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22 cyclists trekking across States in bid to finish world tour

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With the dream to bike across the United States, 22 Taiwanese bike lovers put on special outfits printed with red, white and blue — representing the national flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan) — and departed from Lincoln Memorial yesterday to start their 7,000-kilometer journey.

The bike lovers, the youngest of whom is 11-year-old Chen Hsuan (陳萱) from Gao Yuan Primary School (高原) in Taoyuan, and the oldest, 76-year-old Chang Yung-ting (張永定), plan to bike across 14 states and finish their journey in Seattle, Washington. Although they are not professional cyclists, they feel confident that they can complete their goal.

The journey is being sponsored by the Taiwan Asia Adventure Cycling Association (TACA, 台灣單車文化協會), and is part of a plan to cycle around the world. The grand tour is separated into four parts and is expected to be finished in four years.

The first three routes from Beijing to Xinjiang, Kazakhstan to Turkey and Turkey to Amsterdam were completed in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. The journey to cross the States is the last piece of the puzzle.

“We planned for this route for over half a year,” said Chen Shou-jung (陳守忠), the director of the TACA.

“We arranged a support bus to follow us throughout the trip in case of emergencies. In addition, we also obtained contact information for all of Taiwan's overseas offices,” added Chen.

Chen also pointed out that there will be another 11 bikers joining them in Chicago. Due to time limitations, it is necessary for cyclists to travel by bus for part of the route.

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