Due an unexpected set of circumstances I ended up with an afternoon off yesterday. The photographs [clockwise from the upper-left hand corner] are of: Fengshan Temple, a hazy view of Yuanlin Township, the outside of a design center in Yuanlin, an iced coffee in Jhongsing Village, and mural painted on a concrete wall outside someone’s house.
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.
I recently found a Lomo Supersampler in my closet and have no idea how it got there. Cathy is on a business trip at the moment so I have no way of ascertaining how this plastic camera came into our possession. The Supersampler is a 35mm camera with four lenses which shoot in a sequence [4 pictures in 2 seconds or .2 seconds]. I’ve seen Lomo cameras on sale at bookstores in Taiwan as well as plenty hanging around the necks of hip college students. I’ve never been tempted to purchase one because I could never justify spending over $2,000NT on a camera with a build quality only slightly better than a disposable.
I had a few unused vacation days left so I enjoyed a rare midweek ride last week. I originally planned a shorter route closer to home but the all-you-can-eat kimchee hot pot had worked its way through my digestive system much better than I had anticipated. It was a nice, clear day and I rode along Provincial HWY 14 at a leisurely pace toward Local HWY 136 which bridges Nantou’s Guoxing [國姓] with Taichung’s Taiping [太平].
On Saturday I had plans to ride along with The Nantou Power Cycling Club for a trip to Shuili [水里]. The morning started off wonderfully: I woke up at 6:10, ten minutes after the scheduled meet-up time in Nantou City. My wife encouraged me to go along anyway, after all, I would probably be able to catch up to the group. I headed out the door in a flash only to discover after riding for no more than three meters that my helmet and gloves were still in the house and I locked myself out. I called my wife’s cellphone, she had a good chuckle about my misfortune, and let me back in. I fetched my essentials and was back out the door only to face a new nightmare – rain.
As usual, the rain never amounted to anything more than a drizzle and it had stopped completely about a half hour after I already decided to not go cycling.
I made up for it on Sunday with a trip to County Road 147 and 131. These two quiet roads run parallel to HWY 21 which feeds tourists to Sun Moon Lake.
I’ve been salivating to cycle up the Nantou 149 since reading ride reports from Taiwan in Cycles and The View from Taiwan. During the long weekend, I found time to explore this area. I started off rolling through Nantou City and Mingjian along Provincial HWY 3 and by the time I reached Zhuoshui Train Station I was thoroughly warmed up for a proper stretching session. Zhuoshui Station sits on the Jiji Branch Line which runs from Ershui in Changhua County to Checheng in Nantou County and was built to facilitate the construction of hydroelectric power plants at Sun Moon Lake.
Yesterday, I took an afternoon ride up Baguashan. I wanted to practice climbing and keep the route brief to be home by five. A map of the route can be found on Bikemap.net. I would advise others to not take Chenggong #3 Road [成功三路] to the top as it goes through the Nangang Industrial Area and the air there isn’t as pleasant as other routes up. The 148 descending into Caotun is gorgeous and the road surface is excellent. Just be prepared to share the road with local sport bike enthusiasts.
Here’s a photograph from Sunday’s ride up to Baguashan and Songboling. A map of the route can be found at Bikemap.net.
A couple weekends ago, I met up with Taichung City slickers Michael T. and Drew K. to go shopping for a new bike. After checking out T-Mosaic and a Specialized shop we were off to 185 Warehouse in Dakeng. There I test rode one of their house brand [Generation 2 Cycles (G2C)] bicycles – an aluminum alloy frame with carbon chainstays, fork, and seatpost outfitted with SRAM Apex. I talked to the product manager James Murray, who is one of only six people I’ve ever met in Taiwan that’s taller than me and he told me they had a large frame available, in the color of my choice, and could outfit it with SRAM Apex for under $45,000 NT.
Being a little tired of going up Bagua Mountain I thought I would go around it. Last Sunday’s route followed Provincial HWY 14 to Changhua City followed by Provincial HWY 1 to Yuanlin. After that I rode along County Road 141 to Ershui and 152 to Mingjian before taking Provincial HWY 3 back home. With the exception of a short climb on the 152, the route is almost completely flat. A map of the route is available on Bikemap.net. Here’s a small collection of photographs from the ride: