HARBIN, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- A college freshman has become an online star after an epic 22-day 4,000-km journey by bicycle from his hometown to his new college.
Lin Jinmin, 18, comes from the city of Guigang, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. This year, he was accepted to study at a medical college in northeast china's Heilongjiang Province. While most students choose to travel by train or airplane, Lin made a bold decision: to cycle to his new college.
Lin left his family home on Aug. 1, and over the following 22 days rode his bicycle through nine provinces and two municipalities, until he reached his college in the city of Qiqihar on Aug. 23.
"I wanted to toughen and cultivate myself into a brave, fearless person," he said.
Lin's story gained attention online, with many expressing admiration of his courage and perseverance. One post about Lin has drawn more than 2,000 comments on microblog Sina Weibo.
Lin said that his passion for cycling stems from his childhood.
"When I was in junior high school, I would always ride to and from school, around 20 km each way," Lin recalled. "Sometimes I would ride different routes up to around 100 km on the way home."
Before his impressive journey to Qiqihar, Lin had already done some long distance rides. One summer vacation during high school, Lin set out on a two-month journey touring cities and counties in Guangxi. Another time he travelled by bicycle around the island province of Hainan.
However, when Lin told his parents about his plan to ride to college, they initially tried to discourage him.
"They thought it was a crazy idea," Lin said. "But they eventually agreed, because they know that I am a determined person."
Before setting out, Lin packed two changes of clothes, some bicycle maintenance tools, a spare tire and an umbrella.
"My luggage weighed less than 10 kg," he said.
During the journey Lin travelled through many different cities. Whenever he passed a college, he stopped to take a photograph in front of the gate to keep as a memento.
Lin said on average he rode 12 hours a day, with his longest day lasting more than 15 hours in the saddle. At around 9 p.m. every day, he sent a message or called his parents to let them know he was safe.
"The scariest time was when a tire blew in the darkness," Lin said. "At that time, I pushed myself to ride to the next village, where I could rest and change the tire."
He said he changed six punctures during the trip. "One time a nice store owner gave me a tire for free."
By staying in small hotels and eating noodles that cost around 10 yuan per bowl, Lin was able to spend only 1,700 yuan (258 U.S. dollars).
His parents said they have always supported their son's decisions and trusted he would make it safe and sound. They gave him the 1,500 yuan they had saved for his flight ticket to support his journey.
"He is an experienced and strong cyclist," said his father Lin Zicheng. "But I hope other young people will be cautious if trying to copy his journey, because there are many uncertainties on the road."
While many applauded Lin's adventure, some raised questions about the credibility of his story.
"How is he so fat after enduring such a tough journey? That can't be scientific," one commenter said, referring to the pictures Lin took on the road.
"I was 100 kg when I started, now I am only 84 kg!" Lin responded.
Lin said the journey was the greatest thing he has done in his life so far, and it has made him a much stronger person.
"I plan to start a cycling group at college," he said. "I hope that more people like me can share their experience and go on cycling trips together in the future."