The Cycling Kingdom: Exploring Taiwan on Three Wheels
Taiwan is renowned in the world of cycling, so much so that it has rightfully earned the moniker “The Cycling Kingdom”. Its status as a manufacturing powerhouse for bicycles and trikes, its vibrant cycling culture, and its stunning landscapes make it a must-visit destination for cyclists from all corners of the globe.
Taiwan is home to several notable trike and bicycle manufacturers. Giant, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, is headquartered in Taichung and is known for its extensive range of bikes and trikes, including cutting-edge electric models. Performer Cycles, based in Kaohsiung, specializes in recumbent bikes and trikes, prioritizing comfort and efficiency in their designs. ICE Trikes, while a UK-based company, has its manufacturing in Taiwan and is recognized globally for its premium quality tadpole trikes.
The island’s love for cycling is palpable, although it’s worth noting that the ubiquity of scooters and heavy vehicular traffic can sometimes make for challenging riding conditions. Also, Taiwan’s tropical climate and occasional typhoons necessitate careful planning and vigilance, particularly during the summer months. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm for cycling is undeterred, with short-term cycle rentals proving hugely popular in Taiwan’s bustling capital, Taibei. Services like YouBike offer a convenient way to explore the city on two or three wheels.
Despite the urban obstacles, Taiwan is rich with opportunities for unforgettable cycling tours. The country’s diverse geography, ranging from rugged mountains to lush coastlines, offers routes to suit all skill levels and preferences.
In the heart of the country, the Central Cross-Island Highway, also known as Highway 8, offers a challenging but rewarding journey through the mountains. Starting in Taichung, this route takes cyclists through the breathtaking Taroko Gorge before ending in Hualien on the east coast.
Another highly recommended route is the East Rift Valley, a 180km stretch between Hualien and Taitung. This flatter route is lined with rice paddies, hot springs, and traditional tribal villages, offering a distinctly different perspective of Taiwan’s countryside.
For a taste of coastal cycling, the Northern Coastal Route takes cyclists along Taiwan’s north shore, past idyllic beaches and quirky attractions like the Yehliu Geopark.
Taiwan’s commitment to cycling extends beyond its city limits. Its scenic landscapes, warm hospitality, and unrivaled manufacturing prowess make it a true Cycling Kingdom. The island presents a unique blend of urban, rural, and natural beauty that’s best explored on the saddle of a bike or trike. Whether you’re a novice rider or a seasoned cyclist, Taiwan offers an adventure that is sure to leave an enduring impression.