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Taiwan's 'Grandriders' to hit the road in California (update)

Taiwan's 'Grandriders' to hit the road in California (update)

Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) Ten elderly Taiwanese motorcyclists, affectionately dubbed the Grandriders, will depart late Thursday for the U.S. where they will go on a tour along the west coast as part of their efforts to share their enthusiasm for life, the organizers said. The tour will take them along the California coast from San Francisco to San Jose, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, according to the Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation in Taichung. The Grandriders, whose average age is 87, do not have U.S. motorbike licences so they will ride pillion with American motorcyclists. During the 12-day trip, the Grandriders will have numerous opportunities to interact with other senior citizens and talk with the media, the foundation said. One of the experiences they will talk about is their 1,178-kilometer motorbike trip around Taiwan in 2007, it said. Along the way, they will also attend the premier showing of "Go Grandriders," a film based on their story and the first Taiwanese documentary to be screened commercially in U.S. cinemas, the foundation said. Released in October 2012 in Taiwan, the film broke box office records for a local documentary, raking in NT$30 million (US$1 million). All 200-plus tickets for the U.S. premier have been sold, according to the foundation. Expressing excitement about the upcoming ride, the motorcyclists said they are looking forward to sharing their enthusiasm for travel and learning more about what elderly Americans do for fun. "I am proud of the riders because our group is about love," said Chang Chen Ying-mei, 72, who is traveling with her husband and is the only female in the group. She said she is undaunted by the fact that she did not learn to ride a motorcycle until she was 60 or by the perception that biking is more of a male activity. The Grandriders' tour in California is expected to last until Aug. 26. Wu Jing-heng, 86, said he cannot wait to visit the U.S. to promote Taiwanese culture and show how Taiwan prospered with the help of America. "I have already asked a young friend how to say greetings like 'hello' and 'how are you,' in English," he said. At a sendoff for the Grandriders on Thursday, Joseph Bookbinder, public diplomacy section chief at the American Institute in Taiwan, said he expects the upcoming exchange between Taiwanese and American senior citizens to deepen mutual understanding between both sides. "I cannot overemphasize the value of people from the U.S. and Taiwan having opportunities to interact in person," Bookbinder said. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)


Updated : 2021-04-12 12:30 GMT+08:00