More than 10,000 cyclists rode from the Dajia Riverside Park to the Presidential Office yesterday morning in celebration of the second annual Taiwan Bike Day, as part of efforts to make the green and healthy mode of transportation part of modern life.
The event, sponsored by the Taipei City Government, the Sports Affairs Council (SAC) and the Cycling Lifestyle Foundation (CLF), was just one of 25 similar celebrations in cities and counties around the nation.
The first Taiwan Bike Day was held on May 5 last year when CLF and Giant Cycles chairman King Liu (劉金標) suggested to then premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) that like other countries such as the US and Japan, “Bike Kingdom” Taiwan should have its own day to promote this “healthy, leisurely and eco-friendly form of transport” CLF executive director Vicky Liu (劉麗珠) said.
“In an age when oil prices are on the rise and global warming is having an impact on the Earth, biking provides modern citizens with an environmentally-friendly way to travel short distances, not to mention health benefits,” Liu said.
Since Taiwan is the manufacturer of most of the premium bikes in the world, local bikers can enjoy bicycles of the highest quality at very reasonable prices, she said.
The event is in its second year, Liu said, adding that this year participants had expanded beyond bikers who cycle regularly.
“We were pleasantly surprised to see whole families signing up for the event, with parents bringing their young children along,” she said.
The increasing biking population can also be observed in SAC statistics, Liu said.
“Based on the number of bikers, biking was the 10th most popular sport last year and rose to No. 4 this year,” she said.
In addition to hosting bike day, the foundation has also hosted regular nine-day round-the-nation biking trips, promoted the expansion of biking trails and biker rights, and has worked with the Taipei City Government in providing bike rental services in river parks around the city.
“Bikers can now rent a bike at point A, and return it at point B to save the hassle of having to go back to their point of origin,” she said.
“Biking should go beyond being a professional sport and be incorporated into everyday lives,” Liu said.
“In recent years we have seen more and more families riding their bikes on an outing together at parks, and that is one of the most beautiful sights one can see along the river,” she said.
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