Alastair Morgan, the British Consul General in Guangzhou has gained the attention of locals for cycling to work every day. He gave an interview about cycling that was published in Chinese-language media this morning ahead of World Car Free Day which falls Sunday (Sept. 22).
Morgan, who owns three bicycles and makes the 30-minute commute from his home in Ersha Island to his office every day, told reporters that although the air quality is a concern: “I enjoy the whole process of a journey by bike.”
He wrote in his own blog that riding a bike was a way of avoiding becoming isolated from ordinary citizens.
Morgan also pointed out that the air quality in Guangzhou is not that bad compared to other Chinese cities, and on the route he took, he didn’t feel it was doing his body a great deal of harm. “London has also had its problems with congestion and air pollution. London managed to successfully combat these problems with strict policies such as congestion charges and subsidies for new energy vehicles,” said Morgan.
He also suggested that Guangzhou would benefit from encouraging cycling.
As well as cycling to commute, he also cycles to places such as the South China Botanical Garden on his days off, which he says has an “idyllic” feel.
According to Morgan’s biography on the U.K. government website:
Following six months of intensive training in Mandarin, Alastair served as the Commercial Counsellor and Director of Trade & Investment for China in British Embassy Beijing from March 2007 to December 2010.
Morgan is not the only foreign diplomat to have impressed locals by showing the common touch. According to Kotaku, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke has won many admirers in China with his frugality.