Elderly cyclists from Asia to ride through North Olympic Peninsula en route down West Coast

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A team of bicyclists from Southeast Asia averaging around 70 years old will arrive in Port Angeles on Wednesday to embark on a 1,100-mile journey down the West Coast of the United States.

City officials and Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce ambassadors will greet 42 members of the Grand Riders Cycling Team when they arrive on the MV Coho ferry shortly after noon.

Mayor Dan Di Guilio will present a proclamation from the city recognizing international Golden Generation Day.

The cyclists are riding from Burnaby, B.C., to San Jose, Calif., to raise awareness for healthy aging.

“We're really excited about them coming to our community and having Port Angeles be the starting point for them in the United States,” said Port Angeles Community and Economic Development Director Nathan West.

The cyclists and 17-member support team began the 21-day, 1,250-mile journey in the Vancouver, B.C., area Monday. They planned to ride to Victoria today.

“I'm anxious to meet them,” Port Angeles Deputy Mayor Patrick Downie said.

“I suspect they're going to be an energetic, young-at-heart, generally healthy group of women and men.”

After the welcome ceremony at the ferry terminal, the cyclists will have lunch at the Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant in downtown Port Angeles.

After lunch, they will join a group of local cyclists for a 26-mile trip east on the Olympic Discovery Trail to 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn.

The Grand Riders Cycling Team consists of 33 cyclists from Taiwan, seven from Singapore and two from Japan.

The average age is 70 and the oldest is 93, said Jeremy Chung of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle, which is coordinating the trip through Washington and Oregon.

“They want to prove they still have life and energy to do this kind of thing,” Chung said. “And they're trying to send care and love along the way.”

The cyclists will stop at nursing homes to encourage senior citizens to “live their life with energy” while proving that senior citizens are “not a burden for society,” Chung said.

The tour is being filmed by an advertising company for a documentary called “We Never Rest.”

Local cyclists from Port Angeles Likes Bikes and Active Transportation Advocacy of Port Angeles will escort the Grand Riders from Port Angeles to Blyn.

Randall McCoy of Active Transportation Advocacy of Port Angeles said he expects about 10 local cyclists to participate.

After trying their luck at the Jamestown S'Klallam tribal casino, the Grand Riders will be shuttled from Blyn to Poulsbo on Wednesday evening.

The Grand Riders Cycling Team was organized by the Concern and Care Society, a Singapore charity, in 2007.

Members have traveled about 5,000 miles around Taiwan and though parts of mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore, stopping at more than 100 nursing homes.

The West Coast tour is the team's first ride in North America.

The journey to San Jose will take the Grand Riders though Seattle, Portland, the Oregon Coast, Northern California's coast and San Francisco.

“They will prove they still have the energy to do anything they want,” Chung said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 01. 2014 8:44AM
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