A few weeks ago I was offered an amazing opportunity to fuse my two worlds - cycling and photojournalism. I was invited to join the 2017 Taiwan Cycling Festival Formosa 900 Media Group to experience cycle touring in Taiwan, sponsored by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau and to report back my honest opinion on the experience.
The entire tour was from Oct. 1 - Oct. 8, 2017 with 4 days of cycle touring and 2 days off the bikes to tour the cities of Kaoshiung and Taipei with a provided guide. We cycled on the East side of the island, which is also known to be the most beautiful, opposite from the busy industrial side of the country and separated by a large mountain range. There were 13 cyclists from around the world and of various cycling abilities on the tour. The tour operator, Taiwan Cycling Travel Association had 4 staff to guide and support us through the trip and 1 translator/guide to help us with everything else we needed along the way. The tour was fully supported, meaning we had a follow van to carry all of our gear, from water to suitcases.
Prior to this trip, I knew little of Taiwan, and since I began researching, I was quite surprised by the diverse and beautiful terrain the island offers. There are large mountains (over 286), beautiful countrysides, natural hot springs and a robust cultural scene (especially food!). Another great part about the tour is that I was able to bring my own bike. About two years ago, I began working with Werk Arts, a bamboo bike company, homegrown in Hawaii. Cycling through Taiwan on our latest touring bike model, road testing it for a long haul, added so much to the journey.