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The Middle Kingdom Ride - 2 Brothers, 2 Motorcycles, 1 Epic Adventure in China


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Speaker(s): Colin Pyle, Ryan Pyle
Chair: Nick Byrne

Recorded on 17 April 2013 in Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.

When Canadian brothers Colin Pyle and Ryan Pyle set out from Shanghai on a motorcycle journey that had never previously been attempted, they thought they had some idea of what lay ahead of them. It was a misconception that had become evident by the end of Day 1. But, despite the many challenges they faced, 65 days and 18,000km later they’d succeeded in circumnavigating China. In an expedition of extremes, Colin and Ryan visited the third lowest point on Earth and slept at Everest Base Camp beside its highest mountain. They travelled off-road through deep desert sands in suffocating heat, traversed mountain passes in freezing temperatures that turned the moisture in their clothes to ice, and rode in torrential rain through mudslides beside rapidly rising flood waters. At the end of their remarkable journey, the brothers had strengthened the bond between them, gained a Guinness World Record, tested their endurance to its limits, and shared an adventure that most of us will only ever dream of having. In their book The Middle Kingdom Ride, Colin and Ryan take us with them as they travel through the diverse and extraordinary landscapes of China, from its border with North Korea, to the ancient Muslim city of Kashgar, across the vast empty spaces of the Mongolian grasslands, over the mountains and into the monasteries of Tibet.

Ryan Pyle graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Political Science and made his home in Shanghai, China, where he still lives today. Over the last 10 years, he has gained an international reputation as an award-winning documentary photographer and now author and television presenter. He is regularly invited to give talks about his work and about China at universities and institutes around the world.

Colin Pyle graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto with a degree in Finance. Colin was part of a very successful currency brokerage start up in Toronto that was sold in July 2008. After managing the successful integration of his old company Colin stepped down as President of Equity Foreign Exchange Services to hit the road and live life. In October 2010, Colin completed the Guinness World Record setting Middle Kingdom Ride with his brother Ryan. The two of them followed up with a 2012 India Ride; an amazing 54 day circumnavigation of India. Colin is involved in lecture engagements and future television productions. Colin completed an MBA from Hult International Business School, is an active entrepreneur in London, England where his main focus is growing Mandarin House to be the first global Mandarin language and cultural school.

Nick Byrne is director of the LSE Language Centre.

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