Report on China’s most famous Harley rider

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Report on China's most famous Harley rider
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Report on China's most famous Harley rider

Report on China's most famous Harley rider

Report on China's most famous Harley rider

Report on China's most famous Harley rider

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Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Report on China's most famous Harley rider
Taurus / Zi Shu

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China’s most famous Harley rider Zi Shu.

Sports & scene

Report on China’s most famous Harley rider

China’s most famous Harley rider
I am Legend

A wiry Chinese tries to turn the Middle Kingdom into a motorcycle nation. It’s not easy, so he drives ahead – from Lhasa to Milwaukee. Zi Shu is Asia’s marathon man and a legend on two wheels in his home country.

Markus bull

03/13/2014

While the Iron Curtain fell long ago, there are few things that Americans are as sensitive to as they are to communism. Even the state health insurance for everyone is controversial to this day because it is suspected of being communist and thus allegedly completely un-American. How beneficial in these troubled times that there are still reserves of the purest US culture, where individualism and belief in freedom are still upheld.

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One such place is Milwaukee. This is where the myth came about Harley-Davidson and this weekend America is celebrating the brand’s 110th birthday with a grand parade. Tens of thousands line the sidewalks as the motorcycle parade rolls through the city. They cheer for long beards, leather frocks and plenty of chrome-plated skulls from the custom catalog. But hardly any other bike has received as much applause as the E-Glide with the two almond-eyed men in the saddle. The man at the handlebars waves his left hand into the crowd, his pillion passenger is enthusiastically waving a huge flag. It is the banner of the Communist People’s Republic of China. “Isn’t that unbelievable?” Says one enthusiastically. “They came from so far.”

As a guest of honor at Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee

Zi Shu landed in New York by plane and then went on his bike, the same way as the ten engineers who bought Harley-Davidson back and led it to a new size. Actually, Zi Shu had the plan to travel with his own motorcycle, he would have been the first in Milwaukee with a Chinese license plate. But then the invitation came. Zi Shu didn’t need to rent a motorcycle, book a room, or buy a limited $ 500 ticket to take part in the parade. He, the passionate fan, was invited – as the guest of honor of Harley-Davidson.

The first encounter with Zi Shu was a dinner with bikers in Beijing. They celebrated themselves because, as members of the Harley Davidson Club in the Chinese capital, they were suddenly protagonists of a story in Germany. It was the 5/2013 issue of MOTORRAD. To the right sat an inconspicuous, wiry guy who never pushed himself into the foreground and was always the center of the action. When the bowls were emptied and everyone got up, one of the bikers whispered: “Do you realize that this guy is a legend?”

The legend greets visitors on a cold and clear morning in the east of Beijing with a slightly blurred face, which is due to the steam of the ready-made noodle soup that he inhales with a few friends. “Sorry,” he says, “breakfast.” Zi Shu has a small shop for motorcycle accessories next to a shopping mall. He sells cowboy boots from America and German suitcases for the BMW GS. A poster by Michael Schumacher hangs on the wall.

Motorcycling is not fashionable in China – not yet

Here he receives customers, buddies and friends. Zi Shu has a lot of friends. He serves sachets of cappuccino from Korea. Got him a friend. He left Korea last year. It was one of the last spots he was missing. A few years ago he made a big round trip. Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos. He is the first Chinese to tour all of Southeast Asia on a motorcycle and the first person ever to make it on a Harley. A Chinese motorcycle magazine dedicated two large stories to him.

Zi Shu is not a person the average Chinese recognizes on the street, more like Sun Nan, the famous singer with whom he rode down the American east coast to the Florida Keys a few years ago. Motorcycling is not fashionable in China – not yet. For two decades, the People’s Republic has been experiencing a period of growth that easily overshadows the German economic miracle of the fifties. And as in post-war Germany, motorcycles in China are mainly driven by those who cannot yet afford a car. A 125 futong is not a status symbol. Only with the growing upper middle class did the western hobbies spill over the Great Wall. They play golf and have recently started driving heavy motorcycles.

Circling the Taklamakan Desert on a Harley

The virus attacked 36-year-old Zi Shu a decade ago. He fondly remembers his Honda Transalp, he drove a BMW R 1200 GS, and because it all seemed too easy and convenient for him, he bought an 883 custom Harley with which he circled all of China and crossed Tibet. Once he stood on the saddle for 15 hours because otherwise he would not have been able to cope with the endless bumps in the ground, punched into the clay by trucks like corrugated iron. In the western autonomous region of Xinjiang, he struggled on sandy tracks until his arms barely obeyed him. To the best of his knowledge, he is the first to use a Harley to circumnavigate the Taklamakan Desert, the second largest sandy desert in the world. “I’m not a superman, but by doing things that no one else has done before, I can be proud of myself.”

Zi Shu has long enjoyed cult status in his home country. He is invited when new clubs are founded. That’s why he recently drove over to Xi’an, the home of the legendary Terracotta Army. He rode the 1200 kilometers in one day. In Beijing he founded the 10,000 Miles Club in 2009 and is proud of its 30 members. He got the US trip as a gift because he had driven 36,000 kilometers in the year before last, more than any other Harley rider in China. In Milwaukee he met bikers who wore patches with the number 50,000 on their cowls. Zi Shu’s goal is the 100,000 kilometers. The patches are not just available in stores. Harley China has announced that it will make one for him.

He could manage the huge distance if his big dream came true. Zi Shu is planning a trip around the world. He would be the first Chinese on two wheels. In addition to the desire to set records, he is driven by the sheer passion for life in the saddle and the desire for foreigners: “You get to know so many people on the motorcycle and new perspectives in all the foreign countries.”

Zi Shu dreams of traveling, not emigrating

Zi Shu dreams of traveling, not of emigrating, he likes being Chinese. He doesn’t like to deal with politics. He understands well that they think little of the political leadership of his country in Milwaukee: “I don’t like the Communist Party itself.” And so the thing with the banner of the People’s Republic was a bit uncomfortable for him: “I don’t particularly like red. The color is too aggressive for me. But what do you want to do? That’s our flag. ”What counts for him is that the strangers recognized him above all as someone who came from afar to share their passion.

Of course he also wants to visit Germany on his world tour and down to Africa with a rented bike while he is shipping his motorcycle from Holland to the USA. He already knows America from two trips. The man from the land of the dragon has of course in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina traveled the “tail of the dragon” with its 319 curves over eleven miles. It was at the beginning and end of Route 66. Memory Lane, the first few kilometers of the old Route 66, is actually closed to traffic. When the Chinese delegation arrived in 2013, the impressed Americans opened the gate for the well-traveled. Zi Shu visited friends in California, which is remarkable because the man from Dalian hardly speaks a word of English, let alone any other foreign language. How is that supposed to work in Africa or in Europe? “Hopefully I won’t travel alone, and so far it has always worked in a pinch if you point your finger at what you need.” Zi Shu admits that language is a problem, but then he has to laugh: “I would give something if I could speak at least 200 words of English, but to be honest, as a Chinese 1000 kilometers from here in Shanxi, I have problems understanding the people in my own country.”

Visas for all the distant countries

Another issue is money. So far he has no sponsors for the trip around the globe. Years ago he founded a motorcycle fashion company. After all, business is picking up because its own level of awareness is increasing. His RPM CN (Revs per Minute China) label is set to become a well-known brand such as Nike or Adidas in China. “We are very good at imitating others, but we hardly have any well-known brands of our own,” he complains and wants to be a pioneer here too. But so far his company is not paying enough to sponsor itself.

And then there is the issue of visas for all the distant countries that his homeland is only slowly approaching. “I hope that one day we will be free enough that we can travel wherever we want,” says Zi Shu solemnly. At the parade in Milwaukee, he wore a t-shirt that said “Free Spirit”.

Big party and motorcycle parade for the wedding

The tour around the globe is so far in no rush. The next concrete project will be your own honeymoon. “I must be totally crazy,” says Wang Meiqi happily when asked how she can endure such a restless person. She met Zi Shu six years ago. She married him in 2012. When he is out, she runs the business. When they travel together, Zi Shu locks up for a few weeks. Elsewhere, customers may be angry when they stand in front of closed doors. At Zi Shu, she wonders with transfigured eyes which adventure he’s just set off on again. Meanwhile, there are also visitors who don’t want to buy anything, but just want to visit China’s marathon man. Then he asks Wang Meiqi to put hot water on for the powder cappuccino.

This year he will go on honeymoon with Wang Meiqi to Hainan, China’s large holiday island in the South China Sea. Like riding a motorcycle for fun, the 1.3 billion people behind the Great Wall have only recently discovered a beach holiday. Before the trip to the south, there will be a huge party in Zi Shu’s home town of Dalian, and of course a motorcycle parade will be organized. Zi Shu is pretty sure it will be the largest Harley parade in China’s history.

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