Lifetime cyclist Joshua Samuel Brown (葉家喜), author of four books on Taiwan including two Taiwan guidebooks for Lonely Planet describes his passion for cycling and why he believes Taiwan is becoming a paradise for cyclists.
Taiwan is pretty amazing for cycling that’s for sure. At least where they have dedicated bike paths or lanes or low traffic like the East Coast.
I hear this a lot the branding of Taiwan as a cycling paradise. I don’t agree that it is but I think it’s a healthy feature of Taiwan and overall good for everybody
Personally, I think the pros outweigh the cons, tenfold. Nonetheless, it really depends on how one views it. The major con:
- Pollution. Whether it will be the 2-stroke puffers, blue trucks, China or factories down south, pollution will always be an issue.
I honestly can’t think of any other reasons. I don’t consider traffic as a bad thing because at least you aren’t hated by every vehicle on the road like cyclists are in the UK or in the states.
I haven’t been cycling as long as some of the guys on here, but from what I hear through some posts here and from friends that I’ve met coming here to cycle, Taiwan is pretty awesome for a cyclist. The article touches up on the variety you get all around the island. However, it misses out on things like:
Never having to worry about running out of food, the closest convenient store or mom and pop shop is within rideable distance, even when you’re completely out of energy. Whereas if you’re out in the middle of nowhere in the UK or the states, you surely are screwed if you didn’t plan your route accordingly.
Rarely do we hear about bicycle theft in Taiwan. It still happens, but I feel ok with leaving it propped outside a coffee shop in Taipei while I go in to put in my order. You just don’t do this anywhere else without it disappearing or putting on a 5kg chain around it.
There’s other pros/cons, but I don’t want to write a novel.
I’m comparing it to places where people can cycle to work and back through safe beautiful streets and paths or whole families get on their bicycles leave from home and do nice Sunday excursion that’s a cycling paradise!
Cycling in the cities here no way that’s crazy. The river side is nice
The East coast and other nicer areas yes it must be lovely. Paradise in some areas I’m sure
So like…Holland and Denmark?
Those places you speak of are on a completely different level though. Almost like comparing apples to oranges.
Most Western countries I’d imagine. How about Japan any cycling there ?
It’s a matter of perspective. The drivers who try to kill me each time I get on my bike might not hate me but it doesn’t really matter, the effect is the same.
I’d love to do more riding as a family but it’s really a drag dealing with the traffic.
From what I see I have seen, Japan is even better when you’re outside the cities in the countryside.
That’s what I’d imagine. Gorgeous countryside cycling… Didn’t see too many cyclists last time in Tokyo but maybe there were many I just didn’t notice. The streets are organized and drivers are nice so I guess cycling would be fine.
But in big cities of Japan - prepare to pay bicycle parking fees. And god forbid you just leave your bicycle chained in any location you find suitable, like in Taiwan - your “steel pedal horse” will be towed away.
I wouldn’t go too far as saying that’s the case in the states. There’s a few beach towns here and there, but outside of places like Southern California and Portland, cycling culture is just…hated by the general public.
I would ask @fjp008 for clarification, but the only downside of say, Tokyo, is actually getting out of the city into the quiet roads since the city is so damn big.
Any suburb in any Westen country I’ve lived in. Cycled most of my life. Not much in Taiwan except on the river sides. Cycling down some of the nicer sidewalks in Da an or places like that is not so bad on the u-bike I guess I’m being overally harsh. Would like to do one of the East coast or mountain areas.
Just a reminder.
I’d say five factors ensure that Taiwan will never be a “cyclist’s paradise”: pollution, traffic, heat, humidity and poorly maintained roads.
They can’t all be that bad.
We also get earthquakes and landslides here…which totally f up the roads.
Things are gradually improving within Taipei city limits (thank you, Ko-P!), but not so much in other places.
Random parts of mountain roads are also getting paved. As a weekend warrior, I have zero complaints. Happy to have Ko.
I have a place in the countryside in Hokkaido and it’s paradise for cycling. Plenty of rarely used back roads thru farmland and forest. Courteous drivers, mostly farmers. Northern European climate. Lots of wildlife including the occasional bear.
I’ve had a dream for Taiwan for the years I’ve been bicycling here. I call it Embrace Taiwan. It would be a strictly policed bike path that completely encircles Taiwan along the coast. Every 30 klicks or so there’d be a hostel with a local theme. Once a year there’d be an Embrace Taiwan bike race which would draw the best riders in the world riding around Taiwan starting and ending in Taipei. I sent a proposal to the government years ago but never heard back.
Oh I wish this was possible. It would be so awesome.
The landscape of organized cycling events has just gotten worse and worse after the hype years of 2011-2014. Price has gone up for registration, but the quality of the goodies and the level of commitment from the race orgs has dropped. Friends that have been in the business and/or have been riding for awhile said that there used to be actual races in which the roads were closed!
What prompted them to stop these events was because residents of those towns complained it was inconvenient for them to close the roads, once a year, for about 4-6 hours of the morning.