Danongdafu Forest Park, Guangfu Township, Hualien County

Biking Around Taiwan

And what to photograph.

On Biking

  • Biking with a touring company is way different compared with biking on your own. You don’t have to worry about where to stay, what to do if you get a flat tire, or at which landmarks you should stop. I recommend using a touring company if you are going somewhere you don’t speak the language.
The overall route. The missing segment in the northeast part of the island is too dangerous to ride and is traversed via train. Rendering by HeatFlask.
  • The perimeter of Taiwan is flat and easy riding. The west coast contains farmland (aesthetic fields), small and large cities (countless stoplights), and some refreshing coastal views (cool sea breeze). The east coast is more remote and is mainly farmland and countryside. The north and south tips are mountainous. The path is well marked, assuming you want to stay on the recommended Bicycle Route 1.
  • Biking around Taiwan in a group is, in some ways, like getting trapped in a glass elevator: You get to meet new people under treacherous conditions, there is not much elevation change, and if someone passes gas, everyone behind you will know soon enough.
  • Check the season. Taiwan can be hot, rainy, comfortable, or typhoon-y. Be sure you know what season you are traveling in so you can prepare. Although the hot and humid weather was worrying before the trip, it turned out to be not so bad as long as we stayed hydrated.
  • Because our planet is careening through space, even when you are stationary on your bike you are covering a great distance. Unfortunately, due to a bug in their system, my cycling recording app didn’t capture this distance.
  • Pros of riding with a tour group: worry-free travel, meet new people, tips on places to see, unlimited snacks and water, good drafting opportunity.
  • Cons of riding with a tour group: harder to go at your own pace, stay on the road most traveled, risk of getting stuck with someone you don’t get along with, you have to look at someone’s back the whole time unless you’re leading.
  • You cannot eat rice directly from the plant, no matter how pristine is the farm from which you picked it. There are multiple non-obvious reasons for this: (1) rice needs to be cooked, (2) you are probably stealing, and (3) there is a saying: Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and avoid uncooked rice.
  • Add Oil! Many residents know that biking around the country is one of the few essential Taiwanese adventures. Because the bike tour is general knowledge, sometimes people who see you passing by will get excited and shout words of encouragement. The most common exclamation is “jiāyóu” (加油), which literally translates to “add oil.” Don’t get too excited, though — nobody will ask for your autograph.
  • Take a day or two to do something different. If you are visiting Taiwan for the first time, the bike tour is an excellent way to see what seems like the entire country. Even so, the trip covers only the perimeter of the island, and mostly lowlands. Take a day or two before or after the bike ride to go into the mountains at the center of the island, or visit the parks on the coast of the northern tip. I visited Yilan park afterward, and it was among the highlights of the two weeks.
  • The roads are smooth. The government construction agency paves their roads out of the same material that makes up clouds; biking over them is a pleasure.

On Photography

The Streets

Tamsui District, New Taipei City
Raohe St. Night Market, Songshan District, Taipei

The Colors

Songshan District, Taipei

The Natural Wonders

Yehliu Geopark, Wanli District, New Taipei City

The Mountains

Mingchi National Forest Recreation Area, Datong Township, Yilan County

The Towns

Shifen Old Street, Pingxi District, New Taipei City




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