The photoshoot for Rapha’s Flyweight collection took place in Taipei City in Taiwan, the perfect testing ground for hot and humid weather cycling gear. Ahsien Yen, Rapha's Taiwan Country Manager, was one of the models on the shoot. He tells us what makes this part of the world so special to ride in.
It has been said that the best way to explore a place is to navigate by bike. I couldn’t agree more.
Cycling through Taipei City, the capital and financial centre of Taiwan, is an experience for all of your senses as you happen upon the intricacies of this cosmopolitan city. The hustle and bustle can be too much for some, and many of the local cyclists escape it by riding out to the twenty minutes climb up Mt. Yangmingshan. Out here, the inspiration and pleasure taken from trading nods with fellow cyclists on the road goes hand-in-hand with the great vistas.
When you reach the highest point, the Mt. Daiton Civil Aeronautical Station – a dormant volcano 1,070m high – you’ll be able to see almost the whole Taipei Basin, including the most famous landmark of Taipei on a sunny day, the Taipei 101 Building.
From here, you can climb across a couple more passes of Mt. Yangmingshan via the country roads. Heading to the north-east coastline, the landscape alters in a blink of an eye after you descend out of the base of Mt. Yangmingshan and turn right onto the coastal road. It’s pretty spectacular.
Taiwan is such a mountainous island that the coastal routes offer not only amazing seashore views but also a magnificent skyline of evergreen mountains. And if you’ve made it that far from the city, you certainly don’t want to miss the well-known ancient gold mining town, Jiufen. You just need to climb up the Jinguashi hills and several good hairpins to enjoy its charms.
Other popular spots to climb on the way back include Buyen Pavilion and Wufenshan Radar Station, which is considered by local cyclists as ‘Taiwan’s Mont Ventoux’. If you’ve made it this far, you’ll have done a lot of riding, but one thing that road cyclists never need worry about in Taiwan is staying fed and hydrated, as 24-hour convenience stores dot the roadsides.
Having said all of this, the most beautiful scenery in Taiwan is its people. This is what the place is known for, the kindness of strangers. We invite you to come and experience Taiwan with the fellow cyclists here – our passion and subtropical breeze complement one another.