National Cycle route 1

Posted by on 11, Feb 2020 in 2020 - Winter in Taiwan, Taiwan, Tilly the Tandem

National Cycle route 1

The national cycle route 1 goes all the way around the island. There appear to be variations of it as we have been on the 1, the 1-1, 1-2, 1-5 and the 1-16 and we tend to follow it where it is flat. It does head up into the mountains but we will let it and plot our own way through the fields and villages instead. We hate hills.The route follows the coast for much of the way down the west side and has huge sections that have been made dedicated cycle paths through Mangrove swamps, along the sea wall and through forests. It’s a gorgeous ride and even the bits where the cycle path ends and you have to join the equivalent of the M1 there’s a parallel road for traffic slipping on and off the motorway that is largely deserted and normally has a nice wide moped lane.The coast itself starts out quite rocky and not particularly pleasant. It’s bordered by industry and there not really any seaside stuff. But as the route gets further south we started to encounter sandy beaches, albeit with the ability to sandblast you as you cycled past due to the ferocious wind, and some areas where the whole of Taiwan seemed to be hiring 4 seater side by side pedal cars, which are so slooooowwww. These areas had beautiful rides through woods, which the Taiwanese who are hugely romantic call Green Tunnels, and had dozens of food carts along the route, mostly selling the obligatory meat and fish but we found one selling Taiwan Corn on the Cob, where the vendor used a blow torch to brown the cob! Vey nice it was too.Whilst we sat on a wall eating our cob, we watched as the cycle cars stopped for their refreshments and one car had broken down with the steering wheel so loose the driver couldn’t steer at all so I fished out my toolkit and went and did a quick repair for him with much “Thank You” and nodding and smiling going on. He looked mighty relieved as he’d reached the turn Round point of his hire and had been trying to phone (I think) the hire shop to help him.We’ve also stumbled across many nice cafes where the coffee is very good Linda says and they have some nice cakes too. Always nice for a bum break.Our adventures into the local cuisine seem to be confined to sweet dishes at the moment though. The food carts are full of meat and if they do have things vege they are often touching the meat and fish and of course trying to understand anything is virtually impossible, even with the wonders of Google Translate. We did find one food cart selling baked potatoes!!We’ve now made it down to the second city Taichung and had to head inland to get here and go uphill as well! Sacre Bleu! I’m not sure we want to do that again in a hurry, the hill was a pretty steady 8% and very hard work, but once we reached the top at about 200m (a tiny hill by many cyclists definition but as Hillaphobics that’s big for us!) we were able to roll virtually all the way into the city nearly 15km away, lots of it on dedeixgaed cycle path. Lovely.The city itself was like many international cities with the usual glitzy shopping areas and posh restaurants interspersed with night markets and thousands of tiny shops that seem to be someones front room. We’ve walked and walked around the city resting our sore bottoms from Tilly for a couple of days.There is a lot of construction going on here too and it’s nice to see that one of the priorities is to change the rivers and steams in the city into mini parks and walkways like the Koreans have done in Seoul where each side of the river is a sunken garden with benches and pathway winding it’s way through trees and bushes downstream. Simply beautiful.Once the network is complete you’ll be able to walk miles along these River paths and we were fortunate enough to be able to see some finished sections on our way to a great Indian that we visited twice it was that good!During our marathon walks we visited loads of temples – the Buddhist ones were deserted and the local religions very busy. We visited the culture park, where we had our temperatures taken to see if we were ill, and then couldn’t understand very many of the info panels! And we walked through the city at night which really is one of the most fabulous things to do here. The neon lights, the hustle and bustle of the street vendors and the night markets make if just so much fun to be out at night and we loved it. So much so that our 2 night stay turned into 4.On the last day as we had the main park right on our door step and after having spent 2 days walking 10km a day we had a day sitting in the park in the sun reading our books and watching the turtles sunbathe. They’ve got their priorities right! Heaven. Back to the saddle next…

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