By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The Grand Riders Cycling Team — which has 33 riders from Taiwan, Singapore and Japan averaging 70 years old — arrived in Port Angeles from Victoria on the MV Coho ferry and received a warm welcome from more than 50 well-wishers from Port Angeles, Seattle and Tacoma.
The Grand Riders Cycling Team — which was organized by the Concern and Care Society, a Singapore charity, in 2007 — plans a 1,100-mile ride to San Jose, Calif.
The riders and their support staff began the Golden Generation Thousand Miles Ride at Burnaby, B.C., and are riding to raise awareness of healthy, active aging as they visit elder-care homes.
“It’s very lonely if you stay at home,” said Chi Chin Ma, a rider who is the chairwoman of the Care and Concern Society and an actress in Taiwanese television dramas and action-adventure movies.
Bicycling and other outdoor activities help aging adults remain healthy mentally and physically, Ma said.
After a welcome from Lower Elwha Klallam singers and drummers, Mayor Dan Di Guilio presented the group with a proclamation from the city recognizing international Golden Generation Day.
The Grand Riders performed an aerobic dance that incorporated martial arts, traditional dance and modern dance moves.
Several posed with Councilwoman Cherie Kidd, who attended in a 1910-era dress and hat to illustrate to the visitors Port Angeles’ Victorian history.
The team ate lunch at Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant before they collected their bicycles and began the first leg of their long ride — 27 miles on the Olympic Discovery Trail from Port Angeles to Blyn, where they planned to try their luck at the Jamestown S’Klallam tribal casino.
They were accompanied on the ride by Port Angeles Police Cpl. David Dombrowski, several local cyclists and visiting riders.
One of the visitors was Richard Huie, 65, of Seattle, who heard of the ride Tuesday and drove to Port Angeles to join the group.
He led a 600-mile ride around Taiwan several years ago and was eager to join the group to return the hospitality he enjoyed by those who welcomed him to their island.
“I think this is just tremendous,” he said.
Grand Riders have traveled about 5,000 miles around Taiwan and through 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.
John Chang, 66, a member of the Grand Riders, said this is his second major bicycle ride.
The first was a 3,000-mile ride from Singapore to Laos, Chang said.
Chang said the biggest difference he has encountered is courtesy from automobile drivers.
“Your drivers are very patient. They make room for us,” he said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen contributed to this report.