Taipei, home to 2.7 million people and the capital of Taiwan, has a rather large bicycle secret hidden among the tight streets and winding alleyways.
It can be best described as an unbelievable, jaw dropping treasure trove. The private collection of Asahi Chang contains more than 600 professional track and road bikes. It is the largest of it’s kind in the world, unavailable for public viewing.
The location is a very well kept secret. We were lucky enough to have a peek inside the collection that has been nick named, “单车书房” – Bicycle Heaven.
Asahi Chang is an ex-professional Taiwanese track and road racer who started collecting bikes in 1976. He first fell in love with track bikes while he was studying in Japan. Living there for five years allowed him to explore true track culture and buy his first build, an original SILK steel track bike from the early 1970s. He always keeps it to hand.
The majority of Asahi’s collection dates between 1968 and 1988, which he describes as ‘The Golden Age’ of bicycles. This was a time before carbon, before the steel frame assembly line, where hand made steel frames were built by only the most skilled builders.
Colnago, Eddy Merckx, Cinelli, Serotta, De Rosa, Bianchi, Cannondale, Moser, Rossin, Benotto, Motta, Tomassini, ZIPP and Nagasawa are just some of the iconic brands represented in his exhaustive collection.
It’s a collection which is literally bursting at the seams. Almost every inch of otherwise plain storeroom is crammed with racks from floor to ceiling. There is barely enough space to walk between them. Asahi’s collection is beyond impressive.
We’re walking through a tunnel of classic frames, rubbing shoulders with every Cinelli Laser variety ever made, first edition Nagasawa track frames, original carbon Bianchi C4s. There’s a whole room dedicated entirely to Colnago framesets.
Experiencing it is almost beyond words. We actually had tears in our eyes. Craftsmanship, engineering, design and history from wall to wall – in complete abundance. It felt unreal, like someone found a loophole in bicycle time and space.
A big thank you to Mr. Chang for taking the time to talk us through one of the greatest pieces of bicycle history the world has ever seen, and for the opportunity to revel in the wonder that is Bicycle Heaven.