Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Graveyard Extension

Here's a third extension to the Graveyard ride (Great Taipei Rides II) taking Xinguang Rd. (新光) Rd. up across the hills and back down to Zhengda on Wanshou Rd (萬壽). Map.

2009-5-18 Update: the landslide on lane 74 is now under some kind of construction and gates have been installed on either end. The gate on the lower side is chained but a large gap makes it possible to slide your bike under. The top gate was unlocked. Probably something to do with the efforts to repair the Maokong Gondola.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Great Taipei Rides V: Bitan Loop

This is an easier variant of the Xindian Loop. Instead of turning right on Pingguang Rd. turn left and continue on around to the Xiaguishan Bridge (下龜山). Head back on 9 briefly until you reach Kangyalun Rd (康雅崙). This will take you through some pleasant little hills ( a few steep parts but not bad at all) and then around until you cross the Siyuan Bridge (思源) back to Xintan Rd (新潭).

You might want to avoid this route on Sunday afternoons since the traffic back from Wulai gets pretty bad on 9. Otherwise, this is a good second ride for a beginner.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Great Taipei Rides IV: The Nangang Loop

Here is a Google map of a great ride you can do through the Fudekeng graveyard (Taipei Rides I) and to Nangang via Shiding. This road also eventually connects with the popular Fengguikou ride.

Update: Did this ride again last weekend (March 8). I now recommend taking Jiuzhuang Rd. (舊莊) down if you are going to Nangang. Here's a map. The loop took a little over 3 hours including a stop for breakfast at the Shiding junction. There is memorial to the Deer Hollow Incident at the junction of Dingnan Rd. (碇南) and Jiujhuang Rd.

This ride is about 45 km long and has a total of about 600 meters of climbing broken up the first climb up to Fudekeng (c. 160 meters) , a second climb to the border between Shiding and Xizhi (this is about 380 meters), and a third (160 meters) back to the top of Fudekeng.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Graves of Meng Xiaodong and Du Yuesheng

The China Times reported the other day the Chinese tourists are asking to be taken to the graves of Meng Xiaodong and famous Shanghai gangster Du Yuesheng. Meng has been made famous as the lover of Mei Lanfang by the new Chen Kaige fim Forever Enthralled about the Beijing Opera star.

After leaving Mei in the 1930s, Meng Xiaodong became the concubine and eventually fifth wife of Du. She moved to Taiwan in the 1960s, died in 1977, and is buried at the public Buddhist cemetery at Jinglu Temple淨律寺 at Shanjia, Shulin in Taipei County. The calligraphy for the inscription on her tomb is by the painter (and notorious forger) Zhang Daqian. According to the article, it reads 杜母孟太夫人墓 or the Tomb of Mrs. Du nee Meng.

Even more interesting is Du's tomb in suburban Xizhi. Du died in Hong Kong in 1951 and was buried in Taiwan in 1952. None other than Chiang Kai-shek provided the calligraphy for the inscription on Du's tomb: 義節聿昭. This can rendered 'His love of justice burned bright'. Justice (yi) is of the cardinal virtue of Chinese gangsters in the anti-Ming tradition as seen in phrases like titian xingyi (to do justice on behalf of heaven 替天行義). Chiang is openly refering to his close association with the Shanghai mob and Du in particular that culminated in the purges of unions and communists in 1927.