Monday, May 25, 2009

Biking the NE Coast

Another weekend, another bike trip down the East Coast....

The map shows our trip: the five of us started in Cidu just outside of Keelung, headed out through Rueifang down to the coast where we picked up Route 2, and then followed 2 until we reached Fulong, the beach town. If you follow the road south from the train station along the tracks, you soon come to a disused Japanese railroad tunnel, built in the 1920s. That is now a developed tourist attraction. It cuts off 7 or 8 kilometers of coastline by going under the peninsula. We took our bikes through it, and then followed 2 again until we reach Jiaoxi in I-lan, now a booming "spa" town. There we overnighted, and in the morning, reversed our course. Total route length one way, according to one of our odometers, was 78 kilometers. We took a relatively leisurely pace with plenty of stops, and did it in about 6 1/2 hours.

My friend Jeff Miller, a Keelung area history buff, led us along the river paths toward Rueifang as we started out.

Jeff and Michael C rest for a moment as I capture the view.

A favorite of day trippers from Taipei, Rueifang is a madhouse on the weekends.

Soon we reached the beautiful northeast coast, with its wild rock formations, towering cliffs, and insane drivers.

The old copper mine and processing facility on the northeast coast outside of Keelung. Sources say it supplied up to a fifth of Japan's copper.

A photography club hard at work?

Majestic headlands shine in the morning sun. My heart sank: it was going to be a hot day.

Fisherman can be seen on every rock along the coast.

We stopped before the one big hill on the trip, the long rise outside of Bitou, for water and rest.

Is this what happens to the hair removed from Golden Retrievers at pet shops? Nope, just the ocean's bounty, drying in the sun.

As Kenji surges ahead, a truck goes by. The one problem with this route is the unceasing flow of big trucks.

Having left at 9:30, we reached Fulong about lunch. A favorite of day-trippers from Taipei, Fulong is a madhouse on the weekends. Bicycle rental places have sprung up everywhere.

Fulong train station, now dominated by bicycle renters.

If you head south out of the Fulong station along the road that parallels the train tracks, you will follow the day-trippers on their rented bikes to the old Japanese railroad tunnel.

The entrance to the tunnel is overwhelmed with tourists.

Here is the other end of the tunnel, a total of 2 kilometers in length. The local government has done an excellent job making the ride a great deal of fun -- and it is cool and out of the sun. The tunnel is lit, and as you ride, the sound of trains barreling through a tunnel is played. If you ride or play here, I highly recommend a trip through it. A favorite of day-trippers from Taipei, the tunnel is a madhouse on the weekends.

As we came out of the tunnel, the sky clouded over, making the rest of the trip highly enjoyable. Here Gueishan (Turtle Mountain) Island appears to generate the mist.

Buildings along the Ozymandias coast.

Kenji, Michael, and Jeff.

This strangely shaped building is a highway rest stop.

The beach by the rest stop.

This strangely shaped building is the home of a local construction magnate.

Heading into Jiaoxi. A favorite of day trippers from Taipei, Jiaoxi is a madhouse on the weekends.

Drew shows off his flexibility while we wait for beers at an outdoor cafe in town.

Some of the mountain scenery that makes I-lan so beautiful.

In the morning we headed out around 8 am. Here is a pic of our hotel. They let us keep the bikes in our room, which was $2800 for a double (sleeps 4, if three are dwarves) on the weekend. The cloudy skies stayed with us the entire day. 'Twas wonderful.

Here we are leaving Jiaoxi. I'm the guy in the hat.

Lion statues, once destined for tombs or temples, rot by the ocean.

Road widening led to the destruction of this house, and the exposure of its beautiful old altar painting.

Fisherman occupy a rock.

On the way back we took the coast bike path to Gongliao where the new nuke plant is going up. These lovely ladies were happy to pose for me.

From the suspension bridge along the way the views toward Fulong are stirring.

Drew snapped me snapping the pic above.

The path cuts through the low grasses along the water's edge.

Home through the traffic. A favorite of day trippers from Taipei, the road is a madhouse on the weekends.

Michael stops to admire the scenery.

Fisherman cram onto a rock.

UPDATE: By popular request, me with the new Flight M1. Smooth ride, sturdy, light, I am well pleased.

UPDATE II: Michael C's account is online on his blog, with good pics.

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!


Andrew said...

Another great account of bike riding in Taiwan. Looking forward to more. Was suprised not to see any pics or comments of your beautiful new Giant Flight M1?

For some other accounts of trips in Taiwan you may enjoy:

cfimages said...

Nice looking ride. Great pics.

Anonymous said...

The M1 is that red thing he's standing in front of.

Robert Scott Kelly said...

Michael, where does the tunnel drop you out? Is it obviously marked? I was looking for it one day as I was driving up the coast but couldn't see it. There is a lovely ride from Fulong (or Shuangxi) to Daxi that goes via a mountain road through the watershed (hence very little traffic or buildings). It would be great to be able to loop back from Daxi and go through the tunnel, thus limiting one to very little of the madhouse.

used bucket trucks said...

Great list of pics... looking forward to see more.. :)

Michael Turton said...

Robert, it's almost due south of Fulong on the other side of the Peninsula, right where the modern train line cross the Peninsula. It comes out BELOW the level of the main road, which is why even though it is highly developed it can be hard to spot from the main road if you are not looking for it.

comprock said...

Michael, it was great riding with you this past weekend. I've uploaded some photos to Flickr at of our ride as well.

Bucket Trucks said...

The picture of the mountain through the fog is hauntingly beautiful. Nice!

used bucket truck said...

Many, You have some really beautiful pictures from other there. Looks like an awesome adventure.