If stumbled upon Up Down, All Around: Bikepacking Taiwan and you’re like, just tell me the high-level logistics and what to pack because I’m ready to go to Taiwan and a most excellent adventure pedaling around it, then you’re at the right place!
When: We biked from November 21 – December 2.
975 km in distance and 9750 meters in climbing (or 600+ miles and 32,000+ ft of climbing) over 11 days
Weather: We encountered a huge weather range during this time. The north was super chilly and rainy (light waterproof puffy weather), the south was tropical (tank tops please), and the middle ranged from pleasant to hot and dusty depending on how inland we were. Importantly, this time of year brings strong North-South winds so that might affect your route planning.
Packing Bikes: Emerson’s Salsa Vaya has SS Couplers so he could break the frame down and pack it small, avoiding the $50 Air Canada bike fee. However, he pretty much had to remove and then reinstall all cables.
I packed my Kona Rove ST and both of our racks, fenders, and bike bags in one free cardboard bike box. I wrapped everything in bubble wrap and it seemed to have done its job. Traveling between Taipei to Taitung pre- and post-tour required dragging my bike box through various bus and train stations which was a bit of struggle. Reinforced your box bottom if you’re going to do that. Notably, on our way home, we had a layover in rainy Vancouver. My bike box got soaked when it was being transferred on the tarmac and was a soggy, flimsy mess of pulp by the time I picked it up in Denver.
My Packing List:
We didn’t pack light and luckily this is a trip where we weren’t punished for being lamentably over prepared.
My Bike (Emerson had a similar setup)
- 49cm Kona Rove ST (I’m 5’4, 29.5” inseam)
- Shimano SPD pedals
- Topeak MidLoader 4.5L frame bag (really useful for carrying things I’d want while cycling, such as chapstick, sun screen, 7-11 snacks, battery connected to my GPS watch)
- 2 Novara panniers
- Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag handlebar bag (Really awesome for holding Taiwanese tea/coffee drinks, see image below)
- Topeak Tri top tube bag (Unnecessary and annoying as it would tilt and hit my knee sometimes when pedaling)
- Alps Mountaineering Compression Sack, size M, cinched on with 2 velcro straps
- Topeak Super Tourist DX rack
- SKS Stingray fenders (installation was hard!)
- 300 Lumen Front and rear bike lights (important when you’re biking through a city at dawn or dusk)
- Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2
- Aegis Max 800 Fill Down Sleeping Bag (My fav gear of the trip! Also probably among my top 3 gear purchase of 2017)
- Hikenture sleeping pad (Worked great during the trip but has developed hidden pinholes in the year since)
- Sea to Summit Coolmax Sleeping Bag Liner (unnecessary)
- Big Agnes Camping/Airplane Pillow (not recommended)
- 3 chamois shorts (2 would have been enough)
- 1 quarter-zip merino jersey
- Cycling gloves (I brought short and long-fingered ones but only used the short)
- Giro Hex Helmet – Great coverage, light, and well-ventilated
- Giro Sage biking shoes
- 1 Long-sleeve tech tee
- 1 Tech tank top
- 1 Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon jersey that I’ve had since 1st grade
- 2 quick-dry shorts – 1 is enough
- 1 long quick-dry pants – Patagonia RPS Rock Pant
- Running capris
- Running sneakers
- Too many underwear (3 panties and 2 sport bras would have been enough)
- Too many socks (3 would have been enough)
- Insulating Jacket – Patagonia Micro Puff jacket
- Rain jacket – Patagonia Alpine Houdini (not very waterproof but lightweight)
- Beanie (didn’t use)
- Camera (I chose to get a Sony A6000 for it’s portability relative to other cameras with high image quality)
- Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, razor, shampoo, soap
- Anti-itch ointment
- Bug repellent
- Bike lube
- Plastic bags to quickly throw over things when it rains
Things picked up along the way
- Phone/Navigation mount
- Portable Battery (great for charging Suunto, phones, bike lights etc. I placed mine in the top tube bag and wrapped wires along the top tube if I needed to charge items while pedaling.)
Please comment or directly reach out to me if there are other quick details you think I should include here. Making this post, I’m reminded of how excellent this trip was. If there’s anything I can do to help you plan and prepare to go bike tour around Taiwan, don’t hesitate to reach out!