Former Macau casino dealer gambles on years-long bike trip

Hong Kong (REUTERS) - Born in Macau, the world's largest gambling hub now awash with investment, MR Tyler Kuan could easily have been complacent about life.

Instead, he wants to go to London and back - on a bicycle equipped with a fold-out tent and only a handful of funds.

Billions of dollars of foreign investment are being pumped into the former Portuguese colony and there are ample opportunities to work in the lucrative casino industry, but the gangly 27-year-old is turning his back on all that to spend years pedalling thousands of kilometres alone, all in the name of adventure.

"Life in Macau is not bad, it is too good," said Mr Kuan. "It's very easy to earn lots of money and buy whatever you want but there is a need to look beyond the material value."

Mr Kuan, who once worked as a casino dealer, left his most recent job as a trainee engineer in Macau and started his journey in March.

With six days behind him now, Mr Kuan aims to get to London in around 9 months, travelling through terrain ranging from Tibet to Norway.

But his planned route there and back again - weaving around Asia, Europe Africa and the Middle East en route - will take five years. He will carry 120,000 Macau patacas (S$18,000) and the bicycle.

One of the biggest constraints will be the language barrier in the different countries, he says. Snowy roads, being robbed and someone approaching him with an AK47 are also worries, but he plans to blog about his adventures en route.

Mr Kuan is confident that all will go well. Having planned and practised for the trip over the past few years, he has spent the last 9 months making final adjustments and fit outs to his bicycle. He will take part-time jobs as needed along the way.

"I have been reading travel cyclists diaries, watching Man vs Wild and learning from what people have done in the past," he said. "Knowledge is the best teacher."

Why not travel in more comfort? It's simple, Mr Kuan said - travellers miss too much from a plane.

"London is only one stop on my whole journey," he added. "Biking is the right way to travel."

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