Gorgeous ride today: up Balaka, but not Datunshan; and on the way back down, went up and down all kinds of small roads because, heck, it’s cherry blossom season and those roads are prettier than usual.
Also the first ride of the year putting on sunscreen. In February. Sigh.
I’m trying to figure out the blossom timing: so the darker red ones have mostly fallen now - some lighter pink ones are in. I think those are still coming in, rather than already dwindling?
I think I’ve done over 6,000km on my front tire. The back one disintegrated and got replaced about 2,000km ago. The guy in the shop was quite amused at how aged that tire looked - he did say the front tire was still fine. Oops.
That’s pretty normal. My front tire has outlasted about 3 rear tires.
I had a friend who was on the stock Giant tires that he got with his bike for a solid 3 years, he lost count of how much mileage he had. Sometimes it really depends on what kind of riding you do, mileage and the road conditions.
don’t you swap tires over? Front to back, replace front.
Rode with my daughter to school today for first time. She wants to do the ride on her own, but it’s 25 minutes, and there’s too much crazinesss going on out there. We’re no further having decent safer riding conditions than when we first moved to Taiwan.
For something more sublime, turn right at the gondola station instead of heading down. The road will take you deeper into Maokong, and you’ll do a couple more moderate climbs. Once you cross the bridge at the bottom of the valley, take a left. From there you’ll experience one of the most exhilarating descents in Taipei. Since the whole stretch is straight, you can easily reach above 50 kph. It’ll be well worth the extra 15-minute detour.
I don’t blame you. Those steep hairpin turns are killers. Even on the more straight section, I still need to zigzag my way up as my muscles are usually pretty spent riding up Balaka. And as much as I love Balaka, I really hate riding the 101 with all the cars, trucks, buses that come brushing past you.
I think the occasional heavy traffic on the 101 is one reason I spent so long sticking to just the riverside paths: I remember being really nervous on that road (and did wind up crashing there a couple of months ago due to other vehicles!), but I haven’t seen it with heavy traffic in a long while - during the weekdays, or early morning most weekends, it’s fine. But cherry blossom season - i.e. right now - ugh. I don’t know if it’s possible to get up early enough to avoid the crowds on weekends at the moment.
Mind you, I’m not sure if my rides in years past were badly timed to encounter such heavy traffic, or if my sense of what’s “heavy” has changed.
On the Datunshan climb, I always wonder about discrepancies between my bike computer (which is presumably recording the meters of my very zigzag / switchback approach) versus the GPS (which maybe records a straight line?). But I suspect for you, Balaka and area is a bit like Maokong / Wulai are for me: by the time I get to Xindian or wherever, I’ve already been riding for an hour or more, so I’m not too eager to start a big mountain route! Whereas I’m on 101 within about 10 minutes of leaving home, and Balaka in around 30 minutes.
We’re really fortunate here, aren’t we? I can do a climb like Balaka and be back home around two hours after I set out. I’m not sure how many big cities in the world have that kind of option.
Interesting - I’ve always found that route a lot tougher than the 101! But the 101 is the start of my day, when I’m raring to go (er, as much as I rare to do anything at this stage of life); I’ve always gone up the 北12 on my way home, at the end of the ride, in order to get back on the 101. The coast road I find too busy, and more importantly there’s too much stopping and starting with the lights.
But I guess I’ve just become better at timing rides to avoid the 101 traffic. I remember being nervous about car car car car bus truck car bus truck constantly passing me, some of them too close. However, I haven’t encountered that in a long while now (or I’ve gotten better at ignoring it?)
Note that, since I live in Danshui, it’s a LOT easier for me to get on that road first thing in the morning than it is for most others!
You guys might be familiar with back roads and alleys so I’ll ask here.
Do any of you know any winding and inclined (+/- 5%?) paved roads with little to no traffic/foot traffic which isn’t private and is not residential, while still being near (30? minute bike ride) MRT stations in Taipei?
Something like this?
Truth be told, to ride Balaka and Datun, I take the MRT to Hongshulin and then switch to the light rail. I get off at Danjin Beixin station, which is conveniently located on the 101. Gotta save all my energy for the long climb.
Depends on whether you’re heading up Datun or not. The climb is fairly easy (~6% grade?) but long, if you’re just riding Balaka to Erziping parking lot. But if you want to continue on up to Datun, then you should be prepared to suffer. If you’ve never ridden Balaka, definitely give it a go. It’s one of the best roads to cycle in Taipei; it’s tranquil, shaded with little traffic.