Friday, July 11, 2008

Great Taiwan Bike Rides X: Wushe-Lishan-Luodong

Here are some pictures of the road from Wushe to Lishan.

Friday 6:30PM Arrive at HSR station and disassemble bikes. Here we made a logistics mistake. We bought tickets online figuring the HSR might be sold out at this popular time. Unfortunately, picking up the tickets took about 20 minutes and we missed the 7:00PM train and our planned connection to Nantou City. I'd been meaning to ride the Lixing Access Road for some time, so the planned changed accordingly.

7:06 PM High Speed Rail Taipei.

8:06 Taichung HSR Station. Catch bus downstairs to Puli.

9:30PM Puli. Stayed at a small hotel just off Zhongzheng Rd. NT$1000 for three. Rank usually stays at the funky Sun Wang Hotel nearby which is about the same price for a double. These hotels are a block or so away from the bus stop, which is critical when you are lugging bikes and panniers around.

8:00AM Saturday After a quick breakfast, we caught the bus up to Wushe (霧社). The Nantou bus station in Puli is at the corner of Zhongzheng and Donghua (東華). This is a local bus with no storage, so we just brought the bikes on board. 

9:30AM. Arrive in Wushe, a picturesque Atayal town perched at 1200 meters above a large reservoir. We saw some other cyclists along the way, but there is too much traffic on this busy two-lane road for Rank's taste. Stock up on water on Wushe.

10:00 AM. We cycle out of Wushe, turning left onto Highway 14A (14甲) at the end of town. Here is a map of the area. Climb up about 200 meters over five km. or so and turn left off of 14A onto the Lixing Access Road 力行產業道路. This is a gorgeous one lane road with no traffic that winds through the mountains. Taiwan cycling at its best. The network of roads back here looks more confusing than it really is. You want to turn right onto the Fushou Road 福壽路 and head down into Lishan 梨山. The first 20km or so stay at about 1500 meters, but there is a brutal climb up to about 2200 meters just before Lishan through some high altitude farming country. There are a couple of villages along the way, but don't expect anything more than a bowl of instant noodles.

8:00PM Arrive in Lishan (2000 meters) tired, hungry, and cold. Stayed at the cheapest of this tourist trap overpriced hotels. NT$2500 for three. We did find a ramshackle Taiwanese-style mutton hotpot (羊肉盧) at the end of town that helped kill the chill.

6:00AM Sunday We hit the road early heading down out of town on Highway 7A (7甲) toward Yilan/Luodong. It was pear season, and although expensive, the snow pears 雪梨 were some of the best I've ever had. Someone also gave us some beautiful fragrant local apples, the best I've had in Taiwan by far. Descend to about 1600 meters.

9:00AM Wuling Farm entrance 2000 meters

11:00AM Cross the pass into Yilan at 2200 meters.

12:00PM Nanshan 1200 meters. The beef noodle place on the left as you come into town is fantastic--huge bowls of hearty soup and noodles that they make themselves here.

2:00PM Junction of 7A and forestry road (map) to Taipingshan (400 meters). If you have enough time (c 2.5 hours) you can turn right, cross the bridge, and take the Datong Access Road (大同產業道路 and 7C (7丙) back to Luodong. No traffic on this route. Otherwise stay on 7A and cross at the Taiya Bridge (泰雅大橋) into Sanxing (三星) and head back to Luodong on 7C. This is the faster route and is a good 10km shorter with fewer climbs. The roads up to the Taiya Bridge on this side have too much fast traffic on weekends including plenty of trucks. It's not horrible, but nothing like the idyllic ride on the other side of the river.

5:00PM Luodong. To find the train station (map), just stay on 7C , which is the local Zhongshan Rd. (中山路), crossing Highway 9 and Zhongzheng Rd. until you hit the railway tracks. Turn left and you are at the station. The baggage room is on the right if you are facing the station.

1 comment:

The biking viking said...

Thanks for the link and the write up. We were just down in Nantou at the beginning of the week and drove the Central Cross over to Taroko and Yilan. I was wondering about taking the 8 rather than going down to Tianxiang. Now I know a bit more.