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The R@SKLs Ride to Cameron Highlands Anew

The R@SKLs did their first King of Mountain Challenge last year.  364 days later we were back at Simpang Pulai ready to take on the climb to the Meiko Strawberry Centre again. 

Our plan had been to arrive at Simpang Pulai in the early afternoon on Saturday so we could get to the Restoran Ayam Tauke on Jalan Guntong before they ran out of their signature nga choy kai (beansprout chicken) and sar hor fun (flat rice noodles).  Last year we got to the restaurant after dark and were lucky to get any chicken at all.

The traffic on the North-South Expressway was atrocious.  The trip from Kuala Lumpur to Simpang Pulai is about 195km / 120mi.  It can be done in just over two hours.  On this day it took almost four hours.

Nevertheless, almost all of us were seated at the restaurant before dark.  In time to get all the chicken that we wanted.  Marvin had left Kuala Lumpur in the late afternoon and he got to the restaurant just in time to clean up.

Photograph courtesy of Alfred Chan

A few of the R@SKLs chose to start at 7.30am from the Symphony Hotel.  That is when and where anyone with aspirations for a podium finish or an official time had to roll across the start line.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Malaysia magazine

The rest of us started at the Hotel Pulai.  We wanted to start the climb early so we could be finished before the weather got too hot.  That meant riding to Restoran Sun Kee Hin across the road from the Hotel Pulai for a breakfast of noodles, kaya toast and soft boiled eggs at 5.45am.

We were looking surprisingly bright as we waited for our orders.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We were on our way at about 6.45am.  As the sun came up we were on the lower slopes of the approximately 1,800 metre / 5,900 foot climb ahead.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

The Simpang Pulai to Cameron Highlands road runs through virgin forest.  There is hardly any development on those north-western slopes until you get within touching distance of the junction with the Tapah road.

Map courtesy of Ride with GPS
Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Malaysia magazine

It had rained overnight and it stayed overcast all morning.  A mist was rising out of the jungle as we pushed our way up the mountain.

We regrouped just after the first official water station where we raided our support vehicles for water and snacks.  Some R@SKLs could not partake of the water on offer at the water station because they had not registered for the event.  They were “ghost riders” in the local cycling parlance.

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

While we were larking about at the side of the road the leading group of riders in the race proper sailed past.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Malaysia magazine

The top five finishers of the race came from the group of riders at the very front of this pack.  The average speed of the winner was 30.1kph / 18.7mph.  Exactly double my average speed.  Youth.  What a wonderful thing!

We continued up the road at a much more sedate pace.

Though it must be said that Daniel was moving considerably faster than the rest of us.

A couple of rascals turned around before getting to the finish.  One blamed a leg injury.  This was the cure.

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

You be the judge of the veracity of that claim.

The rest of us took another break near the second official water stop.  Bottoms and legs were getting sore by that point.  We were relieved to cross the finish line 10km / 6mi further and 340 metres / 1,115 feet higher up the road.  This ride hurt us more mature types!

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

It must have hurt Fallanie too.  He bagged second place in the Men’s Open category with an average speed of 29.2kph / 18.1mph for the 58km / 36mi race up 1,800 metres / 5,900 feet of mountain.  Congratulations Fallanie!

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

There was food available at the finish.  I didn’t bother to check what it was.  Which was a mistake.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Malaysia magazine

Some chicken satay would have gone down very nicely.

On the way down the mountain, we stopped at the “Welcome to Cameron Highlands” sign on the hillside at the border between the states of Perak Darul Ridzuan and Pahang Darul Makmur.  The Cameron Highlands is in the state of Pahang DM.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Then it was 39km / 24mi of high speed descending for those who like zipping downhill.  Others were more cautious.  No matter the speed of descent, everyone’s arms and shoulders took a beating.  The Simpang Pulai – Cameron Highlands road was opened in 2004 and the road surface is showing its age.  The road is slightly rutted and rough for most of its length.  Not dangerously so, but the constant jarring over such a long distance is quite uncomfortable.

Everyone got back safely to the Hotel Pulai.  It had been in the high teens and low twenties Centigrade on the way up, but it had warmed up to the low thirties Centigrade over the final 15km / 9mi to the hotel.  Hot, but still three or four degrees Centigrade cooler than it had been at the end of last year’s event.

We showered and had lunch at the same coffee shop where we ate breakfast.  Restoran Sun Kee Hin.  Then most hit the road back to Kuala Lumpur.  The traffic was as bad as it had been the day before.

I took a nap – better to fall asleep in a bed than behind the wheel.  I didn’t get on the road until 6.00pm.  I got home at 9.45pm. 

The sense I am getting from the post-mortem comments is that the R@SKLs won’t do the King of Mountain Challenge next year unless we hire a bus to get us to Simpang Pulai, transport us down the mountain from the event finish area, and get us back to Kuala Lumpur. 

This might be my only King of Mountain Challenge finisher’s medal.

The short way home

We checked out of the hotel at 7.30am.  We rode out in a drizzle to look for breakfast.  You can always count on a mamak restaurant to be open at any hour of the night or day.

After breakfast, we rode to the usual photograph spots.  First the Porta de Santiago, a small gatehouse which is the only part of A Famosa, a former Portuguese fortress, still standing today.  A Famosa is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Southeast Asia and the Far East.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Then we went to Christ Church Melaka.  Construction of Christ Church Malacca started in 1741 and it was completed in 1753.  When the British took over Malacca they added a weathercock and bell to Christ Church and transformed it from a Protestant church into an Anglican one.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We had decided over dinner the night before to amend our plan for the day.  Originally we were going to ride to the KTM station in Rembau, where we would catch a Komuter train to KL Sentral station.  The Rembau station is 58km / 36mi from Melaka.

We decided instead to ride to the KTM station in Tampin, which is 40km / 25mi from Melaka.  We would be very glad that we chose to ride to the closer station.

We rode through the narrow streets of historic Melaka to the AMJ highway.  The highway took us north to Alor Gajah. 

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We left the AMJ highway at Alor Gajah for the 14km / 9mi remainder of the distance to Tampin.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

The cool and overcast conditions had quickly given way to hot and muggy conditions.  It was 30º C / 86º F at 10.00am.  We were relieved to have opted to ride to Tampin rather than Rembau.

We had time for a cold drink after buying our tickets.  The train left on time at 10.55am.  And in only a few minutes we were cold.  The air-conditioning on the KTM Komuter trains is quite chilly.

We warmed up once our damp jerseys had dried out.  By the second half of the journey, we could feel the heat of the sun coming through the train windows.

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

The train takes about two hours to get to KL Sentral station.  On the way we messaged Jeff Liew of The Bike Artisans, asking him to book duck rice lunches at the restaurant next door to his bike shop.  We would be riding in that direction to get back to my place from KL Sentral station.

It was an easier task to get out of KL Sentral station that it had been to get into Tampin station, where the lift had broken down.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We rode the escalator up to the main hall of KL Sentral station and then wheeled our bikes fifty metres to the exit.  In less than a minute we were on Jalan Tun Sambanthan headed towards the Bike Artisans and lunch.

In less than 4.5km / 3mi we were at Jeff’s doorstep.  Which was a good thing because it was another hot day. 

Kelin joined us for lunch.  

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

As did TH.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We made short work of the chicken and duck rice.  Thank you Jeff for buying us lunch, and Kelin and TH for joining us.

All that remained was to ride the hot 3km / 2mi to my place.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We had moaned at times about the heat over the two days.  But we did agree that it had been a fun couple of days, and that we looked forward to more such rides.  

And there are already some R@SKLs asking to join the next overnight ride.

To Melaka for the night

Some activities require a lot of planning.  Others happen almost spontaneously.  This trip to Melaka was one of the latter.  The idea was mooted on the 13th.  There were few takers initially.  On the 20th there were four of us interested.

Things sped up from there.  Within a couple of days, hotel rooms were booked and the ride start location and time were agreed.  At 6.15am on Sunday 25th, six of us were starting the 180km / 112 mi ride to Melaka.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

Our route took us along the Maju Expressway (MEX) toward Cyberjaya.  It started drizzling as we rode toward MEX.  When we got onto MEX via Jalan Kampung Pandan the expressway was wet but the drizzle had stopped.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim
Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The roads got progressively wetter as we rode through Cyberjaya and on to Dengkil.  Our touring saddle bags came in very useful as fenders to keep the spray from our rear wheels off our butts and backs.

We had planned to stop at the same roadside roti canai stall where we always have breakfast on rides through Dengkil.  To our surprise, the stall isn’t there anymore.  So we stopped at the closest mamak shop for teh tarik and roti telur.

It was still overcast when we got to Sepang.  70km / 44mi into our ride.  The Shell station at Sepang is a convenient place to stop for a rest room and to raid the convenience store refrigerator.

15 minutes earlier we had ridden through Pekan Salak, where on a previous trip Liang and I had been gouged by the owner of the bike shop there.  If I recall correctly we were charged RM30 / USD7.15 per inner tube.  We had to buy some there because we had both already had flat tires and had used all our spare tubes.

This time none of us had a flat during the entire trip.

The weather changed between Sepang and Lukut.  In less than 20km / 12mi it went from overcast and cool to sunny and hot.  And  very humid too, thanks to the wet roads.

When we got to the Port Dickson Waterfront it was well past 30º C / 86º F.  We were looking forward to an ice cold cendol but the stall was closed.  Which seemed odd for 11.15am.  So we moved on to the McDonald’s.  That was open but they had no fountain drinks nor ice.  They had no water supply at all.

So we rode to the nearest 7-Eleven, where we were told that the entire town had been without water since Friday due to the forced shutdown of the Sungai Linggi water treatment plant.  No wonder the cendol stall was closed.  Residents were dependent on tankers to deliver water for cooking and bathing.  The chillers at the 7-Eleven were well stocked and the air-conditioning was running full blast.  It was 35º C / 95º F outside.  We cooled down in the 7-Eleven for fifteen minutes.

80km / 50mi to go.  We covered just over 26km / 16mi before we had to stop again to seek respite from the heat.  We had reached the junction with Jalan Pasir Panjang – Kuala Linggi, where we would leave Federal Route 5 and ride along the coast.  There is a stall at the junction selling fresh coconut water. 

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

I needed that drink.  We all needed a drink.  We all needed thirty minutes in the shade.

5km / 3mi up the road is the Linggi river which in that neck of the woods forms the border between the states of Negri Sembilan and Melaka.  That sign over Brian’s head reads Selamat Datang ke Melaka (Welcome to Melaka).

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

It was about 1.30pm when we crossed the bridge.  We were hungry.  Our planned lunch stop was at Kuala Seafood in Kuala Sungai Baru.  9km / 6mi away.  Despite the heat, we got there in twenty minutes.  It was past the usual lunch hour, but there was still enough food left on the buffet for us to fill our faces.

It was about 40km / 25mi from Kuala Seafood to our hotel in Melaka.  We weren’t going to cover that distance all in one go.  We made another 7-Eleven stop after 7km / 4mi to refill our bottles.  We were going through fluid at a very rapid rate.

Our next stop was at Klebang Original Coconut Shake.  This is a “must-stop” venue for hot and thirsty cyclists.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

I had two of these fresh coconut water and vanilla ice cream concoctions.  And got a brain freeze in the process of sucking down the first one.  Which wasn’t as bad as it sounds, given the heat of the afternoon.

Revived by the coconut shakes we pedalled the last few kilometres to the Euro Rich Hotel.  Once we had stowed our bikes in the storeroom near the front desk, it was time for a shower and a rest.  Six and a half hours in the sun had taken it out of us.  And turned parts of our bodies a few shades darker.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We met at 7.00pm for dinner.  Earlier we had thought of riding to somewhere to eat, but we nixed that idea.  This had been Jake’s and Martin’s longest ever ride.  They had had enough of riding for one day.

Instead we wandered to Pahlawan Walk.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

I got a mango juice from the stall on the right on the way to dinner, and another one on the way back to the hotel.  I was probably hungry and dehydrated in equal measure.

It was an early night for all of us.  Thank goodness the hotel is in a quiet part of town.  Undisturbed sleep until 6.30am.

Movember Charity Fun Ride

1 Mo Ride Banner 1

Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.

Since 2004, the Movember Foundation charity has run Movember events to increase awareness and funds for men’s health issues, raising USD710 million to fund over 1,200 men’s health projects focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

Annie Lim came up with a brilliant idea for the R@SKLs to plan a Movember charity fun ride in conjunction with Pegasus Cycles.  She developed the concept and a number of R@SKLs joined her to make the event a reality.

Annie worked on marketing materials and sponsors.  CK Lim persuaded some of his suppliers to provide discounted products for sale on the day of the event.  Mark Lim got this event onto the Peatix platform so that participants could register online.  Daniel Lim helped develop the route for the ride.

You would be excused for thinking that this was a Lim clan event.  Not so.  There were non-Lims involved too.

Simon Soo Hu lined up the organisations we would donate all proceeds to.  Leonard Yee and Kelin Chan picked up various bits and pieces that needed doing.  And more than a dozen other R@SKLs volunteered to man junctions along the route to ensure that no participants got lost during the ride.

Within a few weeks of Annie first mooting the idea, we were ready to run the charity fun ride.

21 Mo.Ride Poster

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Annie and Daniel completed the final task of putting up directional signs along the route on the eve of the event.

20 Movember Eve Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

We had just over 100 participants registered on Peatix.  About 70 turned up despite the wet roads on Saturday morning.

22 Getting Ready

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Befitting a Movember event, we had some moustaches and beards.

Leonard welcomed the participants and wished the Mo.Bros and Mo.Sistas a safe and enjoyable Movember charity fun ride.

37 Starting Instructions

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The route was a moderately challenging 20km /12.5mi loop through the leafy residential neighbourhoods of Sri Hartamas and Bukit Damansara.

40 Movember Ride Route

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

41 Trees

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

“Moderately challenging” because there were about 400 metres / 1.300 feet of climbing to do.

Despite the climbs, everyone enjoyed the ride.

A number of stops were included within the route to ensure that the group didn’t get too stretched out on the road.

The R@SKLs were in their pink jerseys so that everyone could spot them as they manned each junction on the course.

70 Marshall

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

We also had roving support in the form of Annie on her motorbike.

73 Movember Annie Motorbike JS

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Mark and Marco on Mark’s scooter.

71 Marshalls Roving

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

And Kelin and Sulaiman in Kelin’s SUV.

72 Movember Support Vehicle 1 JS

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Fortunately, we had no major mishaps during the event.  There were one minor fall and a couple of mechanical problems.  As far as I can tell, there were only two flat tires.  As luck would have it, it was ride leader Daniel who had the first puncture.  Here being ably attended to by his Pegasus Cycles colleague Sulaiman.

65 Movember Daniel Flat CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

Making it up the last climb on Jalan Beringin warranted a wave!

66 Top of Beringin Climb

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Everyone rolled safely back to Pegasus Cycles.

Where there was finger food waiting.

90 Food

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Also on hand to dispense nitro coffee and pineapple ginger tea from his combi van was Simon Chua of Tiffi Tap.  Simon generously donated 20% of his takings to the Movember cause.

Participants browsed a number of stands set up by businesses who came out to support Pegasus Cycles during this event.

My Revv Energy donated energy gels to all participants.  The R@SKLs very own Jake Sow runs Lotos Marketing Sdn Bhd.  Jake donated 70 bottles of Liang Liang Cool Shirt spray for sale, with all proceeds going to the Movember cause.

Along with displaying products from Oakley, Pedla, Ride 100% and Silca, Cyclist Wardrobe also donated Kask Protone helmets for auction.  Ngee Cycle Sdn Bhd, Gin Huat Sdn Bhd and Aeco Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd also made products available to participants at discounted prices.

While the participants were snacking on curry puffs, chicken wings and sandwiches, and downing cups of Tiffi Tap nitro coffee and tea, Leonard conducted the charity auction, which included a set of Cane Creek ee brakes and a limited edition Kask Paul Smith Protone helmet.

100 Auction 1

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

101 Auction

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The happy winning bidder for the second Kask Protone helmet!

101 Auction 2

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The main reason for the Movember charity fun ride was of course to raise funds for men’s health.  I am delighted to say that the R@SKLs will donate RM12,000 / USD2,865 to The Prostate Cancer Society of Malaysia and RM5,880 / USD1,404 to The Malaysian Clearinghouse for Men’s Health.

Representing these organisations were Encik Zakaria Hamid of The Prostate Cancer Society of Malaysia and Professor Dr Ng Chirk Jenn of The Malaysian Clearinghouse for Men’s Health.

94 Charities

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Professor Dr Ng kindly gave us a short talk to answer the question “Does cycling cause prostate cancer and infertility in men?”

And the answer is “Men, you can keep on cycling!”  Thumbs Up

Dr Ng highlighted that men in Malaysia need to be much more concerned about colorectal cancer. Malaysian men are more likely to develop colorectal cancer than Malaysian women. The good news about colorectal cancer is that it is preventable as you can be detected and treated early if you go for regular screenings.

Also gracing our event were, from the left, Dr Teo Chin Hai of the Department of Primary Care Medicine, University of Malaya (in the red shirt), Madam and Mr KL Kong and Mr Peter Wong of The Prostate Cancer Society of Malaysia.

The Malaysian Clearinghouse for Men’s Health is hosted by The Department of Primary Care Medicine, University of Malaya.

93 Charities

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The Movember charity fun ride was a roaring success.  Everyone had a good time, and more importantly, everyone stayed safe.  We raised a hefty chunk of change for two very deserving NGOs which work hard to combat men’s health issues.

Congratulations R@SKLs, Pegasus Cycles, participants, sponsors and donors.

103 Closing Group Shot

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

We will have to do this again.

Notes:
A very grateful and appreciative “Thank You” goes to Johan Sopiee.  He took more than 1,000 photographs of this event.  You can view the Facebook gallery of his photos by clicking here.

You can relive the event through a video created by Marco Lai.  Click here.

Ride Your Age

I picked up a birthday “tradition” while living in The Netherlands.  Ride Your Age.  In most cases, this means a ride length equal to or longer than your chronological age.  My Duch cycling friends added a maximum speed equal to or faster than your chronological age to the mix.

It sounded like a good idea ten years ago.  Less so now.  There will come a time when the ever-increasing miles required turns this tradition into a fool’s errand.  Nevertheless, I set out on a solo ride this morning to ride my age in miles.  This was my first chance for a ride since my birthday last week.

The route which started in Bukit Jalil was a mix of motorcycle lanes, main roads and quieter back streets.

Ride your Age Route

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

To make sure I covered the necessary miles for my age I took a little detour from Bandar Rimbayu to Bandar Saujana Putra.  All those lakes are disused tin mining pools.  In the 1880s Malaya as it was then was the largest tin producer in the world.  As late as 1979 Malaysia was still producing 30% of the world’s tin.

Much of the mining was done by floating dredges.  The chain of buckets on the front scooped up the tin-bearing soil, which then passed through an oscillating drum and a system of jigs and screens to extract the tin, before spewing out the waste material at the rear end through a number of chutes.

Tin Dredge

The heydey of the tin dredge has passed.  Tin prices collapsed in 1985 and the tin mining industry in Malaysia went into terminal decline.  The ponds which were left behind have become prime real estate spots.  My guess is that in five years a photograph taken from this spot will show waterfront homes lining this pool.

IMG_0919

The morning stayed overcast so I had a very pleasant ride.  I rode back to Bandar Rimbayu and then followed the usual route to Jenjarom.  From Jenjarom I rode along Jalan Klang – Banting for 15km / 9mi to the junction with the KESAS Highway.  I got back onto the motorcycle lane all the way back to Bukit Jalil.

As a bonus, I hit my age in kilometres per hour too.  There is a one kilometre stretch in Subang Jaya (see the top centre of the route above) which has an average gradient of -1.6%.  The slope certainly helps.  This is also the location of a major highway exit.  You come off the motorcycle lane and ride for that kilometre amongst five lanes of traffic.  The resulting adrenaline boost helps with top speed too!

IMG_0921

Another year.  Another Ride Your Age in the bag.

Taiwan Ti Bike Pickup Trip: Day 4

Day 4 Show logo

Wednesday was a wet day.  Not a day for riding a bike.  But a good day to be in the Nangang Exhibition Centre for the Taipei International Cycle Show.

IMG_0661

The show featured 1,150 exhibitors displaying their newest products spread over 65,000 square meters on floors 1, 4 and 5 of the Exhibition Centre.

Day 4 Show Bicycleretailer com

Photograph courtesy of bicycleretailer.com

Wednesday was the first day of the show, reserved for trade visitors.  We all had International Visitor passes, courtesy of Pegasus Cycles.

Day 4 Pegasus

It was impossible to give attention to every booth.  There was too much to see in the space of one morning.

It was a working visit for CK, Daniel and Sulaiman from Pegasus Cycles.  As it was for Ben and Douglas from Specialized Concept Store Bangsar.  They were at the show to visit their suppliers and to look out for possible new products to sell.

In the case of the guys from Pegasus, this included visiting Alessandro Basso of Basso Bikes, and the representatives from Hawkvi and Ridea.

By lunchtime, the rest of us were done window shopping.  Some of us had even convinced exhibitors to sell some of their products to us.  Which strictly speaking, they weren’t supposed to do.

We had worked up an appetite.  Lunch was at the oddly-named Addiction Aquatic Development, which is located in Taipei’s Fish Market.  It is a seafood wholesaler which caters to the general public as well.

Day 4 AAD 2

Photograph courtesy of tripadvisor.co.uk

There is fresh seafood.

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And a variety of prepared or cooked items.

Day 4 AAD 1

Photograph courtesy of purlou.com

 

We had a feast.

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That meal marked the end of our group activities.  That afternoon some left Taipei for other points in Taiwan.  The exodus back to Kuala Lumpur started the next day.

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I’m happy to report that all the Dodsun Ti bikes arrived safely in Kuala Lumpur.

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Heartfelt thanks to Pai and Xiao Ger for the planning and logistics and to all the R@SKLs and others whose excellent company and good humour made this such an enjoyable trip.

I’m sure we will be back for more.

Day 4 View

Photograph courtesy of bubbascyclingtours.com

Taiwan Ti Bike Pickup Trip: Day 3

Day 3 Route

Map courtesy of Ride with GPS

The Just Sleep Hotel has a Japanese feel to it.  There are Japanese-style rooms where the beds are low, and the robes are in the style of kimonos.

Day 3 Bed

That Japanese-ness extends to timekeeping.  A few of us were downstairs for breakfast a few minutes before 7.00am.  Everything looked ready,  but we weren’t allowed in until 7.00am.

It was worth the wait though.  The breakfast at Just Sleep is very good.

Day 3 Breakfadt Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We had hoped to start riding at 8.00am.  W didn’t get away until 8.30am.  Perhaps the kaoliang drunk the evening before had something to do with it.

Our first stop was just 8km / 5mi away at the Lanyang Museum.  The design of this museum about the local area was inspired by the cuestas (hills or ridges with a gentle slope on one side, and a steep slope on the other) commonly seen along the Beiguan Coast. The building emerges from the ground in a similar fashion to those cuestas.

Day 3 Lanyang Museum Huey-Ling

Photograph courtesy of Liew Huey-Ling

It is a stunning building.

Day 3 Lanyang Museum Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

6km / 4mi further on we came to Wai’ao Beach.  It was a very windy morning and the waves were crashing onto the rocks.

Day 3 Waiao Beach 2 CK

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

Day 3 Waiao Beach 4 Douglas Jackson

Photograph courtesy of Douglas Jackson

Day 3 Waiao Beach 1 CK

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

We hugged the coast riding north for a total of 30km / 18mi.

Day 3 Coast Douglas

Photograph courtesy of Douglas Jackson

We left the Binhai Road at that point and entered the Old Caoling Tunnel.  The tunnel was built in the 1920s to connect northern Taiwan with the eastern coast by rail. A new tunnel was built in the 1980s and the old tunnel was closed until 2008 when it reopened as a tourist-friendly bikeway.

The tunnel is about 2km / 1.2mi long and is decorated with mock railroad tracks on the ground.

Day 3 Old Caoling Tunnel 1 Douglas

Photograph courtesy of Douglas Jackson

I didn’t notice this as I was riding through the tunnel (I was preoccupied with how cold it was) but there is an underground border crossing between Yilan County and New Taipei City.

Day 3 Old Caoling Tunnel 2 Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

A few kilometres from the New Taipei City end of the tunnel is Fulong Station.

Day 3 Fulong Station 1 CK

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

That was our last chance to buy food and drink and to use a restroom before our first climb of the day.  About 500 metres / 1,640 feet of elevation over 10km / 6mi.

The tables and chairs behind us belong to a restaurant.  The 7-Eleven at Fulong Station provided us with this step!

Day 3 Fulong Station 7-Eleven CK

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

We crossed the Shuang River four times on the way to the fifth crossing at Shuangxi.  That fifth crossing of the Shuang River marked the start of our climbing up to Buyanting.

Day 3 Climb 2 Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Day 3 Climb 3 Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Day 3 Climb 4 Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

At the summit is this pavilion.

Day 3 Pavilion

It is known as the “Not Tired Of” pavilion, in reference to a poem in which the poet Li Bai says he is not tired of the view of Shuangxi District.

Day 3 Pavilion View CK

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

Day 3 View 1

We stayed a long time enjoying the view (and catching our breath.

Day 3 Pavilion 2 CK

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

Day 3 Pavilion 3 CK

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

Day 3 Pavilion 6 Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Lunch at Jiufen was next of the agenda.  Thankfully it is mostly downhill to Jiufen.

Day 3 to Jiufen.png

With a stop at the Shumeiping Lookout Point.

Day 3 Shumeiping Lookout Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Jiufen is known for the narrow alleyways of its old town, packed with teahouses, street-food shacks and souvenir shops.  The town has a history as a mining hub during the Japanese-era gold rush.

Day 3 Jiufen.png

After a lunch of beef noodle soup and dessert of taro balls and tau fu fah (beancurd jelly) it was time to head off to the second, and steeper, climb of the day.  We had a 7km / 4.3mi downhill run before the left turn onto Jing’an Road.

Our goal was the Wufenshan Meteorological Radar Observatory, 12.2km / 7.6mi away and 673 metres / 2,208 feet upwards.  The intermediate goal was to get to the Wufenshan Gate, which is 4.5km / 2.8mi from the observatory.  Xiao Ger would not be able to drive our support van beyond that point.

Day 3 Climb 5 Rabbit KS

Photograph courtesy of Rabbit KS

Day 3 Climb

The climb to the Wufenshan Gate averages 5.4%.  From the gate to the meteorological observatory it ramps up slightly to average 6.0%.

Day 3 Wufenshan 9

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan 10

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan 11

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan 12

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan 13

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan 7 Daniel

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan 8 Daniel

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

The last few kilometres were a real slog.  Fortunately, the meteorological observatory becomes visible from about 2 kilometres away.  Having the final destination in sight definitely helped.

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Delighted to have made it all the way to the top!

Day 3 Wufenshan Top 7 Daniel

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan Top 8 Pai

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

The view was quite spectacular.

Day 3 Wufenshan View

None of us hung around very long enjoying the view though.  The sun was setting and the wind had picked up.  It was 14°C / 57°F up there and we were damp and not dressed for the cold.  It was a fun but very chilly hairpin descent to the Wufenshan Gate.

We had planned to end our ride 6km / 4mi or so further down the road at Shifen but the cold and increasing gloom of the evening put paid to that plan.  We waited at the gate for the last of the riders coming down from the observatory.

Day 3 Wufenshan Gate 3 Daniel

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan Gate 4 Daniel

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan Gate 5 Daniel

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Day 3 Wufenshan Gate 6 Daniel

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Once everyone was back at the gate we loaded up the vans (we had a second van just for this last road journey) and drove back to the City Suites – Beimen in Taipei.

Day 3 Wufenshan Vans Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

The first order of business after arriving in Taipei, even before taking a shower, was to pack bicycles into bike cases.

Only then did we take showers and polish ourselves up for a Japanese-influenced traditional Taiwanese dinner.  Don’t ask me what that means.  All I can tell you is that every one of the thirteen dishes that Pai ordered was delicious.  We were so hungry that no one took photographs of the food before diving in!

There was more shopping to be done by some after dinner.  It was all I could do to stay awake during the taxi ride back to the hotel.