As Cyclelicious readers might have noticed, a few of us went to Taiwan to check out the cycling there. And now we just can’t stop talking about it. As one of my travelmates noted, the cycling itself is amazing, and we could (and I will) go on for days about it. But what I can also go on about is what makes that possible – the underlying infrastructure that is critical to making any area cyclist-friendly. Facilities like bike lanes and signage aren’t an automatic part of the transportation landscape – someone has to care enough to do it, and do it right. So that’s why I was looking forward to the official kick-off of the 2010 Taiwan Cycling Festival. Not only would I get a chance to chat with Taiwan’s top transportation and tourism officials, but I’d learn just how much they’re putting into making Taiwan a cyclist-friendly place. As a result, I’ve got a short summary of the main projects being funded by a four-year US$25 million commitment from Taiwan’s government. Future pieces will touch on how these efforts translate on the ground, but I think it’s worth checking out the goals that they’ve set for themselves.
For those of us who live in the US, the hardest part of any trip to Taiwan isn’t just the the long flight there – but also settling in to Taiwan’s rhythms once we arrive. Coming from DC, it was a 12 hour shift for me. Unlike some trips, where it’s not unreasonable to ride the same day you arrive, Taiwan demands a bit of a transition, which is what I talk about in this post at Blacknell.net. It’s a photo illustration of our arrival in Taipei and flight out to Taitung, where the riding begins. It’s also, on the other side of the break, a quick introduction to the others on the trip:
That plan for daily updates while I was in Taiwan didn’t work out so well, did it? In fact, I should probably introduce myself again. Here. Truly, the schedule was crazy. It started early every day, and was packed with rides, visits, and travels. All seemingly designed to ensure that we were mere minutes away from sleep the moment we checked into the night’s hotel (which was a shame, as we enjoyed some spectacular accommodations). (more…)
After a couple nights of adjustment (not that any of us feel adjusted, I think), and an opening ceremony I’ll post a little more about later, we finally got a chance to do what we came here for – ride. I took an unplanned dip into a river yesterday, camera in pocket, so I’m sans ride photos for the moment. But I’m sure that my excellent co-contributor – Beverly Garrity of Strong, Light, and Beautiful – will be along shortly to help illustrate the afternoon.
Made it into Taipei last night, and after a 14 hour flight here, I didn’t have enough cogency to put the words in order. I did, however, have the energy for a bit of a walk. Today’s agenda includes a brief look at Taipei (more time for that later), a flight to Taitung*, and a bit of recreation.**
But mostly, I want to ride my bicycle.
*Airport code “TTT”. Alas, I was hoping for a team time trial. I’d make Bev drag us all to the finish.
**and also, waiting for my soul to catch up.
Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll occasionally see a new byline here – mine. I’m Mark Blacknell, and with Richard’s assistance (and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s support), I’m off to Taiwan to check out its road cycling. This will be something like the trip that Richard took last year, but since I bring a fresh pair of eyes (and legs), I hope you’ll find my take on cycling in Taiwan worth your time. Hit the jump for links to my first few of posts on the trip, and a little bit about me.
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