‘The Third Mile’: Visually Impaired Students Fulfill Round-Island Cycling Dream

  • 08/02/2021
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  • Headline News
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  • News source: SU Third Mile Service Team
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  • Translator: Chih-Chi Chen

More than 100 Soochow students successfully completed the “third mile” of their college life: a nine-day round-island cycling feat from March 27th to April 4th, 2021. As the event marked its ninth year, it was the first time with two sight-disabled students participating in the challenge, and the details of their conquering the long ride were recorded as a documentary film.

Shih-Peng Wang, a fifth-year law student, and Shi Jin, a doctoral student of the Department of Law from Zhejiang Province, China, had the same dream of cycling around the island just like the other young men. Upon knowing this, dean of Office of Student Affairs Kun-Jhang Lee summoned a preparatory team to assist the two students to fulfill their special wish.

Months of solid training in the spinning bike rooms at the two campuses as well as outdoor routes began as the students carefully adjusted the pedaling posture, with the lead riders, a philosophy major Pei-Fen Zheng and a volunteer coach Sen-Jia Qiu, practicing riding with Wang and Jin in tow in a dual-rider cooperative bicycle.

On March 27th, all participating students and faculty and staff set off on the 896-km-long journey that would last nine days and eight nights. SU Vice President Bau-Tscheng Dung and the dean of Office of Social Resource, Alumni Service, Career Development, and Art Center Shu-Fang Wang also went to southern Taiwan to join part of the ride.

The entrepreneur and chairman of Cilin Guang-Qing Lin, husband of Soochow alumna Shu-Shu Dai (Class of 1987, Dept. of Business Administration), sponsored the ride and led the team to Luzhunan Historic House in Miaoli, which he restored and rebuilt. Lin introduced the place and shared his own story, urging the students to always bear gratitude and give back to the society.

On the third day of the ride, the team visited Johnson Health Tech. Chairman Kun-Quan Luo is married to Soochow alumna Yue-Shin He (Class of 1964, Dept. of Economics). Both of them have long devoted a great deal of energy and resources to SU, such as all the equipment of the weight training rooms at the two campuses. While telling his life story and sharing his philosophy of running the company, Luo encouraged the students not to be afraid of failure but be brave to try.

When the team arrived at Hualien County Senior Elder and Family Care Association founded by Chih-Chuan Tsai (Class of 1991, Dept. of Social Work), they were greeted by President of Keng Sheng Daily News Li-De Hsieh (Class of 1980, Dept. of Chinese Literature), former legislator Ting-Sheng Wang (Class of 1988, Dept. of Financial Engineering and Actuarial Mathematics), and Bing-Cheng Chang (Class of 1994, Dept. of Law), as well as some famous local products of Hualien. The students were impressed and moved by the caring love these Soochow alumni have been giving to the elderly living alone.

What’s also special this year was the whole ride was managed and served solely by students, which allowed them to learn to organize the tasks and solve problems. Student lead rider Jhe-Yu Lin said: "It is not easy for only students to lead the team for the first time. We faced many difficulties during the journey, but we also learned a lot. Thanks to Dean of Academic Affairs Kun-Jhang Lee, director of the Art Center Yu-Ting Wu, colleagues of Office of Student Affairs, all the assistants and participants."

The 13-minute documentary short film “We see, because of you” featuring the round-island cycling feat of the two visually impaired students can be viewed online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8uajy2kGJ8