Feeling the heartbeat of Earth: Pellerine and his cycling journey

Writer: Chen Siqi  |  Editor: Zhang Zeling  |  From: Original  |  Updated: 2024-04-09

Stephen Pellerine, the principal of RDF International School, takes a photo of the scenery during a cycling journey on the Yangmeikeng Greenway in Dapeng New Area. Photos by Liu Xudong

Every Monday afternoon, Stephen Pellerine, the principal of RDF International School in Dapeng New Area, leads a student cycling team on a journey through the wind amidst the mountains and the sea of Dapeng.

It may be surprising to learn that the principal, who has been engaged in education for nearly 30 years, is also a triathlon athlete. He has participated in races involving 4-km swimming, 180-km cycling, and 42-km running, as well as several marathons. When asked about the most enduring passion in his life, Pellerine says it is cycling, which he considers a fundamental part of his identity.

His passion for cycling began at the age of 11 when he completed a 340-km cycling tour in his homeland. Now, the 53-year-old Canadian has explored the world on his bike for over four decades and left his mark in countries like Canada, Tanzania, Japan, and the U.K.

“Cycling is akin to feeling the heartbeat of Earth,” said Pellerine.

Pellerine finds solace when surrounded by lush forests and a blue sky, which reminds him of life’s inherent blessings. Even when faced with downpours, he persists in immersing himself in nature and being a part of the natural ecosystem.

Embracing diverse cultures

During holidays, Pellerine will embark on extended cycling expeditions. Last summer, equipped with a backpack, helmet, and his bike, he undertook a 2,000-km cycling journey to Vietnam. Starting from Dapeng, Pellerine meandered through cities and towns in Guangdong and Guangxi before crossing into Vietnam. In six days, he explored the southern reaches of the country where he encountered urban and rural landscapes, wildlife, and kind-hearted locals.

Pellerine at the Yangmeikeng Beach, a famous tourist attraction in eastern Shenzhen.

Pellerine is currently planning a visit to Laos or Cambodia this year.

Starting a cycling team

Pellerine, whose professional career in education started in 1996 when he became the headmaster of a middle school in Tanzania, believes that precious knowledge lies beyond the classroom. Last October, he initiated a cycling team at RDF International School that gets students out of classroom and provides them with an opportunity to exercise and challenge themselves.

The team already finished a 400-km challenge in Hainan Province in which the members cycled along the picturesque coast from Haikou to Sanya.

The cycling team now has 14 members. Pellerine hopes to introduce a cycling-based physical education course to his school in the future that will harness the sport’s transformative potential.

Dapeng, an ideal place for cyclists

Pellerine often leads students on a 7.5-km journey through rolling hills that finishes at a seaside restaurant, which evokes a sense of being abroad in the students. Venturing further to Baguang presents an enticing route option because of its challenging hills and the presence of an ancient community bordered by lush trees.

“Dapeng is one of the best places for cycling in Shenzhen,” Pellerine said. For road riders, the traffic-free pathways and hilly terrain promise stress-free rides and exhilarating challenges that result in both heightened heart rates and spirits.

Shenzhen has an extensive network of greenways that stretch over 3,400 kilometers in total, offering residents and visitors alike a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the city’s natural beauty.

“Having witnessed Shenzhen’s progress over the years, I see continuous improvement,” Pellerine remarked. During his tenure at RDF International School and time at the Southern University of Science and Technology, he has been able to witness the transformation of the Dasha River Ecological Corridor from disjointed sections into a stunning 30-kilometer greenway. 

​Every Monday afternoon, Stephen Pellerine, the principal of RDF International School in Dapeng New Area, leads a student cycling team on a journey through the wind amidst the mountains and the sea of Dapeng.