This was our last full day in Taiwan. The itinerary at the start of this trip listed a Day 5 ride as optional. Not having ridden at all the day before, we were all up for riding in Taipei. There are at least 200km of bike paths in the city.
We rode a 95km / 59mi route that took us from our hotel north to Tamsui where the Tamsui River empties into the Taiwan Strait. Then we reversed direction to Bitan before returning to our hotel along the opposite bank of the Tamsui River.
Within 3km of the hotel, we were on the bike path alongside the east bank of the Keelung River. The bike paths are uniformly excellent.
The bike path system is dotted with bicycle shops. These shops offer bike rentals, cycling accessories, and equipment repairs. Perhaps more essential are these, also placed at regular intervals along the bike paths.
The river views are very nice.
In Tamsui we came upon a memorial to Dr. George Leslie Mackay, who was the first Presbyterian minister in northern Formosa (Qing-era Taiwan). He landed at this spot on 9th March 1872, later making Tamsui his home and place for his missionary, medical, and educational work.
We passed these statues of a girl with a group of cats. I’ve tried to find information about this group of statues, to no avail.
We rode south and crossed the Tamsui River via the Guandu Bridge which links Tamsui District and Bali District.
This yellow zero marks the start of the Bali Left Bank Cycling Path.
We got rained on, sometimes heavily, during this ride.
You wouldn’t expect much climbing on bike paths alongside rivers. Except in Taipei where some bike paths run alongside elevated highways. Then you had to get up and down ramps like this one, which takes you to the bike path running alongside the New Taipei Expressway.
The section alongside the New Taipei Expressway was about 1.2km long. About halfway along there was a bike path interchange of sorts, where the path dropped to a set of ramps that took you to ground level. If you were going straight you had to climb back up to expressway level.
Bitan was our turnaround point. It was also where we had lunch. Most everyone headed down this street looking for food.
I opted for something out of a 7-Eleven. The 7-Elevens in Taiwan are not like the ones in the USA or Malaysia. The Taiwanese 7-Elevens offer a large range of pre-packaged snacks and meals, plus affordable hot foods and grocery items. Many have seating so you can eat and drink inside the store.
You can also pay utility bills, use ATM machines, make photocopies, send faxes, print coloured documents, develop photos, use express delivery services, and gain access to wireless internet services.
We got lost trying to get back to the hotel in the rain. We shouldn’t have crossed this bridge.
We bearings back and pretty soon we were one traffic light away from the hotel.
That was it for our cycling tour of Taiwan. Apart from the obligatory visit to the local Rapha store that evening.
We didn’t know it at the time but some of us would be back in Taiwan riding bicycles before the end of 2018. But that is another virtual tour.