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
3rd May, 2010

A perfect day

It was one of those days that you don’t even get a dozen of each year, and not even half a dozen of them ever fall on a day when you’re not working, and less than three of those days ever fall on a day when you don’t have anything else planned so you can use it for what it’s meant: a bike ride. Clear blue skies, no smog, not too hot, not too cool, not too humid, a nice breeze, not too strong so it stops you in your tracks when you’re working your way up a steep hill against the wind, not too faint, just enough to cool you down. Background music: Perfect Day with Lou Reed.

The second MacArthur Bridge and the mountains north of Taipei from the first MacArthur Bridge this morning. What a gorgeous day! The power lines run right into the city.

We went for Fengguizui again today. The first real ride since we started using cleats. I had decided to go all the way to the top without stopping once, disregarding such details as speed or time. Even if it took me an hour, I was going to ride my bike to the top without putting a foot on the ground. And it worked: 41 minutes and 47 seconds from the bridge, I passed the Fengguizui road sign at the top.
I even passed D standing on the roadside about 500 meters from the top: “My chain skipped, help me put it back on.” “No way, I’ve decided to make it to the top without stopping and I’m almost there. You fix it yourself or you walk.” She fixed it herself, but it stopped her from going all the way up in less than 40 minutes.

This is Taipei about twenty minutes from the Ziqiang Tunnel, the Palace Museum, traffic jams and pollution. Just so you don’t ask me why Taipei is such a great city for biking.

We took Jiannan Rd both up and down because the weather was too good to spoil the experience by going through a packed and polluted Ziqiang tunnel. I didn’t have the Garmin on today because the mount is broken so it would have fallen off, but we must have climbed somewhere around 1100m, and we clocked around 56km. Once at the coffee shop at the top, the weather was so good that we had problems forcing ourselves back on the bikes to go down again after the coffee and waffles, but in the end we had to. We finished it all off with lunch at some place with an outdoor patio at the shopping complex down by Jiannan MRT station, and then we slowly moseyed our way through the river park and then along Renai Road down to Tim the bikeman for a chat.

The view of parts of Taipei from the coffee shop with the talkative boss at Fengguizui

I‘m finally getting my position in the bike more or less set up the way I want it, and I’m also getting more and more comfortable with the drop handle bars after having ridden an FCR with a flat handle bar for the last three years. I’m now comfortably spending most of my time in the drops instead of on the hoods, but I’ll still have to make one final adjustment: I think I’ll get a new, shorter stem. I took one that was 1cm shorter for a spin when we visited Tim today to see if that would make any difference at all to my problems. And it did, even at 1 lousy centimeter — it felt better both in the elbows and the shoulders. I’ve now decided to put D’s stem on for the next ride just to make sure — it’s 2.5cm shorter than mine — and I’m almost certain that it will make all the difference in the world.

Facts:Here is the ride with both the shorter climb on Jiannan Rd and the Ziqiang Tunnel, and there are several previous descriptions to be found by clicking on Taipei under Categories in the right column

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