Kaohsiung's Bike Paths
◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting
◎Photos by Siao Meng-cyu, Bill Hwang, Pao Chung-hui
Kaohsiung has been blessed with a wide spectrum of geographic features. Kaohsiung City Government decided to highlight its beautiful scenery and landscapes by putting in a number of cycling paths. These include paths that run along its coastline, through forests, beside rivers and lakes and around its rural villages.
The Port and its coastline
Cieding Fishing Village and Cijin Ocean-view bike paths offer spectacular views of Kaohsiung's port and its surrounding coastline. The Cieding Fishing Village path begins at Erren River Estuary and runs for 24-kilometer along Cieding's Coastal Park, Cieding Wetlands Park, Sinda Fishing port and Lovers' Pier. Cyclists can stop and enjoy the Sinda Fish Market and the 171-hectare Cieding Wetlands Park, which is southern Taiwan's largest reserve for migratory birds.
The Ocean-view bike path stretches 20-kilometer through Cijin Island. The best way to get to Cijin is by ferry from the Gushan Ferry Station. The ferry can also accommodate passengers' bicycles and motorcycles. The bike path begins on Maiocian Street, which is the main road in front of the Cijin Ferry Station. Cyclists can stop and explore the magnificent Tianhou Taoist Temple, which was built in 1673 and then reconstructed in 1926. Colorful and ornately carved temples, such as Tianhou Taoist Temple, are central to Taiwan's culture.
Then follow the path to Cihou Lighthouse and Cihou Fort. The path will also lead cyclists through the Cijin Tunnel of Stars and along a coral coastline. They can also follow the bike path along Cijin Beach, Cijin Seaside Park, Wind-power Park and Red Lantern Seafood Market.
Dashu District and Kaoping River Bike Paths
Dashu District and Kaoping River bike paths run through Kaohsiung's countryside. The 50 kilometers long Kaoping River bike path begins at Gaoping mangrove. Cyclists can cycle along Old Railway Bridge over the Lower Danshuei River. The bridge is a historical relic. From 1914 to 1987, it supported the rail line that connected Kaohsiung City to Pingtung County. In 2004, the city government built a 307 meter-long pedestrian on the bridge and reopened for the public. Cyclists can also visit the Old Railway Bridge Wetlands Park, Jhuliao Hydro-Station, Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum and the Gaoping River Cable-Stayed Bridge.
Along the Kaoping River Bike Path, cyclists can learn about the region's historical industries. In the 1950s, it was once a thriving center for brick and tile manufacturing. San-he Brick Kiln was founded in 1918 and is the only one that remains in Dashu and is now only one of two brick kilns left in Taiwan. Today, San-he mainly supplies red bricks and tiles for customers who are restoring historical sites and buildings. San-he offers guided tours and tile-making workshops.
Rivers and Lakes
There are several bike paths that run beside Kaohsiung's rivers and lakes. These include bike paths that pass by the Erren, Agongdian, Dianbao, Fongshan, Love Rivers and Chengcing and Jinshih(Golden Lion) Lakes. The most popular are the Agongdian River bike path, the Chengcing and Jinshih Lakes bike path and Love River bike path.
The 7-kilometer scenic Agongdian River bike path circumnavigates the reservoir. There are at least ten places along the route that cyclists can stop and take in the scenery, including causeways, suspension bridges and lookout points. It also features beautiful botany and two-hundred-year-old mango trees. Many also come to watch sunrises and sunsets at the Agongdian Reservoir.
There is also a bike path that connects Chengcing and Jinshih Lakes. It begins at Chengcing Lake and stretches 34 kilometers past baguapi, Jufungpi and Shezihlinpi Wetlands Parks and ends at Jinshih Lake.
The Love River bike path stretches 24.5 kilometers. It begins at Love Pier and passes through Riverside Park, the Kaohsiung Film Archive, Kaohsiung Museum of History, the Former Tangrong Brick Kiln, Jhongdu Wetlands Park, Tower of Light, Kaohsiung Museum of Hakka Culture, Heart of Love River—Ruyi Lake, Riverbank Community, Smile Park, Kaohsiung Arena, Sinjhuang 1st Road, Indigenous Botanical Gardens, Jhouzih Wetlands Park and finishes at Lotus Pond.
Rural Village Bike Paths
Meinong and Cishan are rural villages with distinct cultures and scenery. The Cishan- Meinong bike path begin on Cishan Old Street, then heads toward Dijing Bridge (Cishan District), it finally comes out to seven smaller bike paths in Meinong. These bike paths lead cyclists to the regions various historical, cultural and religious sites. Cyclists can visit Meinong Hakka Cultural Museum, Meinong Lake, irrigated agricultural fields and other sites that feature the area's heritage and culture. Cyclists get the opportunity to get an in-depth understanding of Cishan and Meinong's distinct culture.
The Nature Lover's Bike Path
Nature lovers will enjoy cycling through Shanlin, Liouguei and Jiasian. The bike path features a wide spectrum of natural scenery, including mountains, forests and rivers. The bike path runs along Laonong River to Nanzihsian River and then passes through the Liouguei District, where cyclists can soak in hot springs or enjoy the stunning scenery of Butterfly Valley. If cyclists come in May and June, they can see millions of butterflies around Butterfiy Valley. These bike paths are more mountainous and therefore more strenuous. It is suggested that more experienced cyclists do it in groups. Also, check the weather forecast before heading into the mountains; never try to do it if a typhoon is approaching.