Let’s bike, Taiwan!
By Joe Meny
Organized by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, the Taiwan Cyclist Federation, the Taiwan Bicycle Association, and the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration, the 2016 Taiwan Cycling Festival will be held starting from now, and ending on Sunday, November 13, 2016.
When it comes to the competitive Taiwan KOM Challenge held on October 28, participants will climb from altitude zero at Qixingtan in Hualien to 3,275 meters at Hehuan Mountain. The route includes a great variety of amazing scenery, making this a unique extreme cycling challenge. These sports activities not only challenge one’s stamina but also one’s strength. The second main activity, “Formosa 900,” welcomes all cycling groups to join a cycling marathon, no matter the types of bicycles that they ride. Other than the well-known round-the-island cycling event held from November 5th to 13th this year, Formosa 900 will also take participants to Penghu between October 22nd and 30th. If you are not a professional cyclist, not to worry…you can take part in the Sun Moon Lake Come! Bikeday tour held on November 13th. In this tour, you need to ride only about 30 km in a day. Alternatively, you can join a visitor or fan group for a trip and just enjoy the game.
Formosa 900 is one of the main events of the Taiwan Cycling Festival, and is a round-island tour by several teams launching from different cities. Formosa 900 will take place from Saturday, October 22, to Sunday, October 30th – signed up by individuals, and Wednesday, November 5th to Sunday, November 13th – signed up by companies. In the Formosa 900, each team is required to ride 900 kilometers in 9 days. Once a cyclist is back at the starting point, a certificate of cycling island will be awarded to the team members who have now completed the challenge.
Both domestic and foreign cyclists are welcome and encouraged to register for the event. Other groups are formed by enterprises or entities. The organizer of the event is the Taiwan Bicycle Association.
During the annual Taiwan Cycling Festival, cycling groups travel around the Island every day to appreciate the beautiful scenery along the way. The event integrates the hotel and food industries, local snack bars, and joint railway and bike rides to generate stories and discussions. While cycling through Eastern Taiwan, cyclists may be provided with highlight tours recommended by the Bureau, which promotes Eastern Taiwan as a popular destination for cycling tours.
All participating groups cycle around Taiwan, except for Penghu Rider Tour Group.
The Taiwan KOM Challenge
Riding up to Wuling, Hehuan Mountain from Qixingtan, Hualien via Taroko Gorge to challenge one of the world’s most unique 105 km biking routes from 0m sea level to 3275m above sea level.
Featuring a magnificent seascape and Taroko Gorge, this “unprecedented and amazing“ route climbs from 0 to 3,275 meters above sea level, for a total route length of about 105 kilometers. It takes adventure to a whole new level and presents the unique charm of Taiwan to the whole world. Both internationally renowned mountain-bikers and top female cyclists from around the world will be invited to compete with domestic and high caliber foreign cyclists in the Taiwan KOM Challenge. Total entrant quota: 600 people (including 300 foreign competitors).
The route climbs from 0 to 3,275 meters above sea level for a total route length of about 105 kilometers. The main attractions of this challenge are the internationally renowned natural landscape of Taroko Gorge, and the super long-distance climb stretching 105 km to the top of Hehuan Mountain. World-renowned cyclists will be invited to participate in the event, and top female cyclists will also be invited to experience the beauty of Taiwan. Climbing from 0m sea level to 3,275m above sea level for an epic 87 km of continuous ascent, this route is rare in the world of cycling. The prize for the successful completion of this challenge is 1 million Taiwan New dollars.
Sun Moon Lake “Come! Bikeday”
This “Bikeday” event combines the classic biking trend, carnival events, and a cycling route around Sun Moon Lake. Both domestic and foreign professional riders and family travelers are invited to visit Sun Moon Lake to experience the landscape of one of the world’s top ten most beautiful bike paths.
The Sun Moon Lake, located in the middle of Taiwan, with an elevation of 748 meters above sea level, is the only natural big lake in Taiwan. The southern part of Lalu Island is shaped like a new moon, and the northern part is shaped like a sun; hence the name Sun Moon Lake. Some of the most famous sights around Sun Moon Lake are the Itashao, Lalu Island, the Xuanzang Temple, the Ci-en Pagoda, and the Wenwu Temple and so on. The natural forests bordering these roads are good places for bird watching. There are a lot of birds that live on the mid-elevation, such as the Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, Grap-throated Minivet, Formosan Yuhina, Gray Tree Pie, Bamboo Partridge, Chinese Bulbul, Muller’s Barbet, and the Black Bulbul.
Colonies of Black-crowned Night herons and Egretta garzettas , and birds such as the common kingfisher and the Green-winged Teal can be seen at the Dazhuhu water reservation, situated around the water gate. Besides these birds, fish, insects and wild vegetables are flourishing in the region as well. These are all natural resources of the Sun Moon Lake region.
Ita Thao is the earliest clan that lived in the Sun Moon Lake region. The Harvest Festival, Sowing Festival and their special handicraft fair every year, as well as their articles have helped to preserve the particular culture of the Sun Moon Lake region.