Taiwan’s Premier Wu Den-yih on Oct. 7 called for 2011 to be the first year that a regular Taiwan Cycling Festival is held to encourage the healthy habit of bicycling among the Taiwan public, as well as to help raise the island’s international profile.
“Turning this festival into Asia’s most prominent cycling competition will really boost Taiwan’s international visibility,” he added.
The premier made the remarks after being briefed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) on preparations for the Oct. 16-24 Taiwan Cycling Festival, which serves as a warm-up for the Taiwan Cup, the Elite Road Race and the Self-Challenge Race scheduled for Oct. 24.
Premier Wu noted that the MOTC has established bicycle routes along Taiwan’s east coast, and has completed relevant facilities and personnel training. A total of 417.6 kilometers of bicycle routes throughout eastern Taiwan are scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Wu observed that the festival will highlight three unique features of Taiwan—its globally prominent bicycle manufacturers, its east coast mountain and seashore scenery and the culture of its indigenous peoples.
“The festival will integrate the marketings of the natural beauty, the rich culture and the cycling-friendly environment of eastern Taiwan, making it a hallmark event for molding the region’s tourism image,” the premier said.
“The festival will also highlight the health benefits and pleasure that the public can obtain from sports, while showcasing Taiwan’s vitality and efforts in saving energy and reducing carbon emissions,” he added.
The premier reminded the MOTC and the Tourism Bureau that Yilan should not be overlooked when planning and promoting cycling along the eastern seashore, noting that the completion of the Taipei-Yilan expressway has made the eastern county easy to reach.
The area’s convenient access, many resort hotels and gorgeous rural scenery have made it an ideal place for short cycling trips with family and friends, as opposed to the Taiwan Cup competition held in Hualian and Taitung farther south along the coast. “This proper use different types of environment will attract greater numbers of tourists to all areas along the east coast,” he pointed out.
The MOTC said that it is considering to stage some festival events in Yilan next year and is assessing the feasibility to hold short-range cycling competitions in which all members of the family can participate. It also stated that the Taiwan Cycling Festival is to be a combination of cycling competitions and recreation events featuring hot springs, aboriginal music and local culture of eastern Taiwan.
Railroad transport of bicycles will also be arranged to make traveling to the east coast more accessible to bikers, MOTC officials added.