Monday, May 11, 2009

Things Seen Out Biking

Been biking quite a bit lately. I used to hike a lot, but it didn't seem to have much effect on my weight or my health. Moreover, the trails around my house are now all covered with those idiotic log stairs that are hard on the tendons, and threaten at any moment to turn your ankle or blow out a knee. So I switched to biking and got hooked.

Sunday morning I headed out for Dajia and the Matsu Temple there, hoping to find a way back along the north bank of the Dajia Riverthat didn't involve the big hills of Rte 132. The whole trip took about 4 hours, 1.5 to the Temple, and 2.5 for the swing back along the river. As I left Dajia and headed south along 1, I could smell the salt-sweet ocean off to my right somewhere. It was a stunning morning, soon clouded over, a perfect day for biking with neither sun nor wind.

Soon after I turned off the main road just before the bridge on 1, I shot this panorama of Highway 3 as it crosses the rice fields along the river just before the Chingshui/Highway 4 exit.

The reason I went this way was to see whether you could ride all the way back to Fengyuan along the river. Eventually I ran out of paved paths and had to climb back up on the escarpment not far from the town of Jiushe ("old village"). I think you could bull your way through an unpaved path and hook up with some paved farm paths on the other side, but I didn't want to risk a flat far from civilization. It was a lovely ride while it lasted, following the gentlest of slopes upriver past rice fields, duck farms, and storage buildings, with me being the only person around most of the time.

Work crews are tearing down the old Houfeng Bridge.

Last week Drew and I went up to Hsinshe and rode the ridges there. There are plenty of interesting buildings around up there.

Hsinshe offers some excellent views, tough hills, and level roads for exploration, all right outside Taichung.

Drying sausages in Ta-ken.

A street in Ta-ken.

Bicyclists gather at the police station in the Ta-ken roundabout before hitting the steep, spiral hill on 129 into Hsinshe.

The hills are alive with the views of temples.

A trio of bank robbers? No, just the family on the way to Dongshih.

The Japanese granary in Shigang between Dongshih and Fengyuan. A little slice of history, now a tourist trap on the way out to the mountains.

Highway 3 curls across the Dajia River.

Along the river, it is so quiet you can almost hear the rice grow.

I snapped this ornate old house in Jiushe.

Dikes along the Dajia River.

Bicyclists record their feat of arriving at the Matsu Temple for posterity.

Encounters with the unexplainable: on a side road near my house, cars rest above an irrigation ditch.

Breakfast: a must if you plan to bike any distance.

Ducklings wait to grow into Peking Duck.

I panned the view of rice fields backed by the escarpment. What a beautiful place!

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竹板凳 said...

I enjoy the Dong-Feng trail a lot as well. Ex-railroad tunnels, the bridges across rivers, and green hills roller along the side are a nice sight to behold. There are many little side-trips along the trail that makes it fun. It's not an intense work out, but not bad for just relaxing on a Saturday afternoon.

Todd said...

Cool pics, you've been getting a lot of mileage on your new bike!

iroiro said...

these cars, this is so strange! I'd like to know why they do that(?).

Joel Haas said...

going to blog about the family training trip from Keelung to Yilan? 90kms for a first time training trip??!!

xiaoming said...

it was great seeing those pics- a different side of Taiwan.

Gilman Grundy said...

Damn, I used to cycle around the hills in Miaoli, beautiful country and nobody even knows about it!

I think you may have just made up my mind to go back to Taiwan this summer.