Ride Over Yangmingshan

Steaming Rocks

Today I went on a crazy ride from my house, over Yangmingshan to Jingshan and then from Jingshan to Tamsui along highway 2 and finally home along the river. I tried to leave at 6:30am but when I looked outside it was raining pretty badly so I thought the ride wouldn't happen. After having tea with Queenie I looked out the window again at around 7:30am and saw the rain had stopped so decided to go. I went downstairs for breakfast and headed off at 8:00am. Despite the threat of rain all day it only drizzled a bit in some parts of the ride, but nothing serious, and I did manage to get home dry 117km later at 5:30am.

Taipei Library
Starting Point

I started outside the Taipei Public library on Chienkuo South Road and headed North. Getting out of Taipei always takes time. There is always traffic and always red lights. Even though today was a semi-public holiday, there were still some cars on the road. I went down Chinekuo South & North road slowly & stopped to take a few pictures here and there and I was soon cruising along the road at the back of Songshan airport. I crossed the Dazhi bridge and headed along the North side of the river towards Yuanshan. Some of the structures for the Taipei flower show that just ended were still visible, but apart from that it was a pretty uneventful ride into Shilin.

Hsin-Yi Road/Chienkuo S. Rd
Hsin Yi/Chienkuo Rd

Early Morning Taipei
Early Morning Taipei

Towards the Airport
Minzu East Road

Temple Behind the Airport
Temple Behind the Airport

Songshan Airport
Behind Songshan Airport

The River Shrouded in Mist
View from Dazhi Bridge

Remains of the Flower Expo
Remains of the Flower Expo

Barge in the River
Barge on the River

Once in Shilin the traffic and buses ramped up and it became quite a challenge to weave my way through the traffic to get Yangmingshan. Many of the buses were heading to the official residence of Chiang Kai Shek, but a fair number of them were also heading to Yangmingshan as the national park there is a big tourist attraction. I finally got to the bottom of Yangmingshan (the bottom of Yangming Boulevard) after riding for about 12km. It wasn't that hard and, apart from the traffic in Shilin, was a fairly pleasant ride.

Into Shilin


Hello Kitty House
Hello Kitty House

Flowers Near Yangmingshan
Flowers in Shilin

Traffic in Shilin
Traffic in Shilin

As can be expected, the ride up Yangmingshan was a big challenge but even though riding up the mountain was difficult, I appreciated being there on a bike. I have been up Yangmingshan many times in a car but it is definitely different on a bike. I felt much closer to nature and really enjoyed smelling the vegetation (and yes this in spite of the occasional spurt of traffic). As can be expected, as I got higher onto the mountain, the traffic thinned out as people went their different ways. Another great advantage of being there on a bicycle was the flexibility. I could stop anywhere I wanted to take a picture or enjoy the view. Stopping randomly is not possible in a car as the traffic will get blocked up behind you. So there were definite advantages and, even though it was cloudy and misty, the greenery, as always was spectacular and riding through the sulphur fumes, although a bit smelly, was lots of fun. And do note, since my legs were pretty much exhausted after the first 2km, I had lots of mini-breaks along the route to enjoy the scenery!

Follow the 1717 Bus
Follow the 1717 Bus to Jingshan

Traffic in Yangminshan
Traffic in Yangmingshan

Trees in Yangmingshan
Trees in Yangmingshan

Riding Up Yangminsh
Riding Up Yangmingshan

Looking Back down the Hill
Looking Down Yangmingshan

Culture University - Third of the Way Up
Chinese Culture University

Getting Close to the Top
Nearly at the Top of Yangmingshan

Some Directions

Looking up the Mountain

Green Grove
Beautiful Green Trees

The Lush Vegetation
Lush Vegetation in Yangmingshan

Viewpoint a few km from the Top
Taking a Break

New Friends
New Friends

Of course, the best view of all was the view at the top of the mountain (although I couldn't see anything because of the mist). But still, I was happy to have finally made it to the peak. I spent a short time there to gloat (about 2 minutes) and then headed down the mountain towards Jingshan. This was the most thrillig part of the ride. There were some points along the descent where I was hitting 60km/h. I think that is the fastest I have ever been on a bike, and it felt awesome. Some cars did try and pass me but they couldn't as the road had many bends and they had to reduce their speed to go around them. I did stop on occasion to take pictures of some of the scenery and for my part, I felt that the scenery on the North side of the mountain was much better. The sad part was the rapid descent was over all too quickly and I soon found myself in Jingshan. At that point I stopped for a short rest and to get some more water and then turned my bike towards Tamsui on Highway 2.

View of the Valley
View of the Valley (near the top

View of the Valley
Near the Top

The Top of Yangmingshan
The Top of Yangmingshan

The Top - All Downhill from Here
Made it to the Top

View of Yangmingshan
Going Down


Beautiful Lilies

Lily Field
Me Near the Lilies

View from Yangmingshan
Beautiful Garden

Beautiful Mountain


Just to give some perspective of the different challenge of riding up Yangminhan, when I got to the bottom of Yangming Boulevard my speedometer said I had ridden 12.xkm. When I got to the top, the speedometer showed I had finished about 27.xkm. So the ride from the bottom to the top of Yangmingshan was about 15km. Those 15km took me about 3 hours. I stopped a lot and had a lot of leg cramps along the way so could only go slowly. I figure I could probably walk to the top in the same time (maybe not) but even though I plodded my way up the mountain, it was a great feeling when I got there. However, coming down the North side of the mountain, when I got to Jingshan my speedometer read 45.xkm. The 18km down the mountain took a mere 25 minutes - certainly a huge difference in pace (and trust me, I preferred going down).

Abondoned Warehouses in Jingshan
Abandoned in Jingshan

Jingshan Stone Rhino
Jingshan Stone Rhino

House in the Rice Paddy
Jingshan Picturesque House

Getting back to the ride, after taking a short break in Jingshan I headed along highway 2 to Tamsui. I have ridden this road before (see Cycle Trip to Tamsui, Via Keelung) but that ride ended in disaster with the rear gear being ripped off the bike. This time I was able to end the ride by getting home with only one small glitch (that was easily rectified). My first view of the ocean was not the best but it certainly improved as I headed further down the coast. I enjoyed the coolness of the breeze blowing off the ocean and although it was a really gloomy day, it made for perfect riding conditions. Along the way I met another guy who was also riding the same route as me but he was super fit and left me in his dust. He suggested we ride together but I knew I would slow him down. Anyway, I followed the road to Shimen (saw the stone arch), went past Baishwan and San-Zhi and finally into Tamsui where I stopped for a quick bite. Along the way, at certain points along the coast, there were some couples taking their wedding pictures. I remember doing the same thing 9 years ago (taking wedding pics on the coast in cold and gloomy conditions). It was a great memory! I also saw a car that had been driven into a restaurant (see the picture below) but once again, apart from cramping legs, it was a pretty uneventful ride.

First View of the Ocean
First View of the Ocean

Another Ocean View
The Coast

My Steed
My Bike

The Green Coast
Green Coast

The Wind Turbines

Map of the North Coast
Coastal Map

Shell Beach
Shell Beach in Hsimen

Snack Time
Snack Time

Stone Arch in Hsimen Township
Stone Arch

Me and the Stone Arch
Stone Arch

Roadside Temple
Road Side Temple

Promoting Kites
Kite Promotion Center

Wedding Pictures
Wedding Pics

Wedding Pictures
Wedding Pics

Wedding Pictures
Wedding Pics

What Happened Here
Crashed Car

Into Tamsui
Into Tamsui

After taking a short rest in Tamsui - and grabbing some food - I headed out to Taipei along the river. This is a well known route regularly ridden by weekend riders (and me) so there was nothing really new for me to see. I did see a guy riding a horse next to the path. As I took a picture the horse decided to take care of business. How apt! Also, going out from Guandu I saw the new bridge they were building near the incinerator. It is half finished and looked a bit odd. So anyway, after blasting my way past Guandu I rode to Dadaocheng where my chain fell of the bike. It was easy to put back on but I did have a nightmare flashback to when my whole gear rack was torn off the bike.

Tamsui MRT

Towards Taipei

Tree Overhang

The Cycling Routes

Guandu Bridge

Guandu River Boat

Horse Riding

Guandu Temple

Unfinished Bridge

Dadao Cheng

I suppose the biggest surprise of all was how low the river level was - it was terrifying. For some parts of the ride all I could see was the riverbed and no water whatsoever. That is frightening. Taipei really does need some rain and after seeing that I felt bad about bitching about the rain earlier. I have heard Taiwan is experiencing a drought and water shortages may be implemented but I was shocked to see how empty the rivers were. Hopefully we get some rain soon.

Anyway, it was a super awesome ride. It was tough, my legs were sore, and I know that I will do it again someday (just not too soon). It was a wonderful 117km! If you are fit enough, I highy recommend the ride. Thanks for reading, much appreciate it.


  1. Anonymous04 May, 2011

    Crazy ride! Cool pix!

    The Burning Captain

  2. Cheers Captain - appreciate the kind words

  3. Howdy,
    Just came across your blog.
    Wow - what a lot of pics from your ride.
    I do that ride a couple times a month, however I don't take many pics.
    I live in Danshui - there are a couple rides in the Sanzhi area I would be happy to show you -

    Nathan Miller

  4. Thanks for the comment Nathan - you have a really interesting blog too and I enjoyed looking at the articles (I will link it to mine).

    If you do that ride a couple of times a month then you must be superfit - that ride nearly killed me and got a lot of cramps - but still went through. As for the pictures, when I stop I take pictures to remember the things I enjoyed. I enjoy both the riding and the picture taking (but I am not a professional in either).

    Would be great to ride with you sometime - I am looking for new routes. I have done the Taipei-Fulong-Keelung circuit throught the mountains and the Taipei-Keelung-Tamsui circuit. I have also done the Wulai ride and I am thinking of doing the two day ride to Jiaoshi and back. So all any new routes are really great for me.

    Anyway, thanks for the kind words on the blog - much appreciated.

  5. You're my hero. Really, that's a great ride that one.

    The only part I've never liked is the road you took up Yangmingshan. It's usually packed with cars. I always go up from Jinshan and descend on the Taipei side if I can.

    The fact that you take a lot of breaks gives us a much better reading experience because we get to see so many pictures, so thanks for that.

    I'm still on for that over-the-mountain trek sometime.

  6. Peter thanks for your kind words and continued support. I really appreciate it. Actually I know that on the weekend the road is packed with cars - been there enough in a car, but Monday was fairly quiet so it was easy and I had no idea how else to go up and down.

    As for the breaks - yeah that is one way to look at it - actually, you know me, I have never really been about the speed but just for being outside and having fun doing something healthy. So if I have to take a break then so be it.

    The over the mountain ride has been growing in my thoughts. I think we can do it sooner rather than later. Queenie and Ava can take the bus to Jiaoshi and we can ride - we can leave much earlier in the morning to make sure we get there in the afternoon to enjoy some of the facilities. We need to talk more on this.

    Thanks for the comment.

  7. Nice trip, i really love your pictures. Just wondering, Is that a Giant Iguana?

    1. Hi Foncho - thanks for your comment and kind words. No it is a Giant Yukon - very old now - long in the teeth but still gives me miles.

      Thanks again for your comment.



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