I finally accomplished my dream Fulong bike path adventure and it’s supremely AWESOME. This bike path is a dream ride made possible by a mix of these views: country roads, coast line, fishing communities, hill side, mountain ranges. Somewhere along the path, I felt like I was dreaming awake and just blessed. So blessed.
Since my first visit to Fulong, I’ve been intrigued by the bike path that snaked beside the expressway/highway. The 3-lane path was made for bikes only and provided a lengthy view of the east coast of Taiwan, which faced the Pacific Ocean. The Fulong bike path was about 21 kilometers long and I finished it in about 2 1/2 hours.
The temperature was forgivingly sunny and warmly 29 degrees. The first real signs of fall emerged that day too. Those conditions helped a great deal for me because, despite its awesomeness, biking Fulong was not exactly smooth-sailing from start to finish. Along the way, there are elevations that you need to go through—some of which made me walk up my bike instead of riding it. Some are too steep, some abruptly changed a supposedly flat course. Still, the entire path is doable in a day or even just half a day.
I highly recommend this trip for Taiwan visitors/expats/locals who have always been wondering what it’s like to ride along the Pacific Ocean. Seriously, guys, this is something that you must try especially if you are an athlete or an outdoorsy folk. I’ll share my version of this adventure in the rest of the this post. For information on how to get to Fulong, you may check the details here.
If you don’t have a bike or don’t really want to worry about bringing it on the plane (assuming you’re going to Taiwan for a visit), you can just one right outside the Fulong train station. There are so many choices, it’s impossible for you to not to get one. The price starts at 100 NTD for whole day use (bikes must be returned by 6PM), and may go up (200 NTD max?) depending on the type of bike you’ll rent.
You need to leave your passport/ARC then pay upfront to be able to rent. If you don’t want to leave your passport/ARC, just pay a 1,000 NTD deposit that can be taken back in full upon returning the rented bike.
On the bike path, I’ve seen people get by using the usual utility bikes. But now that I think about it, it’s a smart move to bring my bike before trying out the path. I would also suggest a mountain bike for better gear options. Utility bikes only have a maximum of 3 speeds whereas mountain bikes would have about 16 speed options. I would also recommend a folding bike, since most of them have the same speed options as a mountain bike but lighter in weight. When doing long-distance biking, gears and bike weight are your trusted allies.
If you have your own bike, you can ride any local train provided you disassemble it first and put it in a bike bag. While there are some local trains that also go to Fulong with special cars for fully assembled bikes, these trains are limited and run on a scheduled basis. You may want to ask the TRA information booth first before you buy your ticket or plan a trip to Fulong if you have a non-folding bike. This way, you can rid yourself of the hassle. Or, if I were you, just rent a bike on Fulong.
For those who are non-cyclists but would like to go all out on the 20+ kilometers bike adventure, I would suggest you rent those hybrid bikes with a motor. That way, if you get tired pedaling along the way, you can let your trusty motor power take care of the ride for you.
However, if you own a foldie, then you’ve got no problemo. All you have to do is fold your bike and put it in a bag, then ride any train. Get on the local train because it’s more spacious than the express trains. A local train ride costs around 83 NTD. Ride one that goes straight to Su’ao.
If you’re worrying about your bike bag, you can stash them in a locker while you ride. At the Fulong train station exit, turn right and there you’ll find rows of locker rentals with English instructions. It’s pretty easy to use and costs 20 NTD (small locker) and 50 NTD (big locker) for three hours. If you end up using one for more than 3 hours, you just pay the extra fee as shown on the LCD after punching in your password.
By the way, REMEMBER YOUR PASSWORD. The locker wouldn’t spit out a paper with your password (despite what it says on the instructions), so you have to encode your own twice when using the locker for the first time. Write down the password you used or save it on your phone to make sure you don’t forget.
Preparing for the ride
Along the bike path, I didn’t find too many places to buy food and drinks from. I only remembered one sausage stall and it was right out of Caoiling tunnel—a mere 4 kilometers into the ride. During the rest of the 16+ kms you will ride, you wouldn’t see a vending machine.
So before you start, visit the nearby 7-Eleven in front of the Fulong train station. I highly recommend trying one of those authentic local bian dang shops just outside the train station. You’ll easily see them because of the long queue of people, waiting in line to get that local lunch box food. You may want to bring an extra one for the ride, though one bian dang is enough to fill you with all the carbohydrates and protein you will need.
Eat your fill, get hydrated, go to the restroom, because this ride is going to be really long. Long but so friggin worth it.
Get out there and ride
You can start by the Fulong beach park, but in this ride, I decided to try going through the Old Caoiling tunnel first. If you go this way, you will conveniently enjoy some of the country roads first, ride along a 2 kilometer tunnel, then finally enjoy the rest of the ride along the Pacific Ocean, ending up happily by the Fulong beach park.
I started right outside the Fulong train station, turned right then just went straight ahead.
If you do the same, just follow the arrows, signs, and the bike logo on the road to make sure you’re still along the bike path. Another tip would be to follow the people on rented bikes. They would most probably be heading for the Caoiling tunnel too.
The tunnel is 2 kilometers long and inside is pretty amazing. Taiwan did a great job by keeping it safe enough for riders of all levels, kids and adults alike. It’s also noticeably cooler inside, it makes me wonder if there’s air conditioning or it’s just how the air really is inside the tunnel. The well-lit tunnel stretches out flatly so you wouldn’t have any difficulty pedaling inside.
At the end of the tunnel, you will see a small visitors’ area on the left side. This is where most people and families rest after their tunnel ride, listening to a local musician while eating Taiwanese sausages. Take a left on the uphill climb beside the sausage stand to continue with your journey. Once you’re up, turn right, follow the road, and if you get to the bike path beside the highway, pat yourself on the back because you have officially finished the country roads and will now be riding along the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy. 🙂
The Ride of Your Life
Along the way, there are Fulong bike maps to help you pinpoint your current location on the route.
While taking this ride, better pace yourself accordingly and for non-bikers, rest after 30 or 40 minutes of biking. Savor each view and take as many photos as you want. Make sure that you keep within the bike path by spotting that white bike logo on the road. Keep your eyes trained on arrows and Taipei bike signs so you can keep yourself on the right track while enjoying the entire experience.
If you follow the same route I did, you’d eventually end up in Fulong beach. Once you reach the beach, ride a bit more, take a right, get down by the bike path and before you know it, you will eventually reach the beach park entrance where you can explore the golden sands of Fulong.
And to help cool down from the heat of the moment, cap off your bike ride by going back to the Fulong train station. That way, you can treat yourself further to a soothing mango ice dessert. Shop’s located on the right side, after crossing the road towards the train station.
It’s just the perfect way to end a perfectly awesome bike ride experience.