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U.S. bicycle company to offer Taiwan tours from next year

U.S. bicycle company to offer Taiwan tours from next year

New York, Dec. 27 (CNA) Taiwan's efforts to become the bicycling capital of the world has caught the attention of an American company, which is planning to bring cycling tourism to the island, according to a report in the New York Times. Starting in the fall of 2015, Bicycle Adventures "will offer tours around the island nation," Diane Daniel wrote Dec. 26 in an article, titled "A New Way to Tour Taiwan." The initiative came after Todd Starnes, president and owner of the U.S.-based Bicycle Adventures, took notice of Taiwan's bid to become the world's bicycle capital, according to the article. On his first visit to Taiwan 14 years ago, Starnes saw few bicycles on the streets and thought it was strange because most of the bikes in the world were made there, the writer said. Starnes then read about how King Liu, founder and chairman of Taiwan-based Giant Bicycles, had taken up cycling as a retirement activity and had successfully advocated for a cycling infrastructure in Taiwan, according to the article. "For the past several years, Taiwan has made a commitment to become the bicycling capital of the world," Starnes was quoted as saying in the article. "I called the tourism bureau and told them I think there's an opportunity here to bring cycling Americans to Taiwan." His company will offer is an 11-day cycling tour, which will begin in Taipei, followed by a ride on a high-speed train to Kaohsiung, bringing cyclists to the southern end of the island to begin a northbound ride. Cultural stops on the itinerary, which averages 46 miles a day, include aboriginal villages, the National Center for Traditional Arts and the architecturally significant Lanyang Museum in Yilan County, eastern Taiwan, the report said. The tour will also take riders to Taiwan's five mountain ranges and two national parks. "One of the biggest challenges will be an uphill ride in the Taroko Gorge, a 65-mile climb that features stunning scenery, traditional villages and several tunnel passages," the article said. (By Timothy Hwang and Elizabeth Hsu)