Taiwan is a unique landmass formed about six million years ago when the Filipino and Asian plates began colliding with each other. The central mountain range formed from the Asian plate while the coastal mountains which run along the eastern seaboard formed from the Filipino plate. Between them is a valley where the best rice in Taiwan is grown.
The plates continue to collide while the mountains continue to grow about one cm a year producing peaks over ten thousand feet high with massive sheer cliffs. These are some of the most rugged mountains I’ve ever seen! Combine this with an abundance of rain and we have fast flowing rivers etching deep canyons, waterfalls, and lush green forests.
The result is unsurpassed beauty making this island-country a superb place for bicycling and hiking. It does have its challenges though. The daunting climb across the country starts at sea level and ends less than fifty miles later at above ten thousand feet. The heat and humidity make this ride taxing for even the most seasoned cyclist.
This is the third of six articles I am writing about the bicycling possibilities in Taiwan.