Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Around the Island - 環島 (huán dǎo) - Part 1

Some time ago I had the pleasure of participating in the "huan dao", around the island bicycle ride ion Taiwan. The idea was to ride around the island of Taiwan in nine days, that is almost 1000 kilometers! Unfortunately my flight back to Europe was scheduled too soon and I could do only 6 days, or 640 km, or roughly 3/4 of the around the island trip, counter clock wise.

The organizer of the trip was The Bike Family. With experience they led a group of cyclists from Taipei down to the south following the west coast national highway number one, then across the mountains to the Pacific Ocean side of the island and again up to the north through breathtaking scenery. I quit the group in Rui Shuei, just south of Hualien, and took train back to Taipei and to the airport.

The Bike Family provided almost everything, including good Merida bicycle, Garmin GPS, meals, hotels, snacks, instructions and even a torch for tunnels and vaselin, which is essential stuff for riding comfort. The only thing I needed to bring was clothes and helmet, and lots of motivation. Daily rides were looong, between 60 and 123 km. Break every two hours with salty and sweet snacks kept the blood sugar and minerals in the right level for extended effort.

The best thing was the team. Lovely people from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China (PRC), Singapore and some other places was a thrilling experience. Some knowledge of Chinese is a big asset for the participants, but not absolutely necessary.

Start is in the down town Taipei.

The team from Da Lu, mainland China, is packed with enthusiasm. Little did they know how tired they would be...

Mask is essential. In the metropolitan area we don't want to breath all dust available in the air. Also most of the Asians are afraid of getting tanned. They think it is ugly. But when the sun is really hot, even the westerners want to cover their face.

Resting places were often something culturally elevating.

Rice fields are awesome. In the north they just start to plant rice in the south it is already reaching my hips.

Every morning at 6.30 we start with stretching and repeating the basic rules of the road. Safety first.

Salt factory exhibition hall. This is where we got our first ice cream.

East coast of Taiwan is packed with industry, but at the same time, fascinating mixture of old and new, traditional and modern.


Lunch box is something we should introduce also in Europe. Convenience is important in Taiwan.


Our "mother" kept us moving, and safe.

Best moments are in the evening, when dinner is served, in abundance and style.

Biggest cabbage field I have seen so far.



Thousands upon thousands, a host of ducs. I am getting hungry.

One of the short wave transmitter sites in Taiwan. I think this particular one is broadcasting to PRC.

At the Chiayi's Tropic of Cancer landmark we had a nice nap. 25,5 degrees of Northern latitude


To be continued.....

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