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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

BREAKING! Taiwan Tourism Bureau Infotisement Doesn't Suck.


The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has a paid cycling tourism infotisement in the latest volume of the Smithsonian Magazine.

Over the last two decades, Taiwan has transformed into a cyclist's paradise, opening thousands of kilometers of interwoven bikeways through some of the island's most beautiful landscapes. The extensive new network of routes has earned the country many accolades, including a spot on Lonely Planet's 2012 Best Countries to Visit list and CNN Travel's top "Cycling Routes That'll Take Your Breath Away," and for good reason. By bike, visitors can cruise past hillsides painted with colorful flower farms, marvel at the geology of Taroko Gorge's marble walls, follow old rail lines through retired mining tunnels, cross thrill-inducing suspension bridges and sample sweet pineapple cakes from local farm stands. 
The countless routes provide plenty of opportunities for individual exploration, but here are six of the most spectacular bikeways to fuel the imagination.
My biggest quibbles would be that Sun Moon Lake is not a route for cyclists, but for non-cyclists who want to hop on a bike for the first time in decades and follow the shore. It is an environment that, at least on weekends, is not suitable for regular cyclists. 

The other issues I might have would be inviting cyclists to jump into the streets of the Xinyi District with no knowledge of how Taiwan traffic functions, and the loop through a bunch of prefab buddhas and a brand new temple of concrete and rebar. For me, personally, it does nothing. Someone might be into those things. Bagua Shan can be great, but the Buddha they affixed to the site of the former Japanese Shinto Shrine is a bit of a contrivance. 

The Yuli Bikeway and the interior of the Rift Valley is exquisite. Taroko Gorge is also something a visiting cyclist should hope to see. Though Taroko is best visited early before the hordes of tourists and motor coach trains start up the gorge after 9:00am.

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