Cycling in Taiwan

Taiwan is one of the world's leading bicycle manufacturers. The Taipei Cycle Show held annually in March is one of the biggest bike industry trade shows in the world. The Tour de Taiwan, an international cycling stage race, is also held in March each year. In December Taichung hosts Taichung Bike Week, another bike industry event. 

Introduction to Cycling in Taiwan

On first impression Taiwan might not seem like the greatest place to ride a bike. The cities are polluted and the traffic seems chaotic. Don't let first impressions put you off. You don't have to go too far beyond the city limits to find quiet roads and clean air. A bicycle is one of the best ways to discover Taiwan's beauty. Even in the cities a bike offers a cheap, convenient and fast way to get around once you get used to the traffic conditions.

Taiwan is a world leader in bicycle manufacturing. Although many factories have moved their operations to China in the last few years, Taiwan is still headquarters to companies like Giant and Merida. It is also a centre for research and development. The Taipei International Cycle Show held every March, is one of the world's most important trade shows for the bicycle industry.

Taiwan is also a good place to buy a bike. Retail prices are relatively cheap. For example the Giant Rincon (2006) retails for US$340 in the USA and US$220 in Taiwan.

There has been an increase in the popularity of recreational cycling in Taiwan in recent years. In Taipei this has no doubt been aided by the construction of an extensive network of bike paths, mainly along the rivers. I wrote this article on my blog about some of the obstacles to increasing the number of people cycling in Taiwan. The government policy still doesn't take cycling as transport seriously and the urban environment is not particularly ideal for cycling. 

Australian cyclist wins Tour de Taiwan prologue
Post Date:2011/3/21

The 2011 Tour de Taiwan cycling race kicked off last Saturday, with Adam Phelan of Australia taking the lead on the first day of the 13-day round-the-island race.

Phelan won the 2 km prologue in Taipei's bustling Xinyi district in 2 minutes and 43.02 seconds. He also won the best cyclist title in the under-23 category of the prologue ride.

Phelan said it was his first time competing in the Tour de Taiwan since it was launched in 1978.

Phelan finished the day ahead of the more experienced Mart Ojavee of Champion Systems in second place and Dean Downing of Rapha Condor in third place, while defending champion David McCann of the Giant Kenda racing team could only manage a 22nd place finish.

With 18 teams taking part, the prologue, which is really a very short time trial, gave the opportunity for the 102 riders taking part to size up and gauge the capabilities of their opponents.

This year’s Tour de Taiwan, which is being used to celebrate the 100th anniversary of democracy in the Republic of China (Taiwan), starts in Taipei City and will see the peloton traversing along the island's west coast then turn northeast for a total of 1137.65km.

Among the notable areas which the Tour de Taiwan 2011 will be passing through this year includes the Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic areas and also the North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic areas.  Yesterday’s Stage One was launched at Taipei City Hall with a 60km Criterium before the ride out to Linshabi Recreation Area today for the beginning of Stage Two.

An Affair of Wheels

On March 28, the 23rd Tour de Taiwan wrapped up in dramatic fashion with Austrian cyclist Markus Eibegger clinching overall victory after passing teammate Mehdi Sohrabi of Iran at the foot of the final climb through Yangmingshan. The event, which attracted 176 international cyclists, was a resounding success and put Taiwan’s love affair with cycling on show for the entire world to see.

The Tour de Taiwan is a significant sporting spectacle that plays an important role in promoting the nation’s scenic beauty and vibrant bicycle manufacturing sector. Established in 1988 by Giant Manufacturing Co. Ltd. founder King Liu, the nine-stage 1,242-kilometer round-island race has become an eagerly anticipated date on the International Cycling Union (UCI) Asia Tour and important promotional tie-in with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)-organized Taipei International Cycle Show.

But Taiwan’s love affair with cycling goes much deeper than a high-profile race and lucrative trade event. The public has embraced this healthy pastime with gusto, saddling up and taking to the roads in record numbers. In recognition of this passion for peddling, which shows no sign of losing pace, the ROC government has made creating a nationwide system of bikeways a key component of its drive to build a superior sports and leisure environment.

Since 2002, the Council for Economic Planning and Development has invested NT$1.86 billion (US$63.2 million) in the planning and construction of cycle paths. So far, 1,323 kilometers have been laid down, northern Taiwan now boasting an integrated network. By the end of 2012, this number is expected to have increased to 3,823 kilometers.

The Cabinet is also contributing to this CEPD initiative in the form of a four-year NT$4 billion plan aimed at expanding Taiwan’s bike path infrastructure. Launched in 2009, the program includes among its goals improving access to those parts of the country with the greatest potential for cycle tourism.

One region set to shine under this initiative comprises Hualien and Taitung counties in eastern Taiwan. Boasting the East Coast and East Valley national scenic areas, as well as Taroko National Park, there are few finer areas for biking anywhere in the world. Huang Jin-bao, an intrepid local cyclist who has peddled around the globe and Taiwan, the latter at least 50 times, describes the journey through this landscape dominated by mist-shrouded emerald-green mountains, sheer cliffs of gray-pink gneiss and marble, and the brilliant blue Pacific Ocean as one of the most beautiful in the world.

ROC government and private sector efforts to hasten Taiwan’s transformation into a truly bike-friendly nation are helping boost cycling participation rates and instilling an even greater appreciation for the sport in the public. Such support will pay handsome dividends by creating a healthier Taiwan and lifting the country’s profile on the international stage.

(Source: 28March2011)


ESPN Star Sports will bring you all the action from the 2011 Tour de Taiwan that was held in March.

Asia's most prestigious cycling event, the Tour de Taiwan, entered its 24th year in 2011, with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, the Tourism Bureau, the Chinese Taipei Cycling Association, and local governments determined to make it the biggest ever.

The event was a stern test of the athletes' determination, preparation and endurance lasting for 10 days from 19 to 28 March with 16 teams from around the world congregating in Taipei for a 1137.65-km race. Participants in the race included 176 elite world-class cyclists, all competing to win this challenging, sub-tropical tour - an important build-up to the 2012 London Olympics.

The race itself was split into a prologue and 9 stages. The 1st stage: the criterion at Taipei City Hall Plaza; 2nd stage along the north coast in New Taipei City; 3rd stage visiting the culture resort of the Chiangs in Taoyuan; 4th stage from Hsinchu City to Sun Moon Lake; 5th stage racing through downtown Taichung; 6th stage that starts at Baguashan Buddha in Changhua County; 7th stage from Chiaya Hsingang Fongtian Temple to Kaohsiung; 8th stage from Taitung to Hualien Carp Lake, and the final stage from Yilan to Yang Ming Shan, each of which sent the cyclists through Taiwan's most distinctive, scenic locations.

The most outstanding athletes were honored by six prizes: individual General Classification by time, Best Asian Rider, King of Spirint, King of Mountains, General Team Classification by time and Best rider of U23 - a newly added award designed to encourage young talent.

ESPN and STAR Sports' coverage will not only track the race as it happened in March but will also explore Taiwan's breathtaking scenery, cultural highlights, and unique cuisine.

(Source: 11 July 2011)

Cycling in Taiwan links

Cyclists who will participate in the event include members of the world ranked No. 4 Rabobank cycling team, and Spanish cyclist Amets Txurruka, who generously donated his beloved bike last year. He won the 2007 Tour de France's Combativity Award, and is a participant of the world's three big cycling races, with a strong ability to climb mountains and lots of experience competing.


News articles

Other cycling links

2011 Tour de Taiwan video:

Taipei International Cycle Show

The dates for Taipei Cycle 2012 are from March 7 to 10 at the TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall.

Taichung Bike Week

Taichung Bike Week is held annually in November/December. In 2011 the dates are from 29 November to 2 December.

Tour de Taiwan

The Tour de Taiwan is held annually in March and usually coincides with Taipei Cycle. More details on the Tour de Taiwan website.

Bike hire

There are numerous options for hiring bikes in Taiwan. These range from cheap hourly hire to fully equipped touring bikes for multi-day tours. Jeff's Taiwan has information about Giant's rental program for touring bikes. I have used this service and it is excellent although it requires some advance planning.

Bikes on trains

Taiwan in Cycles has compiled detailed information in English about taking bikes on trains.

Interesting articles about Taiwan cycling

Taiwan cycling photos


Taiwan Cycling Festival' comes to east coast soon

The “2011 Taiwan Cycling Festival” will begin on Nov. 6 with a series of exciting activities, from races by the world's elite cyclists, to musical performances and hot springs cuisine, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau said. Working in conjunction with the Yilan, Hualien and Taitung county governments, the bureau is organizing this event to promote Taiwan as a great travel destination for cycling enthusiasts.

The “2011 Taiwan Cycling Festival” to be held from Nov. 5-13. The opening ceremony will be held in Hualien on Nov. 6. The festival will be kicked off with the “Taiwan Cup,”which will gather elite cyclists around the globe to compete in a 200-kilometer invitational road race, the organizers said.

Cyclists who will participate in the event include members of the world ranked No. 4 Rabobank cycling team, and Spanish cyclist Amets Txurruka, who generously donated his beloved bike last year. He won the 2007 Tour de France's Combativity Award, and is a participant of the world's three big cycling races, with a strong ability to climb mountains and lots of experience competing.

(Source: 125OCT2011)





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