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Monday, January 31, 2011

Pinglin Road (坪林路): First Ride Report Of Lunar New Year

With the Lunar New Year vacation upon us and no bicycle, things were looking bleak for any vacation riding. I have been sitting around for a few weeks getting soft. I had become so weak I was entirely unable to prevent one chocolate after another from jumping into my mouth.

I really needed to ride and I finally was able to make that happen.

Kinesis Bike

Rocky Huang fron T-Mosaic bikes took pity on me and was kind enough to loan me his custom aluminum Kinesis bike, which is some kind of triathlon trainer. It helps that Rocky and I are pretty similar in size, so we really didn't need to adjust anything.

The bike is a compact little ride wet up with a mix of Campagnolo Centaur and Record 10spd. Oh my! I secretly think this was a sales ploy to convince me to buy a Campy gruppo in the future. The shifting is so crisp and sure... I love it.

Orchards of Zhuolan

It was another cold morning, so I bundled up in my cold weather gear and ventured out into the chill. Luckily I was only cold for a few minutes until my legs could wake up.

My down time had taken its toll on my legs... a sensation compounded by the standard 53/39 tooth chainrings as opposed to my compact set-up.

I met up with Michael Turton with the simple plan to ride to points North.

Cold Day For Fishing

We took it easy for the first part of the morning with breakfast and coffee... before stopping in Zhuolan for another coffee.

It was at this second coffee stop a plan actually materialized (and I just love it when a plan comes together).

Michael Works With New Camera

We decided to take Pinglin Rd. a.k.a. Miaoli 55. I had never taken this road all the way through and neither had Michael, so we leapt at the chance to try something new. I just hoped I wouldn't beat myself up over a bunch of steep hills with unconditioned legs and a maximum 26-tooth rear cog.

Stream Of Thought?

The road took up into the foothills behind Zhuolan where the fruit orchards fall down onto more orchards. The entire landscape is dotted with fruit trees, which, I am sure, is absolutely stunning in the sunshine. Unfortunately, we were stuck with the grey palette of a mid-winter's day.

Private Eyes Are Watching You!

Just up the road there is a river valley with a popular waterfall down below. We decided to skip the sight seeing and continued out climbing.

Green Valley


Farming Village

The road was a series of dips and rises in the landscape, but there were plenty of occasions to buy water if we wished, so this would make a great ride come summer.


There were also plenty of people out busily tending their gardens and preparing their orchards for the next crop.

Michael Makes His Ascent

A few of the hills were pretty steep, but we could always see the tops, which is great for the morale in the midst of a climb.

No Hunting Praying Mantis

We finally reached the highest point and found we had several options for an exit to Zhuolan. We decided to drop out of the hills into Nanhu, near Dahu Township. Unfortunately, the high speeds and low temperatures robbed us of a few great photos that will have to wait until next time.

Hanging At The Reservoir

After a lunch break in Nanhu we headed home back up the Highway 3. With a tailwind and a day to get used to the new bike, I found I was making good time up over the rollers back to Zhuolan.

The Construction Industrial State Is Alive And Well

We passed the dam and rolled on home. I am sure I will be feeling it tomorrow, but for now it was just great to get back on the bike. It was also great to be out riding with Michael again after his return from Sabah, Borneo.

Just a really nice day for a ride.


Bike route 808020 - powered by Bikemap

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes: Planning For A New Bike

On top is my old bike's geometry...

And here is a draft of the bike I have in the works. I was looking for something that might be suitable for long distance and climbing... but with vigor and some race personality.

ST ctr-ctr: 485mm
TT: 531mm
HT Angle: 72.5 Degrees
ST Angle: 74.0 Degrees
BB Drop: 69mm
CS Length: 410mm
HT Length: 134mm
SO: 776mm
Front Center: 57.0
Fork Rake: 45mm

This is very close to what I was imagining. The only surprises are in the longer chain stays and the bar height. Something to consider.

Anyone want to weigh in on the matter?

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Town Bike: Kaohsiung Offers Attractive Bike Rentals To Stimulate Tourism

If anyone finds the idea of biking around Kaohsiung to be titillating enough, the city of Kaohsiung offers folding bicycle rentals at the R16 Zuoying Station and the R11 Kaohsiung Station.

The bikes were specially produced for the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit system and have been appropriately named the KRT Little Yellow. An all day rental is NT200. If you would like to rent bikes with an all day KRT pass the total package is being sold for NT300.

The two stations also offer storage lockers for luggage, so you can just drop your things and hop on the bikes. The bike service is available Monday through Friday 8:00am - 8:00pm and on weekends from 8:00am - 9:00pm.

Kaohsiung also offers 50 locations citywide where people can rent bikes and return them at any of the 50 locations. There are 4500 bikes available for rent. The program is organized around a timed rental or a pre-paid structure in which citizens can buy a prepaid membership card. Details

With offers like these... everyone can have a ride.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Off Island Adventure

My friend and riding buddy, Michael Turton, just got back from a two week cycling trip around Sabah, Borneo.

Aside from simply being an interesting read, his ride report also serves to give the rest of the cycling community on Taiwan a little perspective in regard to how lucky were are to have the cycling environment we have... and also a little perspective in regard to how close we are to some amazing cycling adventures that are only a short trip away.

Read the whole ride report HERE

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

News in Brief: Contador Stripped of TdF Title BANNED

Velonews is reporting that the Spanish rider. Alberto Contador, has been banned for one year and stripped of his Tour de France title following an investigation into the rider's positive samples for doping agents.

Contador has dismissed the doping accusations, blaming the test results on "tainted beef".

This makes Andy Schleck, now of Team-Leopard, the official victor of the 2010 Tour de France after Contador took the lead when a chain malfunction forced Schleck out of contention for the GC.

Regardless, a win by default has got to feel like no win at all.

New Bike Sneak Peek: Oh my... what have I done?

Bike lust ends here!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lance Armstrong Gets Taiwanese Animation Treatment

It was only a matter of time before Lance Armstrong fell victim to the crack team of animators from Next Media and received what has been coined as, "the Taiwanese animation treatment".

Like other treatments Armstrong has undergone, the Taiwanese Animation Treatment can be disfiguring, humiliating and also cathartic.


Park & Ride: Taipei Offers More Bicycle Parking

The Taiwan News is reporting that Taipei City will begin increasing the number of bicycle parking spaces citywide.

One goal is to increase parking capacity near public transport hubs to make it easier for bike riders to take advantage of the mass rapid transit (MRT) system's expanding mixed-mode commuting network, according to office director Chang Jer-yang.

But effectively managing those parking lots will be just as important as building them if the bicycle-MRT commuting option catches on.

"People will feel more comfortable parking their bikes in a public area near an MRT station under our staff's watch, " Chang said.

This is a very promising development. There are actually plenty of bike racks in Taipei, but few of them are any good (front wheel slots) and most of them have little if any additional security.

I would love to see this program expand to include fully enclosed bike boxes, but maybe it would also save some money to increase bicycle access so you could more easily bring your bike on mass transit systems.

Also in the news...

The Straits Times is reporting that a Singaporean religious organization has finished its mercy mission to Taiwan and looks to spread is beliefs to other poor countries, including Malaysia and the United States of America.

Here is the full article:

WHEN cycling around Singapore started getting routine, four members of the Concern and Care Society (CCS) took to cycling 1, 400km around Taiwan, at the same time bringing cheer to victims of last year's hurricanes and floods.

Together, they cycled their way through 100 nursing homes and orphanages along with 66 other cyclists from Taiwan.

Ms Siow Lee Khoon, 43, Mr Lee Yok Leun, 77, Mr Marcus Loh Yoon Siong, 53 and Mr Wee Lian Seng, 62 armed themselves with hopeful messages written by students from Nanyang Girls' High School as well as members of the public.

The four are part of Cycling Club Superstar, which promotes cycling among members of the CCS and other residents. The club decided to use cycling to reach out to the needy, and the initiative was born.

'It started off as a way to get old folks, especially retirees, to lead a more active lifestyle. We later wanted to make it even more meaningful by using cycling to help others,' said Mr Lee.

The club has plans to do the same in Singapore. Road trips to Malaysia and the United States are also on the cards, according to Mr David Lee Chih-Wei, honorary consultant, CCS.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taiwan Railway Administration Bicycle Policy (Full): Putting Your Bike On The Rails

With Lunar New Year just days away, I thought I would give my loyal readers a gift from the heart. No, not a red envelope or 7-11 booze...

Bike-Train Information!!!!

Cycling around Taiwan is often very convenient and also very rewarding. Still, one of the major gripes a cycling traveler can have here is the lack of any information in English on putting bikes on trains. There is a good reason for this. The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) has buried a very comprehensive bicycle policy beneath mountains of rules and red tape that makes accurately understanding it almost impossible.

Nobody wants to translate it because nobody, not even the locals, can make heads or tails of it. I have even been to train stations where the person at the ticket counter and the person at the ticket gate have wildly different interpretations of the bicycle policy.

Well... here it is.

My wife and I have set out to try to make heads or tails of this policy and hopefully take some of the headache and frustration out of your next bicycle excursion where bike meets train.

This can be especially valuable in allowing people greater access to the far away places that may be too far for a day ride.

The information below may be subject to change so please check with the TRA before making reservations.

In most cases I used the Hanyu Pinyin spelling system, but I left the local spellings for major destinations. My spelling may vary from other posted spellings so stay alert.

Any guesses how long it will take before this translation makes its way to the TRA?

Have fun and ride safe!

1. Go to website:

2. Choose 自行車種類。(Type of bicycles)

· 折疊式 Folding bikes)

· 非折疊式 Non folding bikes)

· 折疊式以及非折疊式 Folding bikes and Non Folding bikes )

· 10車以上 ( 10 or more 10 bikes)

3. Choose 起程站 (From: Choose a station you board)

4. Choose 到達站 ( To: Choose your destination)

5. Choose 乘車日期 (Date)

6. Choose 乘車時間 (Time: Choose a period time you are thinking about taking the train)

7. Choose 開始查詢(Start searching)

Understanding icons:

Trains with the following four icons offer bike on board services:

Shipping Bikes as Freight: (pick up at the station)

The service is available to both folding bike and non folding bikes.

Also Check Out:

Rules For Carrying Non-folding Bikes on Trains:

1. Due to the limited space, the number of bikes is limited. Make sure to make a reservation in advance.

2.In the limited trains that allow bikes on board, only certain stations allow bikes to get on and off. Some stations do not allow bikes to get on.

3. The TRA is not responsible for the safety of the bike. Bike owners are responsible if the bike is lost or damaged.

Shared Bike & Passenger Trains

Additional Information: On Bike & Passenger Together Trains, bike owners can be seated in the car where the bikes are parked in racks. At the time being, there are only two trains daily that provide this service, which are No. 274 & No. 275 Chu-Kuang Trains. Each train offers 15 seats for cyclists and 15 spaces for bicycles.

How to book tickets for Bike & Passenger Trains:

1. Go to the TRA website: , and book online. Reservations can be made 12 days before departure.

2. Bicycle and passenger tickets must be purchased together. (No. 274 & 275 Chu-Kuang Trains )

3. Once reservation is made, you must go to train stations with computer ticketing services to get your tickets. Tell the people at the counter what kind of tickets you are purchasing: adult, child, senior citizen, or charity (disadvantaged person). The staff at the counter will sell you tickets according to your reservation. No. 274 & 275 Chu-Kuang Trains can be reserved online but cannot be paid online. The reserved tickets cannot be purchased at post offices or automatic ticket vending machines.

4. Processing fee for refunding tickets of No. 274 & 275 Chu-Kuang Trains is 26 dollars. Each passenger 13 dollars, each bike 13 dollars)

5. No. 274 & 275 Chu-Kuang Trains run Friday through Monday.

Additional Information

1. Taipei Train Station does not permit un-bagged bikes to get on and off trains. Therefore, tickets for No. 274 & 275 Chu-Kuang Trains taking off from Taipei station are not available for sale.

2. Because some station lack relevant equipments to allow bikes to come in or out of the station. If you need additional help to guide you through the station, please call TRA’s customer service number: 0800-765-888(landline phone only), 02-23702727.

3. If you are traveling with a group of other riders, you can apply for an additional car. Each car needs to have at least 15 passengers and 15 bikes, the fee for the car is calculated with the base estimate of 100 kms. The authority to grant the application is entirely up to the TRA, which will make it’s judgment based on the availability of trains and the availability of stations that allow bikes to enter and leave stations.

Information about Taipei Route:

Stations that allow bikes to get on and off trains:

基隆 Keelung、八堵 Badu、七堵 Xidu、汐止 Xizhi、南港 Nangang、松山 Songshan、萬華、Banciao、Shulin、鶯歌 Yingge、桃園 Taoyuan、中壢 Zhongli、埔心 Puxin、楊梅 Yangmei、富岡 Fugang、湖口 Hukou、新豐 Xinfu、竹北 Zhubei、新竹 Xinzhu。

Trains that allow bikes to get on and off trains in the Taipei route:

Information about Taichung Route:

Stations that allow bikes to get on and off trains:

竹南 Zhunan、【mountain route:苗栗 Miaoli、銅鑼 Tongluo、三義 Sanyi、后里 Houli、豐原 Fengyuan、潭子 Tanzi、臺中 Taiching、新烏日 Xin Wuer】、彰化 Changhua、員林 Yuanlin、社頭 Shetou、田中 Tianzhong、二水 Ershui、【ocean route:後龍 Houlong、白沙屯 Baishatun、通霄 Tongxiao、苑裡 Yuanli、大甲 Tachia、清水 Chingshui、沙鹿 Shalu】。

Trains that allow bikes to get on and off trains in the Taichung route:

Information about Kaohsiung Route:

Stations that allow bikes to get on and off trains:

林內 Linnei、斗六 Douliu、斗南 Dounan、大林 Dalin、民雄 Minxiong、嘉義 Chiayi、新營 Xinying、隆田 Longtian、善化 Shanhua、新市 Xinshe、永康 Yongkang、臺南 TainanBaoan、中洲 Zhongzhou、大湖 Dahu、路竹 Luzhu、岡山 Gangshan、橋頭 Qiaotou、楠梓 Nanzi、新左營高雄 Xinzuoying-Kaohsiung、鳳山 Fengshan、九曲堂 Jiucitang、屏東 Pingtung、潮州 Chaozhou、南州 Nanzhou、林邊 Linbian、枋寮 Fangliao

Trains that allow bikes to get on and off trains in the Kaosung route:

Information about Ilan Route:

Stations that allow bikes to get on and off trains:

瑞芳 Ruifamg、雙溪 Shuangxi、福隆 Fulong、頭城 Toucheng、礁溪 Jiaoxi、宜蘭 Iilan、羅東 Luodong、冬山 Dongshan、蘇澳新 New Suao Station、蘇澳 Suao、東澳 Dongao、南澳 Nanao

Trains that allow bikes to get on and off trains in the Ilan route:

Information about Hualien Route:

Stations that allow bikes to get on and off trains:

和平 Heping、新城 Xincheng、花蓮 Hualien、吉安 Ji-an、壽豐 Shoufeng、鳳林 Fenglin、光復 Guanghou、瑞穗 Ruisui、玉里 Yuli、池上 Chishang、關山 Guanshan、臺東 Taidong、知本 Zhiben、太麻里 Taimali

Trains that allow bikes to get on and off trains in the Hualien route:

Rules For Carrying Folding Bikes On Trains:

1. 須完全置入攜車袋,車子無裸露。

You need to put the whole bike in a bag. No parts of the bike can be exposed.

2. 不另行收費。

There is no surcharge for folding bikes.

3. 區間車、區間快、普快車(以車不離身方式攜帶)。

Folding bikes are allowed on all local trains.

4. PP自強號(限置放於第12車自行車置放區,不得隨身攜帶)。另自行車置放區容量有限,放滿為止。

Folding bikes are allowed on the Chu-Kuang Class Express Train (only the PP trains), but the bikes must be placed in the special bike storage area in Car 12. Due to the limited space, the number of bikes is limited. You must make a reservation first.

5. DMU自強號、莒光號、復興號(放置車廂中不影響動線之適當空間)。逢連續假期疏運期間,另行公告暫停開放。

Folding bikes are allowed on the Tsu-Chiang Class Express ( DMU trains), Chu-Kuang Class Express Trains, Fu Hsing trains. However, policies for fold up bikes are subject to change during holidays. Please check with the TRA website.

6. 進入剪票處前須先將自行車置入攜車袋,出收票處前不得將自行車自攜車袋取出

Bikes must be placed in a bike bag before passing the ticket gate. After getting off train, bikes are not allowed to be taken out of the bag before leaving the station.


If bikes are allowed on the trains that have yet to be specified for bicycles, bike owners will be required to pay full passenger fares for each bike and for the distance the bike travels.


Bike owners need to be responsible for the bike’s safety. Please be cautious with passengers getting on and off trains. Yield when passengers need to get off trains. Avoid disturbing other passengers.

Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) Bicycle Policy:

Taiwan High Speed Rail Website

All HSR trains allow bikes on board, as long as the bike is bagged and not longer than 150 cm, and the total length of its height and width should not be over 220 cm. The weight of the bike should not be heavier than 40 kg. The bagged bicycles should be stowed in the forward or aft luggage compartment.

Taiwan in Cycles recommends purchasing the more expensive Business Class tickets as there is more space behind the rear seats to store a bike without having to worry about the bike getting crushed by luggage.

Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT):

The Taipei MRT allows unlimited access for folding bikes and bagged bikes. Unbagged bicycles have limited access to the MRT on weekends and holidays (though Taiwan In Cycles does not recommend going through the hassle). Access on weekends is available at 67 stations:

High-capacity lines will be closed to bicycles, including: Tamsui Station, Shipai Station, Jiantan Station, Taipei Main Station, National Taiwan University Hospital Station, Guting Station, Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station, Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Station and Fu Jen University Station. All stations on the medium-capacity Wenshan-Neihu Line will also be closed to bicycles.

Unbagged bikes will be charged an additional NT80. All ticket purchases must be made at the ticket counter. Unbagged bicycles are restricted to the first and last cars on the MRT train. Only 2 bicycles per train car. One bicycle per person (Yes, that is a written rule). Tickets can be purchased at the MRT stations’ information booths. The bicycle’s dimensions should not exceed 180x120x70cm.

Bicycles can only be brought aboard either the first or the last train compartments. No more than two bikes can be placed next to a given entry point on these train compartments, and bicycles cannot be parked on the space designated for disabled passengers. Folding bikes can be treated as carry-on luggage.

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit (KRT) Bicycle Policy:

KRT Website

All folding bikes are allowed. Bicycle dimensions must be under 205cm with wheels under 20". Bikes that fit this description may ride for no extra charge. All bicycles must use ramps or elevators.

Bagged bikes are also unrestricted.

Non-folding bikes must be under 120cm tall and no longer than 180cm in length and no wider than 70cm. Non-folding bikes may take trains Monday through Friday between 10:00am to 4:00pm. On holidays bikes are allowed between 6:00am and 1:00pm and also 7:00pm to 11:00pm.

The total fare for rider and bicycle is NT100 with unlimited distance. All bikes must be stored in the first four cars as pictured below. Each car allows one bicycle. All bikes must be situated next to the pole.

All tickets must be purchased at the ticket counter.

Bike Transport On Busses:

Bikes can also take 國光號 (Guoguang Bus). Folding bikes are free, and non folding bikes are half price. If you are traveling with a folding bike, just notify the bus driver in advance. If you are traveling with a non folding bike. Make sure it is not taller than 100 cm. Also, the bus company is not responsible for the safety or damage of your bike during the bus ride.

Now nobody can say I have never done anything for Taiwan. Happy riding!