Bicycle Touring Across Taiwan | WRAPTIE

Bicycle Touring Across Taiwan

by Mark Blackburn May 17, 2022

Taiwan is a small island that sits at the junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Perhaps better known for it's proximity to China, this island also has one of the best kept secrets in the cycling world. 


The Ride of a Lifetime

Timing can be crucial in Taiwan as winter can be very wet and cold on the high mountains and summer brings typhoons and heat. So, we decided on April 2022 and headed out on an epic 857km ride, which included over 16,000m of elevation across 8 days.


 The north of Taiwan, close to Taipei, sits at 25deg N. Our route was to finish in Kenting in the south of the island at 20 degs N and inside the tropic of cancer.  

We would ride for more than 6 hours every day starting at the coast, through temperate then eventually tropical rain forests. We would climb into the alpine regions and top out at 3330m on the famous Wuling pass. Not to mention the miles upon miles of farm lands (Especially cabbages?) we would encounter as we worked our way down the hilliest little island you will ever visit.



Planning any multi-day bikepacking tour can be a challenge and the first decision was to camp or not. Fortunately for us Taiwan is quite small (400km long) but with quite a sizeable population of 24 million people. This means finding hotels at convenient locations should be easy to do. 

Without any camping equipment required all that was needed was a change of clothes for the evening, first aid kit, tool kit and some warm cltohes for the mountains - I managed to fit all of this in a lightweight seat bag (I use the Topeak Backloader) which I stopped from swinging around by securing with some WRAPTIE™ straps

I also had an additional backpac with a water bladder and wet weather gear. 

Total weight 5 kg (not including water). Not bad!


The Route

Starting from the very northern tip of Taiwan, close to Taipei at the Laomei lighthouse, the route would take us due South to the southern most tip, a lighthouse near Kenting.

The N-S route is usually done following the coast roads (much flatter) but we would be heading right down the middle and straight along the island's central mountain range, the highest of which is Jade mountain at 3952m. 

This wasn't a route for beginners, each day typically around 100km with 2000m+ of steep climbing. Our biggest day being in the high mountains, 140km and over 3000m as we summited the infamous Wuling pass (3275m). This is the finish line for the Taiwan KOM.


Day 1 from the start we head due south, through the famous city of Taipei and into the Xushan mountain range, the first of many we would pass through. 

The next 3 days we remain above 1000m high as we cycled up through some of the most incredible mountain passes you will find.


As we rode in the mountains, not only did the scenario change but so too did the people. The Taiwan indigenous peoples tend to live in these regions having been driven out of the coastal areas by the Japanese imperialists in colonial times. As a result, you get the strange feeling of being in a completely different country.


One of the many highlights of travelling in Taiwan is the food. The high-mountains are no exception as this is where most of the food is grown and is fresh and tasty. Chinese style is mainly what is on offer but there is no shortage of local delicacies as you go - Think Shabu Shabu (Hotpot), BBQ chicken, mountain pig (猪山 - Wild boar) and fresh stir fried veggies. Perfect for replenishing lost calories. 

In addition to the excellent restaurants, Taiwan is famous for convenience stores, especially 7-Eleven. This meant that we were never really more than a couple of hours away from being able to grab a coffee or banana or just to stand inside the sub-zero air conditioned stores when we needed refreshments.


The Challenge

There is no doubt that this is a tough route full of 3000m+ summits, 25% inclines, hours and hours of uphill slogs. 


 But the reward is the spectacular beauty of it all. The mountain roads are quiet and well maintained. The views are out of this world. The local people friendly and amazed to find you attempting a ride like this. 

Perhaps best of all, we combined the trip as a fund raiser and ended up collecting more then GBP11,000 for anti-bully charity Power of Zero.

The perfect trip? Probably.

For more details on the Bike Straps that we used check out WRAPTIE™ Multi-function tie straps.

Mark Blackburn
Mark Blackburn


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