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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Caffe Terry

Taiwan's cycling culture is expressed and created in several manifestations. Culture is not about where something comes from. You can argue that all the way back to the australopithecines. The important aspect is what people do with it. This is where the formation of culture happens.

One of these "Locations of Culture", to spin a phrase from Homi Bhabha, can be found at Caffe Terry, in Taichung's Nantun District.

Caffe Terry (caffe in the Italian spelling for coffee) is a fantastic hub for Taichung's cyclists, or for anybody who is simply interested in good beverages and good food.

The cafe is owned and operated by Terry Lin, who is a well-known cyclist in his own right, and the organizer of Team Caffe Tery, one of our local teams. Terry uses his cafe to organize cycling events and to simply foster greater cycling culture. The entire cafe is built around a cycling motif, with tabled made from bike wheels, and various accessories littered throughout the cafe.

One thing Terry offers that is lacking at most of Taiwan's cafes is ample bicycle parking. You can easily ride out for a pre or post ride buzz, leave your bike outside and chill out with the piece of mind that your bike is out of the way and safe.

Terry's corner location makes it a bit like a hide-away, sequestered off from the traffic of nearby Gong-yi Rd. There is plenty of space to relax, both in doors and out and the layout makes sense without crowding too many chairs into too little space.

Terry's also has an ample bar area to simply run in, drop a couple shots of caffeine, chat up Terry about the local conditions, and then hit the road.

One thing I really liked was the abundant use of natural lighting. Nothing makes me feel more annoyed than cafes that use nothing but florescent bulbs.

On this trip I ordered a cappuccino and a smoked chicken sandwich. My wife ordered an Americano and the German sausage.

Terry made a satisfying cappuccino, not too acidic like most places. It really hit the spot.

The smoked chicken sandwich looked pretty basic at first, but after taking a few bikes it was actually a complex taste. I really enjoyed the choice of ingredients... especially the cheese. Mmmm!

My wife was impressed with the quality of the sausage and mustard. She wasn't such a fan of all that dressing and might suggest dressing on the side next time. Excellent dinner rolls!

We stayed for quite a while and browsed the cycling related reading material for some time. I then chatted with Terry for a while about... cycling. I guess his team saw me in Changhua on the side of the road as I nursed the cramps from my legs. How embarrassing.

Terry's makes an excellent location for any area cyclist to organize rides, meet fellow cyclists, rendezvous before or after a ride, integrate into Taichung's cycling culture, or just chill with a book. I hope readers out there will stop by and give it a try. Great Place!

Caffe Terry:
422 Da Ying St.
Nantun Dist.
Taichung City
Phone: 0423207243
Hours: Tues-Sun. 10:00am-12:00am
(Caffe Terry is located on a side street across from the Starbucks and 3C Electronics Store on Gong Yi Rd.)

    週二~週日AM10:00~PM24:00 公休日(星期一) 0423207243 可預約 台中市南屯區大英街422號 自備杯子點飲品可折10元

UPDATE: Let me add some useful information from the comments section below:

Andrew, great post and review of Cafe Terry. Terry is a good friend and I am there often (almost daily). I think people might also find it interesting to know that as a side business, Terry builds/assembles custom bikes, and/or can have frames custom painted. Most the frames/bikes in his shop are his own graphic concepts (not talking frame geometry). Take him parts and ask him to find a frame to fit, or just tell him what you want and your budget and he will find frame and parts and assemble it for you. Also, every so often (once every few months, usually on a Sunday) he hosts a "bike flea market" at his shop, where people can bring the bikes and parts they want to sell (in advance of that day) and coffee and bike lovers can browse and buy; he will handle the selling so, the seller doesn't need to be there at all. Again, thanks for the post. Keep riding!

Climbing Out Of A Rut: Foothills of Central Taiwan From the 88 to the 136

Japanese Colonial Era Kendo Dojo

I think my recent troubles have been well documented and I don't need to rehash the particulars, but what I really needed this weekend was something that could force me to push my body back into shape. Sunday made a great opportunity to abuse my legs.

My Wife's Jr. High Classmate Campaigns

I was originally slated to meet Michael for one of several plans we devised throughout the week. I often find myself devising new schemes for rides yet-to-be. The weekend weather was amazing. It was just too ideal for riding.

Michael Climbs Through Orange Groves

I arrived at Michaels bright and early and we took off onto Fengyuan and up the Taichung Local 88. The 88 is a fantastic little climb that makes for a great entry point onto the Hsin She plateau; a large spread of farms and agriculture just outside of Taichung. The Hsin She plateau is also a 1900ft. climb. Most of the ranges between 6% -10% grades, so it is not impossible. The views are also well worth the effort as they offer a full panorama of the city below. Unfortunately, the haze prevented me from taking any pictures that were worth a damn.

Look Out Below

Michael seemed to be having a particularly rough time with the grade and expressed a few doubts in regard to his performance. I have seen him ride and I cold tell he was not riding like he usually does, and so he turned back. I was really looking forward to riding with him, but he was showing definite signs of over training when the body refuses to exert too much energy in order to concentrate on recovery.

It happens to us all. One of the most important things an athlete can do is to listen to the body. Proper training consists of exercise, diet, and recovery. When we deny ourselves any one of those... we simply can't perform up to our abilities. A smart athlete will see the signs of overtraining and stop. Unfortunately, athletes are also competitive and driven people who are always seeking improvement, so many people overtrain.

Egret Hanging Out

After Michael left I had to mentally shift gears. I had been mentally preparing myself for ony type of ride, and now I would be doing another. It was not easy to make the transition or to know which direction to go.

I finished my climb at a pretty fast pace and looked for some barometer as to where I was mentally and physically to gain some clue as to what I should try. A 15 min. coffee stop at the 7-11 in Hsin She allowed me to sort through the mitigating factors, such as time, ability, goals and estimated return time. I decided to go over the fence. Seeing as I had climbed up the 88 to Hsin She... I thought a day of climbing would do a body good, so I set my sights on the Highway 21 to Guoxing, and I committed myself to returning to Taichung on the famed 136.

Photo-Op By The Cafe At The Top Of The Highway 21

I made really good time up to the base of the Highway 21, but made sure to keep my heart rate down. I kept pushing up the 21 at about 16kph with the thought in the back of my mind that the 136 still lay ahead.

Banana Farms

My descents were not as quick or crisp as I would like. The sight of a van heading up my lane as I rounded a corner just made me gun shy.

99 Peaks From The 136

After a morning of climbing... I thought I should add some more climbing and so I headed up the 136 back to Taichung.

Most of the 136 is really not that bad. It ranges between 6%-10% grades, but there is one section about 3/4 the way up that is just a long stretch of 17% gradient... the kind that saps the legs of energy and dishes out the punishment.

It seems most riders try to get their rides finished in the morning, so I had the road to myself. I think I could just describe the feeling as one of noisy quiet. There's a lot going on besides the sound of my turning crank, but it all fades into the white noise of random thoughts.

View From 136

I used the descent to cool off my legs and recover for my return home. I was surprised to find my legs in good shape and, despite being tires, I managed to roll through Taichung at a good clip.
Kendo Dojo

On the way back I noticed the old Kendo dojo has finally been unveiled. The building is in Taichung City, on Lin Sen Rd. across from the old dormitories by DaTong Elementary School.

Character "Wu" or "Martial"

Many years ago I noticed this building when it was in a serious state of disrepair. I would bring guests by to take a look at a hidden piece of Taiwanese history. I went as far as interviewing some of the locals from the neighborhood who, at the time, were mainly Hakka speaking spouses of old KMT-era government workers.

The building served as a Kendo dojo during much of the Japanese colonial period; mainly for Japanese government employees, but later it served the nearby schools. During the 1930's Japan introduced a policy, which, among other purposes, served to prepare Taiwanese boys for war. Kendo and the martial arts was used to teach young boys the "martial spirit" the Japanese hoped to cultivate in the empire's youth.

This building is an amazing example.

I finally returned home at 2:00pm with 5581ft of climbing in 110km. A much better 110km than my awful race. Redeemed? I don'k know. A good ride... YES!