TV producer invites ‘grandriders’ to tour US

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 - Page 3

US television producer Peter Starr yesterday said he has invited a group of elderly Taiwanese bikers, known as the “grandriders,” to make a bike tour along the Californian coast in August.

The grandriders will join a similar group of US bikers on a ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco, said Starr, 71, a producer for the Discovery Channel and an editor of Motorcyclist Magazine.

Along the way, the motorcyclists will stop in five cities where a documentary about them will be screened, Starr said during a visit to the Hondao Senior Citizens’ Welfare Foundation in Taichung.

The film Go Grandriders (不老騎士) documents a 1,178km biking trip around Taiwan in 2007 by 17 Taiwanese riders whose average age was 81 at the time.

Two of the riders had cancer, four wore hearing aids and five had high blood pressure. They were encouraged by the senior citizens’ foundation to embark on the 13-day ride to challenge stereotypes about the elderly.

The ride in California in August is meant to promote the spirit of the Taiwanese grandriders in the US, Starr said.

Chu Miao-kuei (朱妙貴), 95, was one of the first to sign up for the tour and about nine other grand- riders are expected to take up the invitation, Starr said.

Starr, who led a group of elderly US motorcyclists on a ride around Taiwan in October last year, said he will return in September with 20 riders from the US to make a bike trip from the southern county of Pingtung to Taichung.

The goal is to arrive in Taichung on Oct. 1 — International Day of Older Persons — for an international forum on creating an elderly-friendly environment in the city, he said.

In an article posted on Motorcyclist Magazine’s Web site, Starr described elderly motorcyclists as people who “decided to turn their lives around and relive a defining moment of their youth.”

Starr, who has had cancer himself, said he admired the Taiwanese riders because they stuck to their dreams, despite their ailments.