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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MOTC Launches Bicycle Route Advisory App: It is yours for free... if you can find it.

Wanda Reservoir  

Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications has, apparently, launched a new web service, including a mobile app. to help cyclists better navigate their way around Taiwan. The service is in Chinese and English. 
The app, prepared by the Directorate General of Highways under MOTC, aims to serve people interested in a biking tour of the Fulung- Toucheng section of Highway 2, Taroko-Wuling section of Highway 8 and Highway 14-A, Xindian-Wulai section of Highway 9-A, Taitung-Changpin section of Highway 11, Puli-Wuling section of Highway 14 and Highway 14-A, and Chukou-Alishan section of Highway 18.
The service also includes information on hill gradients, lodging, restaurants and services along Taiwan's six busiest cycling routes. 

The app. is all yours... if you can find it.  

As this writer has experienced, the service and mobile app. is elusive and does not appear in the MOTC press release or the residual media reports. 

If anyone can find this service, please direct me to it and I will update this post. 

Focus Taiwan

Want Want China Times

Taiwan News

MOTC Website

It may or may not be related to the Inno-Biker app. from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.  

Or it may be related to the Institute of Transportation's GoBiker app. with was released in 2012. The Institute of Transportation under the MOTC seems to be an extra bureaucratic layer meant to duplicate, confuse and mis/redirect web inquiries. The MOTC and IOT sites are not linked, but seem to fall under the same authority. 

I'm glad they are making it easy on us. 

Oh... Taiwan Information Technology Specialists... What would we ever do without you?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Chinese Manufacturers Eat Merida's Lunch

Changhua Wetlands
Bike Europe is reporting that Merida's profits have declined compared to last year. 

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a reporter from Bike Europe during Taipei Cycle as we amiably sparred over the prospect of Chinese manufacturers edging out Taiwanese companies for both design and production. 

The reporter seemed to doubt that China would ever displace Taiwanese manufacturers as he felt they had done a very good job holding onto sensitive data and processes that enabled the Taiwanese firms to merely exploit cheaper Chinese labor without losing any advantage. I was doubtful. I always revisit the great debate over silicon wafer manufacturing in China from 2002, when Taiwanese firms and economists alike declared that there would be no leakage of sensitive technology to China through Taiwanese operations in that country. We see how that all worked out. 

We then saw the world rally around ECFA, the trade agreement signed between Taiwan and China with the aim, as Fortune mentions, to "end Taiwan's economic isolation." Regardless of Taiwan's decades of deep supply side economic ties to the United States, Japan and Europe. 

Giant's Tony Lo was an early champion of ECFA as evidenced in this Taipei Times article:
Anthony Lo (羅祥安), chief executive officer of local bicycle maker Giant Global Group (巨大集團), said the government needs to establish a vision.
“What Taiwanese enterprises want to see is the government striving to help businesses build unique brands that can provide innovative products and services,” Lo said on the sidelines of the forum.
Lo said Taiwan needs to integrate into regional markets as soon as possible so local firms can enjoy the trading privileges that other nation’s companies do, such as tariff exemptions.
“The markets are changing so fast that the rules have been reset, and if we don’t catch up, it is going to be harder for us to hold our own in the global market,” he added.
If anyone would like a little more spice with your shock doctrine, you can also read up on the threat to Taiwan without signing the Cross-Strait Services Agreement, a non-procedural agreement that was illegally passed, then assailed by the Sunflower Movement

Despite the promises of greater exports to China and increased sales of Taiwanese goods to the billions in need of a toothbrush, The View from Taiwan points out how ECFA has not improved Taiwanese exports vs. Chinese imports. 

Ho hum....

So what was the cause of Merida's profit troubles
JPMorgan Securities Ltd. reported in the Taipei Times that, “A lack of fundamental improvement in the outlook of its Chinese business remains the biggest structural issue facing Merida Industry Co.” Given Merida’s continued weakness in business in China amid intensifying competition with Chinese manufacturers, JPMorgan foresees a 7 percent increase in turnover this year. 
Last year Merida officially opened a new Chinese factory with an annual capacity of 2 million units making it the number two premium bike manufacturer in the world.
Moreover, the Chinese sport and leisure bicycle business has failed to materialize in all its glory due to pollution and a preference for alternative forms of superficial prestige. Even the Tour of Beijing, which was to serve as a major marketing tool for high-end/high margin bicycles in China has been shelved due to concerns regarding sponsorship, organization and China's notoriously toxic smog
Lots of bike industry eggs in this one basket. 

Maybe the next administration will discover a regional friend with mutual interests.... Oh, hello Philippines!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Taiwan Tourism Bureau Wants YOU to Boat, Bike and Run: East Coast Rafting Triathlon

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is looking for some foreigners to join the annual East Coast Rafting Triathlon & is offering 40 slots with FREE TRANSPORT, HOTEL & RACE ENTRY!
Race Date: Sun June 21. Travel down on Sat June 20
Discipline: Rafting 10km plus, Run 10-12km, Bike 40km
(2015 event details yet to be published. Last years 2014 info here -
In teams of 6-8 for the rafting portion then running + biking on your own
To join please send the following ASAP to Carrier Ho:
1. Scanned copy of your ID showing name, nationality, DOB, ID no
2. Your mobile contact number & email

Monday, April 20, 2015

Taiwan Cycling and Air Quality: A Tragedy of Commons

Taiwan Air Quality
This past weekend presented some great riding opportunities. The rain held off long enough for some people to brave Taiwan's notoriously unpredictable traffic. But maybe the wet roads and automobiles will not be what eventually kills off the Taiwanese cyclist. It may be something even more insidious and unavoidable. We may be felled by the air we breathe.

Over the weekend the pollutants on the 2.5 PM scale, or particles under 2.5 million micrometers in size, reached unhealthy levels measuring 154 micrograms per cubic meter or air from Taichung through Miaoli County. Later in the day the index in the Puli basin peaked well above 350mcg/m3. This is not and will not be the first time.  

According to the Taiwan Healthy Air Alliance, the poorest air quality can be found in Yunlin's Mailiao Township, and in Nantou County's Puli Township. This is mostly due to the coal-fire power plant and the massive Formosa Plastics complex in Mailiao and Puli's natural basin trapping the air from the Nantou industrial area and the Dalin coal-fired power plant. With Puli being the gateway to Sun Moon Lake and several major tourist attractions and national parks, the government has been slow to take action. 

Taiwan Air Quality 4/18/2015

Taiwan's air pollution is not merely the problem of individual localities and townships. This is a tragedy of commons. 

1. Taiwan can partially blame the poor air quality on the winter monsoon that sweeps China's industrial and natural air pollution across Taiwan during the winter months. In recent years deforestation and  environmental degradation in western China has led to an increase in seasonal sand storms that blow across Asia from the Gobi Desert. 

2. China can not be blamed for all of Taiwan's poor air quality. Taiwan draws much of its electrical power from six coal-fired power plants. Taichung's coal-fired power plant is the largest in the world and the world's largest single source of carbon-dioxide emissions with over 40million tons of CO2 emissions annually (more than the entire nation of Sweden emits annually). Five of the six coal-fired power plants are located along Taiwan's densely populated western plain shifting the dispersal of emissions lengthwise over most of Taiwan's population. The sixth is located in Hualien, one of the mainstays of Taiwan's eco-tourism push. 

3. Traffic emissions have gotten worse as more Taiwanese take to the roads on weekdays in order to arrive at their jobs that are moving further away from affordable housing on a Taiwanese salary. 

4. Another major source of Taiwan's air pollution is, in part, natural. Taiwan's soil is mostly loose clay pushed out of the seabed and as a narrow, steep island, Taiwan fails to retain much of its water runoff, leaving vast, dry stream beds. During periods of high winds, fine particles of dust billow up out of the dry stream beds and fill the air with dust. This is a phenomenon that had been observed as early as the 19th Century, so it is not the result of more recent industrialization. 

Still, I say the phenomenon is "in part" natural, as manmade factors also help to contribute to the problem. Like many other places worldwide, human initiated climate change has resulted in the increasing severity of seasonal drought with development and deforestation leading to greater erosion on hillsides and riverbeds leaving more land exposed to high winds. Moreover, much of Taiwan's topsoil is contaminated from agricultural and industrial toxins that can become airborne with loose soil. Heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, and lead can be blown from the soil to mix with carbon-dioxide, carbon-monoxide, nitrogen-oxide sulphur-dioxide...the last three being the major pollutants from cement manufacturing... a mainstay in Taiwan's ubiquitous construction industrial complex. 

It is not difficult to see why this writer is incredulous in the face of vast government expenditures on leisure cycling when the government's plans will only encourage residents to go from the basketball court, swimming pool or badminton court to a bicycle lane. A leisure cycling path does little to curb emissions from where they are generated. It is simply politicians playing the all too cynical game of Three Card Monte with public funds.

Do the positives of cycling outweigh the negatives of breathing pollution? it turns out, face another peril: pollution. New research has found that bicycle commuters inhale twice the amount of black carbon particles as pedestrians. Inhalation of such gunk (aka soot) is associated with reduced lung function and even heart attacks.
The researchers, led by Professor Jonathan Grigg from Barts and the London School of Medicine, compared carbon levels in the lungs of five healthy bicycle commuters those of five healthy pedestrian commuters. The bicyclists had 2.3 times more of the bad stuff in their lungs. Presumably, the cyclists' heavy breathing -- all that good aerobic stuff -- is responsible for the increased presence of black carbon.
So, as cyclists in Taiwan where do we go? 

1. Taiwan could be entirely run on renewables. We have the engineering and infrastructure available to devote toward energy independence without the nuclear option. We do not have the political will to challenge Tai-Power. Renewables do not have the same patronage potential of the massive, centralized "power plant" that requires mountains of concrete and billions of dollars of rigged bids. One friend who worked for the Number 4 Nuclear Power Plant has confided that it was impossible to work on the facility without being compromised by corruption. Thus, he quit. Wind farms and solar arrays do not provide the "necessary" structural requirements that conceal the flow of expenditures. 

2. Taiwan needs to cooperate with other Asian nations to find multilateral support to help curb Chinese pollution in general. Moreover, Taiwanese companies need to avoid using China as a toxic dump by proxy as Taiwanese firms have invested in Chinese manufacturing, the pollution is coming home to roost. 

3. Higher wages, lower housing prices, better integration between pedestrian, bicycle and mass transit including urban bike lanes and bike racks on busses would be a great start for the commute. 

4. Increased efforts to both clean and eliminate industrial waste in the soil would be a great start. 

As we saw with the Kuokuang Petrochemical Complex in Changhua, awareness and activism can, sometimes, beat corporate interests and Taiwan's colonial economy. 

Until some major changes are implemented, we, as cyclists in Taiwan, must head out onto the roads with the understanding that we are being poisoned.

Taiwan will not be able to tout its bicycle tourism until Taiwan is finally breathable.


Taiwan Air Pollution Index: Real Time Tracking

Monitor Air Pollution app

Taiwan's Air Pollution Rank Worldwide

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Feng Chun-kai: Cycling's Orphan of Asia


As I followed the 2015 edition of the Paris-Roubaix cycling race, I kept an eye or for Team Lampre-Merida as they had sent Taiwan native, Feng Chun-kai, to help his team battle it out over the rough chiseled cobbles of the legendary cycling monument.

Luck wasn't about to crack a smile on Feng or his Lampre teammates as a crash after 100k essentially swept them from the competition. Team captain, Filippo Pozzato managed to scrounge a middling 65th place with his entire support crew decimated in the early action.

When asked about his historic appearance as the first Taiwanese to ride Paris-Roubaix, Feng had the following to say:
"This has been an outstanding experience for me and I'm very honoured to have received the opportunity to race the Paris-Roubaix," Feng explained. I learnt that in this race the most important things are experience, form and a little bit of luck. I'm not in top shape because of a contusion to my knee that I suffered in a crash in the Tour of Taiwan, I approached the early cobbled sectors in the rear part of the bunch and so I had to stop or to run in the fields in order to overtake the riders who had crashed.

"I could not achieve the goal of reaching Roubaix, but I'd like to take part in the race again in the future in a better form in order to try do obtain a better result. I learnt a lot from my team mates and the sport directors of the team."--Cycling Quotes
As I searched for the team results I noticed something that may very well be all too familiar to the Taiwanese athlete.

There was a complete inconsistency in how Feng was represented compared to his teammates, and this inconsistency provides a revealing look at the indignities faced by not only Taiwanese athletes, but Taiwanese in general, are faced with at the international level.

A few examples:

The first comes from the most popular website to provide information and coverage of the Paris-Roubaix. Feng's nationality is designated as "Chinese Taipei", or the abbreviation TPE. He is not provided with a national flag. This may simply be due to the oversight of the webmaster or Feng's late addition to the P-R squad. Portugal's Nelson Oliveira is also missing his basic information. There may have been some confusion as to which flag to use. The designator of Chinese Taipei was a concession made to placate China when Taiwan sought to resume its participation in the Olympic Games. Of course, Taiwan is NOT Chinese and Taipei is merely a metropolitan area within Taiwan.


The next example comes from the Paris-Rubaix results page from Pro Cycling Stats. For Feng's designator of nationality they use the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This is consistent with the flag that is commonly used for Taiwan. The flag is really that of the Republic of China, which was a state founded in China in 1912, during Taiwan's 17th year as a Japanese colony. When the R.O.C. government representatives arrived in Taiwan following Japan's surrender in WWII, they brought with them the R.O.C. flag and four years later the R.O.C. government arrived wholesale. Japan retained legal sovereignty over Taiwan until 1951, when, under the Treaty of Peace between Japan and the Allies, Japan relinquished its sovereignty over Taiwan, but failed to transfer sovereignty to another state. The matter remains, legally, unresolved.

In the meantime, the R.O.C. government under the Kuomintang (KMT) authoritarian one-party-state, attempted to represent Taiwan as either Free China, Chinese Formosa, or The Republic of China on Taiwan as the KMT unsuccessfully attempted to claim representation over the whole of China. The R.O.C.'s/KMT's symbols and ideology were promoted by KMT party officialdom as representative of Taiwan while the majority of Taiwanese were denied any voice in their own representation.

Since the end of martial law in 1988, many of the symbols of the KMT party state have been reconfigured to represent Taiwan and ONLY Taiwan. The R.O.C. flag is one of these symbols.

In the results posted by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) The official governing body of professional bicycle racing, a private organization that administers and oversees (or chooses not to oversee) international bicycle competiton and regulation as all as informing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the format standardized competition, Feng is listed again as TPE or "Chinese Taipei". This makes sense as the UCI is trying to conform to the IOC guidelines for Taiwan's participation in the Olympic Games. It may not be ideal, but it is the title Taiwan's government has agreed to use for its participation.

According to the UCI Constitution:

Article 3
The UCI will carry out its activities in compliance with the principles of:
a) equality between all the members and all the athletes, licence-holders and officials, without racial, political, religious, or other discrimination;b) non-interference in the internal affairs of affiliated federations;c) compliance with the Olympic Charter in everything to do with the participation of cyclists in the Olympic Games;
d) the non-profit-making purpose: the financial resources shall be used only to pursue the purposes set forth in this Constitution. UCI members have no rights thereto. 

Lastly, from the report posted by Cycling News, a widely read cycling news translation and link website, we see Feng has become Chinese. Is this intentional pressure? Is this the result of sloppy or ignorant reporting? We will probably never really know. I wrote to the media group responsible for the website for a clarification, but have yet to receive a reply.

It is hard to entirely blame the international media for the laziness or confusion as Taiwan's international access was controlled by KMT party apparatchiks for decades with the propagandist aim of convincing the world to nuke the Chinese and return the KMT to power. These were not dreams shared by most Taiwanese, but rather the view of a tiny minority at the very top of a Leninist party state.

The result has been a confused message both internationally and domestically in Taiwan where Taiwanese have been both encouraged and discouraged from showing support for their athletes and how that support is shown.

Taiwan Matters has an old post with a great collection of official reactions and commentary of Taiwan's display of the ROC flag.

Every major poll shows most Taiwanese people identify themselves as exclusively Taiwanese. With young people who did not grow up under martial law the phenomenon is even more pronounced. A recent poll put the figure for an exclusive Taiwanese identity at 90%.

It is about time Taiwan's athletes receive the same dignity as other competitors. If we return to Article 3a. in the UCI Constitution
a) equality between all the members and all the athletes, licence-holders and officials, without racial, political, religious, or other discrimination;
It raises questions whether the current formula for Taiwan's participation respects this clause.

It is apparent from the press releases from Feng's Lampre-Merida team (with Merida being a Taiwan based sponsor) that Feng is clearly claimed by Taiwan. 

Team LAMPRE-MERIDA is once again proud to be pioneer in the expansion of the cycling boundary, considering that it has signed the first Taiwanese rider ever in its hostory: in 2015, Chun Kai Fei will be the first Taiwanese to take part in the World Tour circuit.
Born in 1988 in Qing’an Village, Feng is very popular in Taiwan, a Country whose cycling industry is at the top of thw world production.
Thanks to the cycling successes he achieved, Feng is the leading figure of the Taiwanese cycling movement: in 2007, when he was very young, he became Asian champion of the points race on track; in 2010 he became pro, collecting during his career three national road title (2010-2011-2013), one national time trial title (2013), one stage in Tour of Thailand in 2012 and the gold medal in the 10 km scratch.
The deal for the passage of Chun Kai Feng in the blue-fuchsia-green team has been made official in a press conference in Taiwan, where the rider was introduced by William Jeng, Merida Bikes company’s senior vice president.
LAMPRE-MERIDA decided to give this opportunity of improvement to an athlete that is considered to be ready to face the challenge of the elite of cycling, endorsing the Asian cycling movement that in the next years will become more and more important for the cycling world.
We consider Chun Kai Feng owns the skills and the fighting spirit to demonstrate that the Taiwanese cycling has come to a level that gives the opportunity to his leading figure to debut in the World Tour – team manager Copeland explained – The first part of the season will be important for him for getting settled and to adapt himself to the language and the European culture: our team’s members are very warm and accepting people, so Feng will have no problem in receiving the necessary support by everybody in the team, especially by the most experienced cyclists.During the first half of the year we’ll complete the evaluation of his skills and we’ll give him the support for what concerns the training programs, aiming to set a race planning that will give Feng the opportunity to exploit in the best way his qualities during the second part of the season  

The math is really simple... Taiwan is Taiwan.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Taichung Mountain Bike Resource


I have been desperate for more local info on the mountain biking scene in Taiwan and there is not a whole lot available. Those who are in the know are a bit secretive about MTB trails, but they are also quite rare.

Taiwan is narrow and very steep. It makes MTB trails short. Many groups conduct their off-road adventures during the dry winters when the riverbeds dry up and turn into vast, rocky mountain biking highways. 

The Taipei based Fat Tire Association has quite a bit of information.

I have just been made aware of a knowledgeable resource for Taichung mountain biking. 

Iron Stable Bike Shop
Address: No.260, Guangcheng Ln., Neidong Rd., Houli Dist., Taichung City 421, Taiwan
TEL: 886-4-2557-5422
FAX: 886-4-2556-7528

Monday, April 13, 2015

Shiba Cycling Cafe: Get Your Fix With Your Fixie



On Sunday I dropped by for the grand opening of the Shiba Cycling Cafe. Although Shiba plays up the cafe part of the business, it is also a retail store specializing in fixed gear and city bikes.


Shiba is in Taichung's Nantun Dist. on Fuxing N. Rd. near the end of Jianguo Rd. The sign still hasn't been hung, but if you look at the base of a new development right off the designated bike lane, you can find it.

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Shiba's owner, 邵群濤 (Tony) is a congenial young man who is just starting out on his adventure of owning a small business. On the day of his grand opening he was a bit overwhelmed.

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Although the menu has not been printed yet, I am told they will be selling an assortment of coffee drinks using Taiwanese coffee beans.


I wish I could have stayed longer to get a better sense of what was going on, but the place was crowded and I was quickly becoming less of a person and more of a "foreigner".

I will have to come back another time to see how things are going with Tony.


If you are in the area and would like some coffee talk with your neon fixie, then drop by and see what Tony has to say.

Shiba Cafe: No.781, Fuxing N. Rd., South Dist., Taichung City 402, Taiwan
Tel: 0919 523 835


A Heavenly Sunday in Hell: Celebrating Paris-Roubaix Riding


The second Sunday in April is held by cyclists as one of the holiest days on the calendar as it is the day a few select riders face off against unpredictable weather, unstable roadway, each other and against Lady Luck on the rugged cobblestone tracks of the Paris-Roubaix. It is hard to miss an opportunity to straddle the bike on the second Sunday of April and mash through a long hard day to return with little more than a pained grimace for the effort. 

This Sunday in Hell was no different. Unfortunately, my best effort of the day could only be 30k of Taiwanese backroads on Taichung's very own Dadu Shan-- not exactly the best analog for the French/Belgian countryside.  


I uncharacteristically started with a climb up to the Tunghai (東海大學) campus for some coffee and then hit the "cobbles" of Art Street, where they used to serve the best coffee in Taichung before espresso drinks ever reached central Taiwan. 

I decided to explore those tiny lanes on the western side of Dadu Shan (大度山) to work in a few more local climbs for some quick fitness routes. It is not unreasonable to stitch together a formidable route of climbing without ever leaving Dadu Shan. You can flop over the ridge on multiple roads from top to bottom until the legs give. 


I skimmed the red clay sweet potato fields to Bang Wan Ln. A steep little sonofabitch that crests the hill over Shalu Township.  


I made a tiny adjustment and felt my long lost climbing power begin to return without the stamina to back it up. 


Frankly, it just felt great to be back out in the sunshine turning the pedals again. 

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The entire back side of Dadu Shan is one of those strange Taiwanese Bizarro worlds that exists in the margins between the metropolis and the countryside, where who knows what kind of political voodoo has allowed people to live, camp and conduct grey enterprises obscured from the outside.


When I reached the bottom of the hill, I climbed back up and really tried to cook it. After a little negotiation through a small neighbourhood, I was sliding back down the hill on some little "bike trail" that threw an occasional chop under the wheels. 


I was startled by a "train crossing" someone had rigged to the driveway of their cafe that is hooked up to a motion sensor. 

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The road eventually disappears under the cover of some low trees and bramble. It is a pretty well manicured road that seems maintained for the occasional cyclist. I think they had weekend leisure mountain bikes in mind when they designated it a "bike trail". 

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At the bottom I took the next road up. The road was as a freshly paved slick of black asphalt that rose back up toward the crest of the hill. 


I thought it looked interesting with Longyen trees and cactus covering the area. 


A couple shacks, a homeless encampment and the sound of passing cars from the freeway were about the only things to disrupt the feeling of drifting through the mountains. 

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As I climbed toward the summit, I was turned away by a sign warning me not to enter. I was passed by a Nissan Cefiro that disappeared around the corner and then came right back down the hill. I figured that whatever was up there was nasty enough to scare away a Cefiro driver and therefore must be something truly horrible beyond comprehension. I followed the Cefiro back down and tried the road next door. 


Aside from a little nasty, it wasn't a bad road....


...except it ended at the Taichung Metropolitan Park. There was a road marked on the GPS, which is in fact merely the area next to the fence above a deep ravine. It was completely unfit to ride, so I opted for more "cobbles" on the pathways of the park. 

The Bangwan Ln. Section of this route would make a great companion to some of the better known climbs over Dadu Shan. 

It made for a nice return to regular riding since January, so whatever it is, it made this Sunday in Hell a little more heavenly. 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Taiwanese Cyclist To Conquer The Cobbles: Feng Chun-kai and Lampre Merida in 2015 Paris Roubaix

There are few Asian cyclists who have managed to crack the professional peloton in either the cycling monuments or the grand tours. Fumiyukei Beppu from Japan has enjoyed some recognition for being the rare Asian face in a sport dominated by Europeans. We have seen China's Ji Cheng in some recent grand tours, but now Taiwan has its first representative in the Queen of the Classics. Feng Chun-kai will take on the Paris-Roubaix.

Feng has made a name for himself for picking apart the competition in the 2011 International Cycling Classic and has been a dominant force on the Asian continental circuit. This year the native of Miaoli, was picked up by the troubled Lampre-Merida cycling team as it attempts to reboot and recover from some sponsorship trouble.

Feng will likely ride in support of his team captain, but it will be great to see him out there in the grit on one of the most celebrated routes in cycling history.

Tune in Sunday, April 12 at 6:30pm. You can snag a feed here.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Beautiful Battle Damage: A Photo-Essay

After returning from a brief ride yesterday, I found I had forgotten my keys. It happens when you break with routine. I therefore had plenty of time to sit on a park bench and stare at my bike. I started to pay attention to all the time and detail some engineer spent trying to produce a functional piece of equipment to satisfy a number of criteria. It was absolutely fascinating. 

What was more fascinating was stepping back to appreciate the equipment with a healthy dose of use put into it-- to have been used for its intended purpose. 

All the hand worn rubber and crusty alloy...the grit that annoyingly works its way into every joint and lever... it all took on a sheen of time tested beauty. 

No, it is not a dirty bike. It is proudly displaying some battle damage. 

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