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On 04 June 2017 at 19:06 | updated on 08 June 2017 at 07:59

Interview With Yincai Luo, Solo Skater Around the World

Interview With Yincai Luo, Solo Skater Around the World

Yincai Luo is 29. The skater from Chengdu, China, has covered over 12.000 km around the world. He linked China to Tibet in 2011, then China to Nepal in 2014. With a backpack weighing more than 20 kg, Yincai then crossed Europe, and the USA skating along Road 66. Interview...

By  Alexandre CHARTIER

Interview...

Hello, Yincai, how did you start skating?

In 2007, I saw someone skating in a park. They seemed free and looked cool. And I started skating in the streets, doing aggressive skating mostly. I like sliding and jumping.

I heard you were an aggressive skating champion before your world tour. Could you tell us more about your career?

Indeed, 3 months after I started skating, I won the Chengdu Grand Prix. In 2008, I became the champion of the Limit Skating Tour of Guangzhou. In 2009, I finished 4th in a national competition, at the threshold of the final. Then I injured my head. I haven't practiced street skating since then, except for fun with friends. It's my favorite sport and the one I've practiced the longest to this day.

Yincai Luo

 

What pushed you to make such long trips?

When I went for the first time to Tibet, skating from Chengu to Lhassa, my morals were down. I decided to put on my skates and forget the things that made me sad. I like this way of travelling.

With as many countries crossed, how did you manage to get all the visas?

I had planned to travel for 4 months, it was incredible. I needed papers to cross Kazakhstan, Russia, Europe (Schengen States), and the USA. For Russia, it was easy with my Chinese passport, all I had to do was pay $85 for a month.

The 3 other visa applications were more complicated with lots of required documents: proof of solvency, hotel reservations, family relationships. I had to convince the authorities that I wasn't coming to work illegally, but for a skating trip. I went to Shanghai to apply for the Kazakhstani visa and buy the invitation ($400 for Chinese citizens). As for the Schengen States visa, I went to the Italia

Yincai Luo

n Embassy in Chongqing. They helped me a lot. Knowing my trip was going to be long, they granted me a 3-month visa and really supported me.

Last but not least, for the USA visa, I was auditioned twice. The first officer wouldn't believe that I could cross the USA by skate. She had never heard of that and refused to deliver me the visa. The second time, I was interviewed by a man who asked me pictures of my feats. I showed him pictures of me skiing, motorbiking, diving, surfing, climbing, hiking... and it worked!

Yincai Luo

Did you have help during your trip?

Yes. In Kazakhstan, I fell and injured myself. A man called an ambulance that drove me to the hospital. Still in Kazakhstan, a woman who didn't speak a word of English saw me trying to pitch my tent in the middle of a storm. She invited me to her home. I call her every time I go to another country to tell her I'm alright.

Yincai Luo

In Russia, in Tcheliabinsk, my bank card wouldn't work. My laptop was dead, just like my camera and my cell phone. I had no Russian money, only money from Kazakhstan. People in town didn't speak English. I met a man who took me to a bank to withdraw some cash, helped me find a hotel, buy a new camera, get my cell phone fixed, took me to a skatepark... and even made me fire an AK47!

Yincai Luo

In Latvia, my skates were in a pitiful condition. Someone brought me to a skate shop to buy a new pair and some gear.
In the USA, the owner of a tobacco store in Missouri told me she wanted to help me financially and make the end of my trip easier when she saw me in tears on the side of the road, one morning.

Yincai Luo

In Los Angeles, a man in a Lamborghini invited me to his place. Another time, on Road 40, a funny thing happened to me: a girl gave me her bra and kissed me, telling me it would give me strength to carry on!
I'd have a lot more stories to tell you, if only my English was better! (laughs)

Yincai Luo

 

What did you have in your backpack?

A lot of stuff: a sleeping bag, pillows/mattress, a laptop, portable spare battery, my cell phone's charger, a GPS, two sets of wheels, ten sets of bearings, a windbreaker, underwear, field glasses, water, a gas stove...

Yincai Luo

 

20 kg is heavy like hell! Wasn't your back in pain?

No, it was alright, but sometimes it was tiring.

What skates did you use?

Rollerblade Newjack 5 boots, mounted on Tempest frames and 100 mm wheels with ceramic bearings.

Yincai Luo

How many kilometers did you cover?

About 12.000 km: 1.000 km in Kazakhstan, 2.200 km in Russia, 4.600 km in Europe, and 4.200 km in the USA. My trip lasted from August 2015 to May 2016, i.e. around 9 months.

How did you finance your trip? Did you have sponsors?

Friends offered me my backpack and solar panels. Rollerblade provided me two pairs of skates in Italy. For the rest, it was self-financed. I had funds for two years. I spent $40.000, including the hospital fees and the two thefts I went through.

I understand that you also got fines?

Yes, in Poland and Austria.

Yincai Luo

 

How did you get in contact with Rollerblade?

In 2009, when I was a Freestyle skater, I was sponsored by Rollerblade. So I logically thought of them to support me when I started that trip. I was a great pleasure to meet them, in the Italian headquarters, and in Amsterdam with Sven Boekhorst.

What were the hardest moments of your trip?

When I learned my grandmother passed away. Then, when my backpack got stolen. I had all my stuff inside: my tent, my clothes, my gloves, my passport, my papers.

Yincai Luo

What were the most pleasurable countries to cross?

Russia is one of my best memories, having fun in Tcheliabinsk firing the AK47 with my friends, but also in Saint Petersburg where we would party every night.

You were hit several times by trucks or cars. Do you have a technique to limit the risks?

Put visible and reflective devices on your backpack.

In your videos, you show that you're fond of extreme sports. Which are your favorites?

I like trying lots of different things. Skating remains one of my favorites, because of the persistence of motion, the fact that you feel yourself gliding, that you can let yourself freewheeling.

Yincai Luo

What are your projects for the future?

I don't think I'll stop travelling by skate anytime soon. I'm planning of leaving again in 2018 or 2019. I'm trying to improve my English, and train. I'd like to make a longer trip, but it's going to be very expensive. I'd love to fulfil this dream. After that trip, I'd like to write a couple of books about skating and my travelling.

Safe journey and keep it up! Thanks for the interview!

Yincai Luo : the countries crossed

Video of Yincai Luo's trip

Technical Facts

Surname: Luo
Name: Yincai
Birthdate: September 15, 1987
Born: Province of Si Chuan
Size: 171 cm
Weight: 67 kg
Country of Origin: China
Lives in: Beijing
Studies: Physical Education at the University of Zhongshan
Job: Florist
Other sports: Skiing, hiking, climbing, running, diving, motorbiking...
Favorite Song: "Diamonds", by Rihanna
Video games: Don't play
Readings: New Concept English, because he's currently learning English!
Likes: Coffee
Dislikes: Saying goodbye
Team: None
Spoken Languages: Mandarin, Japanese, and a bit of English
Alcohol or Fruit Juice? Fifty-fifty
Morning or Evening? Morning
Cheese or Dessert? Dessert
Rap, Heavy metal, or Techno? Rap
Soccer or Rugby? Soccer

Useful Links

Video: Yinca Luo on the Xinjiang Road in Tibet

Video: Yinca Luo Crossing Russia During his Skating World Tour

Video: Yinca Luo's Skating World Tour - On Road 66 (USA)

Photos : Yincai Luo
Released  on 04 June 2017 - Read 3370 times

By :
Fondateur et webmaster de rollerenligne.com. Alexandre est un passionné de roller en général et sous tous ses aspects : histoire, économie, sociologie, évolution technologique... Ne le branchez pas sur ces sujets sans avoir une aspirine à portée de main !

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