Eye Taiwan: Sponsoring Riders To DIscover Taiwan on Two Wheels

Yesterday I commented on the importance of the Round-Island-Tour in Taiwanese culture, which has become a rite of passage and in many ways a Gandhi-esque discovery of the nation.

Eye Taiwan, an independent cycling advocacy group, has put together a program to sponsor cyclists in Taiwan to make the fabled Round-Island-Tour. I have written about Yang a little bit when his vision was unfortunately misrepresented in Common Wealth Magazine.

The concept is the brainchild of Yang Ming-huang a.k.a “Frog”, who is the owner and operator of the Frog Cafe in Bali, a bicycle themed cafe along the western banks of the Danshui (Tamshui) River.

In 2008, after completing his own Round-Island-Tour, Yang decided he needed to invest his resources in allowing other riders to discover Taiwan and learn to love Taiwan as he had. Since 2008 Yang has made 10 fully equipped bicycles available for a full tour of Taiwan

The rules to participate are as follows:

1. Read the book authored by Frog entitled, Ride Around Taiwan Island (島內出走)

2. Write A Book Report on Ride Around Taiwan Island.

3. Write your proposal and route plan for your trip.

4. Return and write your own story and post it on Eye Taiwan.

Riders can download an application or apply on-line and will be contacted if the proposal has been accepted. The rider’s schedule will then be posted on the Eye Taiwan website. The minimum number of applicants per tour is one and the maximum is 10, limited by the number of available bikes.

Some other terms of agreement include:

1. Riders must also agree to post their ride reports within a month of completing their tours.

2. Riders must start and end their tours at the Frog Cafe in Bali.

3. The distance is unlimited, but riders are encouraged to make one full loop around Taiwan.

4. Riders will be responsible for any damaged to the bicycles or equipment during their journey.

5. Riders will be required to pay NT500 for maintenance and an additional NT500 donation to the Eye Taiwan cycling fund to keep the program in operation.

6. All bikes are loaners and must be returned to Frog Cafe.

This program information and applications are limited to Chinese language only, but the organizers are considering a future English language format as well.

You can check out a model cycling calendar that reveals accompanying pictures when you click on the days. Here

This is basically an offer for a free bike rental for riders who want to circle Taiwan.

Not One Shilling! Taiwan In Cycles Policy For Product Placement

Much of the information we receive about bikes and components comes from either the manufacturers themselves or from media such as magazines, websites or blogs.

It is often very difficult to come across a good product review as the reviewer is cautious not to say anything negative about the product. In the ecosystem of product reviews, the reviewer relies on a stream of new products to review and risks alienation from the big manufacturers (and alienation from their products) if a review doesn’t lay on the superlatives. This can make it really difficult to find good, reliable information on bikes and the sum or their parts. Once the streams of media become monetized, the relationship between the product supplier and media becomes a classic patronage network.

Taiwan In Cycles was started, in part, to provide all types of information that is free from the pressure of having to please sponsors or ensure a steady supply of products to shill for.

On occasion, Taiwan In Cycles will feature or recommend bikes, products, companies and businesses. This is done completely free from any form of patronage.

I will only use this media space to promote products or businesses that I feel are deserving of any exposure I may provide, and only if I feel I can stand 100% behind these people and their businesses.

At no time am I ever pressured or enticed to provide positive media exposure for any particular individual, business, company or corporation. Any media exposure I provide is completely based on my own subjectivities as a blogger and as a rider. My reviews, likes and dislikes are entirely based upon my own experience.

Moreover, I am often happy to provide deserving products and businesses with exposure on this site and this exposure is entirely unpaid in any way including: discounts, favors, samples, gifts, money or sex.
  • Taiwan In Cycles does not receive sponsorship for reviews or product placement.
  • If Taiwan In Cycles receives a free sample of a product or service for review, the terms will be publicized on this site.
  • Taiwan In Cycles is a non-profit and private blog.
  • Taiwan In Cycles is happy to highlight only those deserving of free exposure.
  • All opinions are entirely my own.
In the coming weeks I will be reviewing a few products that I have purchased for my own use, and I hope these reviews will be useful for others out there considering similar purchases.

I don’t feel I can be truly objective, but my subjectivities will likely come from feeling I have made an informed purchase.

Basically… if it is seen here… I feel it deserves to be here.

Taiwan’s Muddled Message: Around The World In 30 Months

Taiwanese Couple Cycles The World for Taiwan… er… ROC… er… Whatever We Are…

This article from Taiwan Focus er… focuses on a Taiwanese couple hoping to cycle the globe to raise awareness for cycling, for the environment, for Taiwanese products and for their home. I hate to be such a cynic, and with a focus that narrow how could one go wrong?

Let’s have a look shall we.

Taoyuan, Taiwan April 7 (CNA) A Taiwanese couple are embarking on a cycling trip that would take them to four continents in 30 months to promote the centenary of the Republic of China (Taiwan), as well as environmental awareness awareness and Taiwanese products.

Due to competing histories, ideologies and political interests, it is not uncommon to find that Taiwanese are often confused or unsure how to represent Taiwan in an international setting. This is made even more difficult by an education system that is still leveraged to promote Chinese nationalist ideology and Chinese nationalist culturalism. The incongruity between the Taiwanese experience, state constructed histories, and an official policy of national ambiguity, sews confusion both at home and abroad during international exhibitions and cultural exchange programs. This was highly evident during the recent World Games in Kaohsiung, which promoted a simple Taiwan centered message and the Deaf Olympics in Taipei that opted to tone down Taiwan in favor of an ambiguous Chinese Taipei and confused references to China, Chinese and Taiwan. Many Taiwanese will get confused when I talk about how “we” fought “you” during WWII. Taiwanese history is actually taught from an R.O.C. perspective that is divergent from a Taiwan centered perspective. This type of myth making is commonplace amid governments and civilizers that still seek legitimacy amid an ongoing “civilizing” program. It is no mistake that the constitutional role of education in Taiwan is to create a “national outlook”. This colonial approach was confirmed by the education reforms of 1953 that sought to transform Taiwanese into Chinese. Many of the references we hear to “Chinese” this or that… are deliberate and are the result of directives issued by the Government Information Office.

The article continues:
He thought the year 2010 would be a good time to make the trip because preparations are beginning this year to celebrate the ROC’s centenary next year and cycling is a good way to promote awareness of climate change and alternative energy.

Yen and Lin said they
would like to dedicate the trip to the Republic of China (Taiwan) , which was established in 1911, as a birthday present to the country.
In my experience I have never met a cyclist in Taiwan who did not identify with Taiwan as their country and their land. With this much beauty it is an easy place to feel attached to. Most cyclists and most people for that matter, never refer to the ROC. I haven’t heard it spoken by a non-political Taiwanese in a very long time. The Taiwanese identity is actually very deep as it accurately reflects what people really feel. So, as I read through this article I couldn’t help but think, “something doesn’t feel right.”


With a budget of around NT$2 million (approximately US$63,400) , Lin said, the trip would not be possible without the sponsorship of several local bicycle companies, which provided them with bicycles priced at NT$200,000 each, and the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which asked Taiwan’s foreign offices to provide help.

Aha! Either this couple is going to whore themselves out to MOFA in exchange for a free trip, or, and I hope this is the case, they are going to nod their heads, agree to the terms of their propaganda tour, take the money and use their trip to have a wild time promoting Taiwan around the world as “Taiwan”. If this is the case I hope they pull it off. With so many masters it will not be easy. Lesson #1 for getting sponsorship: By hook or by crook.

I found this quote encouraging:

A certified historical sites guide in Taiwan, Lin said he believes that he will be able to share Taiwan’s stories with foreigners and “show Taiwan to the world” during his trip.

Don’t forget the shout out to the sponsor!

“And about 90 percent of our equipment are Taiwan-made. We would like to tell people these products are very well-made in Taiwan, ” he said.

Update: Here is an alternative article by the Taiwan-centered Liberty Times.