Asia - Road cycling in Taiwan
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I've been doing some research and buying books on road touring in Taiwan.
I plan on going end of this year and will be taking my bicycle (Ritchey Break-away) to Taipei. My plan is to ride on along the southern and eastern coasts.
To my starting point from the airport, and from my end point, I'd like to take the train with my bicycle. Do any of you know how to best method to transport bicycles from these points? As-is on the train would be easiest.
06-03-07, 08:05 PM
I've been living and biking in Taiwan for the last 7 years. The East Coast is a really nice place to bike, bacause the cities and towns there are a lot less densely populated. From the airport, you can ride North through the mountains to the Southern end of Taipei, then on through the area near the Taipei City Zoo, and on to the beach at Fulong. Follow the coast to Ilan. I suggest you skip the coastal road from Su-ao to Hualian. There are some beautiful cliffs there, but the entire road is simply a narrow, windy highway for gravel trucks and tour busses. There's little to no shoulder, with a cliff on one side and a mountain on the other... not to mention to treachorous tunnels. If you have extra time, take the mountain road from Ilan to the upslope section of Taroko Gorge, and then just coast down to Hualian from about the 2,600 meter level. If you want to take the train to Hualian, it should be easy, since you have a breakaway bike. All you need to do is pack it up, buy a ticket, and get on the train. Just don't look at anybody like you have a question as to whether or not you can take your bike on. I've only been refused entrance onto a local train with my bike once, and that was in Taidong, where police have a bad attitude towards foreigners.
Thanks for the information!
The only complication is the bag isn't easy to bring on its own, I may need to ship it to my destination. The breakaway bicycle bag is light but bulky, because it's for safe air transport. Or buy a different sort of bag I can take with me for the train ride back. My wife's in a similar predicament.
I've been in Japan and it's always easiest to simply ignore the rules than try to follow them. Being a dumb American has its advantages. I do try to be unfailing polite and understanding to non-authority, however.
06-04-07, 07:44 PM
Air travel is a bit trickier than on the trains... but I think they will allow you to bring your oversized bike bag as long as you pay a bit extra. Also... I've heard lots of cases where people's oversized bike bags are let on for no extra charge. But it depends a lot on the airline as well as from where you're flying. It's something you'd definitely want to check ahead on before arriving at the airport with your bikes, only to find that some regulation snag is going to ruin your bike vacation plans.
There are plenty of places to buy cheap nylon bike bags here in Taiwan that fold up well to put in or on your panniers. Those would be fine for train travel. Also, another alternative form of travel is to go by bus. The bus routes make it to quite a few places that the trains bypass.
06-14-07, 11:48 PM
Bring a raincoat. You WILL need it.
I definitely agree with the suggestion to avoid the coastal highway as much as possible between SuAo and Hualien. Its not too bad around YiLan, FuLong, AoDi, etc. Instead, as suggested, follow the road inland from YiLan to the NanShan area and LiShan town, turning left to Taroko, and you pass some gorgeous forests, mountains, etc. There's very little traffic, but signage is poor.. taroko is definitely the most scenic part of Taiwan, and you should not miss it even if you do decide to hug the coast.
You could even cycle along the coast the whole way from Taipei airport (TaoYuan actually) around BaLi, cross the big red bridge, north to Danshuei, and all the way around to FuLong and eventually YiLan. or follow the road 106 from the west coast near the airport to the east coast (as suggested above). Unfortunately navigation in town is ****ty, as is the traffic.
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