The Let’s Ride Taiwan 2009 event at Sun Moon Lake was sponsored by China Airlines, who thoughtfully provided company in the form of stewardesses (or if you must, “flight attendants”). Considering that it was raining and the sheer number of people on the ride, these women were quite competent riders on the bikes, provided by Giant. The route was only a short portion of the Round the Lake Road, as the sections on the far side would be challenging to the casual enthusiast and those not on performance bikes.
Besides, we needed to get to the Lalu Hotel so the organizers could bury us under a decadent Chinese style banquet. And if you’ve never experienced a Chinese banquet, then you’re missing out on life.
The weather here has been a bit damp, as there is a typhoon ravaging the Phillipines not too far away, but otherwise the the conditions here are really nice. If I had the opportunity to stay here a week or so during the depths of the Pac NW winter…just to relax and get fit, that would be AWESOME. The food here is really great too. Price-wise, it would be inaccurate to say that it is dirt cheap, but it is certainly reasonable, and much less expensive than Japan.
The area here is a popular tourist attraction for the Taiwanese and visiting Japanese, but Western tourists are rare at the moment. It’s a shame, as I really like this area. It’s very clean, not overdeveloped, and not filled with cheesy tourist traps. I don’t think this immediate would be a cycling Mecca, since the roads aren’t suited for big groups of riders, I think. But small groups have plenty of room. The Round the Lake Road is about 30km of smooth pavement and rolling climbs. There are no outright legbreaker climbs (by my standards), but the terrain is nicely varied, great for intervals.
As much as I like my Davidson BMX bike, the terrain here is begging for a good fast road bike. I wonder how the rest of this trip will play out, because I don’t really want to leave here. But the bus leaves in 2hrs.