This was our last full day in Taiwan. The itinerary at the start of this trip listed a Day 5 ride as optional. Not having ridden at all the day before, we were all up for riding in Taipei.
There are at least 200km of bike paths in the city. All the bike paths are coloured orange in the map below.
Pai plotted a 95km route that took us from our hotel in the centre of the map north to Tamsui where the Tamsui River empties into the Taiwan Strait. Then we reversed direction to Bitan which is where the MRT Green Line terminates at its southernmost point before returning to our hotel along the opposite bank of the Tamsui River.
Twelve of us did the ride. Simon had a cold and opted to sightsee rather than ride. Arthur kept him company.
Within 3km of the hotel, we were on the bike path alongside the east bank of the Keelung River.
The bike paths are uniformly excellent.
As were the river views.
Our first stop was at one of the Bicycle Stores which dot the bike path system. These shops offer bike rentals, cycling accessories, and equipment repairs. Luanne is holding a rear blinker which she had just bought.
At the 20km mark, we were at Tamsui. Tamsui Old Street is lined with shops, restaurants, and vendors selling local specialties. Some R@SKLs went off in search of snacks.
Mark and I went exploring to the end of the bike path. We came upon a memorial to Dr. George Leslie Mackay, who was the first Presbyterian minister in northern Formosa (Qing-era Taiwan). He landed at this spot on 9th March 1872, later making Tamsui his home and place for his missionary, medical, and educational work.
Mark and I needed a pedalo to go any further.
On the way back to the others, we passed these statues of a girl with a group of cats. I’ve tried to find information about this group of statues, to no avail.
Snacking was still going on. Pai shared his red bean-filled cake with me.
Arthur and Simon were in the meantime exploring Taipei on foot.
Taipei 101 was officially classified as the world’s tallest building in 2004 and remained so until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.
Back at Tamsui, Kiam Woon had a problem with his rear derailleur. How many cyclists does it take to . . . . ?
Once we got Kiam Woon rolling again we rode south and crossed the Tamsui River via the Guandu Bridge which links Tamsui District and Bali District.
This yellow zero marks the start of the Bali Left Bank Cycling Path.
We got rained on, sometimes heavily, during this ride.
You wouldn’t expect much climbing on bike paths alongside rivers. There wasn’t any, except when you had to get up onto elevated bridges and overpasses. Then you had to get up and down ramps like this one, up to and alongside the New Taipei Expressway.
The section alongside the New Taipei Expressway was about 1.2km long. About halfway along there was a bike path interchange of sorts, where the path dropped to a set of ramps that took you to ground level.
If you were going straight you had to climb back up to expressway level. It was narrow and wet when we were there. Better safe than sorry.
About 10km from Bitan Aaron had a puncture. How many cyclists does it take to . . . . ?
Bitan was our turnaround point. It was also where we had lunch. Most everyone headed down this street looking for food.
Here is an annotated photograph of what was on their table.
Mark and I went Western rather than Asian. KFC for him and this old standby for me. I couldn’t get enough of that Super Supao sports drink.
We took a group photograph with the Bitan suspension bridge behind us. The pedestrian bridge across the Xindian River was built in 1937.
It was a 30km ride back to the Golden China Hotel. We made a couple of pit stops along the way. Along with the Bicycle Stores, there are restrooms at regular intervals on the bike paths. Outstanding!
We got drenched again as well as lost for a while on the way back to the hotel. But the paths and the views were so nice that we didn’t mind.
Pai got his bearings back and pretty soon we were one traffic light away from the hotel.
We would all be packing our bikes that evening for the trip back home. Everything was covered in sand, so a wash was in order. There wasn’t a hose, so Ralf improvised.
Xiao Ger had arranged dinner for us at a restaurant / karaoke bar. I have just noticed that Ralf’s shoes match the front door.
Belting out the tunes.
Four of us snuck out during dinner to make a quick visit to the Taipei Rapha store. We’ll see how long it takes the other R@SKLs to spot who has a new jersey.
We got back to the restaurant in time to sing Alles Gute dir to Ralf.
The night rocked and rolled on until 2.00am. Celebrating the most perhaps was Pai, after successfully leading us through an excellent tour of Taiwan. Thank you Pai!