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
17th May, 2010

Chengtian Rd/Nantianmu Rd

We wanted to do a ride we’d never done before, and we also wanted to find another way than Ankeng Rd to access the Northern Cross Island Highway, so we decided to go through the mountains between Tucheng (土城) and Sanxia (三峽). That cuts out most of the city riding, but adds 15-20 km to the ride, which may or may not be a concern whewn you want to do the Northern Cross. We got to Yongning MRT Station via the Yonghe side of the river park, which we entered by crossing the river on Yongfu Bridge (永福橋) at Gongguan (公館) and then re-entering the city after Chenglin Bridge (城林橋).

The river park on the Yonghe side of the river

At Yongning MRT station, get on Chengtian Rd (承天路) which runs just in front of the station and follow that up into the mountains. The first few kilometers are boring, with houses, cars and small factories. After a while it changes name to Nantianmu Rd (南天母路), so just follow that. When the houses and the traffic end, there is a killer incline that we, and probably everyone else, walked. It’s a very long incline that varies between a 17% and a 24% gradient, and it was tiring even to walk — take it from someone who knows. The rest of the road down to the 110, Ankeng Rd (安坑路), is a very pleasant ride, and, to our surprise, with several coffee shops scattered along the way. It turns out that this is a good place to watch the Tung trees in full bloom — the season just passed for this year, but we will probably go there next year.

Bridges are fun

About 10km from Yongning you reach Ankeng Rd. The plan here was to take a right on the 110 for a kilometer or so, and then get onto Ziwei Rd (紫微路) which later morhps into Baiji Rd (白雞路) and then takes you down to the 7A and the beginning of the Northern Cross. The plan was changed, however. D complained of a headache and feeling less than fit even before we left home this morning, and when we got here, it was time to go back. We still had about 25km to go even without going up to Baiji Temple, so we decided to do that ride another time. We went back into Taipei along the 110, and were reminded of why we wanted to find a way to bypass it.

Steamed egg and a Taiwanese sausage with a couple of cloves of raw garlic in the midday sun

In the Xindian River Park, D laid down for a while, before we returned to the city and some food and a strawberry/mango ice. That always is a great way to cap a great sunny ride.

Facts: Most of the facts about the ride is in the post, but here is what I think of this route as a way to replace the 110 when doing the Northern Cross from Taipei. If you’re spreading the ride over two days by stopping at Baling the first night, it might be worth the extra 15 or 20 km through the river park and the mountains to avoid the heavy traffic on the 110. And if you do it on a weekend, you can take your bike on the MRT down to Yongning and save even more time and kilometers. If, however, you’re doing the Northern Cross in one day and then getting the bus or train back to Taipei from Yilan or Luodong (which we are planning to do some time before the end of this year), I would stick to the 110, because it saves kilometers and energy well needed for the 1200m climb and the 160 km down to Yilan.
Here is the ride with all the GPS data on my Garmin page. The data can be exported either as a gpx or a kml file from this page.
And here’s the Google map:

View in a larger map

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