I finally got around to purchasing a simpler web address. I've moved the blog to bikingintaiwan.com. This old blog will still be available here.

Alishan

Alishan, April 12 - 13, 2010. Click pic for album

Taroko to Kending

Taroko Gorge to Kending, Feb 14 - 19, 2010. Click pic for album

Hengchun Peninsula

Hengchun Peninsula, Aug 17 - 18, 2008. Click pic for album

Northern Cross Island Highway

Northern Cross Island Highway, May 19 - 21, 2008. Click pic for album

Taidong to Hualian

Taidong to Hualian, March 17 - 18, 2008. Click pic for album

Southern cross island highway

Chishang to Tainan, Nov. 6 - 8, 2007. Click pic for album

Biking around Taipei


Taipei day tours: Danshui, Wuzhishan, Wulai, Shiding... Click pic for album

Snowboarding in South Korea


Snowboarding in South Korea... Click pic for album

29 October

New address: www.bikingintaiwan.com

I will now start to post to bikingintaiwan.com. The site is up and running, but the design is non-existent. I've changed to WordPress and need to learn how to use that software. Right now, it's just the barebone Hybrid 1.0 theme that will eventually be tweaked to look something like this site, or maybe I'll change it. Who knows.

I'll leave this site here but will not add any more posts to the blog on this address.

24 October

Xindian loop revisited

A friend bought a new bike, so together with Tim at Tima Bikes, who sold him the bike, we took a shorter ride down the Xindian River Park to Bitan (碧潭) and then across the river along Xintan Road (新潭路) halfway down to Wulai (烏來) so he could try out the bike and Tim could help him with any adjustments. None were needed, but he was impressed that Tim would come along.

Great weather, so we decided to ride up to the foot of Shizaitou Shan (獅仔頭山) and then come back down and return to the river park via Xinwu Rd (新烏路). Once home again, we had clocked up almost 70km instead of the expected 45. That extra trip to the foot of the mountain and cruising around town, I guess.

Next week, we're joining up with our friend and a few others coming from Kending (墾丁) up the east coast. We're meeting them at Chishang (池上) and then going via Ruisui (瑞穗) and Hualian (花蓮) up Taroko (太魯閣), before rolling down to Xincheng (新城) and taking the train back to Taipei. Three days of fairly leaisurely riding. That'll be cool, haven't had a proper holiday in a year and a half.

By the way, it seems rules for bringing bikes on trains have changed again. We checked with two different people at the TRA information desk, just to make sure, and they both said that one can now bring bikes in bags on all trains, not only those with designated bicycle cars.

Facts Here is the map of the whole ride on my Garmin page.

17 October

Xiao Getou

Getting back on the bike after a couple of months of spinning classes at the gym is making a huge difference. Today, we did Xiao Getou (小格頭) again, taking the longer route, 47-1 at 9km, rather than the 47 at 7km. To my surprise, I made it all the way to the top without once getting off the bike. Those spinning classes were useful.

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Helen's on a Monday

Once at the top, we found the new coffee shop that we'd been told about, a couple houses down from Helen's, which is basically open only at the weekends. Nice, spatious, all wooden furniture, and a refill at half price. Cool.

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Empty bike parking at Helen's

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D at the new coffee shop

Facts Here is the map on my Garmin page.


11 September

Encycling Taipei

Last Tuesday we cycled all around Taipei. For a long time it was impossible because of the Taipei Flora Expo which blocked off a long stretch of the Jilong River Park, but that section is now open again. Thanks to the flower expo, the roads along that section have been greatly improved.

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Songshan Airport

This is a nice ride, because it avoids almost all city riding, and follows the Jilong and Xindian rivers. We entered the Jilong River Park at the MacArthur Bridge and went all the way up to Shezi, the only section where you have to leave the river park because of the bridge currently being built between Shezi and Shilin (?).

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Below the Grand Hotel

I've lived in Taipei well over 15 years, but this is the first time I've been to Shezi. It ain't Taipei, it's the countryside. If I'd been parachuted in there, I'd think I was somewhere in Taipei County, sorry New Taipei City, countryside.

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D

We re-entered the bustle of the city at Gongguan, but you could of course continue all the way down to Xindian and a cup of coffee in Bitan, for example. The park on a Tuesday was almost empty, so it's perfect for some interval training, and the roads are good enough that you can push it into 40km/h (which is a good speed for me) without any problems.

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Me

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Closing in on Gongguan with 101 in the distance

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The reward - fresh strawberries and mango on ice, the best and most refreshing snack in the world

Facts The map and the data on my Garmin page

1 June

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 traffiic apart from the sectoin 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

9 May

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.

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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.

19 April

A cool beer at the Waterfront

110419bro.jpgJust 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.

110419Waterfront.jpgIt'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.

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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.

3 April

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

23 March

bikingintaiwan.com

I bought the domain name bikingintaiwan.net a few months ago. I wanted bikingintaiwan.com, 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 walmart.com, 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 bikingintaiwan.com, 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...

5 March

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.

Me

50-year-old translator, living in Taiwan since many years. Biking, some hiking, music, reading, wine and real whisky.
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