Cycling offers an amazing lifestyle. Whether you’re new to cycling or a long time rider, Taiwan offers some of the world’s best cycling. From leisurely rides along the Tamsui river or intense high mountain climbs, Taiwan has it all.
Hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes around the Island and a friendly bike shop in almost every town, there is no reason not to make cycling a part of your lifestyle in Taiwan.
This an island in love with bicycles. It’s no wonder Taiwan is home to two of the world’s top ten bicycle manufacturers, Kona and Giant.
Here are the top 4 reasons cycling will make you fall in love with Taiwan.
1: Taiwan’s transit system makes cycling easy and enjoyable
You’re never too far from a great cycle route. Taiwan’s public transit system and it’s bounty of bike-friendly options makes it possible. For example, Taipei’s metro allows bikes on the weekends at most stations.
If you’re busy during the workweek, then the weekend is your chance to get on the bike saddle to blow off some steam.
Taipei offers ample bike paths along most of its rivers. You can ride from downtown all the way to Tamsui, unimpeded by car traffic on a dedicated bike trail along the Tamsui river. Best cycled in the late afternoon when the air is a little cooler, the views of Bali District across the river are spectacular as the sun sets.
Perhaps something more challenging suits you? Take the red line north to Shilin. From there, cycle route 2 for a challenging and beautiful climb up Yangminshan mountain.
Make it to the Chinese Culture University where a beautiful vista overlooking Taipei awaits. Enjoy the view, the feeling of accomplishment and maybe a pint or two from the local 711 or Familymart.
Want to get out of town? Ample, affordable coaches with regular departures can get you to the best rural cycling in New Taipei city or Yilan county.Taipei main station offers the best selections and plentiful early morning buses.
Don’t mind a few hours travel in the morning? Take the new coach line out to Hualien where the east coast awaits. Cycle into Taroko gorge or get lost on a meandering bike path along the pacific ocean.
You can also take a coach from Banqiao station down south to Taichung or Chiayi.
Your options are limitless and you don’t need to live in Taipei to take advantage. Every major city is connected by bike-friendly coaches that will get you to the best routes Taiwan has to offer for every level of cyclist.
No matter where you cycle, you can be back home the same day for dinner with the satisfaction of a good day’s ride under your belt.
2: Cycle with the best at the KOM challenge
Every sport has an aspirational challenge to conquer.
For hikers it’s Mount Everest. Rock climbers eye El Captain’s 2,300 meter high wall. As for cyclists? It’s Taiwan’s KOM challenge in the heart of the central mountain range.
The KOM is an annual race in which amateurs and pros compete side by side. Imagine rubbing shoulders, literally, with cycling’s elites. Such elites include Britain’s Emma Pooley, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali and Denmark’s Anthon Charmig who won 2019’s KOM challenge.
The KOM is a 105km race from Hualien to the Wuling Pass. A sea to summit challenge that’s 105 km of uphill cycling with a total elevation gain of 3,725 meters.
Can you see yourself at the start in beautiful Hualian? The start gun fires and you begin the ride up the 105 km track.
The Pacific ocean passes by on your right as you turn into Taroko gorge. One of Taiwan’s most breathtaking natural features.
You make your way up through the gorge. The river below you and its high walls towering above. Then the real challenge begins.
As you pass the temple at Tianxiang, the road begins its steep ascent. You climb out the gorge along route 8. Steep, unforgiving roads that look over the gorge below. Breathtaking views mingle with ancient rock fall along the road.
At 2,000 meters the subtropical forests start to give way to alpine Junipers and lush mountain meadows. You would be forgiven for thinking you were somehow transported to the European Alps.
By the end, whether you finish with the elites or simply took your time to appreciate the beauty, there’s no doubt you will feel accomplished. It’s hard but it’s an experience you will never forget.
3: You’ll be a true local on cycling route No. 1
Completing the Taiwan Cycling Route No. 1 is a rite of passage for many local Taiwanese. It’s a 968 km cycle around Taiwan.
For Taiwanese, it shows a true love of their country. For others, a true appreciation of Taiwan and cycling.
It can take five days to two weeks. It’s an amazing way to explore this friendly nation. With ample hotels, night markets and protected bike lanes on most major roads, why not take the time to do it?
The 0 marker starts at Songshan train station in Taipei then goes north towards Keelung. It turns east out to Yilan. Then you follow the east coast south along the Pacific to Taitung. You keep going south and end up at Kenting. A beach paradise.
Grab a hotel room. Hit the beach. Maybe take a surf lesson in the crystal blue water before cycling north towards Kaohsiung.
Heading north, you can stop in Tainan or Taichung before making your way back into Taipei.
4: Investment opportunities in Taiwan’s bicycle industry
Cycling in Taiwan isn’t just a great way to explore, stay fit and enjoy life. It can also make you money.
Made in Taiwan means quality the world over. Large markets, such as the United States, are experiencing a more demand due to the growing popularity of cycling.
Savvy consumers looking for the right bike for everything from commuting to cyclocross demand quality above all else. Taiwanese manufacturers are looking to meet this demand.
Taiwanese brands both long established and upcoming need capital to expand to meet demand for quality. Currently, major companies such as Giant are moving manufacturing back to Taiwan from China.
Manufacturing in Taiwan means a sharp focus on the overall quality of parts and frames. Taiwanese brands will be able to capture a greater share of mid-range and high end markets both domestically and internationally.
Taiwan manufactures are also at the forefront of e-bikes. Start ups such as Gogoro are making big gains in the growing e-bike sector. Brands like Giant are starting to offer lightweight and reliable e-bikes for all sorts of cycling: Road e-bikes, mountain e-bikes, etc.
It isn’t just manufacturing that offers opportunity. As cycling in Taiwan grows in popularity, so too do startups that offer bike tour packages with expert cyclists.
One such startup is Simple Gravity. Founded in part by Nicole Hsu, they offer mountain biking tours throughout Taiwan as well as overseas in Japan and Canada.
There is plenty of growth as new riders in Taiwan hope to find convenient packages led by expert guides on high quality mountain bikes. It should also be noted that Nicole works for Kona too and definitely knows her stuff.
Cycling in Taiwan is not just a lifestyle, it’s an investment opportunity.
Live in Taiwan for the cycling alone
Taiwan is the bicycle Kingdom. Public transit and bike lanes ensure you can cycle anywhere you want. Cycling offers a great way to be like a local in Taiwan. It even offers great investment opportunities as the cycling industry grows.
Get on your bike and enjoy what Taiwan has to offer.