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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Politics of Cycling: Election Season Cycling and Other News

Election season is upon us once more, and Taiwan's president "Mayor" Ma Ying-jiu has announced he will be joining a round-island tour to promote his re-election bid.

Over the past four years we have seen Taiwan shirk from a place of prominence and pride... only to seek a position of marginalized ambiguity. This platform of mediocrity and ambiguity comes as a directive from Ma's office, which is seeking to rein in the two decades of Taiwan centered policies promoted by both the former Lee and Chen administrations; policies that resulted in giving recognition to the Taiwan centered outlook shared by most Taiwanese.

For Ma Ying-jiu, "Taiwan" has been a dirty word. He uses the word sparingly and through clenched teeth as if being forced to take some bad medicine.

Instead, Ma has tried to resuscitate the old term "ROC" or "Republic of China", which, although the official name of the state, is primarily disregarded outside the world of officialdom.

Now we see his hand again in his yearning to appeal to his glory days during the latter years of authoritarian rule in the 1970's.

This cycling event will be called: "ROCbike Taiwan Bravo."

The bicycle tour, “ROCbike Taiwan Bravo,” is a nationwide bicycle tour launched by Ma’s campaign office earlier this month. Ma’s team embarked on a similar tour during his presidential campaign in 2007.

The “long stay” bicycle tour, which saw Ma and his campaign team travel through 18 cities and counties through the country’s western plains and finished in then-Taipei County, was believed to have helped bolster Ma’s chances in the last election.

This year’s 15-day “ROCbike Taiwan Bravo” bicycle tour will cover 1,181km and finish in Hualien County.

King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), executive director of Ma’s campaign office, met the cyclists last week in Taitung County as part of a campaign activity, while Ma is expected to join more bicycle-related activities as the presidential election approaches.

I just hope he does not feel the need to inform the public on the state of his junk this time around.

In Other News:

After running into health and injury troubles, Taiwan's delegation for the Paris-Brest-Paris race in France have appealed to the Taiwan Representative Office in Paris for assistance, but have been denied.

The deputy representative determined the riders to be too far (5 hours) outside of paris to lend any help and referred them to their travel agent. Complicating issues was the fact that Taiwan's chief representatives have all been called back to Taipei (coinciding with election activities) and were unable to be on hand to make the call on how to handle the situation.

During the ultra-long bike tour, two members of the Taiwanese team were stricken by health problems, which included hallucinations and severe sickness.

In the end, they were forced to hitchhike back to Paris.


Like a lot of Taiwanese who take their dogs out in bags or strollers to join them at the mall... one man couldn't resist brining his pup along for a tour of Taiwan.

Last, but not least...

Please enjoy TIC reader and occasional Taiwan cyclist, Emmanuel Thiry's multimedia tribute to riding the dreaded Route 136. The musical score is also an original Thiry score. Awesome!


  1. Hi Andrew-

    Love the Taiwan-politics-via-cycling post. And I love your blog. What a great resource for cycling routes in Taiwan.

    Living in Tienmu and having Yangmingshan at my doorstep, I've only ridden the Yangmingshan routes. But I really need to venture out further to experience more of what Taiwan has to offer cyclists. So thanks for the fantastic resource!

    -Alex Kanakis

  2. Alex,

    Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it.

    I'll keep posting if you keep reading.