I’m in Taipei for work at the 2019 Annual Taipei Cycle Show. This is my first time travelling to Taiwan for work, but coincidentally Taipei just so happens to be my favorite large city for cycling and riding my bike.
Check out all of my Cycling in Taiwan videos here
Unfortunately I was not able to bring my bike this time around, but one of my local friends kindly lent me his spare road bike so I was able to get in some rides each morning before the Taipei Cycle Show. Despite the busy days and late nights, I made sure to get up early every single day for my ride.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find motivation to ride during travel and work, but I couldn’t help myself since Taipei is actually my favorite large city for cycling. Why, you might ask? Here are a few of my main reasons in no particular order.
Reason #1 – Cycling Paths
For starters, they have hundreds of kilometers of dedicated cycling paths that are well maintained, lit up at night, and separated from main pedestrian traffic. These cycling paths are usually parallel to the rivers and they are built into most of the main bridges, so you can get all over the city without having to go into dangerous traffic.
These paths are especially great because they accommodate everyone. More people are leaving their cars to use the bike paths instead, reducing traffic congestion. Runners and cyclists are both happy that they have their dedicated lanes. There’s also a bunch of free exercise and sports facilities (basketball, tennis, soccer, baseball, etc..) all along the cycling paths, so you see a lot of different people out.
Reason #2 – Varied Terrain
All of the cycling paths are completely flat, and nearby there are tons of super tall and super steep mountains. Within a 15-30 minute ride from the center of the city, you can be on an awesome climb with no cars around.
Reason #3 – Cycling Community
There are tons of cyclists in Taiwan, especially in Taipei. No matter which roads you ride on, the cycling paths or the mountains, you’re bound to find some company. Everyone is really friendly!
Reason #4 – Attitude Towards Cyclists
I’m from the USA, and most people there have a very negative and sometimes aggressive attitude towards cyclists. Taiwan is the exact opposite and often people will cheer me on while I’m riding, especially in the mountains.
Reason #5 – Female Cyclists
I’m not sure what the reason is, but Taiwan seems to have the largest amount of female cyclists that I’ve seen in the various countries that I’ve visited and cycled in. In Japan especially there are very few female cyclists, especially those who will ride alone. But in Taipei/Taiwan, I see solo female cyclists all over the place. It’s great to see more women who are into the sport, and I would like to see more of that in Japan.
Also, many of the people I met during the Taipei Cycle Show were women, so many women also seem to be working in the cycling industry in Taiwan as well.
Reason #6 – Bike Share
I didn’t mention this in the video, but Taipei has an awesome and HUGE bike share program with YouBike. These things are everywhere, the program is really well maintained, and they are super cheap and easy to rent. It’s common to see people riding these bikes everywhere in the city, for both locals and tourists alike. Unfortunately I can’t quite get the saddle height as high as I’d like so I don’t like to use them for too long of trips.
Reason #7 – Food
There are a bunch of cycling cafes around the cycling paths, and Taiwan in general is a country famous for great food options. There are tons of street food options and night markets, which are a delicious and cheap option after a long ride.
These are just a few of the reasons why Taipei is my favorite city for cycling. I’m sure there’s some other great cities out there for cycling, so leave your suggestions down below in the comments. I’ll add them to my list of places I’d like to visit and cycle sometime in the future.
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