Reel NW

About the Film

About the Film

“Man Zou” is a common phrase in Mandarin that translates literally to “Walk Slow.” Used as a farewell, it is a way of reminding one another to be careful and mindful on our journey, and take the time to see things along the way. Walk slowly and you won’t fall.

"Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai" is the story of four American friends and their Chinese guide as they set out on a mission to bicycle more than 1,000 miles between China’s two largest cities.

Documenting their journey with only the camera gear and clothing packed on their bikes, Team Man Zou explores the world’s most populous nation without the aid of support vehicles from a vantage point just a few feet off the ground. By embodying the Man Zou philosophy and taking the time to learn from those they encounter along the way, the filmmakers discover an authentic side of China and its people that tourists rarely get to experience.

Shot in breathtaking High Definition, "Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai" captures an intimate and unfiltered look at China, its people and their culture. Director Jason Reid presents an insightful portrait of China, juxtaposing its modern urban cities with breathtaking rural countryside.

Exclusive interviews with noted environmental leader Ma Jun (named one of the “100 most influential persons in the world” by Time magazine in May 2006) and China urbanization specialist Kam Wing Chan provide expert commentary on how these issues affecting China also affect the rest of the world.

The film evolves from an adventure about bicycling in China to become a broader examination of the economic, social and environmental issues facing this dynamic nation. Among the topics addressed are the population’s urban/rural divide, the environmental impact of China’s rapid growth and the relationship between China and the United States.

Director's Statement

Director's Statement

Three weeks after the 2008 Olympics, myself and three other Americans traveled to China for the first time. We went with the goal of bicycling 1,000 miles between Beijing and Shanghai and making a documentary about the experience.

In choosing the bicycle as our mode of transportation and going without the assistance of support vehicles, we were able to travel to areas that foreigners rarely see, giving us a more intimate look at the people of China, their culture, and the rapidly changing environment in which they live.

By adopting the philosophy of “Man Zou,” which translates to “Walk Slow” in Mandarin, I think we were able to provide a valuable snapshot of China during this important historical time and capture a glimpse into a country that is too often misunderstood by Westerners. In the end, we hope our film sparks more conversation about China, how we relate to the people, and ultimately help us better understand the complexities of their country.

Jason Reid

The Reel NW Connection

Reel NW focuses on the very best of independent film from the Northwest. Every week, Reel NW airs intriguing films from, or about, our own community. Jason Reid is a Seattle native. He directed the Webby Award-winning documentary "Sonicsgate: Requiem For A Team" (2009) which exposed the shocking truth behind the demise of the Seattle SuperSonics.

Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai


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I thought Man Zou was just the perfect name for this brilliant documentary film. Exactly something similar happened to me in China as I didn't really like the cities but only after I stopped running around and adopted the walk slow attitude I was able to learn to appreciate China. There are so many adventures you can have, off the beaten track, where the real China and it's wonderful people are still intact! This documentary managed to catch that Chinese atmosphere beautifully. Much appreciated!


What a wonderful way to bring us a ground level look at one of our largest industrial countries. Bicyling in China couldn't have been a better mode of travel.
Being retired, I am not likely to travel overseas, so this was a great opportunity to see another part of our world. It was a real eye opener.

My congratulations to the four young men who took on the enormous task of biking 1000 miles. You have done a great service as you have helped all us foreigners to better understand China. Thankyou


Loved this film. Well made. Great balance of fun and fact. I'm an avid cyclist, and you make me want to tour China.


loved the film


My partner and I traveled to Beijing, Pingyao, Xi'an, Hanzhou, Suzhou and Shanhai in the very same weeks this group filmed their odyssey. We too saw that same blue sky in Beijing, due to fantastic weather but most importantly due to every factory within 50-100 miles of Beijing in a mandated closure and half the commuter traffic prevented from driving, so the Olympic and Paralympic foreign visitors wouldn't experience the smog or traffic. So when Man Zou make it outside Beijingg and into the real choking cities they experienced what we saw in places like Xi'an. The real China as close as any American can see it. They produced a wonderful film. Thank you.


Excellent film! It was a very well done documentary of life in China from the perspective of four ordinary guys on a great adventure.

Well done!


I was in China from 2003-2005 and seeing it again was so refreshing. To think you guys did this on bicycles is just amazing. I travelled by bus, train and planes and experienced the beauty of China. It's poluted for sure, but the people are gems. They are kind and you get used to being stared at constantly(I am blond, so you can just imagine).
I was surprised you went the northern route though, it being the industrial part of China. I hope this way of touring will catch on in China.


Great film - watched it last night.

Being a cyclist, enjoyed that aspect, but this film goes way beyond that. Interesting contrast between scenic rural areas and the pollution laden zones they ride through. Well done insider peek at China and it's people.

Very interesting bike tour and film.


Awesome film!

My wife and I have bike toured for many years and your film really captured the high and lows. We also feel we need a vacation after some of our our "vacations". :)

As soon as we saw your loaded bikes, we wondered how long before you would be sending half of it home. Nothing like a hill to make you 'painfully' aware of what is really important in your life.

Thanks for showing the real China and it's people. I'm surprised the Chinese regime let this film air.

Excellent film and can't wait to see what country you explore next!

All the best!

Free Wheeling


Just watched this tonight and loved it, learned about a country I want to visit someday. Can't wait to see it again.


Wow,What a fantastic film I just watch ( Man Zou :Beijing to Shanghai bicycling 1000 miles)on KCTS 9.
I love to see people travel to other countries experience different things and cultural.
Keep on traveling!!!
I will forward this web site to my friends , So they can watch this great film.

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