Taiwan introduces Rail Bike come July 2018

Bicycle rides along a 115-year-old railroad track in Miaoli beginning this July

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Rail Bikes allow riders to travel where pedestrians cannot.

Rail Bikes allow riders to travel where pedestrians cannot. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Miaoli County will be the first to introduce a train biking system to Taiwan, called Rail Bike, this July.

A Rail Bike is powered much like a standard bicycle, by pedaling, though cyclists may only move forward on the train tracks. The wheels are situated on top of the railroad tracks so cyclists may control braking but not steering.

Construction of the Rail Bike system has been completed, and the Rail Bike will continue to be tested on the track through July 1. 

The Rail Bike operates on the Former Mountain Line (舊山線), an active railroad track between 1903 and 1998 that ran through the mountains between Miaoli and Taichung City. The tracks were abandoned until 2010, when a steam engine train ran along the tracks to attract tourism for a limited time. The tracks will now be used by Rail Bikes.


(Image from Miaoli County Government) 

The stretch of the track used by the Rail Bike is around 6 kilometers (4 miles) one way, 12 kilometers round trip, and takes around 1.5 hours to complete. The Rail Bike will be able to accommodate a maximum of 1,500 riders a day.

Taiwanese politician Chang Ching-sen (張景森), Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌), and politician Chen Chao-ming (陳超明), took a four-person Rail Bike out for a spin together on Tuesday. They pedaled from Shengxing Railway Station to the Longteng Bridge, taking in the pastoral scenery along the way, reported CNA.

Chang said he fully supports this new form of tourism entering Taiwan and that the project will receive the support of the Executive Yuan. While in Miaoli, Chang will visit other points of interest along the Former Mountain Line to better understand how the land can be used in the future.

Rail Bikes can seat four people and each rider will have access to an emergency brake, said the Director of the Miaoli Culture and Tourism Bureau, Lin Yan-fu (林彥甫). Each Rail Bike will include electronic sensors to help bikers climb steep inclines, GPS functions, and guided tours in Chinese, Japanese, and English.