Great Taiwan Bike Rides IX: Yushan By the Back Roads
The point of this ride is to ride south from Nantou County down to Chiayi but to spend as little time as possible on Highway 21, the New Cross Island Highway and Highway 18 (Alishan Highway). This ride is for fit experienced riders---you will ride up to 2,600 meters on the second day and there is a good bit of climbing the first day.
7:00PM Bag bikes and catch HSR down to Taichung.
8:00PM Catch Ubus (統聯) bus to Nantou City (南投) from Bay 16 downstairs. Bikes in luggage compartment below. This is the last bus, so don't miss the 7:00PM train.
9:00PM Arrive in Nantou. The Ubus stop is in front of a 7-11. Walk up the street past the Carrefour and the other bus stop. Hang a left and there is a cheap hotel NT$800.
8:30AM Catch bus to Jhushan 竹山.
10:00AM bikes assembled and breakfast eaten. Head east on Nantou County Road 151. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake since there is far too much traffic going up to Sitou (溪頭). Next time I will take the bus to Shuili and ride up 131 instead.
11:30 AM Lugu (鹿谷) take Nantou Route 56 east. The fun riding starts here.
1:00PM Baipuzai (白不仔). Take the unmarked road up behind the farmhouse and wind throughh the hills over to Sinyi 信義.
2:00PM Sinyi. Stay on the west side of the river and take Nantou Route 53 south to Fengguidou (風櫃斗). We were there in late December--the plum blossoms were just blooming. The road now turns into the Sinhe Access Road (信和產業道路) which winds through sleepy little aboriginal farming towns.
5:30 PM Jiumei (久美). Here we have to come down to Highway 21 for a few km until we reach Tongfu Village (同富) at the junction to the road up to the hot spring resort of Dongpu. We arrived late, so we stay at National Taiwan University's Forestry Experimental Station. It's a deal at NT$500.
Sunday--this was a long day
7:00 AM leave Tongfu by crossing a small bridge and riding up a country road on the west side of the river. No traffic at all.
8:00AM Rejoin Highway 21 40km of glorious switchbacks. One of Taiwan's most beautiful roads. Almost no traffic on a Sunday morning.
1:00PM Tatajia 2,600 meters. Lunch at Yushan National Park Visitor Center.
2:30 PM Alishan
4:00PM Shijhuo (石桌). Normally we would take 159A down to Chiayi, but it's late and that road is longer so we stay on the Alishan Highway. Traffic is heavy. You do not want to get stuck on this road in the dark on a weekday by the way. Many dangerous trucks. We were lucky and the Sunday traffic wasn't too bad. Still 159A would have been much nicer (this classic road is the starting point for many great rides out of Chiayi). If you take 159A, you can bag the bikes and catch the bus back into Chiayi at the temple complex called Bantianyan.
6:00PM Chukou. Since we were on the Alishan Highway, we caught the bus into town at Chukou and then transferred to a bus going out to the Chiayi THSR station.
9:00pm back in Taipei