Sunday, September 21, 2008

Great Taipei Bike Rides III: Tucheng-Sanxia loop

Here's a great ride that takes 4-5 hours from the Yongning MRT station in Tucheng. You should be reasonably fit and used to climbing if you follow my route

3:00 Arrive at Yongning Station. Ride down Zhongyang Rd. past Foxconn's worldwide headquarters toward the freeway. I have some other alternatives here.

3:10PM Arrive at freeway underpass. Turn left across traffic onto Longquan St. (龍泉街). Start a 5km climb up to abou 200 meters. Lovely shaded road.

3:40 Reach the top. Turn right at the KTVs If you turn left, you will drop back down into Tucheng right back to the MRT station. Downhill to Taipei County Rd. 110. There are some nice views here in the late afternoon. Turn right on 110, and ride for about 1km. Turn left again at the gas station. Here's a map of the area.

4:00 PM Cross the river and head south on Zhulun Rd. (竹崙). At first there are some pretty large stands of betel nut on the slopes on the other side of the valley, but it gets wild and beautiful quickly. I had intended to turn right onto Taipei County Rd. 112 (Also known as Sancengping Rd. 三層坪路) and the ride over to the 4-way junction just outside Chajiao. But I missed the turnoff and went all the way up Zhulun Rd, a ride of about 10km. Again lots of shade in the late afternoon, and easy access to a creek just big enough to have some nice swimming holes. Good views on the way up this single-lane beauty. The United Daily News has a nice writeup in Chinese of the route using 112.

5:30PM Arrive at the Xiongkeng Recreational Farm. c. 750 meters. They have signs with the distance going up the whole way. An incredible sunset view of the entire Taipei basin. Better than anything you will see on Yangmingshan. There is a concrete access road out the back that is closed to regular vehicle traffic and NOT on the maps. This road will take you across the ridge at around 800 meters and then drops very steeply down into Youmu Village (有木). You must have a light for this section. There are a few turnoffs and no signage, but just stay on the road.

6:15PM Arrive in Chajiao. There is a lareg hot spring resort here. Stay on the small road (Tianfu Rd 添福 on the east side of the Dabao River all the way down to Sanxia. Here is a map of the area. Turn left onto Baiji Rd. Take Zongzheng and then Jieshou roads back to Tucheng for 5 or 6km of gritty city riding. You will go under the freeway, passing Longquan Rd. to complete the loop.

7:00PM Back in at Yongning station.

You should allow another hour for coffee, views, and swimming.

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