After plucking serious cash for a Catlike helmet, I’m wearing it everywhere on the last day in Taiwan. I’m here at the Grand Hotel, Taipei. It’s been a crazy 8 days in Taiwan, I’ll tell you about it when I get back.
I’ve been to Taiwan three times now, but it wasn’t till this last trip that I really saw how many class bike shops Taipei had. We went to Rui Guang Road, where there were 3 bikes shops next door to each other in a fairly new commercial district. One was the Merida flagship store, the middle was the Orbea shop where I was compelled to buy a Catlike helmet, and the third was another of the ubiquitous Giant Bicycles stores. Each of the shops carried a full range of bikes from budget to premium.
Last year when I went about the smaller, older neighborhoods with my then girlfriend, I visited a bunch of hole-in-the-wall shops, some cool and some mundane. Together with these larger shops employing a bit more retail design, I’m really impressed with how much cycling culture seems to be growing in Taiwan.
We stopped into the Merida Bicycles flagship store to look about. Though Merida has a high-profile in Taiwan, they are mainly know as the manufacturing partner for just about all of Specialized, as well as others. In the flagship store Merida had bikes that spanned the spectrum of affordable to premium, but what grabbed my attention was the shoes. The store prominently displayed a brand called Hasus, and I’ve never heard of them before. The shoes bear an overwhelming resemblance to a certain famous Italian cobbler (hint: sounds like “CD”), but when I turned the shoe over to see what kind of mounting system it had, HELLO! …..no mounting system at all. The sole is fairly stiff and not very grabby….I thought it was just hard plastic at first (I’m still not sure). VERY curious design. A high-tech shoe for toe clips?