The chilling, fuzzy wind swooshed pass my ears covered with a cycling-head-kerchief. My neon yellow windbreaker jacket is dancing against the speed of my bike. I see the numbers on the odometer increase once in a few minutes. “We’re 22 kilometers away from Chiayi,” I shouted at the top of my lungs, making sure that my fellow bikers heard my announcement over the coverage of the wind.
My family and I live in Taiwan, but we’d never tried to bike around this beautiful, sweet potato shaped island. Since I was young, I’ve read about various articles on the newspaper, reporting how another young lad had accomplished biking around Taiwan. So much about reading those heroic stories, we decided to give it a try during Chinese New Year’s break: we will bike from Taichung (our city) to Kaohsiung, which is 199.4 kilometers away from us.
Since cycling around Taiwan is such a popular way of traveling, the government built a cycling path designated just for bikers called “Cycling Route No. 1.” As we traveled along the route, we witnessed the different sceneries that approached beside the paths. I’ve almost never encountered Southern Taiwan, and this trip surely did gobsmack me of the beautiful scenes of the South and the nostalgia that proliferates upon them. More than anything, I remember how impressed I was at the massive flower beds and the fields embellished with short, petit pineapple bushes. We even passed a duck farm beside the road; there were hundreds of yellow ducklings waddling away while we stopped to look at them. How adorable!
Although the ride was quite lengthy for us, we managed to reach our first stop, Chiayi City, and we awarded ourselves with a savoring dinner – a bowl of Chiayi turkey rice!
Nonetheless, the next day was the real challenge. Our final destination, Kaohsiung, is around 100 kilometers away from Chiayi. We were to cross through the entire city of Tainan and the rural areas of Kaohsiung in order to reach our hotel. It sounded intimidating!
We kicked off from Chiayi around nine in the morning. Expeditiously, we crossed the borders of Chiayi and entered Tainan. Unfortunately, around noon my mom started to feel extremely fatigued. She couldn’t even ride past 15 km/hr. That’s when my dad suggested that we take the train. Hallelujah, we can take the train to Kaohsiung! Although I wasn’t beat up, I still felt excited to ride the train, because as an urban child, I rarely experienced train rides around the island.
“Next stop, Kaohsiung Train Station.” I scurried up from my seat and held up my bike. It’s five o’clock in the afternoon, and we finally arrived at our destination.
That night in Kaohsiung was lovely and rewarding. We ate the weirdest seafood (slipper lobster) and walked along the quietest streets of Sizihwan Bay. Of course, it was Chinese New Year’s Night. That was why the roads were empty of tourists.
A few months later, we decided to go cycling again. This time, “It’s up North to Miaoli County!” exclaimed my dad. Great! This time, there’re hills and steep highways to conquer. Here we come, Miaoli!
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