For the last couple months any cycling I’ve done has completely been limited to my commute to and from work. This morning, I managed to change this recent streak with a trip along the Caotun Bike Route [草屯鎮自行車道]. The first portion of the trip was up to the Pingding Sacred Tree [坪頂神木]. Usually there are cyclists resting on the benches near the tree. This time I felt lonely being the only one there, so after sitting a couple minutes and a few sips of Super Supau I was on my way.
The road down to Nanpu [南埔] has a handful of Cherry Blossoms [櫻花] in bloom along the way:
I still haven’t gotten a tripometer/speedometer for my bike so I don’t know how fast I went down this hill after I took this picture:
Once down, the bike route takes visitors past several of the area’s farms. Here’s one filled with Rapeseed Flowers:
A very serious racing pigeon operation:
One portion of the route [unlikely marked correctly on the map I made from the trip] takes riders along a narrow path which runs parallel to an irrigation ditch.
The bike path sign points towards this water mill. I assumed I was supposed to keep going past the water mill.
The path continued up to an industrial facility guarded by several [thankfully chained] dogs. The road ended at a long concrete stairwell going down. I went down the stairs without my bike to see if I was going the right way, but the path led to an irrigation ditch. The dogs were still barking loudly in the background. I went back up the stairs and got on my bike again. It seems the only unchained dog had noticed me. He appeared more docile than the others. As I rode past him, he gave chase to me. He was barking and trying to bite my leg as I peddled quickly while the others dogs gave him encouragement. Luckily, he stopped after about fifteen meter chase. After taking a brief stop and checking the view I figured out where I had to be:
The bike route connects to HWY 14, anyone who has been to Sun Moon Lake is probably familiar with the route. But don’t worry, bikers of this route only have to share the busy highway with automobiles along what is probably the most dangerous, steepest section of the road. Seeing the fork to turn at will be the happiest moment of your trip:
Along County Road 6 you’ll see Pinglin Bridge [平林橋]…
and The Twin Dragons Tunnel [雙龍隧道]:
The route follows a few local roads after County Road 6 connects with HWY 14.
There are plenty of farms and interesting old houses along the way:
I crossed the Wu River [烏溪] at Tongxin Bridge [同心橋] and followed the last portion of the trail along Shizhuo Lane [石灼巷]. Here an abandoned car is claimed by nature:
This is the end of the route, the road ends not much further down. It is a very anti-climactic ending to the bike route. The road ends somewhere close to the border with Guoxing Township [國姓鄉]. I mostly followed the same route home, the total distance was about 50 km [30 miles] roundtrip.