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.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.