Taipei, June 30 (CNA) Some students from National Hualien SpecialSchool in eastern Taiwan on Saturday began a 12-day nationwide biking trip that is aimed to help build their self-confidence.
The trip was made possible after nearly NT$800,000 (US$26,828) was raised in past months, thanks to donations from across the country, said Liu Chen-li, a teacher at the school who proposed the idea.
A chef in Tainan City has even offered to prepare dinners for the students when they arrive there and will ride with them the following day, Liu said.
Accompanied by parents, the school principal and teachers including Liu, 19 physically or mentally challenged students will first head south to Pingtung County, then ride northward to New Taipei City, before returningto Hualien County July 11 via Yilan County.
A number of coaches and students from National Dong Hwa University's Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology, who volunteered to help train the cyclists over the last year, will also accompany the riders throughout the trip.
Liu said that she had led some of the 19 students on biking trips in eastern Taiwan several times as part of their training, and that she and her husband had ridden around the country to check the route.
"Everyone is ready," said one of the 19 students, surnamed Pan,"and we will just relax and enjoy the trip."
Liu said she hopes the trip will make her students become more self-confident and have greater strength to face life's challenges in the future.
(By Andrew Liu and Kay Liu)