Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Recent riding

The last couple of months have been seriously hectic. Bike upgrades, lost cameras, and an insane accretion of work. But I have managed to squeeze in some excellent rides lately.

Last week a group of us went down to Nantou, first over 136 out of Taiping, and then along 14 for a few kms until we hit 147 (map). We followed 147 to 131. Running through the hills west of Sun Moon Lake, this less traveled set of country roads is a wonderful experience of bucolic quietude, until the traffic picks as you near the town of Shuili and Route 16.

Taking out the recycling. Not every cyclist rides an awesome bike.

Street vendors occupy every large space. Seems to me their numbers have increased recently.

On 136, a temple under construction.

The apocalypse has already hit this temple.

Perhaps somewhere, deep in the mountains, there is a stream untouched by concrete.

Resting on a curve on 136.

James of 185 Warehouse admires a really cool bike ridden by LeeWhoseLastNameIDon'tKnow at the top of 136, a brutal steep climb known locally as The Wall or the Fence.

Group pic at the top of 136. The views are ok but it was much too misty that day.

Resting again. I climb slower than any other rider I know.

Taking a break at the Hi-Life at the bottom of 136 where it intersects 14.

Dogs and humans eye one another in the little village after the turn onto 147.

Lovely country on 147. Can't wait to see it on a clear day.

Phillip, whose carbon bike is so light it is used in physics experiments to simulate masslessness, rides with James on 147.

Such pictures actually depict the importance of betel nut as a key secondary income for local agriculturalists.

Here 147 begins to climb.

In Nangang township, whose symbol is the deer, venison restaurants are common.

The town of Shuili. As we grabbed lunch, it began to rain. Not really wanting to ride home 50 kms in the cold and rain, we tried to get on the train but it was closed for repairs. Then we hit the bus. We rolled out of town, only to find that it was the rain was falling solely in a 200 square meter area of downtown Shuili.......

This week I also met my friend Virginia at the train station in Tanzih for another run over Pinglin Road. I recently upgraded my frame and groupset, selecting SRAM Apex, so I was eager to try out the new gears on Pinglin Road's hills. The SRAM Apex is 50-34 in front, 11-32 in back, and uses their famous Double Tap system where a short tap moves the chain one way and a long one moves it the other. Very slick, I really love it.

Virginia shows off her awesome technology.

Pinglin Road has recently become one of my favorite routes. It runs for 15 kms through the hills between Jhuolan and Dahu, very rolling with some brutal inclines of 18-21%, but none very high. It has not been discovered by other cyclists. Most local cyclists appear to prefer the same few routes out of Taichung.

The romance of infrastructure.

Nice curves.

I borrowed back my old Canon Powershot S5IS from my wife for this ride.

It still takes great pics, like this one of veggies drying on a wall.

Strawberry fields forever in the Nanhu area.

My new frame is the G2C 7.1 carbon-aluminum bike frame. The frame has carbon forks and chainstays, but soaks up the bumps with its curved seat stays. Carbon adorns it elsewhere for lightening. Really a great frame. I moved over a lot of my parts from the old Giant bike, whose frame I basically beat to death.

Fishing among the infrastructure.

Coming back from Nanhu along Rte 3 I always stop to take pictures of the reservoir.

The old Canon still takes lovely pics.

At the temple above the reservoir.

We stopped at the overlook above Jhuolan for slushies.

As we sat and slurped down our iced treats, hawks circled overhead, calling out with piercing cries.

Our last ride together as Virginia is returning to the US to work for a bike shop. I will miss her terribly, a great ride partner -- unfailingly encouraging, humorous and cheerful. Good luck to you in America, V.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.


David on Formosa said...

I recently upgraded my frame and groupset

Sounds like a new bike to me!

Michael Turton said...

David - I am in denial. The other day Drew turns to me and remarks:

"Michael, you're becoming a pro."
"Why do you say that?"
"Four bikes in two years."

Todd said...

Congratulations on the upgrades! I've heard the G2C 7.1 looks pretty good in yellow, too!