Directed by
Jason Reid
Produced by

Man Zou…2 years later!

November 16th, 2010 by reidster

Well…It’s been 2 years since we returned from filming Man Zou in China and I thought it would be fun to look back at the experience now that I have finally have some distance from the project. Start to finish, it has taken over 4 years of my life and we are very excited to finally be sharing our adventure with a much larger audience. It’s been a long, arduous process…but I think we came away with a finished documentary that provides a very different look into a country that is too often misunderstood by Western media and people in the United States.

Our goals for the film were very simple…To go to China for the first time and bicycle from Beijing to Shanghai 1,000 miles, without the assistance of support vehicles. We went in with open minds and constantly running cameras, in an attempt to capture a more intimate look at China, the people, and the rapidly changing environment in which they live. I have always felt that bicycle touring is the best way to see a country because of the level of access that you get by traveling 3 feet off the ground, at 10-15 mph. We were also lucky enough to have a Chinese guide, Doven Lu, along with us on the journey. In traveling with him and seeing the country at that level, I think that we were able to see China through a lens that not many people have looked through.

We always intended for Man Zou to be much more than an adventure film about our travels in China. Instead, we wanted our experience to serve as a vehicle to delve into some of the larger issues that were facing the country following the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In retrospect, I believe we accomplished these goals for the project. In riding through the varied urban and rural areas between Beijing and Shanghai, it opened a window into some of the many contradictions that exist in China today: old vs. new, rich vs. poor, development vs. environment and taking time to see things along the way vs. moving rapidly in modern world.

Looking back on what we did, there is little that I would change, other than having more time in China to let all of the things we learned sink in. Although we got to experience so much while we were there, it was still not nearly enough time and we could have easily stayed twice as long. But this is the plight I think we all face in 21st century…not having enough time to take the time to absorb things, to learn about different cultures and people, and to “Walk Slow.” It wasn’t by accident that we titled the film Man Zou.  Just like most Americans, I have difficulty walking slow and in making this film, I forced myself to take 6 weeks out of my busy life to experience China and everything it has to offer in the hopes of understanding it just a little more. Although it was a challenge to me to break away and change my mindset, it was ultimately one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I hope our film can serve to inspire others to do the same.

Man Zou will be making it’s television debut in a few weeks on KCTS 9 and I encourage everyone to join us on our 1,000 mile bicycle trip in China. The film premieres on Thursday Dec. 2 at 10pm.

Also, on Tues Nov. 30th KCTS 9, the Gardner Center for Asian Art & Ideas and the Washington State China Relations Council will be hosting an exclusive preview and Q&A about Man Zou at the Seattle Asian Art Museum on Capital Hill in Seattle.

Here is a link with all of the info:

Also, if you’d like to read more about our experience, I encourage everyone to dig around our blog that we wrote while traveling in China. We posted stories and pictures nearly every day and it offers a blow by blow recount of our trip.

Hope to see you all soon and remember….Man Zou!

Man Zou to premiere on local PBS affiliate KCTS 9

October 8th, 2010 by reidster

Hi everyone,

We are proud to announce the official television premiere of Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai on Northwest PBS affiliate KCTS 9 as part of the Reel NW series this winter. We have edited a new and improved 86-minute cut of the movie (if you attended our screenings in Seattle or Portland, it was 102 minutes then) and we are very excited to finally get the opportunity to share our adventure with a broader audience.

It will air at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2.  Following its television premiere on KCTS 9, the full movie will be available to view on-demand for one week through local cable providers and online for one month via More details to come in the upcoming months.

The Bicycle Film Festival also recently announced that our new feature documentary, Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai was selected for the Seattle stop of the worldwide festival. The film screens THIS SUNDAY, Oct 10 at 5:00pm at Western Bridge (3412 4th Ave South). This is the film’s official festival premiere and a good chance to check out the new 86-minute cut on the big screen before its upcoming television premiere.

WHAT: Bicycle Film Fest Seattle – “Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai”
WHEN: 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 10
WHERE: Western Bridge (3412 4th Ave South)
TICKETS: $10 at

Click on this link to visit our newsletter for more info about both the television and festival premieres

Man Zou to the World!

November 6th, 2009 by ian

I am proud to announce we have sent Man Zou out to 25 film festivals around the world! Keep your fingers crossed and we’ll keep you posted on upcoming screenings.

...and away we go

...and away we go

It’s a wrap!

July 17th, 2009 by reidster

Well…we finally finished editing Man Zou and we’re ready to celebrate! We have submitted it 10 festivals all over the world and now we wait to see where the World Premiere will be. For those of you in Seattle, we will be having a friends and family screening of Man Zou and a wrap party on Saturday August 22nd at SIFF Cinema (8:00pm screening, 7:30 doors, Q&A to follow). Hope you can all join us to share in our adventure, as well some good times!

Rough Cut Complete!

March 27th, 2009 by reidster

This is a screenshot of our Final Cut Pro timeline. As you can see, we've made a few edits.

After 5 long months of editing, I am proud to announce that we have completed a 110 minute rough cut of Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai! We will be working over the next few months to finalize the film in preparation for the premiere this summer. Check back on the website over the next few weeks as we will be posting a new trailer. Looking forward to sharing our adventure with everyone very soon. Man Zou!

“Teching out” in China

October 22nd, 2008 by reidster

This post was originally written on the overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing on October 15-16, 2008

Technology is truly an amazing thing!

Kevin and Reidster: Heavy Duty "Teching Out" on the train.Kevin and Reidster: Heavy Duty “Teching Out” on the train.

Right now I am writing this blog entry from the overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing, looking out the window as we rapidly pass by the landscape that took us a month to cycle through. It’s kind of surreal to think about really…First that we bicycled across this much land…and second that our trip is finally coming to a close.

In one sense it’s a little bit of a relief, but in another sense I would love to have more time here. The country of China is so vast and complicated it’s kind of sad to think we will be leaving so soon with so much more left to explore, so much more to learn. But honestly, I think we all feel satisfied with our experience and have made the most of our relatively short time here, taking in everything that China has thrown our way (and more).

"Teching Out" in the hotel.“Teching Out” in the hotel.

Really what this post is about is “Teching out” in China or “The Importance of Technology on Our Trip to China.” So this post is about all the gizmos and gadgets we used (and carried on our bicycles) throughout the last month. We have been extremely wired throughout the trip with mobile internet and all of our other camera, computer, and electronic needs…So basically here is what we have been cycling with…

The Camera Department.The Camera Department.
Thanks Sealine for keeping all my electronics safe!Thanks Sealine for keeping all my electronics safe!
Hard Drives and mini-DVs.Hard Drives and mini-DVs.

An HD camera, a mini-dv camera, 3 digital still cameras, extra batteries for all those cameras, chargers, a small video light, a tripod, a wide array of other camera equipment, 5 external hard drives, a Macbook Pro, 4 ipods, 20 assorted cords, 2 power strips, power converters, extra laptop battery, P2 cards and card readers, mouse, 20 mini-dv tapes, headphones, extra AA batteries, and the list goes on and on…

Using my computer as a phone...Futuristic!Using my computer as a phone…Futuristic!

But you can never really be too prepared. Well, I guess I was too prepared because there were other things not on this list that didn’t even survive the first two days in the mountains (shipped ahead to Shanghai), but we won’t bother mentioning those items in this post

Team Man Zou: iPod Ready!Team Man Zou: iPod Ready!

Anyhow, another great thing about being so wired in China (other than having the fact that we have an HD Production suite on the back of a bicycle), is that we’ve been able to use the internet (thanks to my wireless plan from China Unicom) in any number of strange places including; the airport, cabs, hotel rooms, side of the road, mountains, boats, buses, trains, and in a rickshaw once!

The other great thing is that we’ve been able to keep up on all the happy, optimistic headlines coming out of the United States, as well as stay in touch with our loved ones. We’ve even discovered Skype and various video chat services to stay connected with those back home.

Panasonic---You've treated us well!Panasonic—You’ve treated us well!
So long ago..."Teching Out" in Seattle at the beginning of the trip!So long ago…”Teching Out” in Seattle at the beginning of the trip!
Putting up a blog post from the bus!Putting up a blog post from the bus!

Blogging from the Ferry!Blogging from the Ferry!

No joke, as I’m writing this post I just found out that my sister had her baby, Sam….My dad just sent me an email….Really, I’m not kidding…I just started a Google chat with my dad…I’ll have to get this post up later….

And all this from a train, somewhere between Shanghai and Beijing….And everywhere in between…

Technology is truly amazing!

Sometimes all you need, however, is just a pad of paper and a pen!Sometimes all you need, however, is just paper and a pen!

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

October 14th, 2008 by sean

View Larger Map

This is the final route.  What an accomplishment….we did it!  1000 miles…Beijing to Shanghai!

Last day on the bikes...we had to take 3 ferries to cross the Yangtze.

Last day on the bikes...we had to take 3 ferries to cross the Yangtze.

Thank you Doven Lu for getting us to Shanghai safe and sound.

Thank you Doven Lu for getting us to Shanghai safe and sound.

This afternoon we were walking through the lobby of the Grand Hyatt(thank you KevinG)…walking to the elevator we pass by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar checking into the Hotel, without slowing our stride we calmly said to each other “that’s Kareem”.  No big deal?  Last night we got into the elevator and Kevin made a comment to a gentleman in the elevator…”nice shirt”…”Faconnable is my favorite brand of shirt”…The man replies…”what is your address?”…”I am the owner of the company and I really like it when I meet people who love our products”….”I will send you a package”.  Kevin sure didn’t expect that response to his casual comment about the man’s shirt.  Just another day in the Grand Hyatt.  Just another day in China. This trip has been amazing!  As a group, we have experienced more on this adventure than any of us could have ever expected or imagined.  We have only just scratched the surface of this awesome country.  I want to see more..learn more…experience more of China.  I am very thankful that I have been able to be a part of this project.  The project continues…the work has just begun…Jason and Ian continue to be very busy running around doing interviews, getting more shots, and arranging more interviews in Beijing.  It’s non-stop…they are impressive to watch.  Kevin and I try to help when we can….finding the relaxation rooms, the spas, pools and hot tubs here at the hotel….pointing them in the right direction?    We are all really tired…ready to get back our lives in USA.  Recuperate, Regenerate, and then Return to China in the future.

Where will this bike take me next?

Where will this bike take me next?

Mission Accomplished: 1,000 miles on the road!

October 13th, 2008 by kevin
Team Man Zou in Shanghai...Time to celebrate!

Team Man Zou in Shanghai...Time to celebrate!

We made it!

I’m proud to say that after cycling over 1,000 miles team Man Zou has made it to Shanghai. Sorry for the delay in updating the blog, but have been busy recuperating and celebrating our accomplishment.

The Grand Hyatt Shanghai: The tallest hotel in the world!

The Grand Hyatt Shanghai: The tallest hotel in the world!

We entered this unbelievable city a few days ago and have been enjoying our stay here. Shanghai is massive and electrifying and we have much to tell. But let’s catch up a little first…

Cycling along the Grand Canal

Cycling along the Grand Canal

The past four days of cycling leading up to the completion of our adventure turned out to be some of our longest and most difficult of the entire tour. I could tell that the hundreds of miles of cycling and weeks of being in the saddle were finally starting to take its toll on both our mind and body.

We averaged about 70 miles a day on some extremely long, straight, never-ending roads that were neither interesting or exhilarating to cycle. We also road along miles of beautifully paved, tree-lined corridors set aside China’s grand canal that was bustling with river traffic.

Still we had our goal in sight which continued to keep everyone extremely positive and excited, even when faced with some pretty heavy headwinds or another one of our nauseating breakdowns. I’m extremely proud of how our entire team has come together over the past for weeks and immensely proud of our accomplishment. We did it! Great job Guys!

Shanghai is electric and the hotel has been absolutely amazing with it’s spectacular restaurants (sushi!), pool, hot tubs, workout facility, climate controlled rooms, and down comforters!

The view from our room at the Grand Hyatt.

The view from our room at the Grand Hyatt.

I have to admit that this beautiful 5 star hotel is quite a contrast to our previous 27 days of riding that led us through some extremely rural parts of China. What a way to conclude our journey.

Honk honk, beep beep!
Really? Is it really necessary for the drivers in China to utilize their horns in such a liberal fashion. I have been trying to understand what warrants the use of a horn in China and this the formula that I believe they use. Honk at anything and everything.  If a car is blocking an intersection; honk your horn. If a pedestrian is walking on the sidewalk; honk your horn. If it’s a beautiful day, honk your horn. If it’s a cloudy day; honk your horn.

Reidster and Kevin on one of our three final ferry rides on the last day of the trip.

Reidster and Kevin on one of our three final ferry rides on the last day of the trip.

If you had eggs for breakfast; honk your horn. If its monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, etc., honk your horn. If your happy, sad, grinning, frowning, left handed, right handed, a man, woman, green, red, up, down, around, whatever……. HONK your horn! Its enough to drive you crazy (and it almost did many times). Just had to get this off my chest.

Sean celebrates riding 1,000 miles, cycling 30 mi around Shanghai the next day to make up for when he had to catch a ride earlier in the trip.

Sean celebrates riding 1,000 miles, cycling 30 mi around Shanghai the next day to make up for when he had to catch a ride earlier in the trip.

A side note. I was able to cycle the entire distance (1010miles) from Beijing to Shanghai without a single flat tire, broken spoke, or any real breakdown. Thanks Norco!

The Game of Death: The art of crossing a street in China!

October 9th, 2008 by ian
The Game of Death!

Step right up and play The Game of Death!

I saw my opening. I pedaled hard and weaved left, then back to the right…Hard on the brakes as a scooter wiped by, then back on the pedal hard. Plenty of room as a car passes behind me. Well the left is done…now for the right. A couple of mopeds, a three-wheeled bike, and a red car. Piece of cake.

Just another day in China!

Just another day on the crazy streets of China!

I roll out as the mopeds  go by, then hard on the pedal again. I have tons of time as I go in front of the red car….Then I see him pop out from behind the red car. I’m looking down the barrel of a late model VW taxi and he has his foot in it. I smile and think, “He’s got me…Well played sir, well played.” I pedal hard out of the seat. It’s a race for the sidewalk and he’s drifting my way with his horn blaring. One final pedal and a little lean. He misses me by inches…and I think he’s laughing! Pretty standard really. There is definitely an art to crossing the street here. It’s a game of inches and timing. I honestly don’t think they want to hit you, but they want to see how close they can get.



As a 6’2 skinny white guy, I stand out a little bit over here (as we all do) and not to mention riding a bike with big red panniers.I think they just want to welcome you by scaring the crap out you with a huge truck. But you find yourself getting used to it and embracing it….It becomes a game to see how close you come or you see a hole in traffic and you say, “I can make that.”

In the beginning a rule to live by was do what the Chinese do. If you are crossing the street on foot and you see a Chinese person crossing the same street, get in that person’s pocket. However, after awhile you get the timing down. As the intersections get crazier, stay with the Chinese. They play this game everyday!

Reidster crossing the street.

Reidster crossing the street.

Shanghai or Bust: Over 3 weeks on the road!

October 7th, 2008 by reidster

Greetings Man Zou blog readers:

Well…We’ve been on the road here in China for a LONG time now and we’re all starting to get a little tired…

After a late night and a long morning of riding...Kevin falls asleep at our lunch stop.

After a late night and a long morning of riding...Kevin falls asleep at our lunch stop.

But with less than a week of cycling left (and only 250 miles), the end is finally in sight. Although this has been an amazing adventure, I think we are all excited to get to Shanghai and see what the city and the Grand Hyatt (Thanks Kevin!) have to offer.

The road ahead...250 miles remaining.

The road ahead...250 miles remaining.

Right now we are in a small county town located on the Grand Canal, the largest man-made waterway in the world. Our cycling these days consists of heavier mileage, but much easier terrain. The mountains are gone now and the road is long and flat. It’s a straight shot to Shanghai from here down the beloved 204 (the road we are going to be traveling on for the next couple of days that runs parallel to the Grand Canal). So without further ado, I wanted to make a blog post recapping some of the events not reported in last week or so.

Qingdao...City of Beer!

Qingdao...City of Beer!

Since the ferry ride from Dalian to Yantai, we’ve had a great time checking out what the East Coast of China has to offer. Of course we told you about the Beer Festival in Qingdao, but we were able to see a lot of other cool things there including the famous Beer Street (home of the Tsingtao Brewery) where we ventured off from our guide and ate an interesting meal containing some mysterious food picked out by Kevin and I (the menu was in Mandarin!?). And no, if you’re thinking that beer was the only thing on our agenda in Qingdao, that’s not the case. It’s just that when cycling as much as we have, we become quite parched and work up a thirst…Plus things were just so festive here with everyone on vacation celebrating National Day.

Sunset from the Olympics venue...Isn't it beautiful?

Sunset from the Olympics venue...Isn't it beautiful?

In Qingdao we were also able to explore all over this amazingly beautiful city on the coast including visiting where the Olympic boating events were held. We were also able to take a small boat ride across the bay on our way out of town, which gave us a different perspective of the city. Since Qingdao, we have been cycling hard and making our push towards Shanghai.

Leaving Qingdao...Team Man Zou in action on the back of the boat.

Leaving Qingdao...Team Man Zou capture the moment.

One thing we haven’t talked about is how wild city riding in China can be. Entering into the cities and towns that we have been staying in is always a challenge as we have to weave in and out of traffic and ride in some occasionally precarious situations (more to come on this in Ian’s next post, Game of Death).

This picture doesn't represent the craziness, but the film will...Coming June 2009!

This picture doesn't represent the craziness, but the film will...Coming June 2009!

I actually enjoy this part of the day for two reasons. First, I’ve made it kind of a game and even amidst all the craziness, there does seem to be a flow to the way people drive here (although if I had to explain it, that would be impossible). Second, it means we are close to our hotel for the night, so rest awaits.

"I can't wait to get back to the States to eat some pizza, but for now Chinese baked goods will do."

"I can't wait to get back to the States to eat some pizza, but for now Chinese baked goods will do."

On the other hand, this is Sean’s least favorite time of the day as he gets frustrated following our guide’s lead sometimes (he’s very comfortable in this crazy environment and takes some risks that most of us don’t). But after a trip to the bakery for some sweets, he usually calms down.

Overall, I think we all wish we had more time to spend in the cities that we’ve been staying, but usually we’re pretty worn out when we arrive. Usually we have to find the hotel, unwind from the day and clean up, do our daily interviews, eat dinner, transfer footage…before we can even think about checking out the city. And of course we need to blog and get our rest before the next day of riding. But I’m not complaining…this all comes along with making a film from a bicycle, but I think we all have a list of places we would like to come back and explore on a deeper level.

Reidster and Doven worked vigourously to pump up my tire...Kevin and the crowd that has assembled watch with intense interest.

Reidster and Doven worked vigorously to pump up my tire...Kevin and the crowd that has assembled watch with intense interest.

Last, I officially tied Sean in the battle of the broken spokes (4-4) by getting two more today. Since Sean bought new rims, I’m probably going to win (or lose depending on how you look at it) before this trip is over. I am carrying a lot of equipment on the back of my bike (more to come about that in my next post, “Teching out in China”) and I think it’s finally starting to catch up with my rims. On a separate note, however….

Sean sports an Ex Officio bandanna to protect his lungs from the fumes in the air.

Sean sports an Ex Officio bandanna to protect his lungs from the fumes in the air.

Sean lost the bet of that we weren’t going to see blue skies for the rest of the trip as today was beautiful and clear of smog as we gained some distance between ourselves and the factories…

But just in case you were worried about our health (being surrounded by all this pollution), we wanted to put your mind and easy and show you that we’ve been protecting our lungs.

Reidster looks on in awe of Doven picking up a mantis off the side of the road

Reidster looks on in awe of Doven picking up a mantis off the side of the road

Once again, I’m up too late again writing on the blog, so I’m going to have to call it a night, but check out this last picture of a mantis picked up by Doven on the side of the road. I would never touch that thing!

Anyhow, on the road again bright and early tomorrow…

More to come soon.

Man Zou!

Man Zou is a common phrase in Mandarin. It is more of a philosophy than anything. Man Zou literally translates to "Walk Slow."

"Slow and steady wins the race," they say. This is at the heart of the meaning of Man Zou. Walk slowly and you won't fall. Act carefully and you won't go wrong. A slow walker is faster than someone who walks fast but always has to stop and rest. Persistence is important in learning or doing anything.

To explain a little more in depth, read this quote from The Challenge of Trekking in China by Kyle Acierno:

"I recently underwent the most thorny, intricate, and demanding trek of my life. China is no walk in the park. The county is extremely diverse, and with diversity comes complexity. There is no smooth road laid for backpackers and attempting to do anything or get anywhere can be incredibly arduous...I really needed a break and I didn't know where I would be next. I sat down to a plate of rice noodles and peanuts. A hardy meal for a hardy man. A giant of a woman served me, but with her giant body came a giant heart. With a quick phrase that I have become accustomed to, she filled me with self-assurance that I needed for the rest of my trip. ?Man Zou!? she shouted with a big smile on her face. This literally translates to ?Walk Slow?. To me this means more then just ?be careful.? To me this means take the time to see the wonders of life. The power it gave me changed the rest of my trip. From then on everything went smoothly...I learned a lot from this Trek. I learned the beauty that exists just off the beaten track. I learned that anything amazing takes time. I learned just how much you could learn from people without even using language...By taking the time to notice all the small things in life you can really appreciate who, where, and what you are. Patience, persistence, and practice makes perfect."