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
8th September, 2008


balaka.jpgThis Sunday we decided to do the Balaka road again. The weather was nice, and it’s a short ride which makes it a perfect half day trip for those of us who have to work in the afternoon.
We took the MRT up to Hongshulin, where we met X at 7.30. From there, it’s 10km along the Denghui Blvd and the 101 to reach Sanzhi, where you take a right to turn onto the 101 A. From there, it’s 10km uphill up to the Erzihu Visitor Information Center, which is at the high point of this section of road. Continue down toward Taipei for a few km and you reach Zhuzihu.
The ride from Sanzhi is really nice. It goes up at a constant incline, but at a moderate angle, greenbalaka2.jpgso that you are always pushing yourself without getting exhausted. And it is shaded by trees more or less all the way, which is nice when the mercury hits 34-35, although it is several degrees cooler up on the mountain.
After reaching the top, we continued down Yangde Blvd toward Shilin because we wanted to go to Tianmu and get som bread and brunch at Wendel’s, Taipei’s best bakery. There are too many buses and cars on the road down to Shilin, so unless you have a reason to take this road, and if you are not going somewhere else on the mountain, I recommend rolling down the same way you came, and either taking the MRT back from Hongshulin or doing the leisurely but crowded ride along the river back into town.

Some nice views of the northern coast

Halfway down the mountain, the inner tube in D’s rear wheel exploded, a loud explosion. We’ve bought a big pump back home so we can get the tires well pumped up before we leave, bag.jpgand I think I used too much pressure. When she kept rolling down and applying the breaks constantly, the air in the tube heated up and expanded and so the tube just exploded. The rim was so hot that we could hardly touch it. Luckily, I always carry an extra inner tube in the bag under the saddle. I can get my DSLR, a tube, sun glasses and sunblock in there, or a lot of other stuff if I don’t put the camera there.
I had pumped it up to 95-100psi, because I thought the tube was made to withstand 120psi, so that would have left some extra space for heat expanded air. Apparently it was made for 100psi, and Tim at the Giant store said you should always leave a margin of about 10 percent for heat expansion, so I should have stopped at 90 psi. I’ll do that from now on.

A lot of cyclists on the road on a Sunday

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