While many people think it is an impossible mission for the visually impaired to take part in long-distance biking trips, two visually impaired university students, Chen Yi-cheng (陳奕成) and Hung Jung-tai (洪榮泰), completed a cycling trip around Taiwan last month and shared their story and joy with the public yesterday.
“It feels great to have finally accomplished a dream that I’ve had since I was a kid, in fact, I wasn’t fully sure that I could get it done before the trip,” Chen, a junior student at Tamkang University, told a news conference on releasing a documentary on their trip in Taipei.
Hung, a sophomore student at National University of Tainan, said that he has more self-confidence after the trip.
“I think I am now able to take on more challenges that I used to consider mission impossible,” Hung said.
The two were classmates and good friends since they were in high school, and often talked about their dream of cycling around Taiwan.
Chen is completely blind in one eye and has a 20/200 eyesight in the other, while Hung has 20/200 eyesight in both eyes.
“Before heading on the trip, a lot of friends asked us to reconsider, because they were worried that we may get into accidents because of our weak eyesight,” Chen said. “Nevertheless, we were so determined that we wanted to do it.”
Chen and Hung took about four months to train through jogging and practicing cycling long distances before taking the trip.
However, the trip was not without danger.
“The scariest moment was when Chen rode off the road and fell in Suao Township [蘇澳], Yilan County,” Hung said.
Hung said they were cycling along normally that day when all of a sudden he realized that he had not seen Chen for three to five minutes.
“I immediately turned around and found that he had fallen off the road,” Hung said. “He fell onto grass that was about 3m below the road and was so lucky that he wasn’t hurt, though the bike was a bit damaged.”
Chen said the first thought that came into his mind was not whether he was wounded, but whether the bike was fine.
“I was so worried that I would not be able to finish the trip if the bike was broken,” Chen said.
Despite the accident and several flat tires, Chen and Hung returned to Greater Tainan on Sept. 11 — 10 days after their departure.