Bikepacking, Taiwan

Not out of the forest yet!

We visited a couple of coffee growers and roasters and tasted coffee from a few different coffee shops and now it’s time to move south. I am surprised that in the heart of tea growing regions the coffee industry is thriving. In Nantou county we could still easily find the daily espresso fix, but as we get deeper in the countryside, we get the tradition Taiwan coffee infusion. I may have insulted some coffee growers by asking for milk.

Taiwan is a big producer of tea and we did ride besides fields of tea bushes, but also lots of banana trees, dragon fruit, melons,…

The distances we cover each day is smaller then we had first planned since the hills may be a bit steeper then predicted. I love hill climbing and I am loving the riding here, my two cycling companions seem to enjoy it too. We will slowly make our way south, but with the constant 10% to 20% grades we encounter, we may take a few extra days to get out of the forest 🙂

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Bikepacking, Taiwan

Road cycling paradise

Even if I️ tried to get lost, I️ don’t think I️ could! It is so easy to create the best routes, have some pretty amazing climbs and scenery without having to wander too far from a town. As soon as you get out of the big cities, traffic is very light and there are lots of secondary roads that are barely used. We have been treated to the best paved roads since we got here, not only the busier roads, but even the alleys have new pavement.

Sun Moon Lake is a busy touristic area, but everyone seems to stay around the lake. The road around the lake is fun and has challenging climbs and descends, but it’s way too busy on a sunny weekend. We escaped the tour buses and explored the surrounding area, just beautiful windy mountain roads. I️ have never had so much accessible amazing road riding, it’s so nice riding through the center of the island, that we are debating staying here for a few days.

In New Zealand it was safer to ride the trails, here you’d better stay on the road. If it’s not paved, it’s not safe, maybe because of land slides, snakes. There is actually no need to venture of road, Taiwan invests constantly in it’s infrastructure and offers much more safe and amazing cycling options then anyone could ever discover.

We still had to venture off the beaten path 🙂

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Bikepacking, Taiwan

Mountains and sunshine

We left the comfort of Taichung and our nice hotel to discover the mountainside. It wasn’t an early start, I️ needed my latte before anything was going to happen and Taichung has some great coffee shops.

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r these 2 mechanically savy gentleman to fix Chiron’s brake issue on the side of the road and then we could attack that 12% climb.

Lush forests, long climbs, quiet paved roads, awesome views,…paradise!

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sandwich for lunch, but a surprisingly awesome dinner at a macrobiotic restaurant (veg1) in Puli where we spent the night. None of us knew what we were eating (language barrier) but it was delicious. Thanks to google for leading us to this little gem hidden in an alley.

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Bikepacking, Taiwan

Formosa 900

A challenge for some cyclists, a discovery adventure for us, the Formosa 900 was a good start to our holiday.

It’s my first time travelling to a country where I do not understand a word anyone says. The language is different, but also is the culture.

People are nice, so very nice! They are so eager to help, translate, explain,..

The food isn’t your typical Chinese food, there is rice and tofu, but so much more. Every region has it’s specialty and we ate the local food everywhere we went. Sweeter soy sauce in a region, nicer rice in another, local fish, local fruits,..

Most meals where shared and there was always too much food. Even if we road 900km, no one lost weight.

The organization was perfect, they made easy for us to just ride our bikes, no one got lost. There may have been a few crashes, but nothing major and it could have been a lot worse, considering the different skill levels.

I met great people, awesome humans! It is the perfect setting for starting new friendships.

Now it’s time to get lost and eat food from 7eleven!

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Bikepacking, Taiwan

Fresh air in Taiwan

The scooters are now less abondant, the roads still have the smoothest pavement and the air is pure!

On our way to Ruisui we spent some time on the highway, but a lot of time on quiet rural roads or bike path. I thought this tour was taking us along the coast, but we spent the day in a valley (Rift valley), enjoying amazing mountain views. Some of us wished we could find a road, escape the group and ride up the side of one of these mountains. It was a beautiful day, I would ride that road again and again.

No major city, no shopping strip, but we managed to find great COFFEE 🙂 Chihshang has a train station, small shops and a couple of very good coffee shops. Small towns mean less choice in hotels, but after so much time on the saddle, the colour of the walls of our room won’t matter.

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Bikepacking, Taiwan

Fresh air and everything else

Day 5 out of 9. To cross to the nice side of the island we had to climb a mountain 🙂 a beautiful hill with switchbacks, views, short steep grades,…perfect! But them everything else happened, rain side and front winds, construction, traffic, tour busses,… I had a great day, but it wasn’t an easy 110km.

It was great to ride through small villages in the mountains or smaller cities around the coast. Even if there was traffic, it feels a lot calmer on the east coast then the west. We are now in Taitung enjoying a night at a resort with hot springs, not bad at all after a long day on the saddle!

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Bikepacking, Taiwan

Made in Taiwan

4 Year’s ago, tourism Taiwan invited me to visit the country and participate in a few cycling events. It was a great experience, I saw so many lush forests, incredible scenery, historic neighbourhoods,…but they never took us through the industrial side of Taiwan. Imagine the biggest industrial park in your area and multiply it 50. It’s impressive, but scary too.

The crowded cities made way to a quieter road running between the coast and the mountains today. The day ended in Checheng , where we got to see fisherman empty their boat filled with today’s catch and relax to the sound of the water.

Looking forward to a ride across the mountains tomorrow and leaving the hectic , busy coast behind.

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