Cycling in Taiwan – The Annual Taiwan Cycling Festival

Disclaimer: This post about cycling in Taiwan is sponsored by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.

Kollecting Koordinates - Cycling in Taiwan

Taiwan’s bike path on the East Coast

The annual Taiwan Cycling Festival is upon us again!

Have you visited my homeland- Taiwan? Over the last 3 decades, cycling has risen to be one of the most popular recreational sports in this little but beautiful green country. It all began with the rise of GIANT in the 80’s, a Taiwanese bike manufacturer.

The government began investing in cycleways and thus, Cycle Route No. 1 was born in 2015. Taiwanese citizens and visitors worldwide can now circumnavigate the entire island on just two wheels, weaving through diverse landscapes of mountain ranges and coastlines.

Today, completing a bicycle circuit around Taiwan is now a bucketlist item for many travelers. What better way to cross it off your list than with the Taiwan Cycling Festival?

Read more: The Ultimate Food Guide to Taiwan

What is the Taiwan Cycling Festival?

Organized by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Taiwan Cyclist Federation, Taiwan Bicycle Exporters’ Association, and Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration, the Taiwan Cycling Festival has been around since 2010.

This year, the major league events began on October 20th with the internationally acclaimed Taiwan King-of-the-Mountain (KOM) Challenge. The cross-island Formosa 900 stretches from November 4th to November 12th, and the family-friendly Sun Moon Lake “Come! Bikeday” occurs on November 11th and 12th.

Taiwan KOM Challenge

The Taiwan KOM Challenge takes place on the scenic east coast starting in Qixingtan, through Taroko Gorge, ending high up on Hehuan Mountain. It leads competitors through different climate zones and terrains. Attracting renowned cyclists from across the globe, this is perhaps one of the most picturesque yet strenuous routes in the world.

From sea level, cyclists scale up 3,275 meters (approximately 10,000 feet) to Hehuan Mountain’s summit. This 105km route, of which 87km is a continuous climb, puts even the greatest cyclist’s stamina and strength to the test.

Kollecting Koordinates - Cycling in Taiwan

The strenuous KOM Challenge

READ MORE: 24 Hours in Hualien and Taroko Gorge

Formosa 900

Teams have 9 days to complete this 900km marathon around the island. Riding along Cycle Route No. 1, Formosa 900 allows cyclists to experience each city and county, marvel at breathtaking scenery, and taste regional delicacies. Famous attractions along the way include Lugang Township, Kaohsiung’s Love River, and Zhi Ben Hot Springs,

Don’t think you can complete the circuit all on your own? E-bikes are a new addition this year for those who need that extra boost.

Kollecting Koordinates - Cycling in Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake Come! Bikeday

This weekend event invites cycling enthusiasts of all ages to Taiwan’s largest body of water: Sun Moon Lake. Feast your eyes on the beauty of Central Taiwan and learn about its unique aboriginal culture.

Three routes of varying difficulty, including a family-friendly path, are up for grabs. There’s even a friendly competition for kids on tricycles!

Not in Taiwan for the 2017 main events?

Don’t worry! Taiwan Cycling Festival offers a series of events throughout the year. You can find the full list on this page.

Cycling in Taiwan

Even if you’re not in the country during the event dates, cycling is one of the best ways to experience Taiwan. Check out Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s comprehensive handbook detailing trip preparation, sample itineraries, and route maps.

My husband’s colleague rode down the east coast a few years ago and had the time of his life! He found the people incredibly friendly and helpful, and the terrain challenging, diverse, and rewarding all at once. He particularly enjoyed rural riding and of course, the food!

Kollecting Koordinates - Cycling in Taiwan

For more information

Taiwan Tourism Bureau: official websiteTwitterFacebookInstagram
Cycling in Taiwan: official website2017 Festivalcomplete event series

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80 Comments

  1. November 8, 2017 / 7:59 am

    Would not have thought about cycling in Taiwan before but it looks lovely!

  2. November 8, 2017 / 3:42 pm

    I had no idea Taiwan had such a a big cycling competition. i think the routes looks very scenic, so that must be a total plus!

  3. November 8, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    Not in to cycling but this place looks amazing. Havent read a single blog about this country before! Thanks for sharing and happy travelling 🙂

    • November 8, 2017 / 10:01 pm

      I hope Taiwan’s on your radar now! 🙂

  4. November 8, 2017 / 6:53 pm

    A lot of my friends are well into their road cycling and are always on the look out for new worldwide locations. I will forward this post on to them. They will love it!

    • November 8, 2017 / 10:01 pm

      Thanks Sarah!

  5. November 8, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    Wow, I’ll definitely consider visiting Taiwan by bike, then!
    I’m so surprised…

  6. November 8, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    I went once to Austria and cycled around the Alps. This was a very memorable travel experience because on a bike you can slowly soak in the surrounding mountain views. I’d love to explore Taiwan on a bike as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • November 8, 2017 / 10:02 pm

      Oh man that sounds like one helluva ride too. We loved the Austrian Alps, I can only imagine how beautiful your cycling trip must’ve been! I hope you’ll do the same in Taiwan one day 🙂

  7. November 8, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    I have never been to Taiwan (well, only stop over at the airport) and cycling competition is never in my book. But cycling for sightseeing in Taiwan looks interesting and enjoyable.

    • November 8, 2017 / 10:02 pm

      When you visit next time check out the east coast! It’s beautiful there 🙂

  8. November 8, 2017 / 9:57 pm

    I did some biking in China and found it to be kind of stressful. Would you say that the biking within Taipei or other cities is like that or is it just straight up beautiful everywhere? 😉 We’re all about biking rurally but find ourselves biking within cities more and more.

    • November 8, 2017 / 10:04 pm

      I’d say that it’s very different in Taiwan since the government invested a fair amount in the cycleways. It might be a little hectic in the city (like Taipei), but once you get out to the rural areas in Central Taiwan and on the east coast, it’s just straight up beautiful like you mentioned 🙂 The landscape changes quite a bit depending on the region too so you’ll get to see many different sides of Taiwan!

  9. November 8, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    Those cycle trails look great!

  10. November 9, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Taiwan is such a beautiful country with accomodating locals. My friend spent some years in Taiwan and she raves about it all day. The cycling competition sounds fun and sure a good way to boost societal relationship. I’m sure I’d enjoy cycling with locals as a foreigner.

  11. November 9, 2017 / 8:41 am

    Wow, quite a long cycling route! I’d love to do once at least a few days of cycling around Taiwan, seems to be very beautiful. Thanks for the info!

  12. November 9, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    This is an awesome coverage of the cycling festival. Although we are not competitive bikers but we won’t mind doing some small circuit biking in Taiwan 🙂

  13. Lisa
    November 9, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    I’d really love to visit Taiwan one day. It’s such a beautiful place and cycling around the landscape would be incredible. However, I’m not the fittest person, so may have to take breaks in between!

  14. Carol Colborn
    November 9, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    We covered Taiwan from north to south through the high-speed train. How neat that was! But now, to do it in a bike through this Festival, I’m sure my husband would love that. The only problem? I can’t bike!!!

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      Those e-bikes would come in handy!

  15. November 9, 2017 / 6:23 pm

    This sounds amazing! My entire family would love this! I have never visited anywhere in Asia but it is high up on my bucket list! Maybe Taiwan will be my first destination!

  16. November 10, 2017 / 3:13 am

    I’ve never been to Taiwan, but I would love to see it someday! It looks like such a beautiful and unique place. I didn’t realize GIANT bikes were from Taiwan! I see them all over the place. This sounds like such an awesome event! I love that they also have a race for the kids on tricycles!

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      The trike race must be the cutest thing ever haha

  17. November 10, 2017 / 6:01 am

    The countryside of Taiwan looks so enchanting and what better way to experience it than through cycling. Of course I am referring to casual cycling and not the 900 Kms marathon. The cycling festival in Taiwan reminded me of the Tour De France.I am sure this will whip up the same kind of enthusiasm and excitement.

  18. November 10, 2017 / 7:37 am

    Wow this is so cool! I’ve been wanting to go to Taiwan so bad…especially for the beautiful scenery. This biking would be intense and fun to see!

  19. November 10, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    I’m hoping to explore the eastern countries in 2019. Taiwan is indeed beautiful and the idea to explore it on cycle would be awesome. Good to know about how the concept of cycling evolved there with Giant and the Cycle Route no:1….

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:14 pm

      try to avoid the summer months because it can get super hot and humid!

  20. November 10, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    I’ve been reading lots of bike tours and cycling activities around cities and off-the-beaten path lately that it’s making me want to learn how to bike! I personally didn’t know that Taiwan had a popular cycling competition or that cycling is one of the best/ unique mode of transportation to get around and see the sites. Sounds like a fun activity and pretty rewarding too!

  21. Yukti
    November 10, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    Wow this cycling tour along nature would be so beautiful experience. Biking around bike’s coast and Zhi Beng’s hot spring must be incredible. As I have not been to Taiwan but after reading your post, it tempts me to go there.

  22. November 10, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    This is the first time I have heard of this, the ride seems wonderfully intense and a fun way to explore the cities of Taiwan.

  23. November 10, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    Wow, I never knew that some places celebrate cycling festivals too. I wish more and more cities take this up and make cycling a way of life.

  24. Joanna
    November 11, 2017 / 10:51 am

    It’s great that Taiwan celebrates cycling in such a big way! Being active is really important and cycling through the beautiful countryside of Taiwan can only be relaxing. I do love cycling and I use my bike to commute every day. I just wish the path I go through was as beautiful as the ones in your photos.

  25. November 11, 2017 / 5:03 pm

    Biking in Taiwan has been on our bucket list since we first started research for our blog. Launch -6 months, we visited a travel show in San Diego and they had a speaker talking about a week long trip through the country with epic climbs and hot springs everywhere. It sounded magical. Our big Thailand trip was an either/or with biking through Taiwan but in the end, the chance to play with elephants won out. We are finally getting a chance to visit Taiwan in less than a month. I heard there is a great ride to the bay that we just might have to do for our 24 hours in Taiwan.

  26. November 11, 2017 / 7:13 pm

    This seems to be a very well organized event with well marked tracks. I can imagine how beautiful the Taiwanese scenery you ride through is. I’m not quite at the age to require an e-bike but I am heading that way!

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:24 pm

      haha hey no judgement on the e-bikes 🙂

  27. November 11, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    What an amazing bike route! I love exploring a new place so this sounds so fun. The marathon route sounds a bit over my head though! But would love to do some of the easier and more scenic portions.

  28. Jonathan
    November 11, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    The scenery looks amazing. What is an e-bike? Does this bike make it easier to ride? Food stops along the way and scenery would be amazing.

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:24 pm

      electric bikes give you that extra boost! makes uphills soooo much easier

  29. November 11, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    The hubby is a big time cyclist so he would be in heaven at a cycling festival. What a fantastic way to see the countryside. I’d have to get an e-bike!

  30. November 12, 2017 / 3:51 am

    Biking around Taiwan sounds amazing. You showed an alternative side to usual ways of traveling. Very much enjoyed reading this.

  31. November 12, 2017 / 6:06 am

    Taiwan does look just so beautiful, peaceful and relaxing, especially by bike! I’ve never really explored a place by bike, but actually it looks like a really nice way of seeing things! Would definitely help me slow down and take the scenic route!

  32. November 12, 2017 / 6:16 am

    Taiwan is currently one of my next on list places to visit and or live in so your post was greatly interesting to me! I did not know about this cycling culture in Taiwan before now! I don’t think I would be keen to spectate the events but I was very pleased to rad that amateurs can also use the cycle trails to explore this country’s incredible coastline. I love seeing places with sustainable transport options made easy! Thanks!

  33. November 12, 2017 / 10:20 am

    It looks so beautiful to cycle in Taiwan! I have to admit I don’t know too much about Taiwan but it looks so lush and green. Great to know that the Government has invested quite a bit into cycleways and I am sure it would such a fantastic way to explore this country. Thank you for sharing – this is totally my cup of tea! Am pinning for reference.

  34. November 12, 2017 / 10:55 am

    I am a huge cycling fan. Every time I can I get on my bike. I never really thought on Taiwan as a biking destination. After seeing those stunning pictures I can’t wait to go there.

  35. November 12, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    Cycling definitely looks like the way to go! It looks mostly flat… Outside the route of the challenge which I know gains a bit of elevation, is it largely flat or are there hills too? Compared to SF (at least in the photos) it seems like such a easy cycling spot!

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:27 pm

      The terrain along with the elevation change dramatically depending on where you are. I haven’t done the cycling route but I’ve driven past parts of it in the rural areas.. which are flat!

  36. November 12, 2017 / 4:13 pm

    So many people don’t get outside ot Taipei when visiting Taiwan, this is an excellent way to get out and see the beautiful country!

  37. November 12, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    I had no idea bicycling was such a big deal in Taiwan!

  38. Flo
    November 13, 2017 / 5:09 am

    I can’t imagine cycling 900 KM over 9 days, but I know that cycling is a MASSIVE sport in Taiwan and I can totally understand why it is an amazing way to see the country! I’m embarrassed to say that although I’m from Taiwan and visit several times a year, I have yet to try cycling there – maybe one day in the future!

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      you and me both haha! one day… one day…

  39. November 13, 2017 / 5:16 am

    Pinned it to be able to easily get back to the post! I love active vacations and though I won’t be able to participate in the festival, I’d love to cycle through Taiwan next year.

  40. November 13, 2017 / 9:11 am

    Taiwan is such a beautiful country and your pictures to justify it. I love cycling myself but doing a cycling challenge is a bit tough for me, though I love exploring & wandering around in any country through a cycle which is the best way.

  41. November 13, 2017 / 11:25 am

    I don’t think or rather don’t know if I want to do the whole mile here. but I definitely want to do some part of my exploring of Taiwan with cycles. It seems so refreshing and beautiful. And possibly, a great way to get around. Someday, soon maybe!

  42. November 13, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    First of I would say, you have captured some great photos. Would love to visit such a country in bike. Most importantly I found the climax once I see you traveling through a country side. Literary I was there for few mins I loved being there. Liked you page too. 🙂 Happy Travels. Greetings from Sri Lanka.

  43. November 13, 2017 / 2:21 pm

    I’ve been wanting to go to Taiwan for so long now! They actually are supposed to have an AMAZING vegan scene plus all the beautiful landscapes have me planning a trip already. I recently heard about this cycling event and it seems pretty awesome. Cycling an entire country is on my bucket list!

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:29 pm

      YES you’ll never want to leave after you try the food

  44. November 13, 2017 / 2:56 pm

    My big teddy would definitely love to do a cycling event like this! We love Taiwan and I could totally imagine how nice it is to cycle around the countryside.

  45. Abhinav Singh
    November 13, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    I am a major fan of cycling, especially in a new country. I didn’t know Taiwan has such amazing cycling routes. Would love to be a part of this marathon someday.

  46. November 14, 2017 / 2:56 am

    This is I believe a very enjoyable thing to do while in Taiwan. The sceneries are amazing. I would like to be given a chance to do this once I visit Taiwan. Cycling is definitely healthy thing to do while absorbing the fresh air of the greeneries.

  47. Parnashree Devi
    November 14, 2017 / 11:41 am

    The Annual Taiwan Cycling Festival in Taiwan is one of the interesting events around the world. I loved the county-side of this country. what breathtaking landscapes

  48. November 15, 2017 / 10:21 pm

    I’ve never been to a cycling festival, sounds like so much fun! Like a Tour de France but for Taiwan, have a great time!

  49. November 15, 2017 / 11:56 pm

    Wow!!! The countryside looks gorgeous. I think it would be an amazing experience to circumnavigate the country in a cycle. This has to be on the bucket list. Wish we can visit Taiwan soon.

  50. November 16, 2017 / 4:33 am

    There are so many beautiful sites in Taiwan worth exploring. The best way is through cycling! Hopefully we will get to do this next time we go back!

  51. November 17, 2017 / 5:10 am

    Fantastic landscapes to bike by…rice terraces, coastal shores and mountains! Its eye candy all the way. It was interesting to know that cyclists travel 10,000 feet to Hehuan Mountain’s summit up a 105km route! Wow.

  52. November 18, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    We are into mountain biking and not so much road biking in this family. But it looks like a great place. We have Taiwan on our bucket list.

  53. November 19, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    I would love to visit Taiwan. This seems like a different way to see the country. And keep fit!

  54. November 19, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    Taiwan seems like a great place to cycle. I don’t know if we are ready to take part in the 105km Taiwan Kom Challenge course with 87km of uphill but maybe one of the other cycling events. It does make it more fun to travel when you are going there for an event.

  55. November 23, 2017 / 1:29 am

    I never knew Taiwan had such a huge cycling community/industry. That is awesome!

  56. November 23, 2017 / 1:55 am

    Those views are AMAZING! I had no idea Taiwan was so picturesque. It’s on my list of places I hope to visit, but I probably won’t bike 🙂

  57. November 23, 2017 / 2:18 am

    Taiwan is so beautiful and green! A bike ride to see these lush surroundings is perfect. Kudos to the Government for encouraging pollution free transportation.

  58. November 23, 2017 / 2:20 am

    I love to ride a bike around picturesque places. Therefore, it feels good to know Taiwan doing efforts to provide locals and visitors routes, maps, ideas and instructions relating to this activity. You cover more ground walking and it is something almost everybody can do (at its own pace).

  59. November 23, 2017 / 10:47 am

    That was a cool read – I am not a cyclist by any stretch of the imagination but I always get a kick out of watching them on the roads and in races. I am always in awe of their stamina and endurance and find watching the races compelling. I wish I was young again and could actually ride a bike more than a block…lol

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:36 pm

      Right? My quads hurt from watching competitive cycling. That’s why there are e-bikes though!

  60. Christine
    November 23, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    Taiwan is beautiful so I can only imagine how gorgeous it was to cycle through and see all the amazing landscapes. This must be a cyclists dream!

  61. Jewels
    November 23, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    What a beautiful path!! Taiwan is so green! I like how the roads didn’t look too crowded. I don’t feel confident enough in my cycling skills to ride around busy areas.

    • November 28, 2017 / 7:36 pm

      the cycling route passes through the rural areas so the traffic isn’t too crazy 🙂

  62. November 23, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    wooooow! That’s amazing! I’m just starting my journey with biking, but I’m sure my husband would love it!

  63. Aireona
    November 24, 2017 / 2:47 am

    I really want to go to Taiwan, and I have heard that the mountains there are beautiful. Seems like, from your post, the cycling the island is a perfect way to get around.

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