Monday, May 08, 2006

Great Taiwan Bike Rides Part 1: Taidong to Hualien (Easy Version)

Cycling from Hualien to Taidong on Route 11 down the coast is a classic ride suitable for beginners. Almost anyone in reasonable shape can enjoy this ride, which can easily be completed in two days. Rank recommends doing this ride from Hualien to Taidong because you will have the wind at your back most of the way. There is one short climb at about 25km up to about 300 meters. Be sure to stop at the Baqi (Baci) lookout point at km 33 or so for a coffee and an ice cream to reward yourselves. Spend the night in Shitiping around km 63 at the hostel above the big seafood restaurant (NT$800/double) but eat at the friendly seafood place behind this one up the hill.

Coast north of Shitiping fishing harbour

If you have time on the second day, Jinzun beach (hike down the staircase from the tourist facilities) about seven km north of Dulan is great for a walk/break depending on how hot it is. You can also spend the night at the hostel at the Dulan sugar refinery (NT$700/double). Ask at the big house to the right of the cafe, and remember that there is usually live music at the cafe on Saturday nights.
Coast north of Shitiping fishing harbour
Want to see if you are in good enough shape for this ride and live in Taipei? Rent a bike in Pinglin and ride the Jingua River trail some weekend. This is a mild uphill 8 km ride. If you can do this, you can definitely handle the 180km or so from Hualien to Taidong.

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