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Dream Cycle

Japanese Cyclist Makes His Way Through San Diego on a Global Journey

Japanese+cyclist+Ryohei+%E2%80%9CRio%E2%80%9D+Oguchi%2C+pictured+Nov.+21+in+Bonita%2C+stopped+in+San+Diego+recently+as+part+of+a+global+journey.+%28Photo+by+Celia+Jimenez%29
Japanese cyclist Ryohei “Rio” Oguchi, pictured Nov. 21 in Bonita, stopped in San Diego recently as part of a global journey. (Photo by Celia Jimenez)

Japanese cyclist Ryohei “Rio” Oguchi, pictured Nov. 21 in Bonita, stopped in San Diego recently as part of a global journey. (Photo by Celia Jimenez)

Celia Jimenez

Celia Jimenez

Japanese cyclist Ryohei “Rio” Oguchi, pictured Nov. 21 in Bonita, stopped in San Diego recently as part of a global journey. (Photo by Celia Jimenez)

Celia Jimenez

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Ryohei “Rio” Oguchi, a 34-year-old Japanese cyclist, is accomplishing one of his dreams — to travel around the world on bicycle. He has been on five continents, traveled more than 81,000 miles and visited 124 countries. Oguchi will continue his journey for two more years.

He is riding in Mexico and will continue to Central America, South America and the Caribbean Islands, and finish his voyage on New York City.

When Oguchi was 22 years old, and was a university student. He traveled to Tibet, and while being there, he was surprised by the cultural similarities and differences Japanese, Chinese and Tibetans have. Those motivated him to explore and experience other countries and cultures, too.

“I want to see many, many people. I want to see many, many beautiful sceneries. I want to communicate with people,” he says.

Oguchi knew he had to prepare before starting his dream. He had to pay his student loans and learned about camping equipment and bicycle maintenance and repair. He wanted to be self-sufficient. He saved money for almost four years and had a frugal rice-based diet, eating only twice a day to save as much money as he could.

In 2006, he quit his job as a construction engineer and planned his first trip around his home country. He rode around Japan from March of 2007 to February of 2008, then he worked at Mont-Bell for one year and lived in a camping site for one year to save money for his next trip, to travel around the world.

Daniel Radner, a worker at Pulse bicycle shop in Chula Vista, helps Ryohei “Rio” Oguchi order a new bicycle saddle during Oguchi’s stop in San Diego. (Photo by Celia Jimenez)

Daniel Radner, a worker at Pulse bicycle shop in Chula Vista, helps Ryohei “Rio” Oguchi order a new bicycle saddle during Oguchi’s stop in San Diego. (Photo by Celia Jimenez)

Oguchi carries all his belongings with him. He has his tent, sleeping bag, stove, cell phone, camera, food, water, and clothing on his bicycle. He normally carries between 120 to 160 pounds. On occasions he has to bring more supplies if he is traveling on desolates routes such the one he took to go to Ayres Rocks in Australia. “Sometimes I need to bring more water like 7 gallons and much more food for 7 days.”

Rio has limited spending per day “my budget per day is 7 to 9 dollars including some equipment for bicycle and camping.” When he runs out of food he asks local people to share theirs with him. Most people have been kind with him and they shared their food and house with him and connected him with their friends so he can have a place to stay.

In Cambodia, four years ago, Rio had no money because couldn’t exchange it during the weekend and had to camp on the streets which is prohibited there. A group of police officers arrived to his site and asked him to leave. He had no choice but put away his tent, and while wondering what do to do, a policeman offered him his home.

They did not speak each other’s language, so they used signs and body language to communicate. He invited Oguchi to his small house. He slept with the whole family, about 10 members, in a big bed. “We slept as a family,” he recalls. The next day, they feed him and gave him Cambodian money. It was the equivalent of $10. “10 dollars is about half of his monthly salary. I cried and I was moved by my heart, I really appreciate them,” he says.

During his traveling, Oguchi has been involved in three car accidents, got malaria on Zimbabwe, and has been in the hospital a few times. During his stay in a Thailand hospital in June of 2010, he met a fellow citizen called Atsuyuki Katsuyama.

“When I first time saw his bicycle, when I first time listened to his voice over the phone and when I first time met him, I simply wanted to help him” Katsuyama says.

He and his wife saw Oguchi’s bicycle outside a hospital in Bangkok and they could see it was from a baking traveler. “(For) no reason, just as a human being, I put my business card with some notes and he called me,” Katsuyama says. Rio stayed with them for a week. They still keep in touch, and Katsuyama introduced him to some of his friends on San Diego, Karen and Steven Barros, who hosted him for a few days.

Oguchi started his traveling in the United States about two months ago starting in Alaska, then Canada, entering the U.S. again and taking part the Route 66 to cross the country, because it appeared very often in American movies. In San Diego, he stayed with several friends.

Ryohei “Rio” Oguchi shows the map with the route he has taken to travel around the world on Nov. 21 during his stop in Bonita. The color red shows the sections he has done biking, the black portions on ground transportation such as bus and train, and the blue portions on ferries or ships. (Photo by Celia Jimenez)

Ryohei “Rio” Oguchi shows the map with the route he has taken to travel around the world on Nov. 21 during his stop in Bonita. The color red shows the sections he has done biking, the black portions on ground transportation such as bus and train, and the blue portions on ferries or ships. (Photo by Celia Jimenez)

“Meeting Rio was more of a wakeup call for me to continue living my own dreams. It’s so easy to get caught up in the inconsequential minutia of day to day life that we don’t always live our lives to the fullest,” friend Clarice Manning says. She met Oguchi though her friends Karen and Steven Barros. She considered him a global citizen and an example that people can coexist together.

Oguchi says he has two more dreams. One is to open a coffee shop and guesthouse in Japan in 2020 and invite and meet again all the friends he has made through his travels. He plans to decorate it with his pictures and signed T-shirts by people he has met. His friends have written their dreams on them. The most common one is to meet Oguchi at his coffee house, others are about starting their own dreams or the inspiration they have gotten from Oguchi’s journey.

The other one is to ride a bicycle on the moon.

Right now, Oguchi is concentrated on achieving his target, to visit more than 150 countries. He is 26 countries away. When he finishes his adventure, he would like to motivate other people to achieve their dreams. “I want to talk to many people. I want to inspire many, many people, especially children. Dreaming is free; dreams come true,” he says.

If you are interested on following or helping Oguchi to achieve his dream, you can follow him on Facebook or follow his blog: Rio Cycling Around Earth.



Find more photos and content, and comment, at medium.com/legend-magazine

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Dream Cycle”

  1. bekiko on December 16th, 2014 1:36 am

    “When Oguchi was 22 years old, and was a university student.” That’s an incomplete sentence: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/incomplete_sentence . Now, if I was to use SDCC college student mentality, I could make a lot of noise about the incompetence of the reporter writing the story and grab jobs all over the place because…because…because that’s what SDCC students do.

    Yes, it’s just a typo. But no, SDCC just isn’t a good school. Inner-city schools all have this dilemma, but realizing it doesn’t make it go away.

    Personally, my GPA’s gone up phenomenally since I transferred. My outlook on life? Oh oh, SDCC tarnishes a person forever, it seems.

  2. Ryo alrededor del mundo en Bicicleta. | Robert Bec on December 23rd, 2014 12:48 pm

    […] deseas saber un poco más de Ryo, puedes visitar el siguiente link, en donde una amiga mía habla acerca de su experiencia cuando lo hospedó en San Diego, […]

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