Bringing the old stuff to a new life is the best way to memorize and honor the history!
Every city government in Taiwan is trying to conserve its past through a transformation of old buildings or architects into new uses, and having more bike paths in the city or town is always welcome.
Since beginning of 20th century, the Japanese had been building many train railways in Taiwan in order to connect city to city and also town to town, especially with many economical reasons behind. After a certain years of developments, some natural resources may have been used up and no more reason to keep the trains operating in some lines, so the rails had been left untouched.
After a Taiwanese film, called Island Etude (練習曲), was released in 2007 and bicycle riding got a lot of attention from the people. Government all started to find ways to build better infrastructure for cyclists to attract more tourists into their city. Then started the trend of transforming old and unused railways into bike paths.
Next time, when you plan to visit Taiwan on two-wheels, maybe try to take the tour in depth instead of only completing the cycling around Taiwan tour.
Bike paths built based on the old railways are a lot of fun, and usually flat due to the limitation of the train power in the past. You can really enjoy your ride if it is not crowed during weekend.