Monday, October 6, 2014

Cycling Route 3

Here's a fantastic ride from Shiding to Pinglin. The total distance is about 16 kilometers, and the road rises 492 meters in elevation. It'll be a good workout for your scooter, or your heart if you elect to do it by bicycle.

Shiding is a little town to the east of Taipei. It straddles a stream that has carved its bed in the soft stone. If the weather is nice, grab a drink at the convenience store or a snack from the vendors and sit in the plaza or down by the water, if you dare. There's a great hike along Huandidian Ridge, not far from here, but that's a subject for another blog.

The road heads up the valley, through a couple of short tunnels, and then begins to rise over a series of switchbacks. The #5 Freeway is overhead at first, but soon just blue skies and green mountainsides will be above you.

There's a shrine on the left at the top, and then the descent begins toward Pinglin. You'll notice the golden Buddha statues lining the road, and the tea fields on the steep hills.

Road work is almost constant on these mountain roads, so be ready for a construction crew working to stabilize the hillsides. It's a narrow road so stay to your side, especially for those blind corners. Those deities aren't just there for decoration.

You'll be traveling on Route 106乙.Pay attention to that last character. Route 106 heads east to Pingxi, and Route 106乙 goes south to Pinglin. At the bottom of the descent, you can go right via Route 42 into Pinglin, just two minutes away, and then either to Ilan or Taipei.

If you want to take the next ride in this series, turn left on Route 42, proceed for about 200 meters, and turn left. It doesn't look like much, but it's the beginning of a great ride back to Shiding.