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
4th August, 2010

Five favorite Taipei day rides

In response to a question in the comments yesterday, here is my list of our five favorite rides in the Taipei area, together with our reasons for liking them. They're all half day trips, so if you leave early in the morning, you'll be back home again between, roughly, 11am and 2pm depending on how long you stop at the coffee shops that lie at the end of several of these rides. As far as we're concerned, a coffeeshop at the end is an important, if not the only, factor in achieving favorite status, simply because it is nice to sit down with a cup of coffee or a cold drink after having climbed 600m. If there's a good view, so much the better. The exception to the half day rule is the Jiaoxi ride, partly because we like to overnight there and then bike back the next day (different nice route in each directions) rather than taking the bus home from Jiaoxi as we did yesterday, and partly because even if you go home the same day, it'll be later because you can't go to Jiaoxi and then not get a soak in a hot spring. Click the bold name of the ride for a link to a closer description of the route and/or a Google/Garmin map, with downloadable gpx/kml file in the case of the Garmin maps. So, in no particular order, because which one you like more will depend on the day, how early you got to to bed, how early you got up, how hot it is, and so on... Pingguang Road/Shizaitoushan This is a very enjoyable ride, maybe even the most enjoyable among these rides, partly because it bypasses almost all city riding, partly because the road is beautiful, quiet and quite empty of traffic, and partly because the ride up the mountain is challenging, but not extremely so. Can be turned into a much shorter and faster morning ride by taking a left where Pingguang Rd begins and riding out to Wulai Rd and then returning to the Xindian river park that way. Coffee shops in Xindian/Bitan when you return to the river park, or you could do like we do most of the time and go all the way into Taipei and have a bowl of shaved ice with fresh strawberries and mango outside Taida. Delicious.
The view from Shizaitoushan at the top of Pingguang Rd
Fengguizui This is probably the most challenging of these five rides, which is one of the reasons it achieves favorite status. Another reason is that this ride also bypasses most of the city riding by accessing it through the river park and then going over Jiannan mountain instead of doing the Ziqiang Tunnel through the mountain. If you don't, I might even strip it of favorite status because the city riding without the river park and the tunnel takes away much of the pleasure and it is a bad way to end a very nice ride. Good coffee shop at the end of the road with a very friendly and talkative boss. Can easily be extended to a full day ride by going down to Wanli and returning to Taipei along the North Coast road to Danshui and then the river park from Danshui into Taipei.
The coffee shop at Fengguizui
Both these rides are great because it always amazes me that despite living in a city of a couple of million people, I can get away from the traffic and fumes and down to a river park and then out in the mountains in about 30 minutes on the bike. That's unthinkable in most cities of this size. Jiaoxi A good ride if you do it the way we did yesterday, and an excellent ride if you go via Shuangxi and the Shuangtai Access Road down to Daxi on the Pacific Coast. The Shuangtai version is about 100km, the one via Pinglin around 70km. Two climbs, 600m and 500m. End with a dip in some hot spring in Jiaoxi, and either take the bus back after a seafood meal, or spend the night and bike back via Pinglin or the same way you came. If you take the bus, you only have to take of the front wheel, and sometimes not even that. Anyway, you can avoid the hassle with bringing a bike bag.
The descent to Daxi on the Pacific coast
Xiaogetou Go via Taipei's municipal cemetery at Fudekeng, which is an experience in itself. When you come down from Fudekeng, take a right and then an almost immediate left at the first bridge, cross the bridge and take a left again. Follow the road until you hit Wenshan Rd, and then follow that road. This is a great, moderately challenging ride that takes you up to about 600m elevation at Xiaogetou on the intersection with road 9. Turn right at the 9 to go down to Xindian, or take a left for about a kilometer and get a coffee at Helen's coffee shop (only open weekends, and maybe on public holidays). When you leave Helen's, continue 50m and then take a left to go down another way than the one you came up, or just continue down to Pinglin and a coffee at Vanilla Sky instead of Helen's before you turn back. There is lots of shade from the trees along the beautiful road, little traffic (more on the weekends) and quite a few nice views.
The view from the coffee shop at Xiaogetou
Pinglin For a longer and more challenging ride, because it includes two climbs up to 600m. A nice road. For variety, it's recommended to take the 106B past Huafan University on the way there and then return on the 9 via Xiaogetou simply to avoid repeating the same road. Get a coffee and something to eat at the Vanilla Sky coffee shop in Pinglin, and/or at Helen's Coffee shop at Xiaogetou.
Tea plantations and highway from the top of the 106B on the way to Pinglin
So, there you have it. There are of course other rides in the area, some of which we haven't even done yet (many rides in Danshui and on Yangmingshan, for example, with the exception of the Balaka road) and some that don't qualify for favorite status (Arouyang/Muzha hills), and any suggestions for other favorites are welcome. Didn't include Beiheng, because for most people (and, so far, including us) that is a two-day commitment. Taipei is a great area for day rides, and we'd love to hear that there still are other great rides out there that we have missed.

4 comments to Five favorite Taipei day rides

  • Excellent write up!
    Thanks for posting this.
    I would offer the Sanzhi, Shimen ride however you need a guide or a Garmin like yours to navigate some of the goat path like roads.

  • Great site guys.
    Just a query. Are there many funride events organised in Taiwan?
    I’m thinking about heading over to Taiwan at some stage for an indefinite period of time with my partner (who is Taiwanese) and was just curious as to what the funride scene is like. Here in New Zealand it seems there is an event on every weekend. I’m just interested in what it is like over there.

  • TBV

    Thanks, Scott. I’m not really sure about the situation for organized rides here. Of course there are some, but I have no idea how frequent they are or who would be organizing them. You could try one of the threads on the forum at http://www.forumosa.com, a forum for foreigners living in Taiwan. Quite a few bikers on there, so I’m sure you’d find some answers.

  • […] about trails in Taipei, such as this one about the Wefenshan Weather Station and this one about his five favourite rides.Taiwan in Cycles is another blog worth looking at, although I didn’t find much information […]