Saturday, March 10, 2018

Those hidden gem bike rides right by your house...

Sometimes you find yourself on an amazing, lovely ride when you least expect it. The other day Mike Surly and I were off to climb the 88 (Dongyang Road out of Fengyuan) which is a pretty climb with good views and an excellent workout. But we'd done it 100 times so we started exploring some of the side roads off the 88 instead. Eventually we turned onto Quanzhou Road, which offered lovely terrain combined with fearsomely steep climbs. We ended up walking some of the climbs, but it was well worth it. A good reminder of how many beautiful places there are within a stone's throw of Taichung.

To get over to the 88 we tried to find a road running parallel to the ridge, but failed. We ended up in this factory district....

...after riding through the huge cemetery off Fenghsing Road, which carpets the slopes below Hsinshe for a great distance.

Mike contemplates a pigeon cage above a small house.

Quanzhou Road turned out to be brutal 25% grades. We walked most of the way to the top at about 400 meters. But the countryside was lovely.

Mike takes a break.

Full of hidden ridges and valleys.

There's a gate at the top, the road surface deteriorates and the last climb begins.

So we get to this point and wonder: which way to go? I stopped a truck. Which way goes over to Nankeng Lane? I asked the driver. In fine Scarecrow style, he points one way, and then the other, then throws up his hands. "I don't know, but you can try both! It's good exercise!" And he waved and drove off. So we did try both....

The hillsides are lined with farms. But it was the wrong way.

We rolled from one valley to the next.

Mike looks exasperated at another seeming dead end.

But the dead end turned out to be worth it: there was a scenic overlook above Fengyuan, complete with a streetlight and decorative railings. The road downhill was just a few minutes of backtracking...

Neither of these was the right road.

We started our descent towards Nankeng Lane. I asked the folks at this fruit warehouse if this was the right road. "Just keep going downhill, you'll get there!" So we did.

At the bottom of that slope was a sacred tree with a tiny shrine. The road turned into a narrow farm path covered with debris.

Wheeeeee downhill!

Mike hits the brakes as a steep downhill in forest debris looks a bit dodgy...

The dogs were either sedate or tied up. Here we pass a sedate one on the way down.

At the bottom of the hill was Nankeng Lane, as promised. What a great way to spend a morning!
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