Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Whole Different World

Cycling in Taipei has a whole different meaning than in North America.  In my time here in the nation's capital, I've seen only two recreational cyclists.  I came across them lounging on the patio at a Starbucks at the end of the subway line at Tamsui.  It wasn't their expensive road bikes that gave them away but their loud jerseys and colourful spandex shorts which none of the cyclists I'd seen to this point had been wearing.

The many thousands of other cyclists use bicycles as their main transportation - often with another person riding shotgun on a narrow pad affixed to the rear pannier rack.  The rack itself must be designed to hold much more weight than the racks we use.  Mine are only rated to hold fifty pounds.

I came across many other bikes that have been manufactured with an added seat post placed between the main seat and the handlebars.  Probably for a small child to sit on.  One bike appeared to have been adapted for another passenger with what appeared to be an accessory seat post that was simply bolted onto the downtube.

In a city of three million, it is surprising how few bikes can be spotted and as our tour guide Abraham pointed out - riding a bike on the very congested streets is a very dangerous undertaking.  Even riding a scooter, of which there appears be tens of thousands is a suicidal act given the number of cars, trucks and buses clogging every street.
A small minority

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear this point of view. I've been doing a lot of travelling lately, mostly in Europe. I have a folding bike, and I've been taking it with me, however cycling in Europe is a little different, maybe, than in Taipei. I've been thinking of heading to Asia, but can't decide if I want to take the bike with me. I guess I will have to keep looking into it.