Greater Taipei Cycling Routes: A List

bicycle

#1

Hey guys, so there’s a few cycling route threads that are well over 2-3 years old on the forums, so I figured I would make a new one.

I’m going to try to keep the entries as uniform as I can (similar to my group ride posts) and provide Strava routes if possible. So if you have any contributions, try to follow my template below or if you have any suggestions for me to add, feel free to leave a comment below.

I will try to stay away from re-posting single Strava segments since…you can look that up on Strava!

Route name:
Start point:
End point:
Traffic level: Low/Moderate/High/Heavy
Main climb(s):
Total estimated distance:
Total estimated elevation gain:
Max elevation:
Description:
Difficulty: Beginner/Moderate/Hard/Wish you never got up this morning


#2

#3

My first entry will be one that I just did a week ago. Figured I’d keep it simple.

Route name: Tour of Taipei https://www.strava.com/routes/2401345
Start point: Your nearest Taipei riverside entrance/exit!
End point: Your nearest Taipei riverside entrance/exit!
Traffic level: Low
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 65km
Total estimated elevation gain: 300-500m
Max elevation: 150m
Difficulty: Beginner-Moderate

Description: This is a great beginner to moderate ride for those not quite ready for the big mountains, but want to add some distance to their weekly goals. What’s great about this route is that a majority of the route does not require you to cross any roads or bridges to connect to the next path. If you feel like you can’t finish it, it’s not difficult to bail at the nearest exit or you can take the same route back without worrying about getting lost.

Keep in mind that depending on the direction you ride, the road you climb will be different! To complete the full circle, there’s two climbs you can choose from. The Graveyard Climb or the 109. Both top out at around 150m above sea level and are great beginner climbs with very little traffic.

Make sure to make a quick stop under the Beixin Bridge (https://goo.gl/maps/TqiYChjwG7v) to check out the graffiti! Changes often and always interesting to see what the graffiti artists come up with.


#4

The classic

Route name: The Jinshan Classic https://www.strava.com/routes/1043292
Start point: National Palace Museum 7-11 https://goo.gl/maps/pXtf4Zb6et22
End point: Xiao Guan Yin Parking lot (Xiao You Keng look out) https://goo.gl/maps/TQ8gQdE6eXC2
Traffic level: Low-Moderate
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 65km
Total estimated elevation gain: 1600-1700m
Max elevation: 800m
Difficulty: Hard

Description:

This is one of the most popular routes of cyclists in Taipei. It involves 2 major peaks, where you go from high mountain, down to a few meters above sea level, then back up the high mountain. There’s not too many routes like this in Taiwan.

You start by going up Feng Gui Zui which is a hill that throws everything at you. Stingers, flats, downhills, rolling hills, sustained pain, and a 100m head wind finish. It’s no wonder cyclists love it and why it’s one of the most ridden climbs in the city. However, don’t forget, you have a lot to follow so don’t go all out!

Your over 13km downhill from Feng Gui Zui down to Jinshan will consist of small windy roads with lots of blind corners, so do make sure you don’t zone out and keep your senses on high alert.

If you just burned off your early breakfast, there’s lots of places to eat including the 7-11 (https://goo.gl/maps/8Cmufeg8pCz) or my favorite, My Warm Day (https://goo.gl/maps/hsr84qccaks) , which has plenty of outside seating and space for you and your bikes.

Make sure you rest up before heading out. You got another 12-13km climb ahead of you, in which you don’t want your second breakfast to appear in reverse direction. All I can say for this is…good luck, don’t go too hard. It’s a long way…


#5

The real 3 peaks.

Route name: Yang Jing 3 peaks https://www.strava.com/routes/962725
Start point: Tai Bei High School https://goo.gl/maps/WBgeiGoHhQU2
End point: Leng Shui Keng visitor’s parking lot https://goo.gl/maps/edg236REaDv
Traffic level: starts high and ends moderate
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 73km
Total estimated elevation gain: 2400m
Max elevation: 800m
Difficulty: Wish you never got up this morning

Description:

Whoever created this route, may reside in the 5th or 6th circle of hell. If you’re a weekend warrior of Taipei, this route, next to FGZ and Shooter’s Hill, is also brought up as a measure of your skill level.

You start off on the busy main road of Yang De Blvd. with all the scooters, buses and cars. Try to zone them out and do watch your 6 and notice if there’s anyone waiting at the bus stop, buses are savage on this road and WILL cut you off. Don’t worry because once you get passed the Starbucks near Qing Shan Park and head into Yang Ming Shan National Park, the traffic is lessened by at least half. Once you peak towards Xiao Guan Yin Parking lot, get ready for a 13-14km downhill into Jinshan.

Your second peak starts once you hang a right at the first gas station outside of downtown Jinshan. It’s very very easy to get lost getting up to the second peak, so make sure you know the route! The climb towards the second peak is very gradual, but does have a few stingers thrown in there. What’s key here is you save energy! You still got LSK to finish up the route.

You dread this climb when you ride it as a one peaker, well you’ll dread it even more as your third and final peak. Make sure you got some gas left in your tank for the triple stinger in the last few kms. You’re going to need it.

Don’t give in and head home after the second peak. You still got one more to go! Not only does this route test your physical ability, it also tests your mental game. If you’re training for (Puli to) Wuling, this is the route best used for training. Many have said that your Wuling time should be roughly 10 minutes slower than your 3 peaks finishing time.


#6

The loop of greater Taipei

Route name: Tour of Greater Taipei https://www.strava.com/segments/16094775
Start point: Banqiao Stadium https://goo.gl/maps/iPXAd653YE12
End point: St. John’s University https://goo.gl/maps/QcUVnAecqB42
Traffic level: High
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 150km
Total estimated elevation gain: 270m
Max elevation: 300m
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Description:

The big brother to the riverside tour of Taipei, this is, the Tour of Greater Taipei.

The great thing about this route is, there’s not too much climbing and it’s all very low gradient, gradual and short. So, if you aren’t the great climber, but can ride for forever, this is a great route for you to put on your to do list.

The least fun part about this route, which you can skip if you want to, is starting in the heart of Banqiao and riding through Zhong He and Yong He. If you’ve ever driven your car or scooter through those areas, you know what I mean.

Once you get towards the Taipei Zoo, you’ll be free of traffic lights and finally get some fresh air. Climbing starts early, so make sure you go at a slow pace, you still got up to 100km after you’ve descended to ride to the finish!

The best and worst part about this route is riding along the beautiful east coast. At some points, there’s not a shoulder or scooter lane, so you’re right in the car lane. Just make sure you don’t make any sudden movements and you should be ok!

Once you get passed Keelung and climb into Wanli, it’s all flat from here on out! If you’re lucky, you’ll even have tail wind to push you along to the finish.

Make sure you take a nice long rest at St John’s since you still got a long way to ride home (or to the nearest MRT station).

Lastly, I highly recommend doing this on a gloomy day. The worst aspect of this route is that there’s relatively no shade from beginning until end. Some friends have done it and they always regret attempting it in the dead heat of summer! Nonetheless, if you gotta do it, you gotta do it. So stay hydrated!


#7

Do rae mon

Route name: Doraemon hand https://www.strava.com/routes/2449390
Start point: National Palace Museum 7-11 https://goo.gl/maps/hNrLu2P2FkL2
End point: Er Zi Ping Parking Lot https://goo.gl/maps/q4kiiQgrom62
Traffic level: Low
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 100km
Total estimated elevation gain: 2200m
Max elevation: 800m
Difficulty: Hard

Description:

Another classic route.

When you got some time in the day and want to get in a nice long ride. Look no further. Why is the ride called Doraemon? Well…look at the route.

There’s two climbs you can begin with. You can pick Leng Shui Keng or you can pick Feng Gui Zui, pick your poison. Leng Shui Keng drops you straight down to your rest stop in Jinshan Old Street area and the other requires you to go through a series of small climbs and through downtown Jin Shan to get to Jinshan Old Street area. The Strava route I have posted above has you take the Leng Shui Keng route.

This is one of those routes where you can go all out and climbs and still have some gas to left over since you have a good 15-20km between climbs and you will rest. This route is no fun if you go full blast from beginning til end!

You can stop at the 7-11 at the corner of Yang Jing and the No.2, I suggest heading a bit further into My Warm Day https://goo.gl/maps/DxPb3KeW4up , there’s outside seating and room for your bikes. Personally, I get really tired of eating 7-11 food on rides all the time, something different never hurt anyone.

Once you set off, you got about a 15km flat blast towards Shimen followed by some hilly routes up towards Sanzhi before you head up to the final climb of Balaka. FYI, the road to get to the foot of Balaka is harder than Balaka. So don’t feel too alarmed. Balaka is one of the best beginner climbs in Taipei because the gradient doesn’t get high…at all.

Word of advice, bring some snacks or gels for the ride. You’ll stop to rest and refuel, but don’t be alarmed if some of what you eat will get burned quickly and you need something to refuel while your in the saddle!


#8

Gazebo to weather station

Route name: 不厭五分/Bùyàn wǔ fēn/Never Tired of Five Points https://www.strava.com/routes/5299033
Start point: Shi Ding 7-11 https://goo.gl/maps/xiHyoVWUAp42
End point: N/A
Traffic level: Moderate
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 100km
Total estimated elevation gain: 2,400m
Max elevation: 720m
Difficulty: Wish you never got up this morning

Description:

There’s a lot of ways and routes you can do this ride, but I find this way to be the least amount of traffic and better flowing.

Starting at Shi Ding 7-11, you got a long long ways until you get to the bottom of the first climb, so save your energy. I suggest stopping at least twice (depending on weather) before you head up the climb towards the pagoda. There’s convenient stores in Ping Xi (https://goo.gl/maps/ceZhSLjpBLz) as well as near Shuang Xi train station (https://goo.gl/maps/85wf6i7gr2R2) after you’ve left Shi Ding.

The first climb itself is not difficult, but quite long. It has maybe one or two parts that shoot up to 8-9% gradient and the worst part is…being able to see the pagoda from about 3-5km out. You think you’re almost there, but you go into hair pin oblivion to get to the peak. As long as it’s not 100% overcast, your efforts will be strongly rewarded once you’ve made it to the top.

(It’s actually 1000x more awesome when there’s a slight overcast)

Onto the second peak. Your decent is down into Jiufen Old Street, so do pay attention to your surroundings and take it slow. There’s going to be lots of people and lots of cars once you get passed the nice scenery.

If you didn’t rest too long a the pagoda, you can get some rest before turning into the final climb at this Family Mart (https://goo.gl/maps/23TiG6NACTJ2) . On a clear day, you can see the weather station from all the way down the mountain. It’s a bit intimidating that you’ll actually climb all the way up there. Make sure if you’re low on water, to fill up, the climb you’re about to embark on, can be very rough, especially if it’s hot.

The climb towards the final climb, is actually harder than the final climb. If that makes any sense. So…make sure you take it easy. The full segment from the Family Mart I posted above is around 13km, which accounts for most of the flats in the beginning. There’s gate that signals you’re in the last 4km of the climb, so once you get there, give it everything you got! The views on this mountain are just as spectacular as the previous, so all the hard work will be worth it.

Make sure you get plenty of rest because you still got a long ways to get home! You can descend the the same you came or go back down towards Shi Fen and go back on the 106. The No. 5 isn’t as busy as you think it is, but what’s good about it is, there’s plenty of shops to stop if you need to rest, whereas the 106 there’s less cars, but less places to stop.


Can You Add the Word Bicycle to Posts and Comments and not Just "Cycling"?
#9

KUOLAI

Route name: Kuolai/闊瀨尋奇/Kuò lài xún qí
Start point: Shi Ding 7-11 https://goo.gl/maps/xiHyoVWUAp42
End point: Shi Ding 7-11 https://goo.gl/maps/xiHyoVWUAp42
Traffic level: Low/Moderate/High/Heavy
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 90km
Total estimated elevation gain: 2,000m
Max elevation: 600m
Difficulty: Beginner/Moderate/Hard/Wish you never got up this morning

Description:

Every year, there’s a race that follows this route and despite it being held at the hottest time of the year, it’s still very popular among the locals. Word of advice if you want to do this route in the heat of the summer months, ration your water. There’s plenty of places to stop for a refill, it’s just that you tend to be in the sun for long periods of time, so they feel like they’re super far apart.

In light of that here’s my suggested water stations:

The route starts off with the 106 climb that gets you going up for around 8.5km of multiple switchbacks. You then roll down towards Ping Lin and if you drank a lot of water, I highly suggest you take a right turn after the descent and take a pit stop there. As mentioned before, you’ll have the sun beating on you…a lot for the rest of the ride.

Once you get out of Ping Lin and head towards Kuolai, it’s a series of bunny hills in the middle of nowhere. You can go hard knowing that there’s a short downhill or flat section coming up shortly after. Once you get to this teapot, you know that there’s a long downhill coming along…

There’s actually a cheat route in which if you think you can’t do the entire loop, you can cut towards Ping Xi here on 北43 (https://goo.gl/maps/ytjiEC4WiWT2).

If you’re taking this as a social ride, don’t forget to stop and check out the views!

Do be careful of the final downhill back towards the No.2, the turns can be very sharp and there’s lot of leaves on the ground, so it’s likely to slip.

Once you hit the 2 and are climbing towards the tunnel, just keep in mind, this is the last climb climb before the bunny hill finish on the 106 into Ping Xi! Almost there…except you got 15-20km to go from Shi Fen to Ping Xi!


#10

Lunch at Fulong

Route name: Fulong Biantang https://www.strava.com/routes/5055175
Start point: Shi Ding 7-11 https://goo.gl/maps/xiHyoVWUAp42
End point: Fulong Train Station https://goo.gl/maps/5tb8f8fkPP62
Traffic level: Low/Moderate
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 90-100km
Total estimated elevation gain: 1600-1700m
Max elevation: 300m
Difficulty: Moderate
Description:

This is another great beginner/moderate route for those looking to add some kms and to get away from the riverside. Before you read on, make sure you check the weather before you head out, it tends to rain when you head east especially since you’ll be passing by a bit of Keelung!

The great thing about this route is there’s plenty of rest stops along the way:

The route itself is about 80% flat, going east, but you do a fair bit more climbing on your way home if you choose to double back and ride the same route home. Nonetheless, just remind yourself it’ll be over soon, the highest elevation is only 300m above sea level.

There’s multiple ways you can return, you can either make your way up the east coast and turn west once you get to Jiu Fen/Ruifang or you can just head back the way you came. If you take the east coast, it does get a little busy and there’s some parts without a shoulder lane, so do be careful!

A lot of people like to treat this ride as a very long flat TT (time trial) since there’s really only 3 parts on the entire route (east) where you climb for more than a minute. The flattest portion is right after you finish the downhill from the Ping Xuang Tunnel.

Lastly, make sure you try the bento at the Fulong Bento Box store (https://goo.gl/maps/f1Sshp5kGvn) . Make sure you go to the correct store! If you’re facing the train station, it’s the store to your right with the huge line! You only got one choice and one price, so if you don’t like this and that in your bento, don’t waste your money! There’s always 7-11 across the street.

Don’t feed the strays…even if they give you puppy eyes like this one did

BONUS

Cao Liao Tunnel https://goo.gl/maps/HovFVGrA4yp

A little under 1-2km from the Fulong train station is a nice pedestrian/bike tunnel that used to be a railroad tunnel for transport. Emerging on the other side puts you in Yilan after 2km. Last time we went, it was well worth the short trip. The nice crisp ocean breeze with sunlight was an amazing final destination to our trip.


#11

Ha, ha! ranlee, chompin’ at the bit with the good weather forecast for tomorrow- a Saturday!


#12

THE HAND aka The Buddha Hand aka Hand of God aka 神掌/Shén zhǎng

Route name: The hand https://www.strava.com/routes/3751396
Start point: National Palace Museum 7-11 https://goo.gl/maps/pXtf4Zb6et22
End point: Tai Bei High School https://goo.gl/maps/WBgeiGoHhQU2
Traffic level: Moderate
Main climb(s):

Total estimated distance: 140-160km
Total estimated elevation gain: 3300-3600m
Max elevation: 800m
Difficulty: Wish you never got up this morning
Description:

This route is almost like a right of passage if you are a cyclist in Taipei. There’s not too many like it. If you’re visiting town, I highly suggest you give this one a try.

If you have ridden some of the above routes that I have shared, a lot of the climbs you’ll be familiar with. Nonetheless, if you are not riding with someone who hasn’t done it before, best download the GPX file and upload it to your cycling computer for navigation. It’s very easy to get lost. There’s a reason some parts of the fingers are named after places in Middle Earth.

I will mention that in order to successfully finish this under daylight, you WILL need to start very early and I highly suggest you equip a front light. It may be light when you start in the morning, but it’s likely you’ll ride into early evening and into traffic going back home. Friends have completed it in 7-8 hours, but both times I did it, I did it in 10-12 hours mostly due to rest time at the bottom of each descent.

The toughest climbs are the right wrist (LSK), thumb (from Jinshan) and the middle finger (from Baishawan). So, keep in mind to save gas for those three, otherwise you might bonk and end up not finishing and missing a few fingers. However, do not underestimate the other long, but low gradient climbs!

Good luck!