More often than not your bike, or at least bits of it, will have been made in Taiwan - this may be a small island, but it exports a whopping 2.2 million bikes a year and is home to manufacturers Giant Bikes. But the island known as the Bike Kingdom for its two-wheeled exports is working hard to entice cycle tourists to come to Taiwan to explore it for themselves as well as buying the island’s bikes back at home.
The tourist board has started by launching its first official cycle trail, Cycling Route 1, a 750-mile route that encircles the entire island in a loop. The route runs around the Far Eastern Island and includes sections on roads and 400 miles of car-free bike paths.
Cycling the full route takes nine days and there are 122 designated rest stops along the way. It also connects with Taiwan’s Railway routes, so cyclists who only want to ride a section of the route can hop on and off a train to reach it. Cycling Route 1 is billed as the first of many, with the island planning to create a cycling network as part of a drive to promote bike tourism, spearheaded by Prime Minister Mai Chi-kuo.
The country has seen a huge boost in cycling culture among Taiwanese in recent years, and already offers 3,100 miles of bike paths as well as quiet, well-paved coastal highways and trails in the highlands that are perfect for touring. Taiwan also holds an annual Cycling Festival in Taipei each March.