Tue, Oct 14, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Cyclists on long trip around the nation make a green vow

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eight cyclists in Tainan City— two of whom are elementary school students — signed a vow to protect the environment in Taipei yesterday in the middle of a round-the-nation cycling trip.

They promised to enjoy the beauty of the country in small steps and integrate behavior that promotes saving energy into their lifestyle.

The cyclists were members of Tainan’s Ho Sun (“Fun” in Hoklo, also known as Taiwanese) Cycling Club. They began their 1,000km journey on Friday, said Tainan County Environmental Protection Bureau Deputy Director Hou Jiun-yan (侯俊彥), who was among the cyclists.

The team had so far ridden 440km from Tainan to Taipei, and will continue in the direction of Ilan County on their way around the nation, he said.

Hou, who was diagnosed with third-stage colon cancer three years ago, saw this cycling trip as a celebration of his rebirth, he said.

“In 2008, what are you going to do for yourself? We have opted to experience Taiwan’s passion and liveliness by bike — you have to have been through it yourself to appreciate the beauty,” Hou said.

Saying that cycling not only strengthened him physically but also mentally, Hou said: “My [medical] treatment and cycling helped me recover … There is meaning in every stage of life; when I [complete my round-the-nation cycling trip], I will go and promote cycling as an exercise and hobby in my community.”

The team’s youngest rider Hu Teng-jen (胡騰仁), a fourth grader from Tainan County’s Kun Shan Elementary School, is a veteran cyclist despite his young age.

Asked if he had thought of quitting during the difficult journey — many of the roads are on steep hills — Hu said: “When I go slowly the riding becomes less difficult; I want to bike around Taiwan so I have not thought of giving up.”

“I bike every Saturday and Sunday with the team … My mother signed me up for the round-the-nation event,” Hu said.

Biking is not only a carbon neutral activity, it also helps him grow, he said.

The environmental protection vow that the team signed consists of 10 items, including biking more instead of driving, eating more vegetables instead of meat, and turning off appliances when not using them. To view the vow and sign it, visit the EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov.tw.

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