Has anyone else ridden the farm road that goes from Shuangxi through Taiping (泰平) to Toucheng? It's pretty prominent on a map, but it's not that easy to find: the entrance (on the south side of Highway 2丙, a few kilometers east of the Pingshuang Tunnel from Shifen into Shuangxi) is marked only by a little wooden sign that says Sancha Valley (三叉坑). Apparently you can also go up another road a few more km to the east, but I went for the first road since I was coming from Taipei.
I've had my eye on that road for a long time, but today was the first time I rode it. Despite getting drenched by copious amounts of rain (which started in earnest about five kilometers into the climb and continued all the way to Toucheng train station) and hardly being able to see anything through clouds and fog, I had a great time! I'd love to go back there in clearer weather to get a better look at the countryside. The climbing wasn't too tough except for a few steep switchbacks in the very early going, and it looks like the peak elevation is only about 500 meters, although it felt like more because I was constantly going up and down. After 18 km, I crossed the border into Yilan County, and Beishuang #7 Farm Road (北雙七號農路) became Yilan 1 (宜1); another 9 km and I arrived in the Toucheng village of Daxi (大溪). On the final part of the descent, the weather finally cleared up a bit and I got a couple glimpses of a stunning section of coast, where the rain-swollen Daxi River was flowing past a beautiful steep green hill into the sea. I'm sorely tempted to wait for a favorable weather forecast and leave the house at 3 AM with my camera to shoot the sunrise from there because I think it would be just jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
The whole ride from Taipei to Toucheng train station only took me a bit over four hours, and that's including a stop for water and a six-inch sub I brought along. I left at 1 and arrived before 6. Faster riders could do the trip in under four hours easily.