Dubai: When Chen Liang Quan called 999 to report his missing motorbike, Dubai Police didn’t just come to his rescue – they bought him a brand new bike!
Quan, a 55-year-old Chinese national, has been on the road since 2003, on a mission to travel around the world for peace. He has covered 103 countries so far and is currently in the UAE since December 2017, waiting for his visa to be processed for Saudi Arabia, his next destination.
A couple of days into his stay in Dubai, Quan decided to visit Dragon Mart, but unwittingly parked his bike in an illegal spot.
Dubai Police bought Quan a new motorbike, when they heard it was missing.
He said: “On my return, I saw that my bike was missing. I panicked and called 999, and Dubai Police came to my assistance immediately. Learning about my situation, my lost bike, my journey to 103 countries, and my ambition to travel across the world, the police officers were excited, too.”
But nothing could have prepared him for what happened next.
“They took me to a motorbike showroom and to my surprise, bought me a Yamaha MT 700! It has a top speed of 200km/h! They said it was a gesture of appreciation for my effort.”
Quan enjoys the snowy winter in Turkey.
The real cherry on top for Quan was when he discovered that his old motorbike had not been stolen, rather, it had been moved to a legal parking spot, which is why he couldn’t find it.
He said: “I suspect some Good Samaritans saw that it was parked wrongly and moved it. I called Dubai Police to tell them I found my bike, but they asked me to keep my new one and said it was a gift for my future travels.”
In his short time in the UAE, Quan said he discovered that the UAE’s kindness and consideration was unmatched. He should know – he’s been to 53 per cent of the world.
Quan’s journey originally began in China in 1986. At the age of 23, he rode a bicycle across the entire country. It took him 13 years to check off each city.
Quan is in Dubai, waiting for visa approvals to Saudi Arabia. Here, he's pictured at the Burj Khalifa.
Allying himself with the Red Cross in 2003, Quan became a ‘Suzhou Peace Messenger’ and is living his dream of spreading the word of peace across the world.
He has 92 countries to go, to complete his mission. But it has not been easy.
For the loneliness he experiences on the road, Quan turns to music.
Belting out an energetic number in Mandarin for Gulf News, Quan said: “I compose my own songs – I’ve written 176 of them. I also design my own clothes, so you can see some of my song lyrics on my cape!”
Quan in Tibet.
Depending on the generosity of strangers for food and shelter, the adventurer is content to sleep under the night sky in bustling Bangkok or next to a bonfire on a winter’s night in Turkey.
But there are some things Quan can’t control.
In 2011, he experienced a near-fatal car crash while driving along a highway in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was unconscious for three days. His spleen had to be removed and he eventually returned to China to recuperate. But six months later, he was back on the road.
Another incident that pulled the brakes on his world tour occurred in London, England. He spent 18 hours in jail for not having motorcycle insurance.
Quan was able to get legal representation where a court ruled he should be let off with a fine.
Despite the difficulties, the journey has been rewarding, Quan said.
Quan set out on his journey around the world in 2003.
He has met kind strangers, and people have provided him with more than he’s ever needed. In Dubai, for instance, he has made new friends who have sponsored his hotel expenses for the duration of his stay.
It’s one of the many things he has come to appreciate from people living in the country.
Quan said: “The UAE is such a peaceful place, with people who have big hearts. I took a bottle of sand from the desert here, as a souvenir of what I consider a seed of peace. I would like to spread the values of tolerance that they have here, across the world, wherever I go in the future. Thank you, Dubai. I love the UAE.”