Taiwan is the “wheel deal” for cyclists

We had only five kilometres left to cycle that day, but it was hot, our muscles were complaining and the long road ahead of us sloped upwards, reminding us that we’d have to work that much harder to get to our final destination.

As we approached the hill in the Taiwanese countryside, we came to a small community of homes. By the roadside, in the merciful shade of a towering tree, was a small Taoist shrine, one of many similar structures found throughout the country.

The small red building, no bigger than a garden shed, was adorned with colourful sculptures of Chinese gods and monsters. Inside was a golden statue of a deity with offerings left behind by worshippers from nearby farms. We didn’t have anything to offer, but we thirstily drank our remaining water and silently beseeched any gods that were listening to provide us with the energy needed to climb that final hill.

Our prayers were answered because, in what seemed like no time, we powered up the slope ahead and coasted the rest of the way to the hotel where the others in our group were waiting. We were able to luxuriate in the pool where our aching muscles could recover for the next day’s ride.

Read the rest of the story on TraveLife magazine’s website.

The best bike touring routes in Taiwan for every skill level

Taiwan might be famous for making cheap electronics, but it also happens to be home to Giant, the world’s largest bicycle company.

It exports millions of bicycles to every corner of the world each year, but also supplies a thriving local market in a land that is in love with the two-wheel ride.

Thus, visitors to Taiwan can easily explore the country on bike by riding a sprawling network of dedicated paths that caters to cyclists of all abilities. Numerous local operators offer tours that include bike rentals and support vans as well as restaurant and accommodation options that allow tourists to go at their own pace.

Here are some popular cycling itineraries, rated by difficulty, for people interested in discovering this green and pleasant sub-tropical island.

Read the rest on Metro Canada.