The twelfth installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 12 was the last day. I have ridden from Keelung to Tamsui before (see Cycle Trip to Tamsui, Via Keelung) but that time my bike broke in Tamsui so had to taxi home. This time I made it all the way home with no glitches or breaks. Once again I knew what the road and actually was quite happy to meander my way slowly all the way to Taipei. There was a little bit of rain on the North coast, but nothing major, and I had a great ride home.
The ride from Keelung was a gentle 105km cycling trip along Route 2 to Tamsui and then a gentle ride along the river back to Taipei and Home.
I woke up early in Keelung and had a quick breakfast at KFC which was right outside my hotel. I packed up my bags and got ready for what would be the last day of riding. I was quickly on the road and managed to figure out the road to Taipei fairly quickly. The ride through the city itself was normal, no excitement. It was early and people were going about their day. When I finally got to Road 2 that takes you along the North coast, I was greeted with the tremendous view of Keelung Island (see above).
Onto the North Coast
Route 2 along the North coast is beautiful. You drop down onto Route 2 and see Keelung river and a beautiful little seaside town with a small beach. The road snakes along the coast to Yehliu and then Jinshan, Shiman, Sanzhi and Tamsui. The road is beautiful and I love riding next to the ocean always. It was a cool day and a pleasant day to ride.
I rode down to Yehliu and was hoping to get a picture of my bike with the Queen's head but when I arrived at the car park there must have been about 100 buses in the parking lot with lines snaking away from the entrance. It was worse than the last time I road there so I decided to skip it all together and headed back for the road. I was a bit hungry so stopped at a breakfast shop next to the harbor and had a great view of the fishing boats.
After Yehliu there was a slight drizzle which wasn't too bad and it was still comfortable enough to drive in. I rode past Jingshan next to the Ocean and stopped at a bay where I saw some very optimistic surfers on their surf boards waiting for a few waves in a flat sea. I didn't really think they would get to do much surfing on that day.
I carried on pedaling along the road, past the wind turbines on the North Coast and continued to enjoy the gentle sea breeze. I rode up to Shimen and took the standard picture outside the Shimen Arch and then headed out on my way to Baishawan and Tamsui.
Outside Baishawan I saw a couple of fisherman next to the ocean. There were also quite a lot of people enjoying the day on the beach. From a distance I could also see some model shoots taking place. It looked like a nice day at the beach for everyone.
Lunch at the Longhorn Grill
At this point it was lunch time and I had been planning to stop at the Longhorn Grill for a good Texas burger. I have seen this restaurant a couple of times on my excursions on the North Coast but this was the first time I remembered to try it. I stopped and had a burger and it wasn't bad. It was a good decision to stop there and it was the first burger I had eaten in a couple of weeks so I naturally enjoyed it.
After lunch I into Tamsui and was feeling awesome that I was nearly finished. It was a great feeling. I dropped off the main road onto a back road. Some of the roads I rode on were closed (but OK for bicycles). It was great to be off the main road and avoiding the cars, buses and trucks. On one of the back roads was a couple taking their wedding pics on a motorcycle. They looked awesome.
I next rode down to Fisherman's wharf were I took a couple of pictures. I went there as it is closest to the river and I wanted to ride along the river from the beginning to Gongguan. When I got there I met a group of Filipino woman who wanted to take a million pictures with me. I obliged. They were really happy and excited. They also took a bunch of pictures with my bike.
After leaving Fisherman's Wharf I rode along the river into Tamsui along the river and got a great view of the Taipei Harbor across the river. I remember at that point thinking I had done it as I was now looking on the opposite side of the river where I had started the ride two weeks before.
I just continued next to the river towards the Tamsui and the Guandu bridge. Along the way I saw a couple of very strange pigs tethered to the window outside a restaurant. I figured they were going to be dinner in the not too distant future but they looked cute (not regular pigs). There were also other people taking wedding pictures along the river and the river was fairly busy compared to what I was by now used too.
Back to Taipei
I left Tamsui and was headed for the last leg of the journey: 27km along the river to home. I got from Tamsui to Guandu in relatively short time and I was ECSTATIC. The picture below represents the full circumnavigation of Taiwan. The foot of the Guandu bridge is where the circumnavigation started and where I thought it would end. I was thinking to myself that if I wanted to take the MRT home from there it would be OK. But I rode it anyway. Still, I was ecstatic and proud of what I achieved.
I could see the clouds in the distance and thought I would get wet as it looked like there was a huge thunderstorm brewing in the distance. As it turned out, I just missed the rain.
I got to Dadao Cheng and met a lady there who loves cycling. She was impressed that I had ridden around Taiwan and said she was planning to ride around the island in the next while. I said she should do it. Her name was Coco and she has since invited me for a couple of rides around Taipei and in Yilan. She belongs to a cycling club and likes to ride in big groups.
From Dadao Cheng the ride was easy: I just followed the river, passed Banciao, and headed up towards Gonguan. I was now just looking forward to getting home. As I got closer to Gongguan I saw evidence of the huge rainstorm I had just missed. I was so happy about that. I was getting close to home now and I really wanted to get home, unpack and stretch out.
I finally got to Gongguan and headed through the all too familiar streets. The roads were crowded as it was close to rush hour: motorcycles, cars, buses all competing for space on narrow roads. I headed down Hsin Sheng South road to Ta An park and saw the building I live in.
After 12 days of riding, 15 days away from home and 1,230km I was finally home. It was an awesome feeling. There was no welcome party, my wife was at work. It was just me. We had a new doorman in our building and he didn't want to let me in as he didn't believe that I lived there. That was an unexpected glitch. It was an incredible feeling when I walked out the elevator, parked the bike for the last time and took off the bags. I went into our apartment, sat down on the sofa and thought: a job well done, a job well done.
Other Cycling Round Taiwan Installments
- Around Taiwan - Final Overview
- Day 01 - Taipei ~ Hsinchu
- Day 02 - Hsinchu ~ Taichung
- Day 03 - Taichung ~ Budai
- Day 04 - Budai ~ Kaohsiung
- Day 05 - Kaohsiung ~ Kenting
- Day 06 - Kenting ~ Dawu
- Day 07 - Dawu ~ Chenggong
- Day 08 - Chenggong ~ Hualien
- Day 09 - Hualien ~ Suao (Suhua Highway)
- Day 10 - Suao ~ Ilan
- Day 11 - Ilan ~ Keelung
- Day 12 - Keelung ~ Taipei