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
13th May, 2009

More hiking than biking

Well, not really, but we had decided to try Feiren’s Xindian loop (Google map), only we wanted to do it backward, or the opposite direction to what Feiren described. We thus followed the Xintan Rd up toward Pingguang Rd instead of beginning with the Pingguang Rd and returning via Xintan Rd. Of course we got lost, despite bringing a (not so clear) map.

D somewhere along the beautifiul road

Going down the Xindian River Park to get to the Bitan Suspension Bridge, we got to the bridge spanning the Jingmei River. It is not officially open yet, but we did like many others and lifted the bikes over the cement blocks, rode across the bridge and thus never had to leave the river park. It can only be a matter of days before the bridge is officially opened.
We crossed the Bitan suspension bridge and then gettingof the bridge, took a left at the 7-11 to get on the Yongye Rd which then changes into Xintan Rd. The top part of Xintan Rd was pretty steep for a couple kilometers, and we may even have been seen walking for about a kilometer or so. Along section three of the road, we passed a small memorial to a Japanese WWII prisoner of war camp, the Kukutsu camp (礦窟戰俘營). I had never heard of it, and neither had Diane.

The memorial monuument…


and the text. The Chinese was almost illegible because the color of the characters had faded.

Apart from the small monument, there was almost nothing left. You could see a small road and with a pile of rocks at the entrance and a stoned wall on the left, and that was it. I guess soon there will not even be that, as there was a sign by some real estate developer that the area was for sale. A shame that the government will not care for these parts of Taiwan’s history.

What’s left. Call the number on the sign to become the proud owner of this forgotten part of history

We were really tired after the last part of the Xintan Rd and the heat, so we decided not to do the Pingguang Rd this time and instead wanted to turn left earlier to go down the Xiaokeng Rd (小坑路), thus cutting the ride short. Of course, we somehow managed to turn on to a dead end road, only we didn’t know that, because we thought it was the right road. Only after having gone about 5km straight upward (hiking rather than biking) did the road end at some nice private house and we had to turn back. We were really tired from the climb, much steeper for much longer than, say, Fengguizui on Five Finger Mountain, and rolling back down, D even got off the bike a couple of times because it was so steep that she thought it felt unsafe.

The view from the top ofthe mountain. Those with good eyesight will even spot 101 in the distance to the right

Getting lost here is no big deal, however, because in this area it doesn’t really matter where you go: There are great views, it is beautiful, quiet, very little traffic and almost no people. Just you and the birds and cikadas.
We rolled back down to the unmarked juncture toward Pingguang Rd.

This is what it looks like coming from Xindian

We took a right to follow the Xindian River for a couple of kilometers to where the road splits in a T-intersection. Right for Pingguang Rd according to the road signs, and left to go toward Wulai or back to Xindian along the Wulai Rd. We went left, because we wanted to cross the river to have a coffee at a riverside cafe on Dingshicuo Rd (頂石厝路) on the opposite river bank. But first we had some Vietnamese noodles at a restaurant just after the left turn. After that, we rolled back into Xindian along the Wulai Rd, the 9B, and returned through the river park.

Facts We still have to do the ride again to actually manage to go over the mountain, but a new favorite leisurely ride has now taken shape. Follow the Xindian River Park down to Bitan Suspension Bridge. Cross the bridge, take a left at the 7-11, go up the incline, follow the road for a few kilometers and then turn left at the juncture described above. The road is almost flat apart from the first incline after the bridge and one along the river after taking the left turn. Return the same way or cross the river to get a coffee at the coffeeshop at Dingshicuo Rd and then return via the 9B and one climb. We will definitely be repeating this ride when I feel like a short morning ride before going to the paper in the afternoon.

View Xindian (Xintan Rd)-Wulai in a larger map

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2 comments to More hiking than biking

  • We used to live in Xindian, but didn’t have a bike at that time. Thank you for sharing. How’d you create the map with the path highlighted?

  • tbv

    Google maps are amazing. When you create a map, there are two options, one to choose every single point along a line, and one that will automatically lay down a line following the road between two spots of your choosing. Here, I basically put one point at the end of the Bitan suspension bridge and then just put the next spots where there was a juncture that might bring the line along the wrong road. In all, I think I put down three or four points to draw this long line. This option makes it fast and easy-peasy to create a map.