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
14th April, 2008

Pinglin and back

pinglin3.jpgYesterday, we did the best ride we've done in Taipei this far, both biking-wise and enjoyable view-wise: the Pinglin loop from Shiding and back again, 75km from the Zhongxiao-Dunhua intersection in Taipei and back. The road takes you through Shenkeng and into Shiding along the road to Xiaogetou. From Shiding, there is a long and outdrawn incline up the mountain along the 106A. It's 10km going up, up and up again, without the slightest drop. It is not very steep, definitely less step than taking the 47 up to Xiaogetou, and that makes it a very enjoyable ride, always pushing and working but never over-exerting yourself. Anyone who is reasonably fit and with some biking experience would probably be able to make it without even having to get off the bike. pinglin4.jpg
These statues are often placed along accident-prone road sections. There's a whole bunch of them coming down 106A toward Pinglin
The drop down to Pinglin after going over the ridge is definitely steeper than coming up from Shiding. This can also be seen from all the statues that are placed out along a long section of the steep, meandering road to chase off any bad spirits that might get it in their mind to cause an accident. pinglin5.jpg
Some of the tea plantations along the beautiful 106A down to Pinglin
After all the rain the last few days, skies were still cloudy and the clouds flew really low, so there were no views going up. After having reached the summit and coming down toward Pinglin, the clouds lifted a little and we caught several glimpses of what must be the prettiest landscape in the Taipei area with all the terrassed tea plantations on the green mountain slopes all the way down to Pinglin. pinglin7.jpg
Coffee at Helen's at Xiaogetou on the way back
The rest of the crew hadn't slept more than three hours the night before (we managed five), so we had to make a couple of stops along the way. The first one was the Vanilla Sky coffeeshop in Pinglin, which is also where all the big motorbikes that always pass us on the mountain roads go on the weekends. There must have been NT$30 million worth of 1200cc Harleys and BWMs and Suzukis and what have you. After a coffee, we continued along provincial road 9 to Helen's at Xiaogetou where we had another cup of coffee, some noodles and a completely fabulous fried rice fried in tea oil before rolling the 10km back down to Shiding.
Facts We came from Jungong Rd. (軍功路) down to Muzha Rd (木柵路) aka Beiyi Road, aka 106 (an alternative is to take the much nicer and more pleasant road past the Fudekeng cemetery and hit the 106 further down). Follow that road for 10km until you reach a 7-11 at a road split where the left split takes you to Pingxi.pinglin6.jpg Take a right at the 7-11 and go on for about 2km, and then you'll reach a Hi-Mart convenience store. Take the left split along the 106A (106乙) past the Shiding fire brigade (there's a public toilet on the right hand side opposite the fire brigade). From the Hi-Mart, there is a 10km extended incline up to the summit, and when the weather is nice, there are a lot of nice views here. After the peak, there is a 4-5km drop down to Pinglin, where you take a right along provincial road 9 toward Taipei which will take you to the Vanilly Sky coffeeshop 6km from the peak. Get a coffee or a tea. From the Vanilla Sky, continue along the 9 for 11.5km to reach the summit at Xiaogetou and Helen's coffeeshop. Next to Helen's is the place where you can get the fried tea rice. From here, it's a 11-12 km drop to get back down to the Hi-Mart where you began the climb. Go back the same way you came, and you're back in Taipei in no time. You can always stop in Shenkeng for some stinky tofu or just any old tofu since that is Shenkeng's pride. I am experimenting with Google maps for the different rides. This is the first one. It's not complete yet, and we seem to be going off road a lot of the time, but It shows our route. I'll be adding landmarks and other info, and once I don't have to spend hours on this thing, I'll add maps to the other rides we've already done, as well. The cool thing is that if you open this here Google map, there is a link that goes to Google Earth, so if you have Google Earth installed, you can see this maps in Google 3D.
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6 comments to Pinglin and back

  • Nice pictures and writeup for a great ride. You can extend it out to Shuangxi and Fulong (or, better yet, to Daxi on the Yilan coast) by riding out to Shuangxi on the Pingshuang Access Road.
    Same kudos for your Rift Valley ride.

  • tbv

    Thanks! We’ll try the extension some time when we have more time. My problem is that I have to be at the paper at 3pm, which puts a limit on our Sunday rides at around 70-80km.
    Both these rides you mention are really great rides, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the Pinglin ride.

  • I did this ride this afternoon, except I took a right at the Hi-mart and went up what I think was 47. I had to get off my bike a couple of times because there were some ridiculously steep hairpin turns. Fun riding the 9 down to Xindian, though.

  • TBV

    Yes, that was the 47 to Xiaogetou. It’s a bit steeper than doing the 106A. I guess you took a right down to Xindian when the 47 hit the 9. If you turn left there instead and go for a couple of kilometers uphill, you’ll get to Helen’s Coffee where you can get a decent cup of coffee and a really nice view to go with it.

  • You are right about Tim. Every time we go on a long ride he near well kills me. I am fine for about 4 hours, then I turn into a disgruntled mess, while he gets chirpier with every passing hour…The next day he is in his shop working the full day, while I am at home in semi delirium trying to recover. Tim is not fast, but his endurance is super human. Ergo: take his route advice with some caution 🙂

  • tbv

    We haven’t gone biking with him yet, but he seems to be pretty hardcore. He keeps telling us just that, that he’s not fast but that he’s got buckets of stamina.
    He’s a friendly guy and his must be the friendliest and most helpful bike store I’ve ever been to here in Taipei. We get all our stuff there.