Sat, Apr 27, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Handcyclists set off on tour to debunk disability perception

By Ho Yu-hua and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Cyclists with physical disabilities ride handcycles on the first day of their nationwide tour in New Taipei City on Thursday.

Photo: He Yu-hua, Taipei Times

Ten cyclists with physical disabilities on Thursday departed from the New Taipei City Plaza for a 12-day handcycling tour around Taiwan.

New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) sounded an air horn to start the tour, which was co-organized by more than a dozen government agencies, organizations and businesses, including the New Taipei City Disabled Persons’ Sports Federation and the city’s Department of Social Welfare.

The cyclists are to visit four homes for people with disabilities to encourage the residents to exercise and pursue their dreams: the Hsiang Shang Social Welfare Foundation’s Taichung Christian Herald Children’s Home, the Victory Home in Pingtung County, the Mind Farm Intellectual Development Center in Taitung County and the New Dawn home for people with intellectual disabilities in Hualien County.

Along the 1,200km route, cyclists are also to visit parks designed for people with physical disabilities in New Taipei City’s Shulin Sports Center and Kaohsiung’s Bamboo Grove Park in Ciaotou District (橋頭).

All 10 cyclists completed a three-month endurance training program at Shulin Sports Center park, guide Chin Chi-yang (金吉洋) said.

They are to cycle to New Taipei City’s Sandiaojiao (三貂角) and Fuguijiao (富貴角) lighthouses, Pingtung County’s Oluanpi Lighthouse (鵝鑾鼻燈塔) and Tainan’s Kuoshengkang Lighthouse (國聖港燈塔) — Taiwan’s easternmost, northernmost, southernmost and westernmost points respectively, said Chin, who is a double amputee himself.

Going to some of the most extreme points in the nation would show that people with physical disabilities can travel to all parts of Taiwan, he said.

New Taipei City has been encouraging handcycling as a form of exercise, and has set up several handcycle loaning stations along riverside bike paths, Hou said.

It has also procured 83 electric handcycles that are available at Shulin Sports Center for public use, he added.

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