Tour de Taiwan races through Taichung

Shinichi Fukushima wins stage five

Shinichi Fukushima of Japan crosses the line to win the fifth stage of the Tour de Taiwan.

The fifth stage of the Tour de Taiwan raced through Taichung today. The 111 kilometre stage began at Taichung Park in the morning. It then made a clockwise loop through Shalu, Dajia and Dongshi followed by a mountain hill top finish at the Taichung Metropolitan Park. Shinichi Fukushima of Japan won the stage. Park Sung Baek of Korea won the bunch sprint for second place. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Interesting bikes at Taipei Cycle 2010

The 2010 Taipei International Cycle Show opened yesterday at the TWTC Nangang Exhibition Centre. I visited the show today. This year Taipei Cycle has a record number of exhibitors and it seemed like every available space in the exhibition centre was being used.

As usual the big brand names like Giant, Merida, Dahon and Shimano occupied the prime positions in the middle of the main exhibition hall. Apart from the big names there is a huge array of bicycles and accessories on display. It is always interesting to discover some new and innovative products and designs. Continue reading

Paris and Taipei cycling experience

Paris, Taipei: Bicycles Forever (巴黎.台北 單車萬歲) is a documentary directed by Jean-Robert Thomann (尚若白). It looks at the experience of bicycle commuters in Paris and Taipei. I went to the premiere screening at Eslite Dunnan Bookstore today and it will screen on PTS (公視) tomorrow.

The documentary explores the attitudes of those who have chosen to use a bicycle as their primary form of transport. It looks at both the positives and negatives of this lifestyle choice. The people featured are quite a diverse group. I thought the most interesting one was a woman who uses a bicycle to send her two children to school. If only more people in Taipei would follow her example.

The documentary also considers the development of bicycle paths and bike sharing systems. Taipei’s U-bike system obviously lags a long way behind Paris’s Velib system. It shows that while there have been some improvements in Taipei, the city still has a long way to go before it provides a friendly environment for bicycle commuters.

Continue reading

Cycling at the Deaflympics

cycling-deaflympics_5821

The 2009 Taipei Deaflympics began with the opening ceremony held at the new Taipei Stadium last night. Today the sporting events began and I went to see the cycling held at Taipei City Hall. The men’s 1,000 metre sprint cycling race began with heats in the morning and then finals in the afternoon. This event is usually held on a velodrome, however Taipei obviously lacks a suitable facility so competitors raced on the road in front of Taipei City Hall. Continue reading

Cycling from Chiayi to Tainan

2009 07 24_chiayi-tainan_4018

On Friday I took a bus down to Chiayi along with my friend Ian who was visiting from Australia. I took my own bike down on the bus, while Ian hired a touring bike from the Giant store. The hire service offered by Giant is very good with quality bikes at a reasonable price (more details  here). The only problem was the CRX-1 model Ian hired didn’t have a good selection of gears for hill climbing. In the afternoon we went on easy ride out to the Solar Exploration Center (北回歸線太陽館) in Chiayi County, which sits on the Tropic of Cancer.

2009 07 25_chiayi-tainan_3952

We headed out of town on Saturday morning and once we got outside the city the roads were pretty free of traffic. The original plan was to cycle up to the Zengwen Reservoir, however this was changed to a shorter and easier route to the hot springs town of Guanziling (關子嶺). Continue reading

Promoting Taiwan’s tourism potential

Lonely Planet author Robert Kelly has written a great article about Taiwan’s tourism potential in the latest Taiwan Journal. He notes the increasing number of tourists to Taiwan, mainly from Asia. He also points out that niche tourism such as hiking and bird watching is attracting more visitors.

Another interesting article, from Reuters correspondent Ralph Jennings, reports on the promotion of bicycle tourism on the east coast. It is a good example of the things Kelly writes about being put into action.

Kelly concludes his article by noting that there is still room for improvement in promoting Taiwan to Westerners.

the 2008-09 report states that international travel bloggers will be invited to Taiwan to write about its attractions. Yet Taiwan already has many dedicated and highly informed foreign bloggers. On their own, these people are getting the word out about Taiwan’s appeal to thousands. Harnessing their enthusiasm, and giving them a little official boost, can only help to spread the message even further.

It is an important point because the English language websites and web based promotion of the tourist industry is often poorly done. As far as I know there have never been any attempt by the Tourism Bureau to engage with local English-language bloggers. Kelly’s own blog, Pashan, does a far better job than any government website for promoting hiking in Taiwan. The same could be said for a number of other Taiwan bloggers who communicate their passion for the island through writing and photos on their blogs.

Bamboo bikes and recumbent trikes at Taipei Cycle

Giant bicycles stand at Taipei Cycle

Taipei Cycle 2009 is now on at the Nangang Exhibition Centre. In the middle of the exhibition hall on the fourth floor were all the big names in cycling: Giant, Merida, Dahon, Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM. Elsewhere there were all sorts of bicycles, accessories and activities. I visited the show yesterday and my report and photos follow. Continue reading