Great Taiwan Rides VIII: Hsinchu to Taipei
Update: some good pictures of the ride up to Shangyulao by a Taiwanese cyclist.
Update: [2010-3-30]: Here's a Google map of the route. Rank will be riding this in late April.
This short overnight ride takes 1.5 days. Sorry no pictures. On the first day, you will climb nearly 2,000 meters, so this should be for fit, experienced riders. One of the best rides in northern Taiwan!
Sat. 7:00 AM: Taipei High Speed Rail Station (bikes disassembled and in bike bags)
7:45 AM Arrive at Hsinchu HSR Station
8:00 AM Load both bagged bikes into new hatchback-style taxi. These taxis are usually available at HSR stations.
8:45 AM Jhudong(竹東). Take Hsinchu County Route 122 east.
9:10 AM Arrive Wufeng Bridge (五峰大橋) in Shangpingli 上坪里. Taxi fare from HSR station was NT$700. Elevation c. 300 meters
10:00 AM bikes assembled
10:05 AM Cross Wufeng bridge and head east off on Hsinchu Route 63.
10:25 AM Reach Huayuan 花園. Turn left and cross bridge to reach Hsinchu Route 63-1 that winds up out of town. Route 63-1 is also known as the Tianhu Rd. (天湖道路) Note that if you turn right and stay on 63, you will reach the Luoshan Forestry Rd. which offers nice offroad riding. Buy water and snacks here as it is a good 10km uphill to the next reliably open store.
11:00 AM Xintianhu 新天湖. c. 900 meters.
12:00 PM Arrive at junction at Tiandana (天打那) c. 300 meters after a nice downhill through Meihua Village.
12:30 PM-1:30 PM lunch and nap
1:45 PM Head east and up on Hsinchu Route 60. This road is also known as the Jinping Houshan Access Rd. (錦屏後山產業道路). The first four or five km are a gentle climb up to Naluo 那羅. Make sure you get food and water here.
2:30 PM Arrive at Daoxia 道下. The last store is here (not always open), and the real climb begins here.
5:30 PM Arrive at Shangyulao 上于老 c. 1,450 meters. There is an excellent roadstop restaurant on the left across from the police station. Make sure you order the local mushrooms. There is an inexpensive, no-frills place to stay a few doors down on the left next to a coffee shop. NT$700. A more expensive Minsu is down the hill a few hundred meters.
Sunday 6:00 AM Leave Shangyulao heading toward Mashi (馬石) and Lidongshan (李崠山). This is the Mamei Rd. (馬美道路), one of northern Taiwan's best off road rides. While steeply downhill and a bit overgrown in places, even a novice off road rider can enjoy this. Lidongshan is a historical site where a Qing general (Li Dong) established an encampment and a group of Atayal died resisting the Japanese.
8:30 AM Arrive at Sangang (三光) elevation c. 650 meters. Turn onto Shalunzai Rd. 沙崙仔 Rd.
9:00 AM Breakfast in Sule (蘇樂) at the junction with the Northern Cross Island Highway (北橫) also numbered as Route 7. You can check out Great Taiwan Bike Rides VI for details of riding the Northern Cross east out to Luodong. We needed to be back in Taipei by late afternoon, so we headed west on the northern cross toward Sanxia (三峽).
10:00 AM coffee at the Ronghua Dam (榮華大霸).
12:00 PM lunch at the Swiss Chalet restaurant. Nice views, OK faux European food. More info in Chinese and pictures from this blogger.
2:30 PM arrive at Yongning MRT station.
3:00 PM Ximending MRT station
A suggestion--since it is now possible on weekends to take your bike on the MRT's Blue Line, you may prefer to ship your bike bags home from a 7-11 in Jhudong, so that you do not have to carry them during all the climbing on the first day.