Ozsoapbox has a great little review of the Houli Bike Trail near Taichung, which I have ridden on a few occasions.
The trail goes from the hinterlands of the Daya-Tanzi township border to the foothills on Dongshih.
Personally, I find the experience far from leisurely. As Oz points out:
On the weekends however, providing the weather is half decent, tons of Taiwanese people flock to the country’s bicycle paths to get a taste of the outdoors via two wheels.
I love seeing people using their weekends off riding and Taiwan has very few places close to the cities that allow the novice a chance to fall in love with the bicycle. So many novices in one place, weaving, braking and competing for path space, makes for a frightening ride on weekends.
Oz continues and notes:
The surface of the track is this red grippy stuff (think like an athlete’s track) and was in excellent condition throughout the track.
When I first rode the Houli Bike Path, I felt like I was working way too hard to go so slow. The rubberized surface makes it feel like riding through sticky mud. Upon later reflection I determined that the coating acts to protect cyclists from themselves and from each other.
The trail attracts many non-cyclists too. There are walkers, joggers… and the ever present dangers presented by the dog walker. A leash and a dog can easily translate into a broken neck.
In his article Oz frets about hitting one of the helmetless, weaving children on the path.
There’s also lots of babies to be found being carted around and none of them were wearing any helmets – I was quite paranoid about hitting or being hit by one of these bicycles and being held responsible for baby’s resulting brain damage.
The danger and fear of running down a child may may not be as great as the fear of having a child cause a severe accident as an interesting piece in today’s New York Times explains here.
Although the Houli Bike Path is a great place to slowly weave around… forget it if you want more from a bike than to just get out in the open air.