Tue, Oct 15, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Visually impaired cycle 1,000 kilometers

Staff writer, with CNA

A group of visually impaired cyclists completed their mission on Sunday to cycle around Taiwan, returning to Taipei after a nine-day journey that took them all over the country.

Each adult rode a tandem bicycle with a sighted coach sitting in front as they traveled through urban areas and into the mountains, said the organizer, the Taiwan Ah-Gan Spiritual Development Association.

The 1,000km tour was very challenging, said Lin Hsin-ting, one cyclist. They started riding at 7am and continued until about 7pm everyday, he said, adding that one of the most difficult parts was climbing the hilly eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung.

“Sometimes we would think we had just finished an uphill section and could look forward to riding on level ground for a bit, but in a few seconds, our coach would warn us of an even tougher section coming up,” he said.

Despite the challenges, the group persevered and completed the mission, said the 40-year-old, who lost his sight entirely about 12 years ago because of a genetic eye disease.

The trip was also joined by six children from disadvantaged families, ranging from 11 to 14 years old.

Their participation was aimed at instilling in them the spirit of perseverance in the face of challenges, the association said.

“Having them join us made the trip more fun,” Lin said.

“It did teach me not to give up when I felt like doing that,” a 13-year-old surnamed Lin (林) said of the trip, during which they continued riding even when it was raining.

The group started from Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on Oct. 5 and traveled south down Taiwan’s western corridor, before returning up the east coast to Taipei, the organizers said.

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