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Thursday, November 22, 2012

London Blogging: ibikelondon Looks At Taiwan Cycling

In the lead-up to Taiwan's annual International Bike Festival, a group of bloggers were invited to Taiwan for a guided tour of our local bicycle culture. As a PR move this can be a risky and expensive overture in expanding the world's awareness of Taiwan. Once the blogger has been feted and fed around Taiwan, and no doubt presented with as pretty a picture as a local guide can paint, he is then left to write a piece to best convey his experiences to a target audience.

I have read a number of these pieces and, they often either follow a set of talking points and the limited experiences of the writer's brief, and manicured stay... or they don't manifest themselves into much more than a few tagged snapshots sandwiched between action shots from the ongoing cyclocross season.

Therefore, I am really pleased to use this space on my blog to highlight one of the first and few writers who has done an excellent and thoughtful job in presenting his trip in a balanced and nuanced fashion.

Mark Ames, on his ibikelondon blog, presents his experience visiting Taiwan in a number of well written articles paired with some wonderful photography. It is really worth a look. The pictures are spectacular.

Check out this blog and please be sure to comment.


Tips For Visiting Taiwan

Where Does Your Bicycle Come From

Taipei's Best Ride

The Bicycle Kingdom

Bike Trails

Here is a taste:
The Bicycle Kingdom label makes sense; some of the world’s biggest bicycle manufacturing companies call Taiwan home.  At some stage in your cycling life it’s almost guaranteed you’ve sat astride a frame bearing the “Made in Taiwan” stamp.  But the accusation that the people of Taiwan make bicycles but never ride them clearly smarts; throughout my travels across the island I met people – from top industry executives to children learning to ride – with an infectious passion for cycling. 

The country’s capital, Taipei, is a tangle of towers, rivers and elevated highways.  Double – and sometimes triple – deck expressways have helped to induce massive car ownership rates in recent years, creating congestion and air pollution problems to rival any other major Asian city. But down at street level I still found drivers to be courteous and patient if you’re used to riding with more aggressive Western urban traffic, though getting along with Taipei’s many millions of motor scooter users is a unique challenge in itself.