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
1st June, 2011

Xindian loop

Did a short ride with D and Noah yesterday, the Xindian loop. About It's a favorite shortie, about 40km, alongside the Xindian River most of the way, almost no traffic apart from the section on Xinwu Rd back into Taipei, but that can be avoided if you go back the you came. An average heart rate of 143, with a max at 183, which is more e or less my max heart rate no matter how hard I work out. That's how bent out of shape I am.
Facts: Find the map and the data on my Garmin page
9th May, 2011

Flower power

5.45. Woke up to Philip Glass, The Poet Acts, on my trusted old Android as usual. Followed the list: get up, get dressed, make coffee, have breakfast, take dogs for walk. After that my brain about works the way it should again. When I got out on Dunhua South with the dogs and looked up, I saw a dark wall of clouds in the east out over the Pacific, slowly rotating northward, from as far as I could see north of Songshan Airport to as far south as I could see down along Dunhua, the sky above the clouds gray and cold. Looking to the west, there were clear blue skies, sunshine and not a cloud. Wonderful pre-typhoon (actually tropical storm) weather, but in all my years in Taiwan, I've never seen such a clear division between the incoming weather system and the clear blue skies over land. In the end, the system seems to have moved or rotated north or what it is such systems do, because it still hasn't started raining tonight. Although I hope it will bring lots of rain, since Taiwan's reservoirs are drying out and it seems we may be moving toward another summer of water rationing. Anyway, on to biking. We used this lovely day to ride out to Xiao Getou together with Jin Laoshi, the first ride out there in a long time. Before we hit the Renai circle, D had a flat. We fixed that, and after 10 minutes she had a problem changing gears, it wasn't smooth at all. We fixed that, and then the battery in my heart rate monitor died. Jin Laoshi had a battery, and then we could finally start biking. 110509xiaogetou.jpg
All that white fluffy stuff in the distance are also cotton wads of Tong blossoms
The hills in Shiding past Shenkeng were beautiful, with clusters of white Tong blossoms spread out like wads of cotton on the green slopes. Almost no bikers on the road and no cars, except for 18 huge empty green devil machine gravel trucks coming down the hill. They moved in packs, three or four together. There must be some construction going on somewhere. At least we managed to get back down again from the mountain while only two of them evil things had come back up fully loaded, so, in short, it was a wonderful ride on a wonderful day.
Facts A map and data from my Garmin can be found here.
19th April, 2011

A cool beer at the Waterfront


Just as we had decided to go to the gym, we realized that it was a great day and that it really should be spent on the bikes instead of in a stuffy gym, so we decided to go out to Danshui for a late lunch/ early dinner at our new Danshui favorite, the Waterfront, on the Danshui water front. The weather was perfect for it, and I even remembered to put on the heart rate monitor so I could see how bent out of shape I was after the ride.

Going out there was a breeze. Actually, it was more than a breeze, but it came in over the tail, so it made for a smooth, fast ride. Great, since there are so few people in the river park on the week days. I was able to just push on at a pace that was pretty good for me at this stage. I noticed that the balls of my feet went numb some times. I'm not sure if that means that I push down on the pedals more than I pull up, but it probably does, because when I think about it and try to even it out so I work with both legs at an even load, or as even as I can get it, that numbness disappears.


It's also a great feeling to just feel the rubber on the hoods against the skin, and the FSA cork-infused handle bar tape that I use also has a nice texture to it. I just don't like to wear bike gloves, I love that feeling of the handle bar against my hands, the flat top, the handlebar tape, the hoods, switching gears, all that. The ride back was a different thing. Thirty km against a fairly strong and gusty head wind slows you down and since we tried to push it a bit and get the training we had been aiming for if we had gone to the gym, I thought I worked quite hard, and toward the end, I was pooped. But that's just as it should be if I'm to get in shape again after over a year without almost any biking and virtually no visits to the gym.

The best Starbucks location in Taipei
Facts: 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.
3rd April, 2011

Small Xindian loop: a good exercise loop

110402_pingguang.jpgYesterday, we took advantage of the nice weather to do a shortish morning ride, halfway down to Wulai, 43km from door to door. This loop is in fact great for exercise. After a few kilometers through the city to get down to the river park entry at Gongguan (公館), the whole ride follows the Xindian river, first through the river park for about 10km or so, and then, after crossing the river on the Bitan (碧潭) suspension bridge, it follows the other bank of the river along Xintan Rd (新潭路) down to Pingguang Rd (平廣路). There you take a left and go out to the Xinwu Rd (新烏路) where you take another left to return to Xindian and the river park back into the city. It is almost flat, with only four small slopes (although one hits a 21% and another a 15% grade) and a max altitude of about 150m. The fact that it is short makes it a great exercise loop since you can do it on a regular basis without having to take too much time out of your week. And since the inclines are short but quite steep, you could use it to improve your climbing skills as well as your stamina. Just go back down that little hill and hit it again (especially that 21% incline).
Facts: About 44km from the east district of Taipei and back again, max elevation 150, total elevation gain about 400m. 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 Biking in Taiwan: Small Xindian loop in a larger map
23rd March, 2011

I bought the domain name a few months ago. I wanted, of course, but that was taken. Then in early January, I started receiving a long series of e-mails from the company that had bought the dot com domain, asking me to make an offer for it. I ignored it, of course, because I don't like the idea of buying up domain names just to sell them on. I mean, what a business model, buying domain names and reselling them. If you get, I can see that there might be some money in that, but not for non-commercial sites like this one. Anyway, today I checked again, and because I didn't take the bait, the company didn't renew its registration of, so now I bought it. And I paid 9 bucks instead of the minimum 70 they wanted to transfer it to me. Now I just need to get some time to sit down and redo the site in wordpress rather than movabletype, and then it's time to get back on the bike again. I've already returned to the gym, with 10kgs to lose. Wish me luck...
5th March, 2011

Taiwan distance calculator

Here is fairly a useful page that someone pointed me to yesterday: a distance calculator for Taiwan. Powered by Google, it works like the Get Directions function in Google maps, but it feels as if it is a bit more direct. Anyway, it opens up on a map of Taiwan. Click the starting point, any points along the way, and then the end point to get the resulting distance in kilometers.
8th February, 2011

Back in the saddle: Danshui

2011-02-08 last day of the Lunar New Year holiday. Brilliant weather. A ride to Danshui. First time on the bike since September last year. Sixty kilometers in three hours. Less than a year ago, we would have done it in two, probably even without stopping in Danshui. But hey, we're back in the saddle again. And because the weather was brilliant and we were still on a holiday, we stopped at a lovely place called The Waterfront in Danshui for a nice meal, a coffee and a piece of cake in the afternoon sun. 25 degrees and no wind. Absolutely wonderful. And we're back in the saddle again, as that old Aerosmith song goes. 2011-02-08 14.47.01.jpg
The Waterfront in Danshui. That blown out section in the middle of the photo is the Danshui waterfront. Phone cameras do that to a photo.
2011-02-08 14.49.57.jpg
D stuffing herself
1st February, 2011

Running, not biking

Not a biking post, but maybe something almost as good. Received an e-mail from the Scientist Runner this morning alerting me to his report from the Tainan ROC Centennial marathon, or, officially, the Tainan Ancient Capital International Marathon, in Tainan on Ja 23. I've never run a marathon in Taiwan or anywhere else, but found this pictorial report both enjoyable and really interesting. It seems Tainan really knows how to put on a well-organized international event. Read the Scientist Runner's report.
26th January, 2011

Bikes on trains

Andrew over at Taiwan in Cycles and his wife have made an incredible job translating all the rules for bringing bikes on trains in Taiwan. Go read it!
11th October, 2010

Another kind of biking

Still fighting that cold, so I do my biking on the net. Here's another kind of biking, some really cool stunts.