Cycling in Taiwan
Where do we start? Cycling in Taiwan is a big deal.
The rich and storied past and vibrant present of cycling manufacturing has created a lasting cycling culture in Taiwan. Additionally, with decades of infrastructure investment and culture building, cycling has not only remained a major export industry for Taiwan (chances are either your bike, or a part of it, is built in Taiwan), but domestically, cycling has become one of Taiwan’s national recreational pastimes.
Simultaneously, world-class events, impressive infrastructure, and stunningly scenic cycling routes have helped make Taiwan a premier cycle tourism destination. Not surprisingly, Taiwan has been given the titles of “Bicycle Kingdom”, “Cycling Island” and even the “Cycling Capital of Asia”. Cycling is synonymous with the country of Taiwan.
Furthermore, 2021 was actually the Year of Cycling Tourism (自行車旅遊年) in Taiwan. This article in the Taipei Times discusses the incredible achievements and investments that have been made over the past decade (and more) to get Taiwan’s cycling scene to where it is today.
Whether you live on the island or are looking to plan your next adventure from overseas, Taiwan is a cyclist’s dream come true (see the image below).
This Ultimate Guide to Cycling in Taiwan has been compiled with a detailed overview of everything you need to know to plan your next cycling adventure in Taiwan. Like all of Taiwan Outdoors’ Ultimate Guides, these documents are meant to be living and updated and edited as new information becomes available and old information becomes obsolete. Deeper dives into specific topics will be linked to this Ultimate Guide as we build out additional resources for you.
Geography for Cycling in Taiwan
There are no guarantees in life except death, taxes and elevation gain while riding a bicycle in Taiwan. The geography of Taiwan is fascinating, unique, and encompasses a climate that is mostly subtropical, except for the very southern part of the island, which is tropical. This means that summers are long, hot and humid, with warmer weather stretching from April to October. The winters are relatively short with more mild temperatures. Snow falls in the mountains occasionally during this time, but mostly at higher elevations. Taiwan’s geography and climates are diverse ranging from tropical rainforests to temperature rainforests to alpine meadows. Taiwan has rugged rivers, mountain lakes, alpine forests, wetlands and is surrounded by the South China Sea to the southwest, the East China Sea to the north, and the Philippine Sea to the east.
Taiwan – A Eastern Asia Cycling Destination
Officially located in Eastern Asia, Taiwan is located only 120km off the coast of China. The Tropic of Cancer runs right through the island of Taiwan, making it roughly the same latitude as Mexico, Hawaii, and Saudi Arabia.
While some preconceptions of Taiwan as an industrial island may be true. Much of 23+ million inhabitants live within densely populated urban areas (mostly along the west coast). However, roughly 70% of the island is covered with rugged, densely forested mountains. In fact, there are 286 3,000m+ peaks in Taiwan and close to 30% of the island is 1,000m or more above sea level. In addition to the great cycling opportunities this geography creates, Taiwan is also a dream for hikers. What’s more is that the mountains of Taiwan keep growing at about a rate of 5mm each year, so maybe it’ll just keep getting better!
Booking Private Transportation or a Tour (Coming Soon)
Interested in planning a cycling tour to Taiwan, but need some support? Whether you require a bilingual guide, trip planning and/or transportation services, Taiwan Outdoors has you covered. We just need a bit of extra time.
While there is certainly more mountains and elevation gains that can fill a lifetime of cycling in Taiwan, there is plenty of beautiful flat riding for those who just want a casual cycling experience. Whatever your fancy, cyclists in Taiwan are always treated to breathtaking vistas, whether its forest valleys, mountain peaks, lush rice paddies or tiered tea plantations.
Best Time to Cycle in Taiwan
While you’ll find cyclists out on the road and touring the island 12 months a year, we believe the best time to cycle in Taiwan is between October to February. Between this time, the weather is typically more mild with average temperatures between 19-27°C/ 66-80°F. More importantly, the weather is more consistent and its less likely to rain, unlike in the summertime. The absolute best month to cycle is in November when the whole month is dedicated to their annual Cycling Taiwan Festival.
Cycling Safety in Taiwan
Is cycling in Taiwan safe?
Cyclists should always adhere to the rules of the roads and practice proper equipment safety including wearing a helmet, attaching the appropriate lights and keeping their bicycles properly maintained. With improving cycling infrastructure and a very prominent cycling scene as well as a road culture that recognizes slower moving, two-wheeled vehicles (re: scooters), cycling in Taiwan is actually pretty safe. Here’s a link to a great resource regarding cycling in Taipei by the fine folks over at Foreigners in Taiwan – Taipei Bike Regulations In English! 臺北自行車規則-英文版
Safely Cycling in Taiwan’s Mountains
With the mountainous terrain and heavy rains, Taiwan does experience landslides from time to time. We be the first to tell you riding during or immediately after typhoon or other heavier rainy periods is not suggested. Please ride with a head on your shoulders and if you’re planning a route along any of the county highways or the designated, ‘scenic roads’ in Taiwan, you can check for Real Time Road Updates – Here.
Road and Trail Classification in Taiwan
As any person who has been on a bike on a shared road knows, choosing the right roads to ride on is the number one priority for an enjoyable and safe ride. There are a few things that anyone planning a two-wheeled cycling adventure in Taiwan should know; one of those is road classification and how that can impact your bike trip.
Don’t Go Roads: Let’s start here. The truth is, like most jurisdictions, there are roads in Taiwan that cyclists are not permitted on. In Taiwan, these are the National Highways (國道) & Expressways (快速道路). Bicycles are not permitted on these facilities and regardless of the occasional scooter lane you may find, it is strictly forbidden. It’s also very dangerous. National Highways (國道) are designed with a plum flower around the highway number, while the Expressways (快速道路) have a red shield as the designation. See the images below for reference.
Ridable Roads in Taiwan:
In many countries around the world, the term highways is perhaps a bit misleading. The designation doesn’t mean that traffic is restricted to motor vehicles only in Taiwan. In fact, the Provincial Highways do not only offer some very spectacular cycling opportunities, in some cases they are required for short sections to connect to local or country roads.
Provincial Highways (省道):
The label of a provincial highway is a blue shield with number in the middle (see image below). In the more open, flat areas, these roads can range from 6 lanes with two additional scooter lanes and paved shoulders to narrow two-lane roadways in remote, mountainous areas. The majority of these roads, however, have paved shoulders and speed limits of 50-70km/h. These roadways typically feature heavy traffic, including tourist buses and car traffic. They are also frequently used by Taiwan’s trucking industry moving freight and other materials around the island. These trucks are large and in some cases, don’t give a lot of space to cyclists (or pass cyclists at inopportune times). Be cognizant of this while riding. If you are going to ride these roads, enjoy them earlier in the morning or ride with others. Always wear lights and highly visible clothing.
There is no doubt that the conditions on these roads are some of the best for cycling in Taiwan and will always impress cyclists with some of the most scenic views on the island. If you want to explore these roadways online, check out this government website which lists the Provincial Highways (省道) and provides real-time conditions and updated construction status for users.
County/City Highways (縣道/市道)
While the Provincial Highways (省道) feature scenic, direct and typically highly trafficked roadways, the county/city highways (縣道/市道) offer the best balance of relatively well-maintained, scenic and fewer motor vehicles. Most of these roadways are off the major tourism routes, so there are fewer cars and more importantly, coach buses. Speed limits are usually 50km/hr so this means that the larger trucks and buses will bypass these roads and stick to the larger provincial highways. The majority of these county/city (縣道/市道) roads are two-lane roads and some can have narrow scooter or bike lanes (or as North Americans refer to as ‘Paved Shoulders’. n the mountains county road can be reduced to one lane only.
Local Roads (鄉道)
Getting off the beaten path, so to speak, these local roads offer cyclists some of the most scenic and certainly the most remote riding in Taiwan. With low volumes of traffic and stunning scenery, there is a lot to like about exploring Taiwan’s local road network by bike. These roads vary from two-lanes to very, very narrow and one-lane roads in the remote and mountainous areas of Taiwan. They’re fun and surprisingly well maintained for such remote roads, but cyclists should be careful of the narrowness. With plenty of blindspots and occasionally fast moving vehicles, cyclists should be sure to ride on their side of the road.
Understanding Mandarin Chinese in Road Signage
The fourth and final roadway signage we’re describing here differs from county/city roads (as seen above) where the usage of a Mandarin character sits prior to the road number designation. For local roads, the Chinese Mandarin character represents the county the local road sits within. The quality of the road surface varies significantly across the island. Higher into the mountains these local roadways can get slick with moss and vegetation build up, especially during raining or foggy periods. The other very real obstacle that can get in the way in some of the more remote areas are landslides. Frequent in Taiwan, landslides can (and do!) wash out roads. When you’re heading into and onto remote roads in Taiwan for your next cycling adventure, we always suggest doing thorough research ahead of time or consulting with your local bike shop.
Bike Trails in Taiwan
Also known as ‘Bike Paths’ or ‘Bikeways’, when this designation is used, it primarily refers to off-road, mostly paved, or hard-surfaced, multi-use cycling infrastructure. This means that you can find people pushing strollers, running, rollerblading, walking, etc. Also, let’s not kid ourselves either, sometimes you’ll find motorized scooters and other types of e-bikes on these as well.
There are signaled and non-signaled road crossings and, from time-to-time, questionable infrastructure designs, but all-in-all, Taiwan has done a fantastic job building off-road multi-use bike trails and they criss-cross all over the island. These are fantastic options for bike touring, family-friendly day or overnight bike trips or for those simply wanting to stay off the road while cycling in Taiwan. Portions of Taiwan’s National Cycling Routes incorporate off-road bike trails, however the majority of the national cycling network in Taiwan is on roads.
Bike Routes of Taiwan
For the purpose of this Ultimate Guide to Cycling in Taiwan, we’ve included information mostly on Taiwan’s National Cycling Route Network. Are these the best cycling routes in Taiwan? Not always, but they are well-signed and take cyclists through some of the most scenic and unique destinations across the island.
“Round Island” / Huan Dao (環島)
Taiwan’s round-the-island cycling route should be considered one of the best cycling experiences in Asia. A mix of stunning natural scenery and cultural beauty and intrigue, this route typically takes experienced cyclists between 9-12 days depending on how quickly one wishes to complete the loop. This route follows what is referred to simply as, Taiwan Cycle Route No.1 (環島1號線). This route totals 968 km (602 mile) and circles around the island of Taiwan.
The route was created in December 2015 and has been considered one of the best cycling experiences in Taiwan. With km “0” marking located at Songshan Station, many suggest riding this route counter-clockwise for a variety of reasons including building endurance, elevation and wind, and for the scenery. The route itself is very well signed and clearly marked and incorporates a mixture of dedicated bicycle paths, low traffic country roads, as well as busier roads (mostly with dedicated cycle lanes or other bike infrastructure).
Year of Cycling Tourism (自行車旅遊年)
In celebration of 2021 being designated as the Year of Cycling Tourism (自行車旅遊年), the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has put together a fantastic resource to help you plan your next cycling adventure in Taiwan. Check out the new Taiwan On 2 Wheels Website which features an interactive map, segments, event listings and more.
If PDF maps are your thing, Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications created a pdf map/brochure to help cyclists who are looking to complete Taiwan’s famous “Round Island” / Huan Dao (環島)’ cycling experience. LINK
County Cycling Routes
- Sun Moon Lake (Nantou County) Bicycle Itineraries
- New Taipei City Cycling Routes
- Taichung Cycling Routes
- Tainan Cycling Routes
- Taitung Cycling Routes
- Taiwan’s iTaiwanBike Program – A crowdsourced cycling route platform built to help celebrate (Mandarin Only) and features a growing number of cycling routes from across Taiwan that have been ridden and uploaded by local Taiwanese cyclists. You must download a designated APP to view.
Bike Trails of Taiwan
Per square kilometre (or square mile) Taiwan features some of the most extensive off-road and paved cycling trail networks on Earth. Cris-crossing the island along rivers, across valleys, through mountains and next to oceans, Taiwan’s bikeway network is second to none. Called ‘Rail Trails’ in North America, these off-road, paved paths in Taiwan are called ‘Bikeways’ and are extremely well-maintained and signed.
Note: Like our other Ultimate Guides for Taiwan, we’re just scratching the surface with the total collection of bike trails and pathways here. These guides are aimed at providing you key practical knowledge as well as inspiration to get you out enjoying Taiwan’s outdoors.
Great Cycling Rides
Published in 2013, this guide features 26 bikeways (yes, paved and off-road trails) in 12 national scenic areas across Taiwan. This includes 25 family-friendly routes and one more experienced cycling route located in Alishan.
While some contact information in this document may need to be updated, the trail networks are the same, as are the road crossings and other cycling-related information. This is a key tool for those planning their cycling adventure in Taiwan with a preference for off-road bike paths or cycling routes with some dedicated cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes or paved shoulders.
North-Eastern Taiwan Bike Trails
Cyclists can experience the fascinating geology of the Jinshan Hot Spring area on the North Coast along the Fengzhimen Bikeway and Jinshan-Wanli Bikeway, or follow a former rail line through the Old Caoling Tunnel along the Longmen-Yanliao Bikeway and Old Caoling bikeways in Northeast Taiwan.
Named one of the world’s most beautiful cycling experiences, this guide also features the Sun Moon Lake Loop, an approximately 29km, stunningly scenic route around Sun Moon Lake in Central Taiwan. The folks at Taiwan Trails and Tales have a nice blog post documenting this experience.
East Coast Taiwan Bike Trails
Cyclists can check out Wushantou Hatta and Baihe Bikeways in Taiwan’s newest scenic area – Siraya National Scenic Area. If you’re interested in learning more about Taiwan’s rich indigenous culture you should check out the attractions and interpretation along the Anpo Tourist Cycle Path, the Shimen-Changbin Bikeway, Sanxiantai Bike Route, and Taiyuan Valley Bikeway on the East Coast.
This publication is the perfect trip planning tool for those looking to get outside the major cities and explore safe, family-friendly cycling experiences coupled with world-class services for cyclists and of course the extraordinarily beautiful scenery of Taiwan.
Bike Trails in New Taipei City
For many, the capital of Taiwan and the heart of the sprawling metropolis, isn’t the likeliest of places to find amazing cycling experiences. While cycling in the city in many ways can still be intimidating and the implementation of cycling infrastructure leaves many wanting, Taipei has come a long way with their improvements to off-road cycling infrastructure. In particular the development of an extensive network of riverbank bikeways has been a breath of fresh air and provides opportunities for avid cyclists, families and the average recreational cyclist to get out and explore Taipei by bike.
Taipei City Bike Path Network
This network continues to grow and Taipei City estimates the city boasts nearly 510km of paved, off-road multi-use paths. In addition to that, New Taipei City, the municipal jurisdiction surrounding Taipei City boasts another 209km of riverside bike paths that take cyclists along four major waterways.
Check out the Taipei City Tourism – Riverside Bikeway Network website, which includes brief descriptions, downloadable PDFs and links to Google Maps with information on how to get the most out of cycling adventures in Taipei.
Taipei City Bike Map (Online)
With the bikeway network so interconnected, we also suggest taking a look at the New Taipei City Tourism website (Mandarin Only). Until we can get these resources online ourselves, we suggest using Google Translate to select routes and migrate to Google Maps or one of the other cycling apps to plan your route out. The website features riverside bikeways and other cycling routes suitable for families, recreational and avid cyclists.
Here’s a great resource put together by local bike tour and rental operator, Mathew Bike, which shows some of the key facilities along the extensive Taipei and New Taipei City Riverside Bikeway network, including washrooms and other relevant services for cyclists.
Bike Trails in Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung is the 2nd largest city in Taiwan and has been doing a fantastic job updating it’s off-road bike path network. While we know cycling infrastructure can always be improved, the bike paths in Kaohsiung offer great opportunities for recreation, family and commuters to travel and explore this city by bike. Featuring nearly 150km of paved off-road trails that skirt rivers, lakes and forests throughout the city. CLICK HERE
Mountain Biking in Taiwan
Mountain biking is a big part of any cycling scene, however, Taiwan Outdoors feels it should be presented separately from road and other trails. We will be producing a standalone Ultimate Guide to Mountain Biking in Taiwan shortly. We’ll do our best to get this section online as soon as possible.
For now, the best source for trail information for Mountain Biking in Taiwan can be found on Trailforks Taiwan.
Wayfinding, Cycling APPs & Bikes Maps!
Bicycle Wayfinding (aka Signs and Road marking!)
Signs, signs, everywhere are signs! That’s certainly the reality of modern streetscapes and can sometimes make finding bicycle route signage difficult. Taiwan’s National Cycling Route Network has been well signed for a number of years and the signs (seen below) are highly visible with plenty of decision signs, as well as confirmation signs installed all over the island.
Cycling Infrastructure in Taiwan (Not just for cyclists)
What’s more there are lots of pavement markings to guide bicyclists to their destinations along designated bicycle routes, but cyclists should be aware that, in Taiwan, many times these are shared with scooters (and the occasional moving motor vehicle, delivery truck and parked Mercedes Benz). If you’re riding with the expectation that this bicycle infrastructure is sacred and not be encroached on, you may be a bit surprised.
Cycling Websites / Apps
- Velodash – A homegrown cycling app and website, Velodash is growing in popularity in Taiwan and is beginning to gain traction elsewhere too. There’s a good reason for that. It has a great interface and offers a ton of great features in it’s freemium services. Explore bike routes, join cycling events, invite some of your cycling buddies out on rides. Lots to play with here.
- Strava – Well Strava doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s a popular platform in Taiwan and the mountainous terrain of Taiwan makes the Segment feature of Strava extra fun. You never forget a leg day cycling in Taiwan.
- Trailforks – Trailforks Taiwan features just over 110 trail segments. This is steadily increasing as mountain biking is becoming more and more popular, as well as increasingly recognized and accepted by the public and governments. Long way to go yet, but watching the number of mountain bike trails grow in Taiwan is exciting.
- RidewithGPS – A popular cycling website/app in North America, this platform is gaining ground in Taiwan, thankfully. It offers a lot of great features for tracking and exploring new cycling routes in Taiwan.
- Bikemap – This website/app comes last in this list, but is certainly not least when it comes to users and routes in Taiwan. There are an estimated 75,000 routes posted on Bikemap and offers users a fantastic mix of filters including flat routes, hilly routes, etc.
Downloadable Cycling Maps of Taiwan
- Great Rides in the Bicycle Kingdom (2013) – Over a dozen cycling routes are featured along popular bikeways across the island on this PDF.
- Taipei Cycling Map (2010) – This cycling map is now over a decade old and much of the infrastructure has likely improved since its publishing, but can be a useful preliminary bike trip planning tool.
- Sun Moon Lake Cycling Itineraries – Downloadable pdf featuring four signed cycling routes in this stunningly beautiful area of central Taiwan. This Cycling Map includes parking, washrooms, visitor centres, and details on how to explore the Sun Moon Lake area by bike.
Bicycle-Friendly Businesses in Taiwan
This is the bicycle kingdom and for the most part, businesses across the country are friendly to cyclists. With Taiwanese and foreign residents alike embracing the global cycling trend for the last decade, most businesses are already familiar with guests arriving by bike. Whether this means leaning your bicycle up against a cafe window unlocked or asking for directions, business owners and residents are more than accommodating to the needs of cyclists.
Bicycle-Friendly Police Stations?
Being (bicycle-)friendly is embedded in the Taiwanese culture. What’s more, all police stations along the National Cycling Route #1 in Taiwan has been designated as a bicycle station and offers locations to use washrooms, fill up water bottles, access repair and maintenance tools and even if you’re in a pinch for a place to pitch a tent.
Like many countries around the world, Taiwan manages and promotes their own extensive, Bicycle-Friendly Accommodation Network for visiting and local cyclists. While the website is in Mandarin, a simple Google Translate can assist in helping you find an accommodation located on or close to one of the 16 multi-day cycling routes they promote on their website.
1000 Certified Bicycle-Friendly Accommodations in Taiwan
There is an estimated eye-popping 1,000 accommodation providers certified as bicycle friendly. If you don’t speak Mandarin, our suggestion is to use this as a reference and call the businesses to see if you are able to communicate with the staff or ownership to book your stay at one of these locations. If you’re looking for a curated list of accommodations that are bicycle friendly, check out this great article by Travel in Taiwan, a fantastic publication on a variety of tourism and travel experiences across the island.
Bicycle Tour Operators in Taiwan
In addition to a long list of established international tour operators such as Grasshopper, Spiceroads and Bicycle Adventures, there are a lot of fantastic bike tour operators that are owned and operated by Taiwanese or foreign residents in Taiwan. We’re going to take this opportunity to shout out a few local bike tours.
One of the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers and Taiwanese companies, Giant Cycling World has also developed an impressive and vast catalog of bicycle tour programming across the island. From self-guided to full-guided, Giant Cycling World has become one of Taiwan’s trusted bicycle tour operators.
This for-profit organization provides a wide range of guided cycling tours across Taiwan and for cyclists of all experience levels. These bike tour packages offer a range of support services including bike rentals, luggage transfers, guides, meals, etc. Great option for those traveling from overseas. Website and services available in English and other languages.
This outfit has been hosting fun, professional and unique biking tours across Taiwan since 2016. They have a variety of one-, two-, three- and four-day tours in addition to the Round-Island Tour. They also offer bike rentals for those arriving without their trusty steeds.
Local tour operator offering custom and fully-supported and guided cycling tours of Taiwan. They feature an epic 13-day ‘Challenge and Adventure’ tour that explores the entire island and then some.
Even though this operator is actually based out of the UK, they pride themselves on working with local guides and recognize the importance of supporting the local communities they visit. They have a variety of amazing tours, yet only partner with locally-owned businesses in all aspects of their tours.
Local operator with Mandarin-only website, but has a number of foriegn partners who promote and utilize their services.
Taiwan Cycling Tours is a high quality bike tour operation based in Taiwan. If you have four spare days on your trip, consider signing up for their unique Chiayi Famous Coffee Road
This local tour operator has built an impressive catalogue of tours across the island. They’ve also been building out a few day-trip and overnight bicycle tours across the island.
Bike Rental Locations in Taiwan
When is bringing your own bicycle to Taiwan not a good idea? We all love riding our own bikes, particularly if you intend to stick around in a destination for a few weeks or more cycling around the country. If you are in a pinch and you must rent a bike, there are plenty of bike shops around the country that can rent you a bicycle. This market has developed a lot over the past few years, with more higher end bikes (that’s you carbon lovers) available from some shops. If you need racks, panniers and other pieces of kit, we suggest calling and arranging all the details ahead of time to not be disappointed
- Giant Stores – Those without their own bike can rent one from nearly 300 Giant stores throughout the country. Unfortunately, the site doesn’t have an English option yet, so you may need to use auto-translate.
- Taipei City Riverside Bicycle Rental Stations – Across Taipei visitors and residents can rent bicycles from a number of rental stations that are conveniently located along Taipei’s spectacular riverside bike path network.
- Mathew Bikes (Taipei) – Rentals, tours, maintenance and a ton of expertise, this outfit does. it all. They also offer a great drop-off service with a number of other bike shops around the island for those looking to ride trunk / linear routes
- Bicycle Express Taiwan (Taipei) – Drop-bar, flat-bar and e-bikes are available from this popular bike rental operator. They have a ton of information on their site to help decipher which bike might be the best for riding in different areas of Taiwan. There is also a great section on cycling information to help plan your day or overnight trip in Taiwan.
- Taipei Bike Works (Taipei) – A full-service bike shop located adjacent to a park in Taipei’s Dadaocheng neighborhood. Run by two very passionate and knowledgeable bike mechanics and cycling enthusiasts, Alec Gates and Alex Bryant, Taipei Bike Works is a must visit for a velo-fiend coming through or settling in Taipei. They also organize bike camping trips, social rides and more.
*The list above is not the entire list of possible bike rental or bike tour operators in Taiwan. We’re working on putting together a full list of bike tour operators and rental companies across Taiwan. Thanks for the patience. Did we miss a good bike rental company or bike tour operator in Taiwan? Drop us a message and let us know why you think we should add it!
If you live in Taiwan or you plan to be here for more than a few days, you may want to purchase and upload some money onto an Easycard (悠遊卡). Incredibly versatile and accepted in a surprising vast number of businesses and government-associated attractions across Taiwan, this IC card (Integrated Circuit) referred to as the ‘Easycard’ is also your key payment tool to get around on the local and regional bus network as well as on other mass transit systems in Taiwan including the Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung Metros and along the Taiwan rail network.
Easycard – Easy Bikes
In addition to the other locations you can use an Easycard, including convenience stores, parking lots, and the Taipei Zoo, you can also use them to rent bicycles from Taiwan’s Bike Share Network: YouBike.
YouBike’s Aren’t Performance Bikes
While the bicycles used in Taiwan’s famous YouBike Bike Share Network are by no means high performance bicycles, they are suitable for rides of up to 30 km or more. What’s more, Taiwan’s Bike Share Network is no longer just available in Taipei City and now extends to 10 Major Destinations throughout the country. Wondering what kind of cycling experiences you can have on one of these bikes? Read Will Fly for Food’s great feature blog about renting a bike and cycling around Cijin Island in Kaohsiung.
Taiwan’s YouBike Station Maps By City
Click on the accordion menu below for details on how to rent a YouBike in Taiwan!
How to Rent A YouBike in Taiwan?
Traveling with your Bicycle
We know you intend to do a lot of riding here in Taiwan, but there will certainly be a time when you have to get off the saddle and onto some other form of transportation. Sometimes during your stay you may want to jump on a train or one of the bigger city’s metro (aka subway) network with your bike.
Three ways to travel with your bicycle on a train in Taiwan:
- Cycling Carrier Bag – This is free of charge to take the train
- ‘Bicycle Boarding’ – Bicycles & passengers board the same same train without packing the bike into a bag. You’ll need to buy bicycle ticket if you choose this method.
- Check your Bicycle as luggage.
How to Get Bicycles on Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR)
Here’s the short of it: Any bicycle brought onto Taiwan’s High Speed Rail must first be placed within a carrying bag or case.
For all the details, check out TaiwanBike.tw. The total length, width and height of the carry-on bag/box is limited to 240cm, the height of the item placed in the car must not exceed 120cm, the length is limited to 100cm, the width must not exceed 35 centimeters, and the weight must not exceed 40 kilograms. If you have any questions on whether you and your bicycle can get on the HSR, check out the Taiwan High Speed Rail website.
Bicycles on Taipei Metro
There are also two methods for cyclists to bring their bicycle on to Taipei Metro (or subway) network.
There’s no need for us to write out the entire process or details, as you can find a fantastic write on this subject at MathewBike.com.
Cycling Events in Taiwan
There are hundreds of cycling events that take place every year across Taiwan. Of course, they range from large regional cycling events with national and, in some cases, international appeal to smaller local cycling events and recreational initiatives to encourage more people to get out on a bike in Taiwan. We won’t be listing all the cycling events here, but rather showcasing some of Taiwan’s larger and unique bike events.
This annual event has grown to become one of the most distinguished non-UCI events on Earth. Both amateurs and top professional cyclists circle this event on the international racing calendar. A true ‘climbing event’, the route runs a total length of only 105km (that’s less than a century ride!). That’s not where the challenge comes in though.
Starting at sea level from Qixingtan Beach in Hualien this route passes through the spectacular Taroko Gorge National Park (太魯閣國家公園), and doesn’t finish until riders reach the 3,275m (or 10,744ft) summit Mt. He Huan (合歡山). This is the highest passable road in Taiwan and makes the Taiwan KOM Challenge truly a once in a lifetime cycling event for all cyclists.
A famous bicycle festival in Taiwan, this particular event aims to encourage riders to slow down and enjoy a casual cycle around Sun Moon Lake on two wheels! Organizers create and promote a variety of cycling routes, throughout the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area. Fantastic event for family and more experienced riders who are looking to enjoy a great weekend together, enjoying food, fun and fantastic riding! While not associated with the event, this region has been recognized around the world as a fantastic cycling destination from publications such as Skyscannenr and CNN.
Other fun and prestigious cycling events take place every year, but we don’t have nearly the space to include them here. We have added a few others for fun and which round out the different cycling opportunities in Taiwan.
Hosted annually for over two decades, Super8 is the heartbeat of mountain biking in Taiwan and draws an easy thousand people to the hillsides of western Taichung every December. 2020 saw an awesome rebirth with new events, kids programming, a great expo and amazing weather. Fingers crossed for good weather and more international travel in 2024!
The first ever Taiwan gravel bike race took place in the middle of a global pandemic and it. was. dirty. The ‘103km and 4,000M of elevation gain’ kind of dirty. To honor the famous “Dirty Kanza” Gravel Bike Race in the United States and in order to promote the beauty of Taiwan’s mountains and forests, Taiwan now also has its first gravel road bike challenge – Dirty Formosa Challenge.
There are all kinds of fun and unique cycling events popping up in Taiwan. Now in its second year, this 3-day cycling event encompasses a 219km route from Yilan to Taipei. Charity rides are big deal around the world and we’re seeing more and more of these in Taiwan. 100% of profits from the Asia Rainbow Ride will be donated to organizations dedicated to LGBT+ services in Asia.
If we missed a cycling event or bike festivals across Taiwan that you think we should include, send us an email at email@example.com
Bike Shops & Maintenance in Taiwan
We couldn’t even come close to listing all the bike shops across Taiwan. From franchises to small mom & pop shops, there are literally thousands of places to get bikes, bike parts and repairs done on the island. Instead, we’ve curated a list of some of the unique and talented bike shops and repair options on the island. We’ve broken these down by region, so cyclists who are riding around Taiwan can find a location that best suits their needs and budgets.
Finding a local bike shop that suits your needs
Velohouse Bicycle Workshop (Taoyuan) – Repairs, maintenance and retail are all featured at this location. Definitely a staple for those located in the Taoyuan area.
Giant Bicycles Zhunan (Miaoli) – Located in Zhunan Township of Miaoli County, Giant runs their retail and repair outlet for Giant and other bicycles.
119bike (Miaoli) – Also located in the urban areas of Miaoli, hit up the operators at 119bike if you’re looking for knowledgeable and professional service.
Cycoholic Co. (Hsinchu) – A local shop that comes highly recommended in the western country of Hsinchu.
Bike Shops in Taichung
- Taiwan in Cycles (Taichung) – List of Taichung Independent Bike Shops (Note: Some of these may no longer be in business. Always call ahead first.)
- Famous Bikes (Taichung) – A fantastic bike shop in Taichung, with a reputation that precedes itself. Tom and his mechanics have been given high praise for their service, knowledge and professionalism.
- Giant Flagship Store (Taichung) – The home of manufacturing for Giant Bicycles, we’d be remiss to mention bike shops in Taichung without mentioning Giant’s HQ retail shop.
Bike Shops in Taipei
- Dirty Bikes (Taipei) – While certainly not the only mountain bike shop in Taiwan, it is one of the biggest and their staff are very knowledgeable. Located in Taipei, it’s worth heading into the shop to chat with other riders and get a feel for the mountain bike scene in Taiwan. Ask about joining any local rides that are happening.
- Taipei Bike Works (Taipei) – As listed above, this full service bike shop is located adjacent to a park in Taipei’s Dadaocheng neighborhood. This shop rent bikes, as well as organize bike camping trips, social rides and more.
- 二輪黨 auranden bikes (Taipei) – This shop primarily focuses on bike maintenance and related service. They offer English-service that is both professional and excellent. Located in Northern Taipei.
- MathewBike (Taipei) – Talk about a great community builder! MathewBikes is a professional Bike Repair Shop in Taipei and they also offer rentals, tours and the unique Bicycle drop off services where visitors can rent a bike in one shop and return it in another. They charge for packing and delivery, but it is a nice feature. English-speaking.
- Faith Gear Fixie (Taipei) – This is a top shop in Taiwan for Fixie bikes. In addition to other cycling options, they focus on building a Fixie culture and specialize in Fixie bikes.
- Other Mountain Bike Shops – FormosaFatTire.com put together a resource for mountain bike shops in Taiwan. Some of these are out of date and surely the product has changed in some cases too.
We’ll do a deeper dive and put together growing list of bike shops and repair options in Taiwan based on our own experience and through recommendations others. Send us an email if you have a bike shop you think others should know about.
Find Your Tribe While Cycling in Taiwan
There are a number of resources out there to help you find others who are interested in getting out and cycling in Taiwan. As is the case with many cycling communities around the world, getting in with your cycling group can feel intimidating. Truth is, cyclists in Taiwan are very welcoming to others and the comradeship of cycling in Taiwan is as tight as it is anywhere else in the world.
Facebook Groups for Cycling in Taiwan
For the expat community, as well as many Taiwanese, Facebook Groups continue to be a big part of community building and an effective way to meet people with shared interest. Here are a few Facebook Groups that are dedicated to cycling in Taiwan. Most are based on geographical boundaries. These are also great places to hit up the local cyclists for tips and tricks of riding in Taiwan.
- Taichung Cycle
- Gravel Riding in Taiwan
- Gravel Bike & Cyclocross Taiwan 碎石路車與越野公路車
- Taiwan Fat Bike Club (台灣胖車俱樂部)
- Cycling Life – MTB / 洽公研習社
- MTB Riders Taiwan
- South Side Taipei Cycling Club
- Hiking and Riding in Taipei – Leans more towards hiking than riding, but you’ll find a group here that is generally looking to get outdoors with others. Definitely worth connecting to this group if you live and want to ride with others in Northern Taiwan.
- Taipei Cycling Group – This is a small but pretty active group that organizes scenic, casual, safe bike rides for fun and recreation all over the Taipei area.
- Let’s Go Outdoors – Perhaps a little less focussed on biking this is an active group that has planned plenty of group cycling events in the past.
If you don’t see any rides popping up on their schedules, perhaps you could reach out directly to some of the group organizers and ask them if they’d be interested in hosting a cycling event in your area. It’s worth a shot!
Cycling Clubs and Association
While there are certainly varying degrees of formal cycling clubs in Taiwan, we’ve just listed a few that specifically promote themselves as open to new members and drop in riders. There are hundreds of less formal and more localized cycling groups across Taiwan, many of them based out of local bike shops. Head to your local bike shop and ask around to see if you can join along.
While this site is featured in Mandarin only, we suggest using Google Translate and checking it out. It has some good resources on cycling including listing major cycling events and other bicycle organizations in Taiwan. This is developed and run by the Ministry of Transportation and is fairly regularly updated.
Launched in 1983, this organization is the leading body developing, coordinating and promoting competitive cycling in Taiwan. They also have a mandate to improve cycling culture, programming and advocate for improving cycling policy and infrastructure in Taiwan. They also support competitive cycling events and national cycling leisure activities domestically and organize Taiwan’s delegation to participate in the Olympic and Asian Games and the World and Asian Championships. If you’re interested, they also host workshops for coaching, bicycle training as well as for professional judges and competitive referees.
This organization helps develop competitive and leisure cycling initiatives across Taiwan. This includes bike tours, events and training programs for a wide range of cyclists. They also help develop safe driving and cycling education programs to improve the cycling environment and culture for all Taiwnese.
A leading organization in Taiwan, improving cycling experiences and promoting cycling as a recreational and tourism experience in Taiwan. They are also the organization that issues a certificate if you complete the ‘round-the-island’ journey.
Getting Inspired for Cycling in Taiwan!
There are some amazing blogs, videos, photo galleries and featured articles about the adventures that can be had when cycling in Taiwan. There’s no doubt that this island features some of the most spectacular and world-class cycling on Earth.
If you don’t believe us, and in the nature of our Ultimate Travel Guides, we’ve thrown a list of blogs, videos and other resources to help convince you that cycling in Taiwan should be on your next bucket list.
Blogs & Other Articles about Cycling in Taiwan
Cycling Taiwan: How To Plan The Perfect Trip and What to Pack – A six-step guide to planning a Taiwan cycling tour itinerary. All the tips and tricks you need for cycling in Taiwan.
Fantastic resource featuring dozens of preferred cycling routes from a longtime cyclist in Taiwan. Some of the route details may be out of date, so we encourage, as always, to do your own research and make sure the route you choose is safe and suitable.
Check out this British couple’s 1,600km adventure cycling around Taiwan. Fantastic overview of the opportunities and types of experiences to have on a bike adventure on Formosa!
The name of this post says it all! Check out the great resources that the folks at Taiwan Everything have put together! If you’re looking for more cycling information, including a great overview of how to use the https://taiwaneverything.cc/2020/09/04/bike-rental-taiwan/
Check out this famous bicycle blogging couple’s 4 week adventure as they rode approximately 1350km around Taiwan. They explored designated bicycle routes in Taiwan and got off the beaten path to explore further.
Back in 2017, Mark Stratton from CNN spent 12 days cycling around Taiwan and wrote a fantastic feature article. Well worth the read!
One of their members joined up with a local group and Toured Taiwan. This is their story!
This Hong Kong Cycling Club has put together a nice feature on making the most out of a cycling weekend in Taipei. It also includes links to Strava GPS files so you can pick up and go ride these same amazing bike routes around Taipei.
A local cyclist has put together a number of great cycling routes around the island and has been gracious enough to link to his RidewithGPS account and embedded map. Lots of pictures and good insight into cycling along these routes. Great resource.
Wondering how to prepare for cycling around Taiwan? Another, very detailed account of cycling around Taiwan. This is a fantastic resource for both planning, preparation and, eventually, riding around Taiwan on a bicycle..
If you know of any other great reads, as well as any other inspirational and practical resources that we haven’t included in this list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add it to this ultimate guide to cycling in Taiwan when we can.