The morning started with an early run for some energetic ones.
The first effort of the day for the rest of us was a gentle stroll to find breakfast.
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.
We had a short stop under the Formosa Freeway at Bitan for restrooms.
I spent the time adjusting the handlebars on Simon’s bike.
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.
We were on the Beiyi Road headed east toward our first climb of the day.
We had three climbs to get over.
The first one had the most elevation. It took us from just above sea level to 544 metres / 1,785 feet.
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.
Attacked post-lunch outside the restaurant!
The Jingualiao River runs behind the restaurant. That is the Pinglin suspension footbridge in the background.
The road bridge across the river marked the start of our next climb.
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.
At the summit of the last climb. Taipei-Yilan Boundary Park.
It was downhill all the way from the Boundary Park. Including this 8km / 5mi multiple hairpin descent which drops 327 metres / 1,072 feet.
Ready to zip down the hairpins.
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.
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.
We took a “we made it” group photograph.
Then stowed our bikes in the hotel basement.
Jiaoxi is famous for its hot springs. As expected the Just Sleep hotel has hot pools.
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
After we had all soaked and napped, it was dinner time in a local restaurant.
Thanks to Xiao Ger, the proceedings were livened up by a bottle of kaoliang. a strong liquor made from fermented sorghum.
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.