey in 2000. Even his bike, a 24-gear Schwinn, is now made in Taiwan. When he started out, the factory was still in the United States. But globalization has since changed the industrial landscape.

"Everything was even more different when Stucke set his record. It was before the Internet," he says. "It was much easier back then. He could make money just by selling a single photograph to the BBC."

Norway has the toughest terrain for bikers and Liverpool is his favorite city because of the Beatles, he says of his tours and mentions a wild three-month love affair with a British woman.

He says he fled Cairo in three hours after seeing another cyclist die in a hit-and-run incident and describes the city as the "scariest place on Earth."

Simoes has documents and police records to back up pretty much every story he tells.

Stucke was also reportedly beaten unconscious by soldiers in Egypt, attacked by bees in Mozambique, and hit by a truck in Chile, Simoes says.

Meat is a luxury in Simoes' line of work, which most of the time involves being broke, homeless and hauling heavy luggage around trails and roads for 80-100 km a day. His record is 135 km, in the flat-as-a-pancake Netherlands.

Another luxury is disposable income, unless he manages to find sponsors. Petrobras Singapore gave him $3,000 after he visited the Brazilian embassy on the island state then went door knocking to get in touch with local Brazilian companies.

Most of the time, Simoes survives on a Spartan diet of vitamins, fruit, orange juice, bread and milk. "But not too much milk these days," he says, rubbing his stomach and grimacing.

His battle against time, poverty, elements of nature and bandits - from Mexico to Shenzhen - has taken its toll on him. Digestive issues apart, he has been robbed repeatedly. But a powerful internal drive has kept him going.

His Panasonic camera and Samsung smartphone were robbed at a train station in southern China last year, but he was reluctant to mention this because China is famed for its hospitality.

He was also robbed of his belongings and two front teeth in Mexico by a group of thugs who hit him in the face with a brick on a highway one night. He doesn't remember the date though.

He also struggled to spell the name of his bike, despite it being printed on the frame, and getting him to retrace his route was difficult at times. But then, 14 years is a long time, and his globe-trotting has been anything but linear: Simoes skipped North America due to visa issues but pinballed back and forth across Europe using Switzerland as a base camp.

He is now on his third trip to China. After Shanghai, his next stop will be Fuzhou in Fujian province - if his visa doesn't run out first.

Although it is unclear when he decided to try and beat Stucke's record, Simoes' journey has already gained him a modicum of fame.

"I think I can finish in 30 days, if I ride consistently," he says. "But it always depends on money."

How will be celebrate once it's over? "Maybe with a glass of wine. But definitely no cigarettes."


从南美洲与南极洲交汇的巴塔哥尼亚到埃及,前汽车修理师丹尼扎特•西莫兹(Denizart Simoes)在过去的14年中骑车穿越了50个国家和地区。这位巴西人计划7月份在中国创造一项新的吉尼斯纪录。他希望打破德国旅行家海因兹•斯图克(Heinze Stucke)于1995年创立的40万千米的骑行记录。斯图克花了20年才完成这件划时代的事件。
























【我的中国梦】巴西人西莫兹的中国骑行之旅 【我的中国梦】巴西人西莫兹的中国骑行之旅

(中国日报记者Matt Hodges)