Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Biking to Dajia

Any week that begins with one of your friends getting married is a good week. Congratulations go out to my friend Adarsh, who was married on Sunday in a lovely multicultural ceremony with guests from Canada, India, and Taiwan. Wan Shi Ru Yi!

After Monday brought an ugly, day-long downpour, Tuesday dawned warm and sunny, so I hopped on my bike about 7:30 am, heading for Dajia and the famous Matsu temple there (previous trip). The map shows my route: north to Houli, then west to Dajia, and then south to Shengang and back home.

A modern biotech facility and a temple dominate the skyline not far from my house.

I road along the ridges through one of the many graveyards that dot the hills above Taichung city.

Through the morning market on Minsheng Rd in Fengyuan.

I turned here to go under Highway 4, which connects Fengyuan to Highways 1 and 3 along the river north of the city.

A policeman sternly rebukes a truck driver for attempting a left turn.

Seeing me grab a few photos at the red light, he insisted I take his. Nothing like a friendly smile on a warm day.

Work on the bridge here continues.

A large recycling plant overlooks the new bridge site. The recent rains have swelled the rivers.

I turned west onto 132 to head to Waipu and Dajia. Did I climb that?

Coming down the other side there were some nice views toward the ocean over the rice fields and apartment blocks.

It was steeper on this side, and I resolved to find another way home.

Dajia! This gate memorializes a famous widow.

At the Matsu temple there were some culturally significant sights.

I grabbed some meatball soup and some Changhua Bawan and then hopped on the bike. I had a brain flash -- to avoid the hills, I'd swing down 1 to Chingshui, and then cut over beside highway 4, along the bluffs by the river, and shoot right to Fengyuan and home. That way I wouldn't actually have to climb Tatu Mountain or climb the bluffs above Dajia. Ha! Little did I know that the cycling gods had decided that today they would test my faith.....

I crossed the river and turned east, following the river dike back to Fengyuan, figuring the access road would take me there. Even if the access road ended, I could always get up on the dike itself..... surely there would be little lanes....

No dice. I drove under the bridges for an hour looking for a path or a road, even striking out into the cultivated fields between the river and the dike and banging the bike through the muddy scooter paths, but nothing went through. Highway 4 blocked the dike and the access road, yet the highway itself, despite being elevated, had no road underneath it. Aaarrgh.

Plenty of people at work on their gardens there.

So I climbed Tatu Mountain, the thing I'd been struggling to avoid, and headed up to Shengang, finding this fellow on the way.

County Road 73 took me back to Fengyuan, and from there I returned home. If you're in Taichung with a bike, drop me a line!
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Stefan said...

Looks like a nice cycling trip. Thanks for recording the culturally significant sights for us.

Todd said...

Looks like a nice ride, have fun on the east coast!

Kaminoge said...

You're really covering some ground! Looks like you passed close to one of my places of employment on your way out of Fengyuan this morning.

Anonymous said...

You've gotten bit by the biking bug too, huh! Man, Taiwan these couple of years really is turning into the Kingdom of Bicycles. I've even seen campaign signs promoting how the candidate is going to make the district better for riding bicycles (which def ain't a bad thing)!

Craig Ferguson said...

Nice to see you getting some long rides in. There's some great cycling around the Lugang area as well as out towards Nantou - flat near Lugang, hillier near Nantou. If the rain stops and time permits, I'll be trying to get out for some last riding in these areas before moving north.

Anonymous said...

"Taiwan these couple of years really is turning into the Kingdom of Bicycles."

Taiwanese love the IDEA of cycling... but they don't drive like it.

I was thinking about looking up those roads for a route back, so I am glad you did the research for me.

Michael Turton said...

Let me know, Craig, and I'll bring my bike down to join you.

Chip said...

Somehow it seems every blog post is just that much better when it includes photographs of culturally significant sights.

Phil said...

Ahh the red earth on Datu shan. I lived in Chingshui in the 8os. We rode our bikes everywhere back then.