Alishan, April 12 - 13, 2010. Click pic for album

Taroko to Kending

Taroko Gorge to Kending, Feb 14 - 19, 2010.

Northern Cross Island Highway

Northern Cross Island Highway, May 19 - 21, 2008. Click pic for album
10th March, 2008

Balaka Highway

We still haven't been up on Yangming Mountain on our bikes, and we've also never taken the bikes on the MRTmrt.jpg if they weren't bagged, so we were a bit curious to try that out. So yesterday D, myself, H, X and T did the Balaka Highway from Danshui up to Zhuzihu. We hopped on the MRT at the Memorial Hall Station down by the Aiguo-Zhongshan intersection and 30 minutes later, we were in Hongshulin, the second but last station on the Danshui line. After a couple boring, polluted and car-infested km along the Denghui Boulevard (because it goes to Sanzhi, I guess, where the famed Lee Teng-hui lives) we turned onto county road 101 and then after another five or six km onto 101A toward Zhuzihu. Had the weather been clear , this would have been a scenically beautiful as well as a nice ride. It went constantly upward with not a single downhill, but never at a very steep incline, which meant that it was a really nice ride that makes you sweat rivers. Always resistance, constantly having to push yourself up past the next crest before it almost but not really leveled out and you were on your way up the next hill. balakafog.jpg
Not much clear sight up on the mountain
The last kms were literally spent in a fog. You could probably only see 30 or 40 meters ahead and the mist was so thick that it was almost as if it was raining. After reaching the end of the Balaka Highway at the Erzihu Visitor Information about 20km from Hongshulin -- that is, the end of what the road signs say is the Balaka Highway, although I think it continues quite far, probably all the way down to Jinshan, since this is an old transport road -- we went down to Shilin for a cup of coffee and to hop on the MRT down to Shuanglian station. On the way down, we stopped by Wenhua University for lunch at a Japanese place. As soon as we had descended a little bit, the mist lifted and the sun was warm again. Back home again, we had clocked up 50.00km, but that included 10km to and from the MRT here in Taipei, which means the ride from Hongshulin via Erzihu down to Shilin is about 40km. I know now were Taipei bicycles take their owners when they are bored: They bring them up Balaka Highway. There was a never ending stream of bikes, and from the MRT window, we saw several groups of a dozen or so bikers who had chose to ride along the busy road up to Danshui. Why they don't take the more pleasant road along the river park, I don't know.
Facts Get the MRT to Hongshulin Station (紅樹林站), the last stop before Danshui station on the Danshui line. Leave the station, cross the road and continue in the direction of Danshui, ie, take a left along Denghui Boulevard/Provincial Road No. 2. After about three km, 2 intersects with dogtwoface.jpgCounty Road 101 toward Sanzhi (三芝). Take a right and follow 101 for about 5km until you reach Sanzhi and a sign saying Central Sanzhi. There is a split in the road to the right, where it becomes County Road 101A (101甲) toward Zhuzihu (竹仔湖). Take a right along 101A. After about a hundred meters, there's a split. 101A is the one that veers left, so turn left along that road. From there, just follow that road through the forest and bamboo groves until you reach Erzihu Visitor Information. You'll also see red signs saying Balaka Highway in English so you'll know you're on the right way. After Erzihu, just follow the signs toward Taipei, and you'll wind up following Yangde Boulevard down to Shilin. At the foot the road, turn right for Tianmu, left to go toward the Palace Museum and the Ziqiang Tunnel, or straight ahead to hit Shilin and the MRT. Altogether a great ride.
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2 comments to Balaka Highway

  • Howdy, I am so glad I found your site! I tried to use the contact me link however it doesn’t seem to be working – Anyhow – I am heading to Taipei on Monday, March 17 – I will be in Taipei for about 10 days – I am coming from Fukuoka – long time resident of Japan, I am thinking about bringing my road bike, my wife – who is Taiwanese and in Taipei now says that riding in Taipei is not easy – however I think I can do it without a problem – I would love some info – if you could hit me back via my email I can send more info and a couple questions…thanks in advance and I am really looking forward to reading this blog.

  • TBV

    Glad you like it!