Breakfast on the Northern Cross-Island Highway

I do a lot of blogging on Taiwan, and I also do a lot of biking. Many DKOS readers are enthusiastic cyclists, and I thought I'd share one of the island's best kept secrets: its fantastic potential as a bike tourism destination. Come below the fold for a deeper taste....

Liyu Lake, a reservoir in central Taiwan
One of the reasons so many of us love living here is that the steep and relatively empty mountain areas are easily accessible from the island's crowded, heavily urbanized cities. My house abuts a scenic area; an hour's ride in any direction into the mountains puts me at the base of 2,500-3,000 meter peaks.

A friend near Shitiping, the picturesque port on the east coast
Of course, if you're not into hill climbing, the lovely, flat east coast makes a fine three day tour.

A sign on the east coast
The island is also erecting infrastructure to support bike travel. In many places, as this sign attests, the police provide water and air pumps for the use of cyclists.

The city of I-lan seen from a nearby river
If scenery is your thing, we have it in spades...

Whip Scorpion
Whip scorpion rears in a threat posture as we ride by
...but we also have unique organisms, such as this stingless scorpion.

My son starts out in the morning from the China Youth Corps Hostel in Baling
Accommodations in all ranges. The place above costs just US $11 a night, but offers everything from showers to washers and dryers.

Jumbled strata at the epicenter of the Sept 21, 1999 quake
You can eco-tour to the heart of the great 1999 Earthquake...

Biking Taroko National Park
...cruise through the island's gorgeous national parks...

A mountain in Taroko National Park
...and reach high altitude in no time.

Machining furniture in Lukang

Of course, urban biking offers views of family firms and world-class manufacturing...

Lugang (21)
A farmer in Changhua
...farmers hard at work...

"Cows tongue" pastries
...unique local foods....

Colorful election posters in Nantou
...vibrant political life...

Remains of a Japanese railway viaduct in Miaoli county
...and fascinating history and culture...

Your trusty writer enjoying a drink on 21 north of Sun Moon Lake
Cycling is now booming in Taiwan, and even the smallest towns boast bike shops from the major makers. Giant, the world-renowned bike maker, operates a rental system under which bikes can be rented for US$30 a day.

If you're coming over, get in touch, I'd love to bike with you. Hope to see you on the roads here soon!


Originally posted to Vorkosigan on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 05:43 PM PST.

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