Giant Cycling Tours

Has anyone here ever done any of the Giant tours on this site http://www.giantcyclingworld.com/web/travel_en.php? I’m just looking for any general impressions. I’m interested in tours that all I have to do is show up and ride my bike. They shuttle bags, provide SAG service, etc. Anyone try this?

I have not ridden on a Giant tour, but I observed one group over 3 separate days during my own tour around Taiwan, and I was very very impressed.

After leaving Taichung to go south one morning, I rode over the very long bridge that takes one into Changhua County. In my rear-view mirror I saw what appeared to be about 6-8 cyclists all in black coming on at a good clip. They passed me with a wave, and I figured they were some cycling team or club, wearing all the same Giant stuff. At a light just after crossing the bridge, in my rearview I then saw a big snake of black shirts who all braked slowly by me and that’s when I noticed it was a tour-round Taiwan group. Must’ve been 30-40, all ages, young and old (maybe tops in late 50s, early 60s), females and males, but more males. Those 6-8 in front were the younger ones with a Giant leader I think. Anyway, chatted a bit and then they were off.

And you are right. Participants carry nothing but water bottles (while I was heavily loaded down), with 2-3 nice support vans that carry food, fruit, water and sports drinks. And they all ride nice Giant bikes, and everything is Giant. Helmets, gloves, full-length Giant bike pants and Giant bike shirts, which I think is good if you don’t want to add sunscreen in copious amounts every morning before your tour when wearing short bike pants and short-sleeve bike shirts.

At a main V-intersection with the right turn veering towards downtown Changhua City, I wanted to go left on the more rural route. There was a Giant van there and I stopped and started talking to the driver (Giant employee), asking in Chinese about my road plans and how it was like and how far he thought I could ride that day (I rode to Chiayi City), and what motels I might find in a small town I was targeting before Chiayi (he said not many if none at all. very helpful). He then started giving me all sorts of crackers, fruit and even sports drink. I drank one can and he immediately gave me another. Before I left, he handed out a lot more of drinks and eats to me to stuff in the back of my bike shirt and in my carry-bags. One of the nicest acts of kindness (among many on my island trip) I got. Then he asked to take my picture. No problem. We then said our goodbyes.

I soon found out, that I’d get more acts of kindness.

The next day I left Chiayi City and about 1 hour later I see them in my rearview mirror again. I had to climb a decently long bridge (over the north-south rail line) when the van passed and tooted his horn (the same driver). He waited at the bottom of the bridge and we commenced talking again and he gave me tons of drinks and food. The drinks were great cuz the heat was extremely oven-like. I asked more questions (about driving through or around Tainan as I was headed to Pingtung City for a free night at a college classmate/friend of my wife). He knew all the road details, etc. Again, just before saying goodbye, he kept trying to push as many drinks on me to carry. Now I really was getting a good take on how Giant was running these things. They were off to Kaohsiung that day, so I figured I would not see them again. Wrong.

Next day rode from Pingtung City and stayed the night at a small village past Kenting (last one before Eluanbi and its lighthouse on the southeastern-most point of Taiwan, and last one with a 7-11 before Eluanbi) where across the street is a nice beach with the famous rocks not far off the beach to the left that have the appearance of Nixon’s face. The following day rode around the peninsula and up 26, then left at 200 甲 , then right on 200, past Taiwan’s version of huge sand dunes on the right, and then picked up 26 again to follow the coast and then left on 199 甲, where the hellish climbing began, all kinds of switchbacks and grades of 7-10% under sweltering heat. But nice and alone in the countryside.

It was right before hitting the 199 again that I was climbing up a hill when up in front was the Giant van again. Apparently, some 3 cyclists were dead tired and just walking up the hill while the van driver was parked and moving along. The Giant worker saw me (a different employee) and starting taking snapshots of me climbing the hill. Gave him my best action photo take and smiled and kept going. Not far after hitting 199 and taking a right turn, I then bumped into that first nice Giant van driver. He was stopped on the right side with 3 other riders just all exhausted. I stopped and out came the drinks, food, fruit, etc. Talked more with him and I told him of his co-worker back a few klicks (he knew, as they keep touch with walkie talkies). Said his co-worker took pics of me and I would love to get copies. He gave me his name card and off I went after 15 minutes of eating, drinking and chatting. The 199 hits the 9, and there at the corner, the Giant riders were all taking off for the long very downhill ride into Daren. They were quite professional, sending out each Giant rider every 15-30 seconds so they wouldn’t bunch up over the long downhill and fast ride.

At the first Family Mart, every one stopped, myself included, for a respite. Chatted with some individual riders (the first time I chatted with riders) and then they took off. I knew I would not see them again, as I was arriving at Taitung City that late afternoon and would have a break day there the following day while they would continue onto Hualien.

After I got back home and after some back and forth of text messaging/emailing with the Giant employee, I got the pics his co-worker took of me climbing the hill. All 4 of them.

I’ll forever be grateful for how Giant treated me, and I was not even on its tour. For that, I’m sure being on the tour is something to remember, as well as being a lot easier to do when you only have to carry water bottles around the island and no heavy baggage, ha ha.

From this experience alone, I’ve recommended Giant tours to people who thought about a round-Taiwan trip. They made a very big impression on me, just on how nice they were to me.

Wow, thanks so much for the detailed feedback. Really nice of you to type all that out. I’m going to sign up for one of these.

I looked at a few of those routes, and as I suspected, they go through some of the shittiest, ugliest, most run down areas of the west coast of Taiwan. They are designed for Taiwanese who want to go round their island, not for foreign travellers. Believe me, you don’t want to be doing anything on Provincial Hwy 1.

Some parts of the route are nice, but why would you want to spend 3-4 days in polluted urban sprawl before you get there?

A sample:

Sounds great. :thumbsup:

[quote=“Mucha Man”]I looked at a few of those routes, and as I suspected, they go through some of the shittiest, ugliest, most run down areas of the west coast of Taiwan. They are designed for Taiwanese who want to go round their island, not for foreign travellers. Believe me, you don’t want to be doing anything on Provincial Hwy 1.

Some parts of the route are nice, but why would you want to spend 3-4 days in polluted urban sprawl before you get there?[/quote]

I guess that’s why I’m going to do one of the east coast trips or the Kenting area trip. Thanks for the input though.

I would imagine a Giant group tour as being fairly similar to the one I saw described by a woman on Crazy Guy With a Bike; she seemed to enjoy it. Probably really fun for somebody who wants to get to know some Taiwanese while visiting Taiwan.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=2797&v=7I

[quote=“Ktownboy”]I would imagine a Giant group tour as being fairly similar to the one I saw described by a woman on Crazy Guy With a Bike; she seemed to enjoy it. Probably really fun for somebody who wants to get to know some Taiwanese while visiting Taiwan.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=2797&v=7I[/quote]

Oh, that account is hillarious, thank you for the link. :bravo: :laughing:

Ah, didn’t see those, just the round the island ones. Yeah a three-four day east coast trip would be very excellent.

I haven’t read all of the replies to your initial question, but yes I have gone on a tour with Giant around Taiwan with my company. I was one of three foreigners among 30 Taiwanese. I highly recommend it.

We had two vans, two organizers/drivers and two mechanics. Giant booked lodgings (very nice places), had a lead and tail van where you can push the lead as fast as you want to go…or drop them, they stop whenever you tell them to for a rest where they provide refreshments and snacks, they carry spare complete wheels in the tail van for quick changes…the list goes on. They are also willing to reroute the trip to your taste.

This was planned and paid for by my company so I can’t give you any details about prices or different levels of tours.