The Jhongliao Loop – Extended Edition

Cycling in Nantou

I was off to an early start on Sunday morning. I met up with my riding partner at a nearby 7-11 for an adventure into Jhongliao Township [中寮鄉]. Jhongliao is located east of Nantou City [南投市] and north of Jiji Township [集集鎮]. Most of my rides in Jhongliao begin with a steep but manageable climb to Pingding [坪頂]. After wrapping up the climb, we stopped at the Pingding Sacred Tree; A massive camphor tree believed to be over 1,600 years old. It’s tranquil and quiet, making it my favorite spot to stop when traveling in this direction. The only sounds were those of our conversation with a ham radio enthusiast we met on the climb up and that of a nearby resident’s dustpan hitting an object. My riding partner had plans for the rest of the day, so he turned back down the hill from which we came while I traveled in the other direction towards northern Jhongliao.

Pingding Sacred Tree

The Pingding Sacred Tree [坪頂神木]

I kept both my front and rear lights on during the winding descent into northern Jhongliao. The fog was thicker than on the Caotun-side of things and it wasn’t clearing up with the passage of time. Once in town, I was riding quite conservatively as I was anticipating a challenge riding up the steep climb to the Dragon and Phoenix Waterfalls [龍鳳瀑布]. I hopped off my bike briefly, to take a picture of Neicheng Village right before the climb:

Cingshui Village

Neicheng Village [內城村]

The lack of other cyclists, the absence of motorists, and the dense fog made for an exceptionally lonely climb. Even the birds and insects seemed to be taking a break from their usual morning routines. I made it up to the Dragon and Phoenix Waterfalls parking lot in great time only to find that the stand selling refreshments hadn’t opened yet, which was unfortunate because I was really looking forward to buying a can of Mr. Brown Coffee. I didn’t hike over to the waterfalls, I’ve taken pictures of those several times before [photographs from the most recent visit]. After a quick stretch and swig of water I was back on the road. The climb isn’t so steep after the waterfalls.

Sakura

Sakura

After about 150m of climbing, there’s a fork in the road. One road, which I took the last time I came here, is a bumpy descent into Hexing Village [和興村]. I chose the other road, which pointed to Wuxin Mountain [無心山] because the surface looked smoother. After riding for a few meters however the surface quickly deteriorates. It’s a short, bumpy climb followed by a long, bumpy descent to southern Jhongliao’s Pinglin River [平林溪].

South Jhongliao

The Mighty, Mighty Pinglin River

Once in downtown Jhongliao, I was able to satisfy a caffeine craving in the town’s Family Mart to power-up for the final stretch home. I chose a hilly route instead of the straight-shot into Nantou City. I was very proud of myself when I tackled one hill, the 投17-1 with complete ease compared to the first time I rode it on my road bike. I’ve been riding a lot of my favorite routes much faster and more confidently than six months ago.

投17-1

Climbing on the 投17-1

The fog lifted and the temperature finally warmed up during the last twenty minutes or so of the ride. Definitely a route I’m looking forward to doing again in the future. I’ve neglected taking photographs while cycling recently but was quite happy that I brought my camera with me for this route. The whole Supersampler idea didn’t work out. After just six rolls of film the camera’s ripcord film advance mechanism decided to stop working. An interactive map of the route is available on Bikemap.net.

North Jhongliao

The Fog Lifts and the Sun Makes an Appearance

5 thoughts on “The Jhongliao Loop – Extended Edition

  1. Nice poster, Todd! It looks like somebody’s been picking up some photoshopping skills between bike rides!

    The pics are beautiful, too. One thing I really miss about Taiwan is the (relatively) good air. Out where you are it must be amazing.

    • Thanks Mark. I use a fun, little program called Comic Life 2 [http://plasq.com/products/comiclife2/] to do those posters. The air quality here is outstanding. The only time of the year I notice air pollution is when the rice farmers are burning their fields.

  2. It is nice that you can travel and share with those who don’t travel. Outstanding air quality is a must for all.

    Thank you for sharing and I am still awaiting news to do with Boba Teas (tapioca) I may have misunderstood, how dumb of me.

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