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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hills over Taipei: Ralph Jennings Takes A Look At Taiwan From On High

Central Cross Island Highway

Ralph Jennings has a nice piece in the Taipei Times detailing some of the steeper riding that is available in the foothills above Taipei.
The accordion-shaped Pingjing Street (平菁街) climb from Zhishan Road (至善路) just above the National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院) cures hangovers while penetrating deep into the less trafficked backside of Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園).
It’s just one in a maze of well paved, vista-packed and challenging roads in the park, the boundary of which is 30 to 60 minutes cycling time from central Taipei.
The article gives several route suggestions and rider opinions on the roads up to Yangming Shan, which would be extremely useful to riders who might be visiting Taiwan and do not really have to get out much further than the greater Taipei area.

What the article does not articulate, is the difficulty in getting from the city to the mountains. The RED LINE of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), which skirts along the Taipei foothills through the Shih Lin and Beitou districts, has several stops that allow bicycles in marked train cars.

Another consideration on weekends is the traffic. Taipei is Taiwan's most populous city and Yangming Shan is a closest and better known "get-away". Weekend traffic can be a pain.

Still, unless you live in Tainan or Kaohsiung, Taiwan's hills are always close enough for a bit of climbing.