Need advice on cycling up Wuling

  • Train
  • Bus
  • Walk

Taoyuan Airport

Bus to HSR station >> TaoYuan HSR >>> TaiChung HSR

TaiChung HSR > Xinwuri Station >>> TaiChung Station

TaiChung Station >> Bus (Blue 6899) > Puli Ease Hotel


So far that’s my plan, I will fly to Taoyuan and travel to Puli Ease hotel where i plan to stay.

From there, i will find a bike shop to buy a road bike which i have yet to find, then cycle up.

I will be doing this alone, I googled and found blogs where people have cycled up and there are 7-11s to top up water and food but I’m not sure what altitude they end.

Also, since i will be going in end Nov, i assume it’s going to be freezing up there, anyone got any advice? The plan is to buy a bike but i dont mind renting because after this, i will have a 1 week stay with my family members in Taipei, so i dont want to really be lugging a bike around, i might buy one if its cheap and ship it back to Singapore though.

The map above shows my planned path, all this was done through Google maps, so I have no first hand experience of the area, terrain, or that if the bus service still exists. The map shows the start point at Puli Ease Hotel and ends at the Wu Ling sign, I would really appreciate any input, maybe an alternate/faster way to get to Puli? Or anything I need to take note of when cycling up.

I’m already searching for winter cycling clothing…

Welcome to Forumosa. This is quite a common route on here. The most recent thread can be found here…
forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 4&t=152581

The highest 7-11 is at just over 2000m altitude.
You can check the weather forecast at cwb.gov.tw/V7e/index_home.htm - click on ‘mountaineering’ and then select Hehuanshan - obviously too early for November’s forecast, but it will be cold, particularly on the descent.

The highest Sev in Taiwan as well, with a plaque to prove it (and take a selfie beside).

Quickest route to Puli by public transport is HSR to Taichung, and then a bus from there. Try exit 5 (“Nantou County Sun Moon Lake Route”), although that bus might just skirt Puli and not go into the centre.

The highest Sev in Taiwan as well, with a plaque to prove it (and take a selfie beside).

Quickest route to Puli by public transport is HSR to Taichung, and then a bus from there. Try exit 5 (“Nantou County Sun Moon Lake Route”), although that bus might just skirt Puli and not go into the centre.[/quote]

Then I wouldn’t have to worry about food/water i guess, 2000m is great I guess, I cycled in thunderstorms before and since its cold, my body didnt need fluids as much so i assume food is the only thing to worry about. Not sure how much thermal wear i need since thunderstorms are different from cold/snowy weather…

Have you taken the bus Blue 6899 before? I assume the bus number will display Blue 6899? Tickets can be bought there?

Now the problem of finding a bike.

[quote=“nerian”]Then I wouldn’t have to worry about food/water i guess, 2000m is great I guess, I cycled in thunderstorms before and since its cold, my body didnt need fluids as much so i assume food is the only thing to worry about. Not sure how much thermal wear I need since thunderstorms are different from cold/snowy weather…

Have you taken the bus Blue 6899 before? I assume the bus number will display Blue 6899? Tickets can be bought there?[/quote]

I doubt it will snow in late Nov, but it wouldn’t be very pleasant in rainy weather. Come prepared, a decent set of thermals and goretex rain jacket are essential and don’t weigh that much. Throw a pair of long-finger gloves in there too, for a possibly cold descent.
No, I’ve not taken the bus before. But I’m sure if you show up at Taichung HSR not too late in the day, there’ll be some bus (6899, or a Sun Moon Lake tourist bus) to get you to Puli.

Puli does have some bike shops. After a quick Google, I found a Giant http://ipuli.tw/store/843 shop and some of the threads from the local forums say there’s a Merida http://ipuli.tw/store/413 shop too. If you haven’t read around the sub-forum here, do keep mind mind that large sized frames are very hard to come by. If you speak Chinese (or maybe get a relative in Taipei to call them), give those two stores a call in advanced and tell them you are coming. You never know if they suddenly sold the last frame in your size and in your budget. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask them if you can rent from them too. If you give me a price range, I’d be more than happy to make any suggestions. I also I happen to know a guy that needs to get rid of some inventory and can see if I can get you a good price on some bikes.

As for cycling up, be prepared for anything. I hear it won’t snow this time of year, but it could be clear skies and sunny one minute and cloudy/foggy with zero visibility the next.

My advice would be to stop whenever you see a convenient store or place that sells water/food. Below the 1000m mark, there’s plenty of places for that, so choose wisely. Once you get past a certain altitude, there will be less and less stores for you to stop at, so you’ll have to rely on what food/drink you have brought with you.

If you have been training and fit, the first 50km of the climb is very do-able. Save your energy and never ever go into the red this climb. The final 10-15km will destroy you mentally and physically. Be prepared.

I personally wouldn’t descend after doing this climb, but I guess if you have no choice, man gotta do what man gotta do. At a cruising speed and non-stop, the full descent from the peak down to the geographical center of Taiwan (in Puli), is around 2 hours. To be safe, I would advise stopping and giving your muscles a quick rest at some point on your descent. You never know if they’ll all of a sudden cramp and you’re unable to brake.

Lastly, if you do plan on taking the direct King (國光) bus back up to Taipei from Puli, your bike MUST be bagged and put in the lower compartment. A high risk low cost solution is buying garbage bags from 7-11 and wrapping it up. If you visit the Giant shops, they will have bike bags in the range of 600-2000NT.

Good luck and feel free to shoot me a PM if you have any other questions. (As mentioned above, do not forget to read my full write-up here http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi%20…%204&t=152581

ptt.cc/bbs/bicycle/M.1444543749.A.CF9.html

A good summary in Chinese. It’s gonna be chilly up there this time of year, so be prepared. Although there’s a 7-11 up at Qingjing (清境), it’s still 20KM away from Wuling. So you might need to bring one of those saddle bags to store some water, food, and protective clothing. Put them in a plastic bag before putting them in the saddle bags, as rain is more unpredictable this season as well.

Head and rear lights are musts, as it is really dark in the morning, and often gets really foggy. Since the road gets narrow with really big bends, and cyclists have to share the same road with cars and buses, lights can be live savers. Backup batteries for the head light might be necessary. The plus side to the unpredictable weather is that the scenery with rolling clouds would be spectacular.

Although you’ve said you did ok in thunderstorms, remember that it’s a high altitude route and the lack of air may change things. You’ll probably need something that replenishes electrolytes quickly.

Aside from 7-11s, there are 3 police stations along the way that can provide restrooms and replenish water bottles. There’s one of them 6.5 KM after the last 7-11, so it might come in handy.

霧社仁愛分局:南投縣仁愛鄉仁和路87號
松岡派出所:南投縣仁愛鄉仁和路135號
翠峰派出所:南投縣仁愛鄉仁和路222號 ← last one.

When you are close to the head of the Hehuanshan hiking trail, there might be a lot of cars illegally parked on the side of the already narrow road, forcing cyclists to dismount…

I completely forgot to comment on that. Not to sound harsh, but thunderstorms is almost nothing compared to high altitude cycling (unless it’s thunderstorms at high altitudes). I’ve ridden through down pours to the point where I had no visibility and that was nothing compared to the trouble I had once I got close to the Wuling Peak. If you buy or have a heart beat monitor, make sure you keep an eye on it once you get around 2000m above sea level.

I hear it kind of depends on time of day and day of the week. I hear, if you’re up there before 10AM on a busy day (holiday or long weekend), the roads should be clear. Since most drivers are still waking up or still heading up the mtn. They have the luxury of a motor vehicle to go up, so no need to be up at the ass crack of dawn like us cyclists. Of course what I explained will vary, I know it’s probably the last thing you want to worry about when trying to make it to the top, but make sure you’re aware of your surroundings when the road starts to narrow.

Realistically, with no experience of anything above 800m, I doubt i’ll finish the ride, but i’ll still give it a shot anyways.

I can speak chinese since i am chinese but it’s not fantastic, i was taught simplified chinese instead of traditional so road signs and whatever will be a challenge for me. but luckily i can speak chinese relatively well, pronounciations are off at times but its passable.

Do the bike shops (Giant/Merida) rent bikes? If i buy one, i have to lug it to Taipei when i meetup with my family a few days later and subsequently, I’ll have to lug it back home to singapore. Unless it’s an awesome deal i rather avoid carrying it around and paying taxes when i come back. My chinese isnt too shabby but i cant find the words resembling “rental” in those 2 sites, I remember reading a blog about renting a bike by an american? Perhaps i should ask the hotel staff, shouldn’t be that hard to find one in my size, i ride a 50-52 size bike, i heard only the 54-58 sizes will be hard to find.

As for electrolytes, I bought a box of gels from chainreactioncycles when they had a promotional 1 for 1, so i have 2 boxes of gels lying around, they’ll come in useful that day i guess. All that’s left for me now is to start getting used to riding for >4hours again at a sustainable pace.

in summary, i will need thermal gloves, clothing, gels, and a bike with big gears… and leave my hotel at 5am as some others did, i’ll bring along my lezyne headlight as that has a nice throw so i can see better. Never go in to the red, walk whenever needed and the total time to get up top would be 6hours or so i assume.

Another thing is, coming down, it’s safe right? Because when i rode to gunung pulai in malaysia, the slopes were steep, once i let go of my brakes, i went from 0-40kmh+++ in a few seconds, my grp had to stop a lot because our rims were burning hot from rubbing the brakes, is it the same in wuling?

If you are in shape and will be training for this, you should be able to finish. Even if it means walking or stopping often.

Not every bike shop will rent. After a quick Google search, it does not seem like there are bikes available in Puli for rent that are suited for WuLing. I understand that you do not want to lug the bike up and down Taiwan then back to SG, but from how I see the situation, it seems like you have to pick an option:
-Buy bike and bring it up to Taipei afterwards and back to SG (there’s also the option of getting in touch with a local and telling them your situation. Buy the bike, ride it once and sell it here. The buyer gets a good deal on the bike and you do not have to pay for extra/oversize baggage on your way home)
-Rent a bike from Taipei and bring it down to Puli and back up, return at end of trip, no extra baggage on flight

If you rent from a shop in Taipei, it’s much easier to get to Puli from Taipei since there’s a bus that goes directly from Taipei Main Station to Puli Bus Station. This way you can skip connecting HSR --> TRA --> Bus.

The beginning of the descent is how you’d describe it, very steep and you can pick up speeds very very fast. However the remaining is not steep, but long. It’s a 50km+ descent! You also have to factor in that you are already pretty beat up from attempting 3275m elevation! I’m not saying do not do it, many people do, but just like going up, take your time, take breaks for yourself and for your bike.

I had no major problems on the descent at all. The only small problems I had were getting a little chilly at the start of the descent where the temperatures are the coolest, and getting stuck behind cars that had to stop in order to pass a car going the opposite direction since the road is so narrow in parts. Once I passed a couple of cars, I cruised down for about the next 30 km without being passed by anyone. It was probably the best downhill ride I’ve ever had. I did the ride from Wuling to Puli in around 1 hour 40 minutes, which is by far the fastest I’ve ever ridden 50+ km.

Since I’m going alone, are there any numbers I can call for taxis in case something happens that will drive up the mountain to pick up passengers?

Also, I assume we ride on the right side of the road right?

As for the bike issue, I might have to rent in Taichung then ride to Puli, I’m just guessing Taichung has a bike rental place since it’s bigger. Will be googling more.

Which hotel/hostel do you guys suggest? I use Agoda to find hotels but they dont seem to have many listed in the Puli or Ren’ai township.

[quote=“nerian”]Since I’m going alone, are there any numbers I can call for taxis in case something happens that will drive up the mountain to pick up passengers?

Also, I assume we ride on the right side of the road right?

As for the bike issue, I might have to rent in Taichung then ride to Puli, I’m just guessing Taichung has a bike rental place since it’s bigger. Will be googling more.

Which hotel/hostel do you guys suggest? I use Agoda to find hotels but they dont seem to have many listed in the Puli or Ren’ai township.[/quote]

Don’t worry about taxis. Dis be Taiwan. Look sad at the side of the road and people will swarm to help you.

[quote=“the bear”][quote=“nerian”]Since I’m going alone, are there any numbers I can call for taxis in case something happens that will drive up the mountain to pick up passengers?

Also, I assume we ride on the right side of the road right?

As for the bike issue, I might have to rent in Taichung then ride to Puli, I’m just guessing Taichung has a bike rental place since it’s bigger. Will be googling more.

Which hotel/hostel do you guys suggest? I use Agoda to find hotels but they dont seem to have many listed in the Puli or Ren’ai township.[/quote]

Don’t worry about taxis. Dis be Taiwan. Look sad at the side of the road and people will swarm to help you.[/quote]

Right side of the road, yes.

It may not seem like a lot, but the ride from TaiZhong is pretty far from Puli. I would still suggest taking a bus into Puli. You’ll need the strength the next day.

Last time we went, we stayed at Zhen Bao Hotel (鎮寶大飯店). Address: No. 299, Zhongxiao Rd, Puli Township, Nantou County, 545. Phone:04 9290 3333. It’s a little on the pricier side for around 2500NT/night, but is very nice. It’s also not too far from the road going up the mtn.

You will be going alone, but you won’t be climbing alone. You’ll probably meet some other cyclist along the way. As bear says, just look helpless. If no one notices you, start waving your hands. Someone will stop to ask or stop to help. It’s a tourist destination, so cars will be coming up and down.

Thanks guys, pretty much got all the info i need.

Booked Puli Ease hotel as it seems to be on the main road leading in to Wuling.

Now its just a matter of conditioning the body.

[quote=“nerian”]Thanks guys, pretty much got all the info I need.

Booked Puli Ease hotel as it seems to be on the main road leading in to Wuling.

Now its just a matter of conditioning the body.[/quote]

It’s very hard to simulate the climb. Just make sure you are getting in as much elevation as possible. I found that doing repeats of certain climbs helped. If you’re tired and think you’re at your limit, do one more repeat.

[quote=“ranlee”]
You will be going alone, but you won’t be climbing alone. You’ll probably meet some other cyclist along the way. As bear says, just look helpless. If no one notices you, start waving your hands. Someone will stop to ask or stop to help. It’s a tourist destination, so cars will be coming up and down.[/quote]

My friend who wrote that Chinese article counted at least 10 other cyclists on his trip, and it was during the Oct 10th vocation. There are 3 ways to get to Wuling by the way. The way you have planned, the west route, is by far the most popular. There is also the east route, which climbs Highway 8 through Taroko park, then Highway 14A from Hualian, and the north route, a.k.a. 50978 route, which starts from the middle of the Northern Cross island highway (Highway 7) to Highway 7A, then to Highway 8.

I forgot to check if my hotel allows bikes in the room, but anyway, I remember this brand called Rikulau, they make a stainless steel frame in reynolds 953 and its a local company, I might buy this instead of the more mainstream brands, was always curious about stainless steel bikes.

According to this site, taiwanincycles.blogspot.sg/p/tai … ctory.html , i dont think there’s going to be a good deal on the bikes in Taichung. But i’ll still visit them anyways.

You could always head to Sun Moon Lake first. Lots & lots of bike rentals there, although it might take some time (!) to find one decent enough for a ride to Wuling. Still, it’s almost all downhill from SML to Puli, so that’s quick. Coming back, perhaps throw the bike in a taxi at Puli and avoid the uphill.

I was thinking of going Sun Moon lake on the 2nd day, but regardless, i think instead of heading to Puli immediately upon arriving in Taiwan, i might stay in taoyuan for the 1st day while i find a Rikulau bike. Great chance to get a stainless steel bike for cheap i hope!