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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Bikepacking, Taiwan

A group ride around Taiwan

We embarqued in a 9 day fully supported tour of Taiwan, the Formosa 900, organized by Giant cycling tours. I am totally out of my element, not used to follow someone’s pace and ride with 29 unknown people.

It all started with a big reunion outside the Taipei City hall, a gathering of cyclist s with shower caps, helmets worn backward, sandals with wool socks,… quite scary for the bike snob I am! What did I get us into?!!?

The pace isn’t fast, but the goal is to have a guided tour of the island and ride our bikes. A few helmet fitting and group riding lessons later and everyone is on the road. I am learning to be a better group ride cyclist, but also meeting awesome people and discovering Taiwan in a way I couldn’t do on my own.

As long as we can run away for some cool coffee shop hunting or get a few kilometres to ourselves for some fast pace riding, it’s perfect! It couldn’t be better organized, an awesome team leading and supervising, very tasty traditional food and a good selection of hotels.

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Bikepacking, Taiwan

Cycling in Taipei

Why not cycle in that crazy city? Scooters everywhere, incredible amount of cars and buses on those streets, make riding in this city quite intimidating. People are polite and well behaved, if you pay attention to your surrounding you will be fine, scared but fine!

The riding is actually awesome when you escape the city center and just ride on quiet, well maintained bike paths that run along every river surrounding and crossing Taipei. Not sure how many kilometres of paths there are, but there is enough for more then a day of riding.

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