Giant Chairman and co-founder King Liu believes in bikes, and has campaigned to promote cycling in Taiwan and China. This Saturday the 75-year-old businessman is going to match words with deeds when he sets off on an 1,668-kilometre (1036 miles) cycling tour through China to promote the positive benefits of the cycling lifestyle.
Liu starts his ride in Peking and hopes to make it to Shanghai in about 20 days spreading the cycling word along the way. His aim is to inspire cyclists in both China and Taiwan to work towards enhancing cycling opportunities in both countries.
As a mark of solidarity with the big boss, and to do their bit to get the cycling message across, Giant employees across the world will be getting on their bikes tomorrow too – at Giant UK they are going for a group ride on commuter bikes (so that nobody starts bombing off the front).
According to the man himself he really got back in to riding two years ago when he completed a 927-kilometre ride through Taiwan in 17 days. Now he is facing a more intense challenge, a ride that will require him to complete about 80 kilometres per day for 20 consecutive days.
“I have spent 36 years at Giant to build the best quality bicycles in the world,” says Liu. “Now I would like to spend my next 36 years sharing the joy of the ride to all the people in the world.” Hey, he didn't get where he is today without knowing when to get a plug in for the product.
Liu will be riding a specially painted Giant Defy Advanced with a symbolic blue and white colour scheme, “I want the relationship between the people of Taiwan and China to step out of the sorrow of the past [blue] and look forward to the bright future [white],” says Liu.
There’s also a message from Liu inscribed on the fork: “Enhance the spirit of health on both sides of Taiwan Strait, enjoy the happiness of rolling on two wheels.” We'll drink to that.
Liu hopes this personal challenge will inspire people in Taiwan, China and around the world to become more aware of cycling and to embrace it as both a healthy lifestyle and a solution to environmental concerns.
Although the bicycle has long been a staple part of the Chinese transport system in recent years, as the Chinese people have grown more prosperous, they have been increasingly turning to motorised transport – a similar thing happened in Europe 50 years ago when the benefits of the post-war boom turned nations of cyclists, including the British, into nations of motorists. Western countries are now trying to wean themselves off their dependancy on the car and the Chinese are keen not to make the same mistakes.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.