Chinese undergrads spend 5.5 days rollerskating 567km to Beijing

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - While roller skates are often seen on China's public squares, few associate them with long-distance travel.

But two men - both in their third year at Jining University in Jining, Shandong province - spent five and a half days during the National Day holiday on roller skates, travelling 567km to Beijing.

Mr Xing Jiarui and Mr Men Dengqiang started their journey on Oct 1, carrying basics such as clothes, food, water and spare parts. They stopped overnight at small hotels, according to a Beijing Youth Daily report, and arrived in the capital on Oct 6.

The pair declined to comment when contacted by China Daily on Tuesday. However, Mr Xing told Chengdu Evening News earlier: "We skated all the way, except a few places, one of which was a bridge with gravel over the Yellow River. Gravel makes it hard to skate."

It was a tough journey - eight hours a day on skates. They had worn out more than 10 sets of bearings by the time they reached Beijing.

"Conditions like muddy roads hurt our feet. Sometimes we couldn't skate," Mr Xing told Beijing Youth Daily. "After a day of skating, our feet hurt at night but felt a little better in the morning."

Mr Xing said he met Mr Men at the university's roller-skating club and found they shared a dream of a long-distance trip. The National Day holiday seemed to be perfect timing to fulfill the dream, he was quoted as saying.

According to Chengdu Evening News, the two skaters prepared for the trip through physical training. Their regimen included skating more than 10km every day for two weeks.

The men visited several attractions in Beijing, including Tian'anmen Square, the National Stadium and a large square for skating nearby.

"The 567km trip, which required persistence, made our National Day holiday quite meaningful," Mr Xing was quoted as saying. "Once we decided to do it, we are determined to try our best and not give up no matter how much trouble we encountered."

On Oct 7, the two men posted photos of the journey on Sina Weibo, arousing public attention that was expressed in both praise and worry.

Some netizens expressed admiration; others said the skating could cause traffic accidents and violated traffic rules.

The Beijing traffic police said roller skating should not be done on roads, and those who violate the rules could face fines.

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