Distance: Around 1,000kms
Start/Finish: The capital, Taipei. The initial ‘0 kilometre marking’ is found at Songshan Station in Taipei.
Terrain: Varied. Nearly 600kms is along scenic and protected bike paths. There are two big climbs to be aware of: the 22km Shouka climb along Provincial Highway 9 in the south, and the long and twisting climb along the Beiyi Highway, between Yilan and Taipei at the end of your cycle.
Duration: You can easily complete the route in one to two weeks, depending how long you pedal each day. As an example, if you cycled at 20km/h (an average speed for an armature rider) for five hours a day, you’d finish in around 10 days.
The round-the-island cycling route is known as ‘Taiwan Cycling Route No. 1’. The near 1,000km-loop clings to the coastline, winding through villages, mountain ranges and verdant green valleys as it circumnavigates the entire island. It’s the best way to experience Taiwan, pedalling between homestays and B&Bs as you soak up the highlights from every corner of the country.
The route is surprisingly easy to follow. There are markings placed every 2kms – and every 500m in downtown areas – with rest stops along the way. You’re supposed to head in a counter clockwise direction, as the roads along the west are flatter, which helps you build up stamina before reaching the tougher climbs in the east.