Taiwan's East Coast
Road riding the East Coast, Taiwan
Taiwan might not be the first place that comes to mind when you start planning your next cycling holiday but, trust us, it's one of the cycling community's best-kept secrets!
While, yes, the cities are polluted and the traffic is chaotic, don't let this put you off some amazing bike explorations to be had away from the country's intense west coast. You don't have to go too far beyond the city limits to find quiet roads and clean air. Moreover, bicycle is one of the best ways to discover Taiwan's beauty.
You'll also quickly discover that Taiwan is full of friendly people, good food, affordable accommodation and some of the best cycling infrastructure in the entire world. Taiwan is, perhaps surprisingly, a land built for bicycle travel! Get there before everyone else does!
The roads are paved and smooth, the views and vistas along the East Coast nothing but spectacular, and the hill climb grueling for even the most accomplished of cyclists.
We recommend escaping the hustle and bustle of Taipei and making your way straight to the East Coast where you'll experience a very different Taiwan on the country's less-populated coastline. Taiwan is a country that is very much divided by steep, mountainous, jungle-like terrain that runs vertically down the center of the island, home to a variety of plant and animal life. The west coast of the country is where the majority of the population lives and works. This is where much of the industry is, and where the majority of the country’s population lives. On the opposite, east, coast the towns are small, there are farms and lots of open space.
Be prepared to be surprised by more than just the longer road rides in Taiwan - within cities and towns, the country has invested in a significant number of bike lanes, bike paths, rest stops and other services, facilities and initiatives to support and encourage bike riding, for locals and for visitors. You certainly won't feel out of place riding in a bike in Taiwan.
Practical info you'll want to know
If riding on the country's major highways, you'll have a wide, good shoulder or specific bike lane in which to ride. Though be mindful you'll be sharing this with scooters and motorized bikes so keep to the right-hand side to allow others to pass.
On country roads and up into the mountains, you’ll likely be cycling on a paved road with little to no shoulder. However, this is still very comfortable and enjoyable riding as there is little vehicle traffic.
Drivers in Taiwan are very used to seeing cyclists and are very courteous in looking out for cyclists and giving plenty of room to safely pass.
Turning left by bike in Taiwan requires that you make a 'hook-turn': that is, you make a two-step turn by first positioning yourself in the intersection with the traffic to your right-hand side, and then move straight ahead from there in a forward direction. Sound confusing? It will make sense once you get there.
Always watch out for pedestrians who may step out in front of you at any time!
When to go
The best time to go cycling in Taiwan is in winter, from October - February when average temperatures range from 19-27 degrees Celsius (66-80 Fahrenheit) during the day and from 14-22 Celsius (57-72 Fahrenheit) at night. Other times of the year you will likely find very hot for cycling.
Winter is also the dry season in Taiwan, though you may still encounter some rainy days.
Also, be aware that the sun is intense, so make sure to bring adequate sun protection (clothing and/or sunscreen).
All the info
Where to ride
While you can ride the island's populous West Coast, the best cycling in Taiwan, unquestionably, is the far less populated and less trafficked East Coast with its stunning coastline, country scenery and mountain climbs (if you choose).
Where to stay
Where to eat and drink
People in Taiwan rarely cook at home. This is good news for any traveler, and especially the ravenous cyclist: With most meals are eaten on the street or at restaurants and cafes around town, there is no shortage of vendors from which to choose. Most menus are written in Mandarin Chinese, but a few of the more modern restaurants will also have English menus available (though you might have to ask for one).
Chinese and Taiwanese food is the most commonplace cuisines, consisting of lots of white rice, vegetables, tofu, and meat.
The unfortunate news is for dairy lovers, as dairy products are very rare throughout Taiwan and, when found, very expensive, due to the lack of appropriate acreage for raising cattle.
Bike stores and rentals
There are many options in, and outside of, Taipei for bicycle rentals, though you might want to bring your own with you; especially if planning to spend more than a week riding this beautiful destination. If not bringing your own bike, we suggest you arrange your rental before your arrival. Alternatively, as one of the world's biggest bike manufacturing companies, it's also a great place to buy a new bike.
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Events, key attractions and points of interest
The Taipei Cycle Show held annually in March is one of the biggest bike industry trade shows in the world. The Tour de Taiwan, an international cycling stage race, is also held in March each year. In December Taichung hosts Taichung Bike Week, another bike industry event.