Bike Touring Taiwan – Return to Asia

On March 27, 2012 by admin

Touring Taiwan by Bike

My name’s Corey, and my wife Ophelia and I will be bike touring in Taiwan through most of April. We’ve been lucky to have the help of James Mutter of Escape 2 Taiwan to help plan accommodations and do the ground work for us for many things, including the rental bookings of our bikes while there!

This is a brief intro into the bike tour that we’re about to embark on. At the end of every day I’ll try my best to write a decent account of the days events, a map, and some photos. On April 6th we’ll leave Taipei and begin a bike tour of the entire island of Taiwan clockwise direction, judging it to be about 1200+k over 16 days. There’s a rough route planned but I know that its important to be flexible and unforseen circumstances can crop up at any time, it’s how you deal with these that can make or break a bike tour.

One of the reasons Taiwan is appealing to me is it’s a return to Asia, and a return to Asia on a bike is at the top of my list. I lived in Sapporo, Japan, for 5 years. Over that time I fell in love with touring by bike, the interactions you have with the local people and the country around you can’t be beat. It’s true that there is truly nothing like traveling by bike! Living in Hokkaido I was fortunate enough to bike tour most of the island on days off and weeks off. I returned to Canada for all of 2008 to try to start up a normal life again, but Japan drew me back again as I felt like if I didn’t complete my dream of cycling down the length of Japan then I’d regret it forever.

Bike Trip in Japan

2009 was a dream year for biking, almost every weekend was spent bike touring, camping, enjoying every last bit of what Hokkaido was offering me on this second chance. From August – November I completed my tour of 5500 km from the northern tip of Japan (Soya Misaki) to the southern tip of mainland Japan (Sata Misaki), then pedaled from there back to Tokyo to close out my Japan life. Ophelia met me for 22 days in the middle of the tour and rode most of Kyushu, planting the bike touring bug in her as well. The experiences of riding Japan changed my life.  I’ve read so many amazing touring journals of biking in Taiwan that it was long ago on my ‘list’ of places I had to go to.

We’re first heading to Hong Kong for a few days to see family and explore the island, so a quick flight over to Taiwan seemed ideal, and from there the idea of touring Taiwan was borne.  While Taiwan won’t be the same as Japan, there will be some similarities, and I wouldn’t really want ANY trip to be identical regardless. While researching Taiwan in the weeks and months leading up to the trip I’ve been impressed to read that Taiwan’s cycle touring industry is booming, with money being poured into infrastructure to keep it going. All through Japan I thought what a perfect bike touring country it was, when you can usually find an onsen or sento to soak your tired bones in at the end of each day, along with the costs being very cheap to camp if you look around and use some creativity (and show respect), but maybe I was biased since I lived there and had a decent grasp on the language to keep from many cross-cultural meltdowns. That’s why Taiwan will be a great trip and challenge, I can’t wait. Most of all I hope this journal ends up being a useful resource for future bike tourers down the road, and I look forward to any comments or advice along the way.

T minus 9 days!

-Corey-

 

One Response to “Bike Touring Taiwan – Return to Asia”

  • Ian

    Very cool site Corey and very cool you are completing one of your bucket list goals. I will check in on your progress from time to time while you are both biking across Taiwan.

    Good luck and keep the good times rolling!

    Ian,
    The Spare Crusher

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