Motorbike riders start their journey to China along the silk load from Budapest, Hungary on May 07.
Adam Gbur, a Hungarian who teaches Chinese at the Budapest Business School, and Li Yude, a Chinese businessman who lives in Hungary, are long-time friends and have joined forces for the nearly 50,000 km trip, which they plan to cover in about four months.
Gbur obtained a PhD in China and is focused on the history of European and Chinese philosophy, which he hopes to bring to life with the trip through 31 countries that have ancient ties to China.
“My hobby is riding a motorcycle, and my work has a lot to do with China. So how do you merge your hobbies with your work? Riding a motorcycle to China on the Silk Road, right?” Gbur told Xinhua.
Li studied art and design at Tianjin University of Technology. He is a media expert with more than a passing interest in Chinese culture.
Both are motorcycle aficionados. Gbur has some 150,000 cycling km under his belt and Li has ridden over 300,000 km. The two cyclists plan to explore the countries along the route, learning about local customs and cultures as they go.
Guo Xiaoguang, cultural attaché at the Chinese embassy in Budapest, who saw the two men off in a special departure ceremony, called the trip a link between the Hungarian government's policy of "Opening to the East," and China's Belt and Road Initiative.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was brought up in 2013, with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.
Marton Ujvari, an official at Hungary's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the Silk Road served not only as a trade route but also linked eastern and western civilizations. The Hungarian government always welcome activities like this journey which will deepen friendships and relations between the two countries, he added.
The motorcyclists plan to ride through Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan among other places, on their way to China. Their return trip to Hungary will include stops in Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic and several Western European countries.