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Taiwan Railway Cycling Journey – Let’s Go!

When Val first promised Luo Papa that we’d come back to accompany him on this dream-fulfilling journey, he thought we were merely paying lip-service. We were two foreigners who’d only spent 3 days at his homestay, who barely knew him, and definitely had no obligations to come back to do something as crazy as this. Besides, Val could barely cycle at that time.

But we did come back. Val did manage to learn some cycling. We spent the first week planning the journey with Luo Papa, practising cycling on Taiwan’s hills, eagerly counting down to the days we set off.

In that week we were at Luo Papa’s homestay, we helped out in cleaning the place and serving food to patrons, and saw the stern, no-nonsense side of Luo Papa – the side that keeps the train restaurant and the train homestay going at optimal levels. The side that is all business, all busy-ness, and often times, a little weary…

But when we sat him down to tell us his plan for the cycling trip, he transforms from an austere train restaurant/homestay master to a little boy. That same little boy who’d run after the steam-engine trains whenever he heard them approaching his backyard. That same little boy who’d take a chair and sit next to the tracks – just to watch the trains go by…

“The morning we set off, Luo Papa exclaimed he woke up at 5.30AM in the morning, and that couldn’t sleep because he was too excited. It was priceless to see that excitement, that fire and the life re-ignited in his eyes.” – Tay

Shot on Canon by Koh

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“I’ve never dared to cycle on the roads when we were back at home in Singapore. It was only in Taiwan that I attempted cycling on the roads, with cars wooshing by…and by the time I realised that we were cycling on the expressways, across railway tracks, we have already begun the journey! So all I could was to keep my eye on that yellow-shirt in front of me and concentrate on the dream ahead of me.” – Val