Sun, Apr 08, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Cyclists flock to Sun Moon Lake to ride ‘world-class’ route

Staff writer, with CNA

Tourists cycle and stroll across a bridge that forms part a cycle route around Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County yesterday.

Photo: Hsieh Chieh-yu, Taipei Times

The number of cyclists buzzing around Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in central Taiwan has surged in the past few weeks, driven by a CNN report that named the area as one of the world’s top 10 cycle routes, tourism officials said.

An article titled “Cycling Routes That’ll Take Your Breath Away” posted on CNNGo.com on March 15, ranked the area around Sun Moon Lake as the No. 5 route in the world.

The unexpected media exposure has triggered an overwhelming response from both local and foreign cyclists, the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration said.

“We are seeing 30 percent more [cyclists] a day and on holidays the number is double,” agency director Chang Jenn-chyan (張振乾) said, adding that there is also an increasing number of foreign cyclists.

About 20 bike rental shops in the area have seen a similar trend, according to Merida, the nation’s No. 2 bicycle maker, which is working with the scenic area administration on a series of promotions.

For example, on April 29 an event will take place in which 4,000 cyclists will ride around the lake, Merida said.

Chang said his agency is stepping up efforts to capitalize on its “world-renowned” 10km bike route.

While the number of tourists going on boat rides and taking the cable car at the lake has dropped significantly in recent years, the number of bike rentals has climbed to about 1,000 a day since the report, Chang said.

In terms of infrastructure, Chang said further construction would connect bike routes in nearby Jiji Township (集集) to offer more diverse and accessible routes.

Sun Moon Lake ranked behind the Great Ocean Road in Australia, the Udaipur City tour in India, the Karakoram Highway between China and Pakistan, and the Route of the Hiawatha in the US.

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