The evening we stayed in Tawu we ran into this amazing man, TX Wong, from Hong Kong. Tex was walking around Taiwan, a 30 day tour, 30-40 kms a day. He was two weeks in and expected to take another two weeks. This was his second trip. I am hoping to interview him in early May about his experiences.
Busy as heck this week, and then took three days off to go cycling. So that explains the lack of posts...
A lovely weekend on the east coast as my friend Michael Cannon and I headed out to explore the Tawu-Longxi industry road. Two days of fun in the sun, with plenty of beer, great scenery, and even a trio of pole dancing babes. Click on READ MORE to read more...
ROUTE NOTES: A (map of the route). Our route took us up from Tawu, 20 kms of up, mostly 4-6% grade, very easy, with excellent views. After you pass through Shinhua (14-15 kms) and the next little hamlet, Yagge (a few hundred meters further), the road becomes empty and gradually deteriorates. The peak is at about 20 kms, then you go 20 kms downhill to the ocean. The downhill side becomes increasingly awful until at last you are riding on long stretches of gravel. This is definitely a great road, worth doing once, but do it from the south, as the graveled sections are steep and might be difficult to climb, and finding the spot where the turn off to the gravel is will be difficult, since naturally it is not marked (you are not a local? What are you doing on that road?). Recommend a good set of tires and trustworthy wheels for this one. Not recommended if rain is expected. The desolate section after the peak is gorgeous, and we saw nary a vehicle and only scant sign of human habitation between Shinhua and the aboriginal villages above Daxi/Longxi. Hence, be sure to pick up water at the shop or police station in Shinhua because there isn't any after that. Why the gravel? My man Michael Cannon found this street view of the road's destruction. The gravel road bypasses that, so we never saw it.
Watermelon fields on the riverbed between Chiayi and Tainan.
The rest of the story is quickly told. Monday I rode up from Kaohsiung to the Chiayi HSR (~110 kms) just for the exercise, cursing Taiwan road planners the whole way. The signage veers from nothing to insanity. On the 17 riding into Tainan successive signs inform you that "Tainan" is 16 kms, 12 kms, and then 16 kms away. Turning onto the 163 to go to Luocao to pick up the 167 to the HSR there is of course no information telling you how far Luocao actually is, a problem endemic in Taiwan signage. Hence I thought I had overshot it and turned north, heading on what I thought might be the 167 but was actually the 170 going west. I was practically to Cambodia before I discovered my error. The haze was so awful it was like being in the middle of the ocean; the horizon was near and featureless and the HSR line could only be seen when you were close to it. The whole west coast plain is boring, but the Kaohsiung/Tainan stretch of it is a nightmare. Avoid at all costs.
Hope to see you on my next ride!
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