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Notes from the overpass, a day-to-day look at life in Taiwan.

Updated: 2018-03-06T16:10:39.930+08:00


How to do an East Coast Ride (for beginners and visitors to Taiwan)


The community over on Forumosa has helped a visiting cyclist from Japan put together a three-day ride on the East Coast, which is where Rank recommends that new riders in Taiwan do their first multi-day ride. This is not just a route. The thread also has detailed advice on how to take trains and ship your bike back to Taipei as well as inside information on great, inexpensive places to stay. This

Great Taipei Ride VII: Sanxia Loop


Here's a great ride in the Sanxia area that takes 5-6 hours. Map.

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

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

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

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

Landslides and Discoveries


Rank originally planned to ride from Shuili 水里 to Chiayi this weekend using the route described in Great Taiwan Bike Rides IX: Yushan By the Back Roads. A major landslide though blocked our way out of Lugu's (鹿谷) Phoenix Valley (Fenghuanggu 鳳凰谷) above Xinyi (信義) and we were forced to double back toward Xitou (溪投).As suggested in the linked above, we started from Shuili this time. Getting to

Yangmingshan Riding Notes


I have never been a big fan of biking in the Yangmingshan area. Sure, it's beautiful. But there is too much car traffic on weekends and so many cyclists speeding around on road bikes that it can be dangerous. Still, since a Shilin-based rider took me up Fengguizui last summer, I've been hooked on the Xiwan Rd. ( 汐萬) that connects Waishuangxi with Wanli.The problem with just riding up to

The Hero Returns: Mission Accomplished


Zhang Mingqing shows a different face in Beijing.... Page A6 China Times, 2008-10-23. That's Sun Yafu (孫亞夫) deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office on Zhang's right. Chen Yunlin was also on hand although not in this picture. Apologies for poor quality of scan.

Great Taiwan Bike Rides XII: Taipei-Fulong-Yilan


This ride goes through the back country of Taipei County through Pinglin (坪林) and out to Fulong (福隆). A short second day doubles back to Shuangsi (雙溪) and then down to Dasi 大溪 on the wonderful Shuangtai access road. See Robert's posts on hiking in this area.From Taipei, ride out to the Taipei Zoo. My preferred route is to ride up to Fudekeng from Liuzhangli. You can also take Wolong St. (臥龍街)

Great Taipei Bike Rides III: Tucheng-Sanxia loop


Here's a great ride that takes 4-5 hours from the Yongning MRT station in Tucheng. You should be reasonably fit and used to climbing if you follow my route3:00 Arrive at Yongning Station. Ride down Zhongyang Rd. past Foxconn's worldwide headquarters toward the freeway. I have some other alternatives here.3:10PM Arrive at freeway underpass. Turn left across traffic onto Longquan St. (龍泉街). Start a

Great Taiwan Bike Rides XI: Northen Cross Remix


Update: Here's a Google map. Also, the trail between Taipei County 113 and Taoyuan County Road 119 has been graded and covered with gravel. [2010-3-30]The Northern Cross Highway is an excellent weekend ride for beginners. But once you've done it a few times, you may feel it is a bit too easy, or you may want to beat some of the traffic that can mar this ride especially during the summer

Great Taiwan Bike Rides X: Wushe-Lishan-Luodong


Here are some pictures of the road from Wushe to Lishan.Friday 6:30PM Arrive at HSR station and disassemble bikes. Here we made a logistics mistake. We bought tickets online figuring the HSR might be sold out at this popular time. Unfortunately, picking up the tickets took about 20 minutes and we missed the 7:00PM train and our planned connection to Nantou City. I'd been meaning to ride the

Not M-Shaped After All: Taiwan's Economy and the DPP's Future


Note: this was written about a month ago when irrational exuberance over the Ma administration's opening to China was still running strong. Since then, the outlook for Taiwan's economy has become much bleaker with higher oil prices, higher interest rates, and an imploding stock market. One of the great myths of the 2008 presidential election in Taiwan was that the economy was in deep trouble.



This Taiwanese phrase, pronounced cualedan, seems to be being used in Taiwan's mainstream media more often recently. It means 'to tremble while waiting for something bad to happen. Here the pro-Blue China Times uses it in a headline:親綠財團法人老董 剉咧等Green Chairmen of Foundations Tremble While Waiting [for Ax to Fall]Perhaps A-gu will jump in with the correct romanization and characters?

NY Times Ma Interview


An interview with Ma Ying-jeou starts with an interesting reference to technical standards:He also called for direct sea and air cargo links across the Taiwan Strait, regularly scheduled passenger flights, the drafting of common technical standards and the creation of a system to resolve commercial disagreements.Why would the 'international' president Ma want to bind Taiwan to China's



Nearly PerfectBy way of contrast to the New York Times piece I blogged on the other day, Jason Dean of the Wall Street Journal delivers a nuanced, balanced piece that shows real understanding of relations between Taiwan and China. Unfortunately it is behind the Dow Jones pay wall.The first formal talks between China and Taiwan in nine years reached deals to expand tourism and to partly roll back



Another horrid article by Edward Wong in the New York Times on the talks in Beijing. Which is too bad because he did some very moving pieces on the Sichuan earthquake.The agreement came on the first day of negotiations over how to strengthen the economic relationship between China and Taiwan, which the government in Beijing regards as a renegade province but which many Taiwanese assert is a



Great Taiwan Bike Rides IX: Yushan By the Back RoadsThe point of this ride is to ride south from Nantou County down to Chiayi but to spend as little time as possible on Highway 21, the New Cross Island Highway and Highway 18 (Alishan Highway). This ride is for fit experienced riders---you will ride up to 2,600 meters on the second day and there is a good bit of climbing the first day.Friday7:00PM



Great Taiwan Rides VIII: Hsinchu to TaipeiUpdate: some good pictures of the ride up to Shangyulao by a Taiwanese cyclist.Update: [2010-3-30]: Here's a Google map of the route. Rank will be riding this in late April.This short overnight ride takes 1.5 days. Sorry no pictures. On the first day, you will climb nearly 2,000 meters, so this should be for fit, experienced riders. One of the best rides



More MRT Stations OpenedApple Daily has good news for Taipei cyclists--12 new MRT stations will allow bicycles on March 1st. The combined ticket price for bicycle and rider has also been lowered to NT$80 per trip regardless of distance. Other rules are much the same. All stations are open on weekends and holidays from 6:00AM to 4:00PM. They close between 4:00PM and 7:00PM for rush hour and then



Poetry Festival - HaikuIn honor of the Taipei Poetry Festival, I offer up these bits of Saturday-morning verse. The first one inspired by a recently popular song that takes syllabic liberties with a paraplui.Aisan 愛傘My um-ber-ellaLeft at 7-ElevenOthers can use itSanzhimao (Three's a Crowd) 三隻貓One cat on my lapTwo cats hiss menacinglyMy peace disrupted



Stinky Tofu ReduxLast week the story of a stinky tofu shop in Sinjhuang was picked up by the international media after the Taipei County EPA fined it NT$100,000 for being too stinky. Well, today the shop is back in the news. Business has improved since the fine as new customers have flocked to the shop to find out just how stinky their tofu is.



A New York Times review of Nicole Mones’s new novel “The Last Chinese Chef” leads with a photo of an illustrated menu from somewhere in China, judging by the simplified characters and prices. To most NY Times readers, the photo probably seems fairly appropriate to the review since the core of the novel is supposed to be about "the unique tangle of Chinese food and culture, and the ways both have



Bikes Permitted on MRT Weekend and Holiday EveningsI haven't seen this mentioned anywhere in the English media, but you can now take your bicycle on the MRT on weekend and holiday evenings. This makes later afternoon riding in Xindian or Danshui much more practical. Remember, you can only take your bike on the Danshui-Xiandian or Beitou-Nanshijiao lines. Here's the official announcement.Also, on