A word of warning: Before you start out on your journey, please carefully assess your personal health. If you have health issues like cardiovascular disease, chronic disease or a rare disease, please contact your personal physician for a professional assessment. In addition, be sure not to do more than you can handle during your journey. Round-the-island cycling can be flexible and adjusted to your personal physical condition and targeted destinations. For those in excellent health, extra cycling miles can be added to the recommended itinerary. For those in average health or who want to admire the island’s beauty at a slower pace, more days can be added to the recommended itinerary. Generally speaking, a round-the-island cycling trip can be completed within 7 to 12 days. In this handbook, we recommend that cyclists complete the trip (a total of 939.5 kilometers) within 10 to 12 days, which is equivalent to less than 90 kilometers per day. Based on an average speed of 20 kilometers/hour, cyclists can reach their temporal destinations within 4.5 hours per day. For those who bike 50 kilometers per week or who have already conquered 100-kilometer journeys, this will not be difficult.
For those who don’t have the habit of regular exercise, please follow the “333 Rule.” You should exercise at least 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes at a time, and reach a heart rate of 130 beats per minute or higher. On weekends or holidays, please increase the amount of time you exercise. Make sure that you can complete a 100-kilometer-ride at a time before you attempt this trip. The entire training period should be no less than 2 months. For those of you who don’t own a bicycle and wish to rent one for the trip, jogging may be a suitable training method for you. For those of you who have knee problems or who don’t like to jog, endurance exercises such as swimming or indoor cycling may be a good choice.
Climbing is the greatest challenge!
The greatest challenge on this journey is the constant climbing and tough cycling against the wind in the eastern part of Taiwan. Therefore, please be sure to arrange climbing training for biking uphill, and control techniques for biking downhill. In addition, you can ride your bike along coastline bikeways, where winds are relatively strong. And, though slopes and distance are certain challenges, strong winds are far more unpredictable. Therefore, please maintain high rates of pedaling in low gears when you ride against the wind.
Endurance makes your journey safe and fun!
As cycling mileage gradually increases, a cyclist’s physical condition drops and his or her fatigue level rises. Before you reach the end of your journey, you’ll find it hard to take another step – each step seems to be heavier as you step on the pedal. Since integrating exercise into your daily life is the only way to train your cardiorespiratory endurance, you should arrange your exercise efficiently. For example, regular exercise for 1 hour a day, 7 hours a week beats intensive exercises only on weekends. Smart eating habits are also key. Try to maintain your weight by eating natural foods
Racing bikes have a relatively lower load capacity and are not suitable for round-theisland cycling unless there is a support team backing you up throughout the journey.
Install a rack on your road bike, and you’re ready to hit the road.
By replacing mountain bike tires with thin tires, the modified bike will give you the same sensation of lightness as riding a road bike.
Bikes can be separated into several categories based on function: road bikes, mountain bikes, cruiser bikes and portable bikes. Since cruiser bikes provide cyclists with a greater load capacity and a more comfortable riding sensation, they are most suitable for long-distance traveling. Mountain bikes can be upgraded by installing a pannier and rack bag. Road bikes feature high cruising speed but lower loading capacity, making them less suitable for round-the-island trips unless there is a supporting team backing you up. Portable bikes are not at all suitable for long-distance journeys.
During a round-the-island cycling trip, cyclists must constantly step on the pedals to complete their journey. Therefore, it is vital for cyclists to understand every part of their bike and each the distinct
functions of each component before they hit the road.
Bicycle Transmission System
By altering the gear ratio, cyclists can freely adjust the bike speed to their preferred level.
Be sure to check the wear and tear of your braking system before you hit the road. If your braking system is badly worn, be sure to replace it with a new one.
Pannier & Rack Bag
For those of you going on a round-the-island journey, a pannier and rack bag can be installed on the bike to add overall loading capacity.
Water Bottle & Bottle Rack
To prevent your water bottle from falling out of the bottle rack during bumpy road conditions, firmly secure the bottle to the rack.
Since you will be highly dependent on your bike throughout your entire journey, be sure to select a bike saddle you’re most comfortable with.
Select a high-intensity and power-efficient LED light, and make sure that you are visible to all drivers passing by.
Make sure that the helmet you select is labeled with a qualification mark.
Make sure that the eyewear you select is equipped with antiultraviolet, wind-breaking, and dust-proof functions.
Cycling Jerseys and Cycling Shorts
Select cycling jerseys and cycling shorts that are specifically designed for cyclists and keep you dry during your ride. If you choose regular clothing, avoid loose garments as they can become entangled in the bike chain and gears.
Please select a bike watch that can calculate data such as bike speed and mileage.
Make sure that the headwear, sleeves, and gloves you choose can protect you from direct sunlight.
If you wear clipless shoes, be sure to buckle your shoes up properly for direct pedaling power. If you wear typical sports shoes, please tighten the shoelaces firmly to prevent them from getting caught up in the bike gears.
Since almost every area of Taiwan is highly developed, you can easily get all kinds of daily necessities and other supplies anywhere. Except for preparing warm clothes for winter, be sure to keep your personal belongings as simple as possible to reduce your overall load.
Prepare 2 to 3 items of clothing (adding warm clothes depending on actual weather conditions). A simple windbreaker and light raincoat are a must. Most hotels and motels nowadays provide bathroom supplies for customers. Delicate equipment such as mobile phones must be kept inside a waterproof bag. Since the voltage in Taiwan is 110V/60Hz, make sure that all electronic devices you pack fit this specification. Apply sunscreen to your skin to prevent prolonged sunlight exposure and potential sunburn. While most hotels and restaurants will accept credit cards, businesses in remote areas such as night market vendors will only accept cash. Please note that the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD) is the official currency used in Taiwan.
Based on scheduled routes provided in this manual, our cyclists will encounter supply stations every 20 kilometers along the journey. Since long-distance bike riding can consume large amounts of calories, please prepare some light snacks such as bread, bananas, or cookies.
Please select multifunctional hand tools, such as the 25-in-1 hand tool set currently available on the market. A simple multifunctional hand tool set allows for simple repairs and maintenance. With an additional tire iron and pump, flat tires can be easily dealt with.
Cycling Route No. 1 as presented in this manual has a total length of 939.5 kilometers (excluding the Suhua Highway) and can be completed within 10 to 12 days –equivalent approximately to a maximum of 115 kilometers per day. Based on an average riding speed of 20 kilometers/hour, each destination can be reached within 6 hours.
Based on the route arrangement in this manual, county governments, city governments and district offices in different places are taken as the starting points and final destinations, while provincial highways are designated as the cycling route so as to prevent cyclists from taking detours or losing their way.
As to whether you proceed in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, it is recommended that you start out from Taipei and proceed in a counterclockwise direction. As challenges in your journey gradually increase, you can take the first few days as an opportunity to train your body and develop your riding technique. The first challenge you will encounter is in ascending the slope at Shouka (at the boundary between Pingtung and Taitung), the second is on the route between Taitung and Yuli (where cyclists must ride against strong winds depending on the season), and the last is on the twisting and treacherous roadways between Taipei and Yilan. These are the three main challenges cyclists will face during their round-the-island journey.
How to find partners
Both traveling solo and as a team are interesting in different ways. It is recommended that first-time travelers travel as a team, ideally with 4 to 8 partners. Too many partners can lead to difficult
management and differences of opinion regarding how you travel. It is also recommended that each partner focus on his/her specialized tasks and work as a team member. For example, one team member may be good at bike repair and maintenance, while another may be good at route planning.
How to select accommodation
Accommodation is where a cyclist spends most of his/her budget! Bed & breakfasts and hotels are popular among round-the-island cyclists. And of course the cheapest way is to stay overnight is at the home of a friend or family member. If you love nature, camping might sound like a good idea; but make sure that the place you choose is open for camping to ensure your personal safety.
What to eat
What should you eat before, during, and after bike riding? Since round-the-island cycling takes huge amounts of time and energy, be sure to avoid greasy food and eat several small meals each day. Before exercise, it is recommended that you eat natural food (such as whole grains, lean meat, fruit and vegetables). During exercise, it is recommended that you eat convenience foods (such as portable energy gels, energy drinks, or local snacks like pineapple cake or sun cake). It is recommended that thirty minutes after exercise, you eat a light meal (such as fruit or bread) to replenish your energy!
The Cycling Life Style Foundation (CLSF) will issue an official certificate to cyclists after they complete their round-the-island journey. Family and friends of cyclists can search the current location of cyclists at any time via the CLSF official website, for safety and peace of mind.