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  • Mark Wells

    Just wow. Inspired.

    • Jack Thompson

      Thanks Mark

  • Matt

    What an inspirational story from a legend of a bloke! Tough man. Epic route. Not many would have survived that!

    • Jack Thompson

      Cheers Matty!

  • Thad Pasquale

    Great stuff, I’m glad you enjoyed your time here. Yeah, the freeways aren’t open to cyclists as you found out. Also, I would avoid RT 9 between Yilan and Hualien on the east coast. It often looks tempting to visitors due to its proximity to the coast, but its many dark and narrow tunnels combined with lots of truck and bus traffic make it to dangerous in my opinion. It doesn’t stop people from cycling it, but I cringe every time I see someone doing it.

    • Jack Thompson

      Hey Thad. Yes I’ve heard that RT9 between Yilan and Hualien is a dangerous stretch of road. The detour via Wu-ling is certainly worth it.

    • Hehe, that portion of 9 between Suao and Xincheng is the only part left open of my round Taiwan trips. The next time, I’m back, I’m just going to ride and be done with it.

      • Jack Thompson

        Keep an eye on that traffic Michael!

  • Jonas

    Nice story about the great rides you can find in Taiwan. There is only one thing that seems a bit odd to me, Wuling Farm is actually quite a long ride (by normal people’s standards) away from Hehuanshan/Wuling, quite a bit lower, and not on the road from Hualien to Wuling, but somewhere close to your descend to Yilan. So I am wondering whether you really saw Wuling Farm, or you assumed one of the farms on the way up to Wuling to be Wuling Farm?

    • Jack Thompson

      Hey Jonas, thanks for the comment. Yes I know exactly what you mean. Wuling itself is not at the very top but part way up the climb. I visited the farm itself also. Cheers!

  • dllm

    Good job!

    I wonder what stuffs you had packed with the few bags for the whole trip.

    • Jack Thompson

      Thanks mate! Haha were you on bike or in the car? I passed a few cyclists midway up with a car following them. Were you part of this group?

      • dllm

        Exactly that group of four with the black support van.

        Where did you go after the summit? Yes we were fortunate to avoid the accident and type here now. The road back to Hualien was blocked by the collapse and we were forced to roadtrip on the van half clockwise round of Taiwan, which took us as long as the ride up to Wuling. Kudos to the driver who worked more than 20hrs that day…

        I’d love to ride Taiwan again. Could you share your GPS record to serve as a reference to plan my trip?

        • Jack Thompson

          Wow, what a small world! I continued North and down the other side and back to Taipei that day, was around 400km total. How did you find the final 10km? Crazy steep hey!?

          • dllm

            Surely it’s brutal for me, and that was with the advantage of the very nice weather (lucky!).

            My friends and I are in awe of your lap of Taiwan with minimum stuffs. Huge respect!

            • Jack Thompson

              Thanks mate and well done on reaching the summit of Wu-ling!

    • Jack Thompson

      As for my gear list, jump across to my instagram. Ive posted a short video with everything i took with me.

  • Sean Carless

    Ed: please take out the reference to “island province of Taiwan” in the intro. It’s incredibly offensive to the Taiwan people and to us who make the island our home to see it described as a province. (Great article by the way.)

  • toni796

    it was all great until you mentioned snakes and spiders so i guess taiwan is no go

    • Jack Thompson

      Nothing to worry about Toni :)

  • Taiwan looks epic!

    • Jack Thompson

      It is dude!

  • Alice Springy

    three of us did similar trip in April this year. 1100km/18,000Vm but over 13 days (not like your incredible 350km days!) – truly stunning. eg. https://www.strava.com/activities/948476849.

    • Jack Thompson

      Awesome job Alice, well done! Im sure you can relate to the amazing scenery, the friendly people and the delicious food…Take me back!

      • Alice Springy

        jack your article was perfect. reminded us how great our own trip was!

        • Jack Thompson

          Great news :)

  • Alex

    Amazing piece, my favourite section of cycling tips is definitely the adventure stories. Maybe someone can help me but 45% gradients seem impossible.. isn’t a 50% gradient literally straight up at a right angle to the ground? Don’t see how that is possible to go up or come down

    • Jack Thompson

      Im glad you enjoyed the piece Alex :) A 90% angle is straight up and a 45% angle is halfway to straight up (but feels like straight up!!)

      • Terminology may vary internationally, but it seems that you are mixing up angles as measured in “%” and angles measured in degrees. slowK had it right, a 45 degree angle is half way to straight up, which is equivalent to a 100% grade. A 90 degree angle is straight up, but 90% is not even halfway there.

        Pedantic matters aside, that was an awesome, impressive, ride, and great article! If you have any pics of those snakes that didn’t make it through editing, I’d love to see them!

        • Jack Thompson

          Unfortunately no images of the snakes Kai, I was well and truly on my way each time I spotted one!

    • slowK

      Alex: gradient as a % is rise / run ( i.e. vertical gain / horizontal distance) x 100. So a 100% gradient is a 45 degree slope. I think.

      • DaveRides

        Correct.

        An infinity% grade is straight up.

        • JK

          You don’t trust a Garmin.

          PS. The riding there is amazing. I’ll be back for KOM again this year, no question.

      • slowK

        I forgot to say: amazing ride and write up – thanks Jack!

        • Jack Thompson

          No problem, glad you enjoyed the piece!

  • Simon Van Rysewyk

    I lived in Taiwan for nearly a decade. This piece brought back some great memories. Thanks!

    • Jack Thompson

      Great news Simon. Taiwan is certainly a special place!

  • TypeVertigo

    Amazing read. Makes me want to try out riding in Taiwan too!

    Note that Steve, the Singaporean behind the Hands On Bike blog, made Taiwan’s rolling terrain his argument for adopting Di2 on his folding bike a few years ago.

    • Jack Thompson

      Make it happen!

  • ???

    Such a wonderful cycling trip! As a local, I would like to emphasize the convenience of 7/11 here. They are everywhere on this island and most of them open 24 hours a day. That is say you can have hot food, water and beer supplies anytime!

    • Jack Thompson

      Spot on and plus one for the beer anytime ;)

      • ???

        Cheers, Jack!

  • les pink

    great article.

    • Jack Thompson

      Thanks Les :)

  • Shell

    Fascinating and inspiring Jack. I’m looking to move on from the semi-organised self-supported races which are increasingly reducing in their adventure element (thanks to social media where, for me, too much info is shared before the race so that there are fewer unknowns). Instead, I want to do exactly what you have done here (and Nelson Trees in Kyrgystan), taking the same principles (trying to travel light fast and far, over multiple days) but looking for adventure. Thanks for demonstrating what’s possible. Big kudos.

    • Jack Thompson

      Hey Shell, I know exactly what you mean. There is something intriguing about the unknown and this excites me too. Nelson is a close friend of mine, his travels in Kyrgyzstan look brilliant. Keep those pedals turning!

  • Laura Meurice

    Very inspirational! What an adventure! I found this article not because I’m a cyclist/endurance rider, but because I love Taiwan and kind of read everything I can find about that country… But I had to laugh with the snake part. An Australian “afraid” of Taiwanese snakes and wildlife, when to me, Australia is like the most dangerous country in the world for it’s wildlife :p (I’m from Belgium, Europe, and in my country, bees, wasps and wild boars are probably the most dangerous things you can find… and also the only dangerous things :p ). I never was afraid in Taiwan but I am when thinking about going to Australia one day.

    • Jack Thompson

      Laura Im glad you enjoyed the read! Haha, Australia isn’t as bad as it’a made out to be (aside from the Sharks, Spiders, Snakes and Crocs!)
      It’s so nice to hear that you are also a huge fan of Taiwan. It’s an amazing country to explore with such diversity. Stay safe and well away from those killer bees!

  • Daniel Powell

    So great. Spent 18 months living there. You hit so many nails on the head with this post! I miss it.

    • Jack Thompson

      Thanks for the kind words Daniel. Im glad you enjoyed. P.S Taiwan is only a flight away, make it happen! ;)

  • Bryan Chan

    I’ll be submitting up Wuling via the east, west and northern routes in August. Should be some epic climbing.

    • Jack Thompson

      Sounds fantastic Bryan, you will love it!

  • Mark, this is so fantastic to see Taiwan written up as you have. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed riding Taiwan. Many of those roads, I’ve ridden once or thrice while living there. I continue to miss those days. Travel well!

    • Jack Thompson

      It sounds as though you know the Island we’ll Michael. It’s great to see that so many other cyclists have ventured here to explore. I agree with you, it’s certainly the type of place that you could visit and ride more than once. The abundance of roads means that you would never have to ride the same road twice!

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