Celebration of cycling in Taipei

A cycling carnival (生活單車市集嘉年華) organised by the Thousand Mile Island Trail group (千里步道籌畫中心) was held in Taipei yesterday. It began with a bike ride starting at NTU and then going around Da’an Park. The ride finished at Yongkang Park where there was a variety of activities.

There was a line up of U-bikes available for hire. I hired one for the ride and it was my first time to ride one of these bikes. They are very comfortable for slow-paced easy riding around the city.

At the corner of Xinyi and Jianguo Roads a group of primary school students put on a performance riding unicycles. Human-powered vehicles with one, two, three and four wheels all participated in the ride.

The ride then went along part of the Dunhua Road bike path. The Taipei City Government recently announced that the bike path would be open to cars and motorcycles on weekdays and only reserved for cyclists on weekends. It is disappointing that this project has not been a success. There are many factors involved, however it shows that government must take a more integrated approach to making safer spaces for cycling in the city. In addition to creating bike lanes there need to be measures taken to actively reduce the number of cars on the road. There also needs to be better law enforcement and education of all road users.

The ride came to an end at Yongkang Park and there were a number of events and activities going on there. The Big Apple Cycling Team (大蘋果車隊) set up a bicycle repair station.

Giant had two electric bikes on display. This electric scooter is called the e-Lem and retails for NT$25,800. I had a short test ride. It is very smooth and easy to ride. The top speed is limited at 30 km/h.

There were also a number of musical and dancing performances on the stage in the park. One group of dancers included several people in wheelchairs. It was great to see and shows that being in wheelchair doesn’t mean being disabled.

And a group of belly dancers also put on a very impressive performance. Some of the other activities included a bicycle-powered energy system and solar cooker set up by Earth Passengers (大地旅人) to educate people about energy.

*More photos in the cycling carnival set at flickr.

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