ROB LUXTON ISN'T worried about getting lost. He's peddling deep in the interior of the mainland, with limited Putonghua and highly inaccurate maps. But, as he sees it, 'to get lost you have to know where you are going, and as I don't know where I'm going, it's impossible to get lost.' Ensconced in a recumbent tricycle that allows him to peddle in a seated position, the Hong Kong resident plans to circle the entire country in a roughly counter-clockwise direction. Two months into his journey, despite wrong turns, mechanical breakdowns and close scrutiny from curious locals, 31-year-old Luxton has no regrets about his undertaking. 'Sometimes, when I'm cycling in the rain or going up a steep hill, I think, 'what the hell are you doing?'' he writes from a cybercafe in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province. 'But I normally laugh at myself and push on. I don't want to be anywhere else right now. This is it. I'm having a crack at something and I'm going to do it.' Luxton left Hong Kong on April 19, his low-slung tricycle rigged with red flags to alert drivers to his presence, moleskin notebooks for his jottings and an ultrasonic device to scare off angry mutts. Adventure aside, his goal is to raise funds for two children's charities. By last Thursday, Luxton had made it to northern Hunan. Using Google Earth and his own maps - which often don't match the reality on the ground - he's been able to track his journey. If completed, it will have taken him along at least 25,000km of road. Progress may be slow, but no matter - Luxton says the idea is to keep moving. 'Each day is the unknown,' he writes, 'and each day brings a surprise.' The routine difficulties he deals with - car horns, people staring, tiredness, loneliness and bad weather - 'could drive you nuts', Luxton says. But that is balanced by the fact that 'virtually everyone I meet is really friendly and very welcoming'. Passing polluted cities, tiny villages and gruelling mountain roads, he's been bolstered throughout by the hospitality of locals. 'In Hong Kong, many people told me I'd be murdered the moment I got out in the countryside. I don't know what all the fuss was about,' Luxton says. Wherever he's been, 'people are wonderfully open and invite me in for something to eat or drink, take a rest or simply chat'. Drivers honk in greeting and take snaps. Motorcyclists pull up alongside for a chat. The price of a meal is often waved off and advice on directions is always available, even if grossly inaccurate. At one point, two Chinese journalists trailed him on a motorbike. In a small town, a group of children dragged him into the local photo studio for a picture. The journey has had its bleak moments. A few times Luxton has peddled into the night on tired legs, with trucks almost barrelling down on his small tricycle. When the contraption broke down after a month, he had to hole up in a small city until the parts arrived by mail. He's often plagued by rain and fear of bandits on lonely rural roads. 'Each day there is suffering,' he wrote on May 26, 'but with it comes plenty of joy.' The Briton, who ran his own design business in Hong Kong, had wanted to undertake a long journey for years. After settling on the unusual mode of transport (he couldn't get a motorcycle licence), Luxton drummed up sponsorship for supplies and living expenses. Just days before leaving, he was still scrambling to get all the papers from his business in order. 'There is never a good time to do it,' Luxton says. 'You're always too busy, finding an excuse or saying next year, next year. Sometimes, you just have to do it.' His friends weren't surprised by the audacity of the trip. It's 'exactly the sort of thing he'd do', says Tom Fallowfield, a long-time friend who is also running the website on which Luxton posts regular blogs of his journey. 'Since I've known him, he's moved from one hare-brained scheme to the next, but he works hard and is obsessive about finishing things he starts.' Luxton isn't the first restless Hong Kong resident to set off on an unusual road trip. But the down-to-earth musings and humour in his blogs have won him an international following. 'I am not actually a cyclist,' he wrote on April 21. 'I normally cycle from my house in Lantau to the ferry pier. One could say that it's not exactly serious training for the whole of China.' On May 10, he pondered on the stress of being stared at wherever he goes. 'For the last two days, I had a mental crisis dealing with all the constant attention,' he wrote. 'Today was a breakthrough, I think I've come out the other side. Being a foreigner here is very intense.' With such postings, his site, www.chinawheelie.com , has been attracting nearly 100 hits a day, with readers from Chicago to Cyprus. One reader responded, realising that Luxton would be travelling through his adopted daughter's home town. 'I'm trying to find as much info and photos as possible about her birthplace,' wrote Ronald Wassink from the Netherlands. 'I check your blog daily and find it a pleasure to read.' 'Hi Ronald,' Luxton wrote back. 'The countryside around the small city is very beautiful. She comes from a wonderful area.' Fallowfield, who has put in many hours constructing and updating the website, says he's thrilled with the reception. 'When we offered to build the blog system and website for Rob, we really didn't know what to expect,' he says. 'He has a lot of friends ... but the response has been much better than that. We've had nearly 2,000 visits in the past three weeks.' Luxton hopes interest in his site will encourage people to donate to the charities he's supporting: Sowers Action helps educate children in the mainland countryside, while Care for Children places orphans in a stable family environment. 'The driving force for this project was the fact that I wanted to travel,' Luxton says. But 'the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could turn it into something that would benefit the people whose country I was travelling through.' The trip has also enabled him to visit a few Sowers Action schools, he says, which gave him a better idea of what the group's work was about, and the challenges it faces. If all goes well, Luxton will spend at least another year on the road, including a long winter of hibernation and a ride through the sparsely inhabited western regions. Periodically, he voices concern in his blogs that he's not moving fast enough or covering enough ground. For many people following his travels, that doesn't matter. 'I think Rob has set an example to all those who sit around whining about their comfortable First World lives and doing nothing to improve matters,' Fallowfield says. 'If life is stressful or boring or lonely, why not do the same? Why not get out there and do something?'