The four-member Huang family that is pedaling its way to the realization of a dream of cycling around the world was to begin crossing another continent in New York City yesterday.
From there, the quartet will embark on a two-month tour across America that ends in Seattle, Washington, marking the last leg of their 25,000km global trek that began in July last year.
Huang Chin-pao (
They are using four specially-designed, heavy-duty bikes carrying supplies. One bicycle with its equipment, supplies and rider weighs over 200kg.
Their global trek began in Hong Kong, from whence they rode all the way through China, even braving the entire Gobi Desert. The foursome then passed through Pakistan, where they witnessed military skirmishes.
From there, they cycled through Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, going through over 100 bicycle tires along the way.
Huang said he spent years saving for the trip that was originally planned only by the two boys, who had studied very hard over the years as a condition to reward themselves with their "daring" move.
Over the past 10 months traveling through the "world village" on their bicycles, the Huangs were sometimes kept at customs for hours at a time, meeting with ignorance and hostility, and at one time had guns pointed at them by border post guards of one country.
But most of the time, the Huangs were met with a warm welcome and local hospitality.
In Pakistan, they were so heartily welcomed that they were escorted by police cars which led their way to the hotel at which they planned to stay for the night.
In many friendly towns and countries, they were met warmly by overseas Chinese as well as resident Taiwanese officials.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York is planning to throw a welcome party today to greet the Huangs.
Prior to their departure from Taipei, the family managed to raise more than NT$2 million (US$58,000) needed for the trip after several enterprises offered financial help.
Acquiring visas from the more than 20 countries that they planned to pass through was one of the most challenging tasks, Huang said.
Apart from three flights, the Huangs will be on the road for a total of at least 25,000 kilometers, traveling an average of between 60km to 90 km per day.
"Only politics or health problems will stop us," Huang said, adding that "we will be back home in August 2003."
The Huangs plan to spend a total of 13 months on the road. "Even a fortune of billions of dollars does not beat realizing a dream with your kids," Huang said at a press conference in Taipei prior to the family's departure.