We’ve arrived into the city of Taipei, situated on an island around half the size of Tasmania. Nearly all of Australia’s population resides here. Welcome to Taiwan.
Words: ALEX MALONE
Photography: TIM BARDSLEY-SMITH
On face value, Taiwan is a busy, if not impossible place to ride. It ranks amongst the top-20 most densely populated regions in the world it’s capital, Taipei is equally populated. Dig a bit deeper into the geography however and it becomes clear that the majority of the 23.5 million inhabitants fill just one-third of the land. The remaining is littered with near uninhabitable mountains. Some of them, extend 3,500m above sea level and with roads which are simply perfect for the urban dwelling cyclist.
For those unable to withdraw themselves from the buzz of city life, the capital of Taipei offers the best of both worlds. Sitting at the belly of a mountainous bowl, city-slickers and holiday makers can have their cake. You’ll burn it off up the endless ascents within riding distance from the city centre. It’s this trait that initially drew us to explore Taiwan a little further.
We’re here for 11 days and by the time we’ve departed we would have circumnavigated the entire island (mostly by bike). We would have ventured to the north, east and south of Taipei City in search of all-day adventures and of course, HC-ranked climbs.
A standout from the trip, a ride starting south west of New Taipei city was an absolute stunner. Here we share a sample of shots from the day. The rest, including details of the route will be seen in a coming edition of Cyclist – on sale 13 October.
There’s a reason why the locals call this place Treasure Island.
A huge thanks to Yao from Yao Bike for suggesting the route and taking the day off to come and ride bikes.