Japan, May 13 (CNA) The amazing scenery along the Shimanami Kaido, an expressway in Japan connected by bridges across six islands, was like heaven on earth, Giant Manufacturing Co. Chairman King Liu said after completing the 80-kilometer journey.
Liu and over 40 cyclists from Taiwan were welcomed by several governors of neighboring prefectures and the 120 people they brought along with them.
The route began in Onomichi in western Honshu and took the riders across a number of small islands before finishing on the southern island of Shikoku.
Liu, who made it to Shikoku at around 4 p.m., told CNA that the well-designed path, with limited inclines to make it suitable for recreational cyclists, was unique, but he joked that it would have been a lot easier had he tried it when he was a few years younger.
Liu, whose company is one of the world's biggest bicycle producers, has long campaigned for people to make cycling a part of their travels in Taiwan and Japan.
Praising the trip as very meaningful, Taiwan's representative to Japan John Feng, who had not ridden a bike for 36 years, said it was the first time he had participated in an event with so many Japanese governors and officials during his nearly four-year stay in the country.
"I am very proud that I completed the journey. My initial goal was to ride only half the distance," he said.
Promising that he will buy a bicycle before he buys a car when he returns to Taiwan in the near future after his term ends, Feng said "I still have more than 10 years of training to catch up to Liu, who is 78 years old."
Enjoying the experience, Tokihiro Nakamura, the governor of Ehime Prefecture in northern Shikoku where the journey ended, said cycling not only can benefit one's health but also help expand one's circle of friends.
Nakamura, who while in Taiwan last November invited Liu to experience the path, said he hoped the Giant chairman could help him promote cycling tourism in the prefecture in preparation for an international event to be held there in 2014.
Giant opened a 260-square-meter store in Ehime Prefecture on April 20. The store sells bicycles and components and provides rental services and three showers and a changing room for local cyclists.
(By Yang Ming-chu, Tsao Heng and Maia Huang)