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May 29, 2017

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US 'Grandriders' excited for Taiwan trip

TAIPEI--Renowned documentary filmmaker Peter Starr was very excited yesterday over a "dream ride" around Taiwan that he and nine other elderly motorcyclists from the United States are planning to take this week.

After arriving in Taiwan late Sunday night, the American riders are so excited that they "haven't had the time to think about having jet lag," Starr said, joking that they might start to feel it Wednesday or Thursday.

"There's so much to do and we're so excited to be here," said Starr, who hopes to increase the level of communication between Taiwanese and American riders.

The American riders had a "nice" and "emotional" gathering with 11 Taiwanese grandriders earlier Monday, during which they chatted as if they were old friends, he said.

Although there was a language barrier and everything was translated, Starr said "my American friends have never experienced anything like this at all. We're just overwhelmed with the whole thing."

Of the 10 American riders, five are over 65 years old and average 72 years of age.

All 10 riders are motorcycle enthusiasts, said Starr, who hopes his fellow countrymen can "help spread the word of the good spirit that exists here in terms of honoring older people" when they go back home.

The group will set off an a 500-kilometer-plus ride from Taichung in Central Taiwan to Alishan before turning east to Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County and then heading toward Hualien and Yilan counties in Eastern Taiwan.

Their journey will then wind from Yilan County back to Taipei, Taiwan's capital, Starr said.

The trip has been organized to pay tribute to Taiwan's Grandriders, a group of elderly motorbike enthusiasts, who inspired him and other American motorcyclists to ride for their dreams, he added.

Starr, who works as an editor for Motorcyclist Magazine and a producer for Discovery Channel, visited Taiwan last year to interview a group of local elderly motorcyclists, dubbed "Grandriders," who made their names on YouTube after posting a short film documenting their trip around Taiwan.

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