Sun, Aug 25, 2013 - Page 3 News List

‘Grandriders’ complete Californian dream

INSPIRATIONAL:The Taiwanese granddads, with an average age of 87 years, rode into Los Angeles on Friday to adoring crowds, while showing no fatigue

Staff writer, with CNA, Los Angeles

UCLA Hospital System chief operating officer Shannon O’Kelley , left, makes the thumbs-up sign together with one of 10 elderly Taiwanese motorcyclists, affectionately dubbed the “Grandriders,” in Los Angeles on Friday. The group concluded a 650km ride along the coast of the US state of California on Friday.

Photo: CNA

Ten elderly Taiwanese motorcyclists, affectionately dubbed the “Grandriders,” concluded a 650km ride along the coast of the US state of California on Friday.

At the end of their dream tour, the Grandriders were greeted by Shannon O’Kelley, chief operating officer of the UCLA Hospital System. They waved and smiled at a cheering crowd, showing no signs of fatigue.

O’Kelley said he looked forward to spending more time getting to know the motorcyclists.

The Grandriders, who have an average age of 87, rode from San Jose to Los Angeles from Tuesday to Friday, with stops in the cities of Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, the organizers said.

As they do not have US driver licences, they were accompanied by 10 local motorcyclists with an average age of 55, who carried them as pillion passengers down the coastline, the organizers said.

Huang Ma-tsun (黃媽存), an 87-year-old member of the Grandriders, expressed her delight at the four-day journey.

Giving a high-five to Chuck Brown, who accompanied her all the way, Huang described their interaction as “wonderful.”

The Grandriders were also due to attend other events in California to promote a documentary telling their story. They are scheduled to return to Taiwan tomorrow.

Meanwhile, another four-day motorcycle tour is being organized by the Hondao Senior Citizen’s Welfare Foundation in Taichung.

Twenty elderly motorcyclists from abroad and 40 local seniors are expected to ride 350km from southern to central Taiwan from Wednesday, the foundation said.

Wendy Epstein, who will join the Taiwan tour for a second consecutive year, said she was really looking forward to the trip, as her previous visit had changed her life.

Last year, 10 motorcyclists from the US were the first international participants in the annual event, riding around Taiwan for a week.

Although this year’s program is shorter, it is more international, with riders from the US, Europe and Asia expected to participate, the foundation said.

“Seniors need no sympathy, but they deserve respect,” Epstein said.

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