'Surf music' pioneer Dean Torrence to ride around Taiwan

Taipei, March 2 (CNA) Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean, a rock band duo of the 1950s-1960s, will come to Taiwan in late September to join a motorcycle brigade around Taiwan, according to the organizers. The 72-year-old star, accompanied by 19 other international motorcyclists over the age of 62, will make a bike trip from the southern county of Pingtung to Taichung in central Taiwan and Taroko Gorge in eastern Taiwan, Peter Starr told CNA recently. Along the way, there will be concerts in Pingtung Sept. 28, Taichung Oct. 1 and Kaohsiung Oct. 5, all featuring the surf music craze, said Starr, an editor at Motorcyclist Magazine. The trip has been organized in collaboration with the Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation to pay tribute to Taiwan's "Grandriders," a group of elderly motorbike enthusiasts who inspired international motorcyclists to ride in pursuit of their dreams. In 2007, a group of 17 Taiwanese seniors, average age 81, embarked on a journey around Taiwan by motorcycle to fulfill their dream of seeing every part of the country. Two of them were cancer survivors, eight had heart disease, and four wore hearing aids. Despite their illness and opposition from their families, the elderly riders embarked on a 1,139-kilometer ride that took 13 days. Starr, a 70-year-old cancer survivor who led a similar group around Taiwan last October, said this year there will be more riders from the U.S., Australia and England. The international aspect of the Grandriders is growing, he said. "I am happy to be a part of this phenomenon," he added. (By James Lee)