Sunday, October 7, 2012
A while back I was asked by a member of the cycling press what I thought about the narrative provided to he and some other journalists who were brought to Taiwan to cover the Taiwan International Bike Festival.
The narrative in question surrounded the mythology that Taiwan's cycling culture was the direct result of one man, his singlehanded drive to promote cycling, and the large company he co-founded many years ago. The narrative continued to expound on how this person was the single most important figure in Taiwanese cycling culture, and both the Adam and the Eve to all cycling in Taiwan.
To me the narrative was preposterous.
Then I thought back at my time working with Taiwanese machine tool manufacturers as I tried to transform their marketing information in a way that might appeal to English speaking markets.
One of my first goals was to play down the importance of the boss and founder. In most cases, company underlings (often consisting of the founder's adult children), used a disproportionate amount of copy to lionize their chairman and provide a lengthy roll of his individual achievements, patents, awards and capital investments and possibly is IQ and penis size. The chairman was like a one-man army.
Preposterous, but this is often what is fed to foreign buyers and, in this case, the foreign press.
So to come back to the point of this post.
What does the face of Taiwanese cycling look like, if it does not look like the face of the man mentioned above?
This past Sunday on a morning training ride over Bagua Shan, I was more than happy to look into the faces of Taiwanese cycling. There were hundreds of riders out on all sorts of equipment enjoying the morning. Everything from snappy carbon and lycra to creaky steel and coaching shorts.
The sheer variety was simply brilliant.
Taiwanese cycling culture does not owe its life to one man and his company, but rather, it owes its existence to all the riders who have made the choice to spend their time enjoying life from the saddle of a bicycle.
Below are some pictures of some of the riders from the day.
These are the faces of Taiwanese cycling culture.
This Sunday I rode with the T-Mosaic squad on a recon tour over Bagua Shan.
Nothing like a good cigarette to clear the lungs
This October 10th, a bunch of local riders will be getting together for a casual ride through the Sun Moon Lake area. This is by no means a competitive affair. We are just hoping to keep the mood light with a rolling party through some really nice places.
This event is open to everyone and it should be suitable for most regular riders of varying degrees of fitness.
If you are interested in getting out for this bicycle mixer, Michael Turton at The View From Taiwan has the details:
Oct 10 ride: celebrate the day off with a long social ride through the mountains of central Taiwan. Description:
I hope to see you there
Meet at No. 563號, Zhōngzhèng Road, Wufeng District Taichung City, Taiwan 413. The plan is to rendezvous at the Wufong 7-11 on hwy 3 at 7:15 am. We'll ride south to the 14, turn east at Caotun and take it to 147 and head south to the 131. We'll ride around the east side of SML and descend down to hwy 16 via nantou 63. Return then to Taichung via the 3 or the 139 (entirely optional) depending on how brave we feel. This will be a social ride. No one gets dropped. The distance from Taichung is approx. 160 km through Taiwan's beautiful central hills.