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Exploring Taiwan on Two Wheels

Exploring Taiwan on Two Wheels on a You Bike

Exploring Taiwan on Two Wheels: While hiking is my preferred hobby, I do occasionally cycle and I know that Taiwan is a paradise for cyclists. So today let’s talk about cycling.

Practicalities

First of all, if you don’t have your own bike then don’t let that stop you! You can use a YouBike. You register for the YouBike system at a kiosk or via the app and then you can use your EasyCard to pick up a bike. The advantage of a YouBike is that it opens up one-way trips, so if you run out of steam or change your plans you can easily park the bike and take the MRT or bus home. Alternatively, rent a bike for a day, a week, or a month depending on your plans.

Exploring Taiwan on Two Wheels with the Taipei Slow Cyclists

Riverside Riding – Exploring Taiwan on Two Wheels 

I personally only enjoy cycling on the flat. To me it’s much easier to climb a hill with two legs rather than put in triple the effort to reach the top on two wheels! However, around Taipei, that’s not a problem. You can cycle from Xizhi to Tamsui and Xindian to Bali on a cycle path next to the river which is both car and hill free. You can people-watch all the speedy cyclists and runners out exercising, the different sports taking place, not to mention the families messing about on the grass. It’s also a good place to enjoy nature as many birds loiter at the river’s edge and sometimes you see turtles sunning themselves on the rocks. 

The Taipei government has two websites with maps of river rides that are perfect for  people looking for easy rides. 

https://www.travel.taipei/en/must-visit/riverside-bikeway#bikeway-1

https://www.travel.taipei/Content/images/static/information/taipei_cycling-map1_en.pdf

Here are a few of my suggestions with approximate distance and suggested cycle time – add more time for sightseeing.

Guandu to Bali – 16km; 1.5 hours

This is one of my favorites. You can start anywhere but my suggestion would be Hongshulin MRT station and then you cycle along the river to the Guandu Nature park which is a wetland full of mangroves, egrets and herons. From there, you return over Guandu bridge to take the left bank path to Bali. If you are using a YouBike you can leave the bike there and return to Tamsui by ferry so you enjoy the complete river experience. 

Guandu to Muzha – 40km; 3 hours

As a hiker, I’ve done the Grand Trail a few times and this is the one cycle section. From Guandu, you cycle down to Shezi bridge where you cross over to the left bank of the Keelung river and cycle to the point at Shezi Datou Park. You then cycle along the right bank of Tamsui river past Dadoacheng Wharf and the Taipei City Hakka Cultural Park, before taking the left fork to follow the river past Jingmei to Muzha. If you go one way, then you could visit the zoo or take the cable car up to Maokong to enjoy the sunset before heading home.

Xinpu to Yingge Loop – 35km; 3 hours 

If you want to head further out of Taipei, then enjoy a loop to Yingge. From Xinpu MRT, you cycle south along the left bank after checking out the art in Jiangzicui Park, cross over at Guanyan Bridge (新月橋) and return along the right bank checking out Lujiao Creek wetlands and Sanying Art Village along the way. If you have time, stop in Yingge to browse the ceramic shops or have a go at making your own pottery. 

North Coast: Fulong to Sandiao Cape – 20km; 1.5 hours

This is an excellent family cycling route. You can rent bikes at Fulong to enjoy the easy two-hour loop. It takes you along the coast so you have beautiful views of the sea and Turtle island just off the coast of Yilan then you can return via the old Caoling railway tunnel. It’s short enough to allow you plenty of time for a dip in the sea at Fulong beach before heading home.

East of Taipei: Mudan to Houtong – 15km; 1 hour

If you take the train to Mudan you can go through the old railway tunnel which comes out at Sandiaoling (there is a Ubike station at Mudan). From there you can continue on to Houtong and Ruifang along a small road next to the river. Sandiaoling has a couple of cafes while at Houtong, otherwise known as cat village, you can visit the old mine or count the cats while drinking a cat cappuccino. Just be aware that at weekends you may need to reserve a ticket for Mudan tunnel and if it’s very busy you’ll need to walk your bike through the tunnel.

Hill Cycling – Exploring Taiwan on Two Wheels

For cyclists with their own bike who require more of a challenge there are a myriad of other options. My husband, Miguel, loves cycling around Yangmingshan which offers many circuits such as Tianmu to Jingshan or the very strenuous Buddha’s Hand. Joining a cycling group is a good way to find out about different routes and meet fellow cyclists and in Taipei there are plenty to choose from. The Taipei Slow Cyclists is a popular one for non-Mandarin speakers, although I don’t think they’re that slow! Lutetia Riders is another one and you can find them both on Strava. A word of warning though, these groups set off at the crack of dawn; weekend rides often start at 5am and 6am is considered a late start. 

Fenggui Zui – 20-25 km

Fenggui Zui is a famous road for cyclists as it offers a challenging climb. You can start from the National Palace Museum or Dazhi depending on which side of the city you are coming from. From the NPM you cycle along Zhishan Road until you reach Fenglin Bridge where you turn right to start the steep uphill climb to Fenggui Zui. From Jiannan Road MRT station you cycle up Jiannan road and then turn right onto Zhishan Road to head towards Fenglin Bridge. Either way, you’ll need to take a breather when you reach the top and be sure to enjoy the view to make the effort worthwhile.

Muzha to Maokong Loop – 13km 

For people who live in the south of Taipei this circuit provides a good test for your legs. Starting near National Chengchi University, you cycle up Zhinan Road, Section 3 turning right at Caonan Bridge to head towards Maokong where you reach the cable car station. However, after the steep climb, you can take a well-deserved rest in any of the cafes before heading down via Lane 34 of Zhinan Road.

So, if you’re looking to explore the area and cover more kilometers than just your legs will allow, hop on a bicycle and off you go. Happy cycling and exploring Taiwan on two wheels!

Lucy Torres

By Lucy Torres

Lucy Torres is the Programs Manager at The Center and enjoys organising different activities and events that cover topics from Taiwanese culture to environmental awareness.

Photo credit: Lucy Torres. Taipei Slow Cyclists.

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