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
25th July, 2012

Sidebars

I don’t know what happened to the sidebars, they just disappeared. Probably something to do with an update to the theme that I am basing this design on. Busy with work for the next few days, so I won’t have time to find the problem right now. For links to maps and routes, please go to the old version of the site. It’s not being updated anymore, but I’ll leave it online as is at least until I get the design of this site up and running properly.

22nd July, 2012

Scorching heat

A few days ago we decided to ignore the scorching sun and get on the bikes for a 90k ride in the river park, from the MacArthur Bridge down to Gongguan and back. In the end, we cut it in half because as it turned out, it was impossible to ignore the heat.

A break

A break and some relaxed conversation at Shezidao.

We tried to push ourselves a bit to get some good exercise, but no matter how hard I worked, I never started sweating. Back home again and away from the sun I started sweating like nothing else; it all evaporated in the heat, I guess. Over 45k, I drank 3 liters of water and still had a dry mouth and D was developing a headache, so we decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to go back the way we came. D’s Garmin GPS has a thermometer in it, and it hit 37.5 degrees Celsius several times.

Taipei

Taipei from the northern tip of Shezidao

Mango strawberry shaved ice

The reward: mango strawberry shaved ice across from Taida

Facts Here is a map on my Garmin page.This is in fact a great ride. At least in the weeks, there aren’t many people in the park, and the roads are often quite wide and smooth, so it makes for a great exercise round since you can race against the clock without being afraid to run into a lot of people.

7th June, 2012

Look but not touch

There’s a new new bike shop in town (Taipei, that is) that looks really cool if you’re rich enough. Well, it looks cool whether you’re rich or not, but look is probably all I’ll ever do. It’s very oriented toward design and style, and they make vintage-style bikes to your requirements, even down to what year you want the parts to be manufactured. Here’s the article in the Taipei Times, and here is their website. We’re clearly swinging by the next time we’re in that part of town.

6th June, 2012

Biking again. Not.

Decided to do a 90k ride yesterday. Fixed up the bikes last week although that ride rained away in the end, so at least the bikes shouldn’t have been a problem. But of course D’s front tyre had a slow leak so it was empty. The leak was at the base of the air vent, so I replaced the tube with the last extra we had back home.

Jumped on the bikes and tore away (!) for a late start. We’d made it all the way to the river park when D’s back tube exploded with a loud bang. Probably no use to fix it but we gave it a try. A straight cut in the tube, so I had probably pinched it when I replaced it last time. Anyway, on with a patch and pump it up. Boom, there you go again. Third flat in a day. Third! And in a different place this time so it wasn’t the patch that gave way. So D jumped in a cab and I got on the bike down to Tima’s to have the tube replaced so we could do at least half the planned ride.

As always we started chatting about this, that and the other with Tim and his wife as Tim was changing the tube. And then it exploded again, and ruptured the tyre as well, so now we had to buy a tyre, too. We also bought a couple of extra tubes and two new biodegradable 1 liter water bottles each for good measure. The old ones were getting filthy anyway. By now it was already 2.30-3pm and we had lost all interest in any biking at all for the day. So this is what we did instead:

A beer at Alleycat's

An excellent amber with just the right level of bitterness plus a pizza at Alleycat’s Huashan restaurant is never wrong

The one good thing that came out of this debacle, apart from the pizza and the excellent amber at Alleycat’s of course, was that it was decided that we would do the Smangus (司馬庫斯) ride the first or third week of July. Never done that one. Tim says it’s 2,000m straight up and that we should make it up in one day. Not so sure about that, but we’ll give it a try.

30th November, 2011

Around Taipei

We had planned to ride up Fengguizui, but as we got closer to the mountains we biked into a constant drizzle. The mountains surrounding the Taipei basin were all enveloped in a grey mist, while the basin was bathed in sunshine and blue skies. We decided to go around Taipei instead. Since they closed the flower exhibition, it is once again possible to bike around a large part of Taipei in the river park.
A bridge below the Grand Hotel

A bridge below the Grand Hotel

We entered the river park at MacArthur Bridge, and followed the river park along Jilong River all the way up to Shezi Dao and then back along the Danshui River down to Gongguan. The whole ride from door to door was 47km. When you leave the river park at Shezi Dao, you will run into a road block. Go straight through it, and just before you get to the bridge construction site, there will be a set of stairs where you can lead your bike back into the top of the levee. Zoom in on the map linked to below and you’ll see the spot.
Gongguan from Shezi Dao

Looking down toward Gongguan and 101 from Shezi Dao

Machangding

The memorial at the KMT white terror era execution ground at Machangding in the river park
Facts Here is a mapon my Garmin page.This is in fact a great ride. At least in the weeks, there aren’t many people in the park, and the roads are often quite wide and smooth, so it makes for a great exercise round since you can race against the clock without being afraid to run into a lot of people.

11th November, 2011

Link: A 200km ride in Central Taiwan

Taiwan in Cycles has a great post with pics on a 200km ride in Central Taiwan: 200k of Central Taiwan: Our Best Cycling Routes in a Day. We’ve done parts of this ride, and we really liked it. Should probably try to cover it all some time. Not in one day though.

6th November, 2011

Chishang to Hualien

Wednesday noon, we packed our bikes in our bike bags and took the 1.20 down to Chishang (池上) for a three-day ride up to Hualien and on to Taroko Gorge together with a few friends who had started their ride in Kaohsiung on the weekend. It was pouring down in Taipei and the CWB forecast rain along the east coast, so we even headed out to Costco to buy some cheap lightweight rain gear we saw when we last went shopping.

The Chishang B&B early in the morning

It rained around Yuli (玉里) and Fuli (富里) on the train ride down, and our friends were hit just as they rode into Chishang, but that was it. Wonderful weather, 28-30 degrees, blue skies and a fresh breeze. The clouds hung over the mountains, though. The Chishang b&b we found on the internet was also a nice surprise. They picked us up at the train station, and the rooms were nice. They also had a restaurant for breakfast and dinner. If we’re stopping in Chishang again, we know where to stay.

Outside Chishang

The first day was a short ride, just below 60km, up to Ruisui for a dip in the hot springs at the same hotel we’ve stayed several times before. But first we went to the 7-11 to send our bike bags to a 7 in Hualien. Saves a couple of kilos. The first 20 or so kilometers, we planned to follow the 9 until we hit the 193, but in Dongli (東里) we started talking to the local police and he told us that the old rail track from Dongli through Antong (安通) to Yuli had been paved and now worked as a bike path off the 9. We weren’t going as far as Yuli, but we avoided 5km on the 9 between Dongli and Antong.

The joys of provincial highway 9

The bike path between Dongli and Yuli

Antong, between Dongli and Yuli

We arrived in Ruisui before 2pm and spent the afternoon in the hot spring pools before we walked a few kilometers down the road for a nice Hakka meal. When the owner heard we had walked for sooo long, he offered to drive us back for free, and said that if we had called before, he would have picked us up, too. Pretty good service.

D enjoys Ruisui hot springs

Ruisui hot springs

The 193 from Ruisui to Hualien was as beautiful as always. In Hualien we stayed at what seemed a fairly new hotel called Beauty Inn (漂亮), and it really was a fairly beauty stay. Nice fresh rooms, clean, good service, although they sent us to a Japanese restaurant that had been closed for a long time when we asked where we could get some Japanese food.

Guangfu

The view from the Hualien hotel

The ride up Taroko never happened: the whole gorge was closed for a marathon race, and in addition, they still had problems with falling rocks after the heavy rains a few weeks back (up to 1.5m in two days in some places), so the marathon runners had to run with helmets because they several people had been hit along some parts of the road.

Mission accomplished

Chishang to Hualian

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The b&b in Chishang
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Getting ready
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FactsIt seems it’s now possible again to bring your bagged bikes on all Tzu-chiang/Ziqiang express trains (自強號). Some trains have designated cars for bicycles (the first and the last), while on all the others, you bring it in the car and place it at the luggage area (they have removed a whole row of seats to use for luggage storage). That’s what we were told by two different information people, and that was also our experience. Luggage area storage down to Chishang, and designated car from Hualian back to Taipei.Chishang B&B: (089)865-878. We paid NT$1500 for a double. Not sure if they speak English.

Ruisui Hotspring
Telephone: 03-8872170, 03-8870824
No.23, Hongye, Wanrong Township, Hualien County 979
We paid NT$1500 for a double here as well. At least one man there speaks English.

Beauty Inn in Hualien.
A bit more expensive. We paid NT$2900 fora discounted double. Fairly large room and spatious restroom with a big shower cabin. A five minute bike ride from the railway station.

Here is the whole ride on my Garmin page.

29th October, 2011

bikingintaiwan.com

I am now posting to this address: www.bikingintaiwan.com. It’ll take some time to get some kind of design up and going, because I have also changed software from MovableType to WordPress, but I’ll get there in the end.

The old blog at bikingintaiwan.theforgetful.com (yes, it’s long. Now you know why I’ve changed) has a lot of links that I haven’t transplanted to this blog yet.

24th October, 2011

Xindian loop revisited

A friend bought a new bike, so together with Tim at Tima Bikes, who sold him the bike, we took a shorter ride down the Xindian River Park to Bitan (碧潭) and then across the river along Xintan Road (新潭路) halfway down to Wulai (烏來) so he could try out the bike and Tim could help him with any adjustments. None were needed, but he was impressed that Tim would come along.

Great weather, so we decided to ride up to the foot of Shizaitou Shan (獅仔頭山) and then come back down and return to the river park via Xinwu Rd (新烏路). Once home again, we had clocked up almost 70km instead of the expected 45. That extra trip to the foot of the mountain and cruising around town, I guess.

Next week, we’re joining up with our friend and a few others coming from Kending (墾丁) up the east coast. We’re meeting them at Chishang (池上) and then going via Ruisui (瑞穗) and Hualian (花蓮) up Taroko (太魯閣), before rolling down to Xincheng (新城) and taking the train back to Taipei. Three days of fairly leaisurely riding. That’ll be cool, haven’t had a proper holiday in a year and a half.

By the way, it seems rules for bringing bikes on trains have changed again. We checked with two different people at the TRA information desk, just to make sure, and they both said that one can now bring bikes in bags on all trains, not only those with designated bicycle cars.

Facts Here is the map of the whole ride on my Garmin page.
17th October, 2011

Xiao Getou

Getting back on the bike after a couple of months of spinning classes at the gym is making a huge difference. Today, we did Xiao Getou (小格頭) again, taking the longer route, 47-1 at 9km, rather than the 47 at 7km. To my surprise, I made it all the way to the top without once getting off the bike. Those spinning classes were useful.

Helen’s on a Monday

Once at the top, we found the new coffee shop that we’d been told about, a couple houses down from Helen’s, which is basically open only at the weekends. Nice, spatious, all wooden furniture, and a refill at half price. Cool.

Empty bike parking at Helen’s

D at the new coffee shop

Facts Here is the map on my Garmin page.