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Grandriders Circumnavigate Taiwan by Motorcycle :: Video of the Week


In Go Grandriders, 17 senior citizens embark on a 13-day, 1,178-kilometer ride by 125cc scooters and small motorcycles around Taiwan. With an average age of 81, the octogenarians take to one of Taiwan’s most dangerous roads: the Su-Hua Highway. Weaving amongst roaring cargo trucks and behind packed tour buses, the group enjoys lush cliffside scenery high above the Pacific Ocean, and pit stops at local arcades and fast food joints.

Prior to departure, however, the challenges mount. Concerned family members object to the ride, and the group’s captain suffers from an ulcer and low red blood cell count, putting him in the hospital. Poor weather and rough road conditions present additional obstacles, while team members have health considerations to contend with, such as falling asleep at the wheel and managing hearing aids, high blood pressure, coronary disease, and symptoms of joint degeneration. But, with many Grandriders learning to ride motorcycles for the first time to prepare for the journey, they truly embody the spirit of Bulao, meaning “forever young” in Taiwanese.

Each member has their own reason for joining the trip. One man, affixing a black and white photo to his handlebars, promises his deceased wife he will ride with her again. A retired Taiwanese nationalist soldier resolves the past, befriending a fellow Grandrider and former Japanese Kamikaze pilot trainer. Another man dreams of traveling around the island before retirement. So the group comes together, with matching orange shirts and waving colored flags, daring to dream.

Released in 2012, the film broke documentary box office records in Taiwan and Hong Kong and won at the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF). Watch the full-length version of Go Grandriders at Taiwan Plus.

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Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. As Senior Editor at Overland Journal, you can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or writing about the unsung women of overlanding history. @desktoglory_ash