It seems, that there's a growing population of people, let it be bikers, non-bikers, Taiwanese, non-Taiwanese, who have this desire to bike around Taiwan. I just googled "Bike Around Taiwan" and there are TONS of results with travelers sharing their experiences or questioning this challenge.
As a Taiwanese myself, it's a lot more easier to be looking up such information ... the internet, bookstores, even people around me are all able to answer whatever questions we need answered :D
I feel so so SO lucky to be living on this island-nation. Sesquipedaustralian mentioned: Taiwan is an island. So is Australia.
But lucky for me, (and anyone else living here) Taiwan is the perfect size for a short, but long-enough getaway trip! I can't think of a better place to do this. Singapore would be way too small, Japan way too scattered, maybe some of the Pacific islands? ... Taiwan is so unique as a country with its culture and history. Plus, the terrain's perfect, comfortable climate, cities a convenient distance from each other, varying landscapes (especially from the west to east coast), and the list goes on ... Most Taiwanese desire is to take on this Travel Around Taiwan challenge, through various transportations like train (VERY popular), bike, walk, hitchike ... and they'd give themselves all kinds of themes or goals for this.
[Beautiful routes to bike along]
As for us! We saw this as a graduation gift to ourselves, right before I started working and Mason starts his masters! This was definitely a challenge ... I was in a constant struggle with myself of whether I should doubt or encourage myself :P The island that seems so tiny when seen on the map, when traveling back and forth its cities ... has all of a sudden enlarged upon itself. And thinking of all the hills ... oh ...
BUT! I kept thinking this throughout our trip, that ... omg it's so easy! ANYONE can do it! As long as you've got the time, the money, the endurance of course, and a good bike that's gon take you all the way. We were really lucky to have rented our bikes from a really good bike rental shop. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who'd want to give it a shot!
Anyways, back to the question, why bike around Taiwan? We tried asking this to several people but only got one answer we actually considered. Because of the money and time you could save by going AROUND instead of back and forth between your home and your destination. So ... what our friend is saying is that ... we'd be able to visit all these places in one round.
Turns out that's not the case at all! After the 2nd or 3rd day, I started to really feel that because of our choice of transportation, the meaning of this trip is to enjoy the continuous and passing landscapes. It's not about getting to places, , not about seeing all the scenes, eating all the food and meeting all the people. It's more about immersing yourself in the changing environment, spending quality time together, and getting a few thoughts cleared as you expose yourself to places that are unfamiliar to those that you're used to ... (here it is Alex! :P)
Photographs aren't even enough for us to share the places that've touched us, the beauty of being in the presence. Just like pushing the stop button while a film's playing, so many times we just couldn't even pull on the brakes to stop and take pictures! It was that enjoyable! And when times got rough (like riding through the crazy typhoon weather, or going up those steep STEEP hills) with every step of the pedal, I'd think ... this is creating a memory :)
[Leaving our mark in the 冰店in猴銅 :D]