By Ren Clayton

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Alex Lee gets on his bike and starts pedaling, he carries a lot with him.

“After the car accident, I have PTSD and depression,” Lee says.

He carries a mission: awareness for protesters in Hong Kong against the communist takeover and censorship of pro-democracy groups.

“They wanna give the people brainwashed education system, they wanna give the people a police state,” says Lee, outside the house where he’s staying in Minneapolis.

After joining protests in 2019, Lee had to come to America for his safety. He continued the fight in a different way, setting out from L.A. for Boston, on a bicycle, in July. But in September his journey was in jeopardy.

“I woke up in the ICU in Grand Forks, a nurse told me I got in a car accident,” he said.

Lee was hit from behind by a pickup truck. He lost his spleen and had to do over a month of rehab. But after a few months of recovery, he flew back to Grand Forks to resume the trek last Friday. Pain from the accident has slowed but not deterred him, biking a best ever 73 miles from St. Cloud to Minneapolis yesterday without a stop.

“Even though you have a car accident, you have a lot of problems, but you can also do something, try your best, to conquer all you problems,” says Lee.

He acknowledges that, yes, he could have taken a more southerly route, or delayed his trip until it was warmer. But he likes the cold; more than that, he likes the challenge.

“People told me, ‘You are gonna die in winter in Minnesota and North Dakota!’ I thought, if people tell you you couldn’t do something, maybe you need to give it a try. Why not?” says Lee.

Lee is using the organization Warm Showers to find host homes during his trip, though he says they are mostly in big cities. He’s had to sleep outside on some occasions.

He’ll leave Minneapolis on Monday, heading for Green Bay, Wis.

Ren Clayton