Visually impaired cyclists complete trip around Taiwan
CNATAIPEI -- A group of visually impaired Taiwanese cyclists completed their mission Sunday to cycle around Taiwan, returning to Taipei after a nine-day journey that took them all over the country.
October 14, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
Each of the nine visually impaired adults rode a tandem bicycle with a sighted coach sitting in front as they traveled the route that took them through urban areas and into the mountains, said the organizer, the Taiwan Ah-Gan Spiritual Development Association.
The 1,000-km tour was very challenging, said Lin Hsin-ting, one of the cyclists. They started riding at 7 a.m. and continued until around 7 p.m. on each of the nine days of the trip, he told CNA shortly after returning to Taipei.
One of the most difficult parts was climbing the hilly country in the eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung, he said.
“Sometimes we would think we had just finished an uphill section and could look forward to riding on level ground for a bit, but in a few seconds, our coach would warn us of an even tougher section coming up,” he added.
Despite the challenges, the group still persevered to complete the mission, said the 40-year-old, who lost his sight entirely about 12 years ago because of a genetic eye disease.
The cycling tour also offered an opportunity for the participants to enjoy the foods and cultures of different parts of the country, said the organizer.
Meanwhile, the trip was joined by six children from disadvantaged families, ranging from 11 to 14 years old. Their participation was aimed at instilling in them the spirit of not giving up when faced with challenges, the association said.
“Having them join us made the trip more fun,” Lin said.
“The cycling trip was fun,” said Lin Chih-hsiang, 13. It was also an opportunity to learn about being persistent in the face of challenges, he said of the trip, during which they had to ride even when it was raining.
The group started journey from Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Oct. 5 and traveled south down Taiwan's western corridor before returning up the east coast to Taipei, the organizers said.