Alishan

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
24th June, 2008

Another turn to Pinglin

After three weeks without even touching the bike I just had to get out on the road this weekend. D was working, but then on Saturday H called and said that we were on for Xiaogetou (小格頭) and Helen's Coffee via Sifenzi (四分子) on route 47-1 rather than the 47, so I even got to try out a new route to an old destination. When we met at 6:30am on Sunday rather than the usual 7am, the weather looked absolutely gorgeous and X suggested that we go all the way to Pinglin (坪林) rather than only Xiaogetou. That was a great idea since I have wanted to do the Pinglin route counter clockwise for quite some time after having done it clockwise a couple of times. There was some hesitation among the others because the first 5-6 km on the 106 from Pinglin toward Shenkeng (深坑) are really quite a steep climb, but in the end everyone came along. break.jpg
Resting in the shade of some trees and a big Guanyin statue at the high point of the 106
The steep incline, though short, was as tiring as expected. Maybe even more so, in fact, given the 37-degree heat. I must have drunk six or seven bottles of water to keep fresh, and that still almost wasn't enough. In summer, it is almost motivated to always hang the bags on the bike just to be able to bring another couple of bottles. In any case, the road between the high point of the 106 and Pinglin is so beautiful with all its tea plantations flung out on the mountain side that it is worth the effort. pinglin8.jpg
Some tea plantations halfway up the mountain on the 106 from Pinglin
Facts: Here's a description of the 75-80km Pinglin loop clockwise and here's a description of the route to Xiaogetou. At the split toward Sifenzi, take that road (47-1). It is a bit longer than the 47, 9k instead of 7k. The first 5k are steeper than the 47, but the last four are much more relaxing, with only the occasional incline. The rest is on the flats or even declines. This road has much fewer cars than the 47 which already doesn't have a lot of traffic, and there are fewer bikes and motorcycles, too. Much of it is shaded by trees, so it is also a cooler ride in summer. From now on, this is the route we're taking to Helen's. The 47-1 is the small loop inside the larger loop in the map.
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2 comments to Another turn to Pinglin

  • Lillie

    hi there,
    I’ve been checking out your blog. It looks like you go on some pretty amazing (and regular!) cycling adventures. I’m moving to Taipei in the fall, and I’m wondering about biking around the city. Is it feasible? Terribly dangerous? It looks like you do a lot of touring, but I figured you might also know about riding in the city. I’ve commuted by bike in Beijing so I have some experience with that kind of always-need-to-be-on-alert-for-oblivious-taxi-drivers riding.

  • tbv

    Thanks for reading! There are indeed a lot of amazing rides around Taipei and Taiwan, but unfortunately the regularity has suffered over the past month or so, but hopefully that’s about to change for the better.
    We don’t do much of city biking anymore mostly because we don’t find it very enjoyable, but if you’re used to riding around Beijing, I don’t think you’ll find Taipei traffic too challenging. It is certainly feasible, and I’ve done a lot of bike commuting before without having had any problems. Just be aware of where the scooters and taxis are, and always expect them to do the most unexpected moves and you’ll be fine.