Hong Kong-Paris bikers say parents should set their children free

Bike ride group agree that young people should be allowed to decide on their own life paths

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 5:11am

Hong Kong parents need to set their children free to decide their own path in life, say four young cyclists who completed an epic journey to Paris.

They say the city's young people also need to show more impetuous passion to pursue their own life goals.

Law Yip-man, who came up with the idea of the ride last year, faced fierce opposition from his family - especially his mother - who feared for his safety.

"I was actually surprised that my mother - who has taken me backpacking across the mainland since I was a child - opposed the idea the most," Law said.

"She was so angry that she once vowed to cut off the relationship with me if I insisted on setting off on the journey."

Taylor Chung Tai-loi, a fresh graduate in policy studies and administration at City University, said he was under parental pressure to get a stable job.

But he believed the endurance and independence that he learned from the journey could be more important than just earning a salary.

Tim Yu Tin-yu, who quit his job as a quantity surveyor to join the group, said the journey gave him more confidence to search for different possibilities and goals in his life.

Prince Wong Tze-kin said all four hoped their story of exploring obscure parts of the world would help convince parents to allow children to take off on their own adventures.

Wong was an adventure coach who had planned to embark on a working holiday in Australia before joining the ride.

He said his family had reservations about the plan, until he showed serious commitment and preparation.

The quartet spent seven months preparing the trip, including making a detailed proposal to promote the visions of their group, Bike for Another Choice, to explore alternative life goals and to advocate cycling to protect the environment.

Their Facebook page has attracted more than 4,000 "likes" and more than 170,000 people have visited their weblog.

The quartet also secured more than HK$50,000 of sponsorship in cash and equipment for their venture.

However, this was not enough to impress Law's mother and they had a heated exchange in a meeting of the riders and their families ahead of their departure.

However, Law said his mother had recently softened her tone.

As the quartet reached their destination on December 15 - although they had all suffered various injuries that they dared not tell their families about - Law wrote a message on the group's Facebook page to his mother: "Now you don't need to worry. I have grown up."