Have you ever thought about how you’d navigate your dream travel destination? A rental car might not be feasible, a train might be too fast, and walking might be too slow…or maybe incorporate all 3? A cycling tour of Taiwan called Formosa 900 has taken sightseeing to a new level.
Here’s why you should consider biking when you travel, especially in the tropical and intimate island country of Taiwan:
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1. You get your heart rate up!
The most obvious reason, yes. You get to exercise, while exploring! You may even surprise by how much you can do. Biking somewhere new is different than biking at home, and not only that, you may also encourage strangers that you pass by. There might even be other people out doing the same thing, or maybe even running, and it’s always a nice feeling to spread encouragement in passing. If you’re up to a challenge in a cycling tour like Formosa 900 in Taiwan organized by Taiwan Tourism Board and Giant Bicycles, 87 kilometers will sound easy by the third day.
2. You see every detail of what city you’re in!
Looking through a glass window in a car, bus, train can be convenient but also limiting. They can be too fast and might not allow someone to fully take a city in. Walking may be too slow if on a time crunch. Not only that, bikes can go where cars and trains cannot. Many cities have an established cycling infrastructure, where you can visit sights in ways that others can’t if using motorized transit. When I was cycling in Taiwan, at stop lights you can see how the locals socialize outside, what they’re watching on tv (outside too)– there’s more time to really delve into your surroundings. You see the lady outside her house cutting the huge fish she just washed, the dog napping on the side of the road, and the kid looking out the window. Don’t be afraid to wave hello.
3. It’s easy to stop and go.
You can pull over and take pictures whenever you want. There might even be streetside vendors with local delicacies…you have to replace those lost calories! You can find somewhere interesting to stop, take a rest, and hydrate. Bikes are a simple machine! There’s no parking hassle or traffic to wait in. Don’t forget to use those hand signals–over exaggerate them to make it clear for others as to where you are going.
4. Two wheel manpower is environmentally friendly.
Burn fat not oil! Choosing to explore via bike results in a happy mother nature. Reduce your carbon footprint by pedaling today!
5. It’s economical for you and for the biking world. Everyone wins!
Not only do you pay less for a bike as opposed to renting a car, or buying a bus or rail ticket, you also contribute to the cycling infrastructure. Everything is data nowadays, especially for cities with existing bike shares.There’s nothing to lose when you vote to bike!
6. You can bring bikes on trains, if needed.
Feeling super adventurous? Bring your bike on the train if you want to mix things up a bit. If you rented a bike maybe take a day trip somewhere else to explore. During my first year of college I left my car back home and brought my bike instead. Arlington, Texas was the biggest city in America without public transit until Fall 2013, when I first arrived. I took my bike on the bus to the commuter rail to the inner city rail in Downtown Dallas and boy was that fun!
In Taiwan, we took a 2 hour train down south the first part of the eastern coastline because of unsafe road conditions due to construction. Other cyclists joined us in our train car too. Bikes on trains are fun!
7. Something about being on two wheels that you power on your own will is just magical and uplifting.
I’ve met people who have cycled from Texas to Alaska, across the US east to west, and around Iceland. Anything is possible. Go out and ride; get that biker’s high!!
Thank you to Taiwan Tourism Board and Giant Bicycles for this amazing experience. Anyone interested in cycling and that’s up for a little physical challenge while exploring a new culture should do it!
About the Writer
Daphne is a Texas born and raised student and adventurer currently living in Madrid. She likes to explore by seeing the green practices and environmental health concepts in every city, taking the public transit each city has to offer, and finding food that only locals know about. Daphne is also a huge fan of craft beer. A big proponent of traveling alone, Daphne enjoys roaming around by herself as well. When she’s not running or riding her bike, she likes to social dance– salsa, country two step, waltz, and more– whatever’s available in the city that she’s in.
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