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Taiwan Ti Bike Pickup Trip: Day 2

 

Day 2 Route (2)

Map courtesy of Ride with GPS

The morning started with an early run for some energetic ones.

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Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

The first effort of the day for the rest of us was a gentle stroll.to find breakfast.

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Photograph courtesy of Khoo Bin Soo

We were ready to start riding at about 8.30am.  It was a very short distance to the bike path along the left bank of the Tamsui River.  We rode a very windy 20km / 12mi along the river to Bitan.

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Photograph courtesy of Benedict Lee

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Photograph courtesy of Douglas Jackson

We had a short stop under the Formosa Freeway at Bitan for restrooms.

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Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

I spent the time adjusting the handlebars on Simon’s bike.

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Photograph courtesy of Benedict Lee

2km / 1.2mi we stopped at a 7-Eleven to refill bottles.  I needed a restroom, which this 7-Eleven did not have.  I had to make my restroom stop at a police station a kilometre up the road.

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Photograph courtesy of Douglas Jackson

We were on the Beiyi Road headed east toward our first climb of the day.

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Photograph courtesy of Douglas Jackson

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Photograph courtesy of Douglas Jackson

We had three climbs to get over.

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Graphic courtesy of Ride with GPS

The first one had the most elevation.  It took us from just above sea level to 544 metres / 1,785 feet.

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Photograph courtesy of Benedict Lee

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Photograph courtesy of Benedict Lee

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

In the valley after the first climb was the Tea Aroma Restaurant in Pinglin.  Our lunch stop.  Pinglin is noted for producing Pouchong tea.  One of our lunch dishes was tea-smoked chicken.

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Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Attacked post-lunch outside the restaurant!

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Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

The Jingualiao River runs behind the restaurant.  That is the Pinglin suspension footbridge in the background.

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Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

The road bridge across the river marked the start of our next climb.

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

That second climb was the baby of the three hills.  After an 80 metre / 262 foot descent, it was straight up to the next summit, on the boundary between New Taipei City and Yilan County.

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Photograph courtesy of Benedict Lee

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Photograph courtesy of Benedict Lee

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

At the summit of the last climb.  Taipei-Yilan Boundary Park.

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Photograph courtesy of Xiao Ger

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Photograph courtesy of Xiao Ger

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It was downhill all the way from the Boundary Park.  Including this 8km / 5mi multiple hairpin descent which drops 327 metres / 1,072 feet.

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Map courtesy of Ride with GPS

Ready to zip down the hairpins.

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

The view was stunning.  Which made it difficult to stay focused on the sharp turns ahead.  And we needed to stay alert.  Some of us almost ran into the back of a street-cleaning truck as we exited one sharp curve.

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Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

That descent was the perfect adrenaline rush to end the day!  I think most of us were still buzzing over the last 4km / 2.5 mi to the Just Sleep Hotel in Jiaoxi.

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Photograph courtesy of Benedict Lee

We took a “we made it” group photograph.

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Then stowed our bikes in the hotel basement.

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Photograph courtesy of Kenix Chiang

Jiaoxi is famous for its hot springs. As expected the Just Sleep hotel has hot pools.

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Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

What I didn’t expect was that each room has a hot tub as well.  I opted for a soak in the tub in my room.  I didn’t have far to go from the tub to my bed when it was nap time

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After we had all soaked and napped, it was dinner time in a local restaurant.

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Photograph courtesy of Benedict Lee

Thanks to Xiao Ger, the proceedings were livened up by a bottle of kaoliang. a strong liquor made from fermented sorghum.

Kaoliang

Anyone who had some of this 58-proof firewater slept well that night!

But before any thoughts of sleep were entertained, we stopped at Yih Shun Shiuan.  This is a very popular bakery.  It is always crowded.  People are tempted to enter the shop by all the free samples of cakes. Which are good.  Most of our group left the shop with at least one purchase.

Pai bought two panna cotta rolls for us to share back at the hotel.  Xiao Ger had also bought some custard apples for us to try.

Dessert and conversation on the terrace.  A very pleasant way to end the evening.

Day 2 Terrace

The R@SKLs in Taiwan: Day 5

Day 5 banner

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.

Day 5 Route (1)

Twelve of us did the ride.  Simon had a cold and opted to sightsee rather than ride.  Arthur kept him company.

Day 5 Ready to Toll Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

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.

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As were the river views.

Day 5 River view Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

Day 5 River view Luanne Sieh

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

Day 5 View

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.

Day 5 Pathside bike shop Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

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.

Day 5 Dr Mackay

Mark and I needed a pedalo to go any further.

Day 5 Pier End Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

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.

Day 5 Cats

Snacking was still going on.  Pai shared his red bean-filled cake with me.

Day 5 Snack Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Arthur and Simon were in the meantime exploring Taipei on foot.

Day 5 Taipei 1 Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

Day 5 Taipei 2 Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

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.

Day 5 Taipei 101 Arthur Ang

Photograph courtesy of Arthur Ang

Back at Tamsui, Kiam Woon had a problem with his rear derailleur.  How many cyclists does it take to . . . . ?

Day 5 Kiam Woon repair Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

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.

Day 5 Guandu Bridge

This yellow zero marks the start of the Bali Left Bank Cycling Path.

Day 5 Bike Path marker Pai

Photograph courtesy of Pai Hsing C

Day 5 Cycling Path Map

We got rained on, sometimes heavily, during this ride.

Day 5 Wet wet wet Lai Voon Kiat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

 

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.

Day 5 Ramp to 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 be path dropped to a set of ramps that took you to round 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 . . . . ?

Day 5 Flat Liew Kiam Woon

Photograph courtesy of Liew Kiam Woon

Bitan was our turnaround point.  It was also where we had lunch.  Most everyone headed down this street looking for food.

Day 5 Bitun Street Luanne Sieh

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

 

Here is an annotated photograph of what was on their table.

Day 5 Food Luanne (1)

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

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.

Day 5 Bitan 7-Eleven

We took a group photograph with the Bitan suspension bridge behind us.  The pedestrian bridge across the Xindian River was built in 1937.

Day 5 After Lunch Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

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!

Day 5 Toilets

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.

Day 5 Bridge Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

Pai got his bearings back and pretty soon we were one traffic light away from the hotel.

Day 5 Almost back at the hotel Pai

Photograph courtesy of Pai Hsing C

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.

Day 5 Hotel Bike wash Lai Voon Kiat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

Xiao Ger had arranged dinner for us at a restaurant / karaoke bar.  I have just noticed that Ralf’s shoes match the front door.

Day 5 karaoke restaurant Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

Belting out the tunes.

Day 5 Karaoke TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

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.

Day 5 Ralf birthday TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

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!

Day 5 Pai can relax Lai Voon Kiat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat