Cycling to the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) - 116 km

The Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) (Wikipedia page) is located in Taoyuan (桃園) and I was told is a decent destination for a day's ride. I have never been there before so when I was recently invited by a Church friend, Ming, to ride with him and another mate, David, to the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫), I agreed. Ming had previously invited me to ride there with him but we could never really find a compatible time. Ming and David typically ride a "straight-line" there and back route but I dislike those and prefer riding in loops so I can explore more. I suggested a route I had seen on Strava. Happily they agreed. The route proved to be an awesome adventure with a few decent climbs and a prolonged ride next to the reservoir. It was a great day out and riding around the reservoir is certainly a great thing to do and should be a part of anyone's riding itinerary in Northern Taiwan.

Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)
Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫).

The Route

We met up at the Gongguan (公館) Bike Rental area and rode to Xindian (新店) along the river, exiting just before Road 110. From there we followed Road 110 all the way to Sanxia (三峽). From there we connected with Road 3 and followed that until we hit the Road 7-1 (7之) intersection to Daxi (大溪). We followed Road 7-1 (7之) to the end and then turned right onto Road 7. From there we turned onto the Tao-63 (桃63) which would take us next to the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) until we reached the West side. From there we dropped onto Road 4 and followed it for a few kilometers until we found the riverside path next to the Dahan River (大漢溪) in Taoyuan (桃園), and except for one small detour through Yingge (鶯歌), we followed the path along the river all the way back to Gongguan (公館).

A Normal Beginning

Me, Ming and David meeting in Gongguan (公館)

Ming, David and myself met up at the Gongguan (公館) Bike Rental area at 7:30 am. Little did I expect the trip to take 12 hours. I think it was a bit long but we took lots of breaks, enjoyed the scenery and took a lot of pictures. When we arrived in Gongguan (公館), the sun was already out and the weather report suggested the average temperature through the day would be 37°C. Hydration would definitely become the day's watchword.

After some very brief greetings and introductions (it was the first time I was meeting David) in Gongguan (公館) we jumped on our bikes and headed for Xindian (新店) along the North side of the river bank. The initial ride to Xindian (新店) was simple enough and something I have done countless times before.

View from our Breakfast Shop in Xindian (新店)

We got there very quickly and stopped at a breakfast shop just before Road 110 to catch a quick bite to eat and chat about the route. Ming and David have ridden to the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) many times before, but normally in a straight line i.e. there and back the same way. We discussed it and eventually it was decided to do a loop that I had seen on Strava. It would require a little more climbing but also give us the chance to ride next to the reservoir. David and Ming were both keen as the route would take us along a new road.

Breakfast in Xindian (新店)

Road 110 - From Hell to Heaven and Back Again

Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽) - Bridge over the Xindian (新店) river

After finishing breakfast it was time to head down Road 110 from Xindian (新店) and make for Sanxia (三峽). The first part of Road 110 is a nightmare, especially in rush hour traffic. Buses, trucks, scooter and cars all jockey for position. Buses were coming past us with only centimeters between our handlebars and them. It wasn't a pleasant experience and I was soon very doubtful about this trip thinking that if most of the roads were like this it would be a disaster. The road in the beginning was awful and it could only improve!

David on Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽) - Fighting Buses and Trucks

As we moved further along Road 110, the traffic did clear up a bit and it became easier to ride on the road. I started feeling a little less threatened but certainly, given another opportunity to ride to the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫), I will figure out a way to skip this part of the road. It wasn't pleasant. Even though the traffic did thin out quite a bit, the buses were still ever present for the first 6 km along the 110.

Ming and David on Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽)
Ming and David on Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽)

Ming on Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽)
Ming on Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽)

After the first few kilometers (I think about 6 km or so, the road completely cleared up and we were riding next to some of the nice vegetation that Taiwan is famous for and that I have grown to love. Although the views being thrown up were not the best views in Northern Taiwan (I have seen better), it seemed like we had arrived in heaven after the terrible traffic we had just fought our way through. The best part was the shady spots under the trees that we could ride through and reduce the effects of the burning sun.

Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽) Improves

After a short while Road 110 snakes upwards for about 2 km. The gradient isn't terribly steep and it is a good little warm up for what was to come. It was nice to stretch the legs on the uphill. The road improved a great deal going uphill: much less traffic and much more shade. I really appreciated the shady spots in the road that provided brilliant protection. I don't mind riding in the sunshine (I do most times I go out) but it is great when there is some respite from the burning sun. In the picture below you can also see some of the brilliant views of the mountains in the background.

Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽) Snakes Up

After getting over the top of the little hill on Road 110, we started our descent into Sanxia (三峽). On the way down we passed a few motorcyclists all dressed up for a day's riding. We normally encounter a lot of motorcyclists on Road 9 to Pingling (坪林). Although we did not see as many bikers as we do on Road 9, we did see a few hard core bikers on Road 110. At one point, a group of about 10 bikers passed us on the road. They made an impressive noise.

Bikers on Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽)

As mentioned earlier, in the beginning Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽) is a nightmare with buses, cars, trucks and motorcycles clogging the road and competing for space. Once you get further along Road 110, the road becomes nearly desolate and you are hemmed in by the surrounding vegetation. It makes it seem almost heavenly compared to what we had just been through.

Beautiful Part of Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽)

Dropping further down Road 110 we passed an area of dense vegetation with plants and trees endemic to most of Northern Taiwan. It made for a beautiful backdrop and in the middle of the bush was a small temple. A small river flowed through the valley making a most quintessential country scene. It was a beautiful place to be riding and I was amazed at how the road changed from being a nightmare at the beginning to being almost heavenly at this point.

Temple in the Hills on Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽)

River in the Valley next to Road 110

We dropped further down Road 110 to Sanxia (三峽) and came to this Pagoda in Dacheng (大城) which is a regular resting spot for Ming and David. It has a good little view and it is cool. Because I was delayed taking pictures on the way down, they had a much longer rest than me. But it was OK. It was nice to sit there and relax in the coolness of the Pagoda. I suggested to them that if we ever ride this way again, this is where we should have breakfast. It would ensure that we got some real miles under the wheels before we had our first meaningful break.

David and Ming Resting in the Pagoda in Dacheng (大城)

David and Me Resting in a Pagoda in Dacheng (大城) on Road 110
David and Me Resting in a Pagoda in Dacheng (大城) on Road 110

Me in the Pagoda in Dacheng (大城) on Road 110
Me Resting in a Pagoda in Dacheng (大城) on Road 110

After a 10 minute break we followed Road 110 all the way into Sanxia (三峽) where we once again got thrown into one of Taiwan's industrial backwaters with busy traffic, trucks and buses. Although, it should be said that at this point the traffic had thinned out quite a bit so it wasn't quite as harrowing as when we started. Arriving in Sanxia (三峽) also meant that the first milestone of the day had been achieved and the next goal would be Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫). We turned from Road 110 onto Road 3 into Sanxia (三峽) and were soon on our way to the reservoir.

Quickly Through Sanxia (三峽)

Road 3 to Daxi (大溪 ) - Arriving in Sanxia (三峽)

We turned left from Road 110 onto Road 3 to Daxi (大溪) and quickly arrived in the center of Sanxia (三峽). We figured out the route to Daxi (大溪) but as it turned out we would not need to go there like we originally thought. We would be able to get onto Road 7-1 (7之) directly from Road 3 and start climbing into the mountains. As soon as we turned left onto Road 3, we crossed over a small river and were quickly into the center of Sanxia (三峽). Once in the center of Sanxia (三峽), we turned left and followed the signs to Daxi (大溪).

River in Sanxia (三峽)

Middle of Sanxia (三峽)

We started to cycle out of Sanxia (三峽) fairly quickly but we did get stuck at a couple of traffic lights on the way out. Traffic lights are irritating and a great reason not to ride in the cities and towns. But soon we crossed the Sanxia (三峽) river and were well on our way out of the town and heading into the mountains.

On Road 3 in Sanxia (三峽)
Stuck at a Traffic Light in Sanxia (三峽)

The Sanxia (三峽) River
The Sanxia (三峽) River

We glided through Sanxia (三峽) on Road 3 until we found an intersection for Road 7-1 (7之) and Road 3. We stopped there to take a short rest at the Hi-Life and prepared to head down Road 7-1 (7之) on a 14.5 km ride that would take us into Daxi (大溪) Township.

Road 7-1 (7之) - The Climb

Resting in the Hi-Life at the Road 3 & Road 7-1 (7之) Intersection
David and Ming Taking a Break at the Hi-Life

After a 20 minute rest it was time to get going on our bikes and to start the 14.5 km journey over the only significant mountain on the whole trip. The climb was a little over 300 m and the gradient not too steep. But we did run into some difficulties on the way up and went up way more slowly than we should have. However this gave us plenty of time to enjoy the view and to take plenty of pictures.

Road 3 & Road 7-1 (7之) Intersection
Road 3 & Road 7-1 (7之) Intersection

Almost as soon as you hit Road 7-1 (7之) to Daxi (大溪) Township you come across these amazing views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. It is very beautiful. The picture below was the first of many views that we saw going up the mountain.

First View from the Road 7-1 (7之)

Shortly after arriving on Road 7-1 (7之) I came across the sign below which clearly says no graders allowed. It is the first time I can recall ever having seen this sign anywhere. It is a good thing! Too often in Taiwan we see graders randomly digging up stuff. This is preventative and will HOPEFULLY help to preserve this part of Taiwan.

No Graders Allowed

Road 7-1 (7之), while not the most beautiful road I have ridden on in Taiwan, has some great views and, if riding to the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫), is well worth doing. Almost as soon as you get on Road 7-1 (7之) the views of the country side open and on one side you have a wall of vegetation and on the other side of the road a small river valley that makes it a beautiful experience.

Beautiful River View on Road 7-1 (7之)

Although the river valley on Road 7-1 (7之) is not as beautiful as what I saw when riding in the Mountains of Wulai (烏來), the views are still beautiful and, given the alternative of riding on a bigger road, this was by far the preferable option. The river gorge extends most of the way up the mountain and so you are always within reach of it. I personally find riding next to rivers very relaxing and always enjoy the experience.

River next to Road 7-1 (7之)

River next to Road 7-1 (7之)

In the beginning Road 7-1 (7之) is an undulating road. The beginning is easy and not terribly steep at all. We made good, steady progress along the road and continued to enjoy the scenery. After a few kilometers, however, the gradient did increase and there were no more downhills until the 12 km marker. When we started to climb we took a few more rests and had the opportunity to enjoy the scenery a little more.

David and Ming Making Progress on Road 7-1 (7之)

We started to climb the 300 m mountain at a gentle pace. It was a very hot day but just pushing slowly down on the pedals and taking our time going up ensured that we made slow but steady progress. For myself I found the ride to be pleasant and the (mostly) gentle gradients easy enough to power up. I have been doing a lot of mountain riding lately so I think my legs are getting stronger and my cardiovascular fitness has improved a lot so moving up the inclines on Road 7-1 (7之) was easier than I thought it would be. David is a fit guy and he was also doing pretty well on the slopes. The third in our party, Ming, is new to riding up mountains so I tried to maintain a slower pace so we could go up the mountain together, and all the time we were riding on Road 7-1 (7之), the river was next to us.





River next to Road 7-1 (7之)

Even though we were riding at a slower pace, it was still hot work out there so taking a few water breaks and grabbing a rest here and there was necessary. We took short breaks fairly regularly and to be fair, in the beginning of the ride, Ming and David would go ahead of me and would have to wait since I would stop and (as you can see) take a lot of pictures. Our first stop on Road 7-1 (7之) was under a bunch of bamboo trees that provided some brilliantly cool shade. As you can see from the second picture below, it was a clear blue sky and a very hot day. This also marked the beginning of the biggest part of the climb.

Resting on Road 7-1 (7之)

Under a Bamboo Sky

Shortly after moving on from our rest position, we crossed into Taoyuan (桃園) County. There wasn't anything special to demarcate the border, just a small sign.

Welcome to Taoyuan (桃園) County

Even though we continued to go up, the river was still mostly running next to us on the left hand side. Eventually we did part ways from the river, but I cannot recall at what part. Also, if we looked out over the left side of the road, there were beautiful mountain views most of the way up the mountain. The mountains were covered with the typical lush, green vegetation that is endemic to Taiwan and makes for amazing views. Looking out the surrounding greenery is relaxing and something I never get tired of. Even though the gradient of the hill increased slowly, the spectacular views helped motivate me to keep on hitting the pedals. It was brilliant to be riding up another of these beautiful hills in Taiwan.

River Next to Road 7-1 (7之)
A River Follows the Road

Beautiful Mountain Views

Lush Green Vegetation Next to Road 7-1 (7之)

Beautiful Views from Road 7-1 (7之)

Stunning Views from Road 7-1 (7之)

As I mentioned earlier, the gradient progressively increased, and although it never became very steep, it still slowed us down a bit and we had to start working a little harder to get to the top of the hill. The road itself was in great condition (I cannot recall an open road in Taiwan in bad condition) which made for pleasant riding. Also, as you can see from the pictures below, we were often hemmed in by more vegetation and it helped to keep us cool. We continued to press forward up the hill even as it got a little more difficult. It was great though to feel the burn in the thighs and know that the heart was pumping.

Ming Rides up Road 7-1 (7之)

Looking Up Road 7-1 (7之)

Looking Down Road 7-1 (7之)

Since it was a hot day, we did take a couple of breaks here and there, drank lots of water and ensured our muscles were properly rested before we tried to ride too far or push too hard. Also, stopping and resting gave us the time and space to appreciate our surroundings and enjoy the views. I often think if people ride too fast they miss out on the best part of the journey: enjoying the view. I am sure if I had a lighter bike, proper riding togs and didn't ride with a pannier I could be much quicker, but I am not there for speed, I am there to enjoy the scenery and experience the outdoors in Taiwan.

David and Ming Resting on Road 7-1 (7之)

Ming Catching 40 winks on Road 7-1 (7之)

After a while we reached the top of Road 7-1 (7之) and were looking forward to the promise of a downhill. The top is at the 12 km marker and I think the downhill was only about 2.5 km, but it was still great to rest the legs and cruise all the way down to the Hi-Life on the other side of Road 7-1 (7之)

At the top of Road 7-1 (7之)

At the top of Road 7-1 (7之)

The next time we stopped was at the Hi-Life at the intersection between Road 7 and Road 7-1 (7之). Road 7 is the start of the Northern Cross Island Highway and is a road I want to do sometime soon. I have heard great things about this route. From the Road 7 and Road 7-1 (7之) intersection the trip to Ilan I believe it is around 105 km. At this point I think we had ridden about 48 km so the total trip from home to Ilan on this route would be around 160 km (or maybe a little more). Anyway, now I know a great way to get to the Highway so I will probably be riding it soon.

Road 7 to Ilan

Hi-Life at the Road 7 and Road 7-1 (7之) Intersection

We took a well earned rest at the Hi-Life at the Road 7 and Road 7-1 (7之) Intersection. We ate a banana each and drank a lot of water. We stood inside the air-conditioned shop to hide away from the heat and to cool off. All three of us were sweating up a storm and needed to take a decent rest. However, after 15 minutes or so, it was time to head off again. We soon hopped back on our bikes and turned right onto Road 7.

Road 7 to Daxi (大溪)

Road 7 to Daxi (大溪)

View from Road 7

We rode about 5 km or 6 km on Road 7 until we hit the first traffic light where we turned left and dropped onto the Tao-63 (桃63) (Hua De Road) and headed for the final 2 km to Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫).

Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

We finally arrived at the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫). The view of the reservoir was stunning. Of course it was a hazy because of the heat and moisture but it was still an incredible sight. We were all really happy to have arrived but I think, since it was the first time for me to ride there, I was the most excited.

Ming and David at Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

Ming and Me at Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

After enjoying the view at the start of the reservoir we started the 10 km ride along the undulating Tao-63 (桃63) that runs next to the river. The Tao-63 (桃63) next to the reservoir is beautiful. You are either surrounded by amazing vegetation or have tremendous views of the water. The reservoir itself is located in a basin that is surrounded by mountains so the views are amazing.

Boat on the Reservoir

The Stunning the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

Partly because of the time we arrived and also because of the coolness of the water and the shade that covers the Tao-63 (桃63),  this part of the ride was significantly cooler than what we had just experienced and was very pleasant. It was wonderful to be riding next to the lake and in the trees that cover the lake side road. As you can see from the pictures below, the Tao-63 (桃63) is a beautiful road (even without the vistas of the reservoir) and comes highly recommended by me. The Tao-63 (桃63) is an undulating road with some ups and downs all the way to the end, but there is nothing too excessive and these ups and downs are easily negotiated by anyone of average riding ability. I didn't find any of the uphills particularly challenging and enjoyed all the downhills. The 10 km next to the lake is well worth the effort! 


The Tao-63 (桃63) next to Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

The Tao-63 (桃63) next to Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

Shortly after we started riding next to the lake on the Tao-63 (桃63), we came across an advert with a bunch of windmills on the side, it was kind of cute so I stopped to take a picture. I guess that was the effect the advertisers were hoping for. The plastic windmills certainly got my attention.

Plastic Windmills on the Tao-63 (桃63)

Riding next to the lake on the Tao-63 (桃63)also threw up some great views of the reservoir (see the picture at the top of this post) and also of the surrounding country side. It was just such an amazing place to be! We came across (what I later found out) was an old decrepit sand filter (see picture below). I would never have guessed. I took the picture below and showed it to the owner of the restaurant where we had lunch and she said that this device filtered sand out of the water and perhaps help prevent silt build up in the reservoir. Although I am not sure that this description is correct (and I am open to correction), it seemed like a plausible explanation for the device.

Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) Sand Filter

Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) Surroundings

Without a doubt, the most captivating views on the Tao-63 (桃63) were definitely of the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) and the rivers that flow into the lake. It is truly beautiful. I wish we had gotten there earlier now so we could have spent more time riding around the lake and explore further, but because we only arrived at the Tao-63 (桃63) at around 2:00 pm we were hard pressed for time so we needed to move more quickly than I would have liked. It was however, a great place to be riding and I will make an effort to go back.

Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)
Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

River into Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

After riding for maybe an hour we arrived on the West-side of the the Tao-63 (桃63) and at the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) dam wall. The views from the dam wall of the reservoir are stunning and also the views of the plains below are very impressive. When David and Ming normally ride to the reservoir, this is where they usually end up and leave from. It was the first time for either of them to ride next to the reservoir on the Tao-63 (桃63) and they both said they liked it a lot. I am happy we did that too. We got to enjoy riding next to the lake and then we got to enjoy the scenery at the dam wall itself and I think this route is the better option than just riding to the dam wall and back again.

View of Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) from the Dam Wall

View from Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) Dam Wall

Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) Dam Wall

Of course there is the mandatory statue of Chiang Kai Shek overlooking the dam and I just had to take a picture of that too.

Chiang Kai Shek Statue

We arrived at the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) dam wall at around 3:00 pm. At the wall there are a string of restaurants with beautiful views of the wall and the surrounding area. We quickly chose a restaurant and David ordered a massive lunch for three people. To be honest, even though I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast (except for a banana), I wasn't particularly hungry. I decided to jump in though and eat something to prevent me from crashing on the ride home. After lunch I was also tempted into an ice-cream (which is a strict no-no on my new eating lifestyle), which I enjoyed immensely.

David and Ming at Lunch

Me and my Ice Cream

Homeward Bound

We left the dam after lunch at around 3:40 pm and started the "long" trek back. It would be much quicker than getting there because it was mosty down-hill or flat. After lunch we got back onto the Tao-63 (桃63) and raced down a steep 2.0 km hill (where I hit my top speed for the day of 54 km/h) and got onto Road 4 for Taoyuan (桃園)

The End of Tao-63 (桃63)

We got onto Road 4 at around the 34 km marker and would ride along the Road for about 8 km before we came to a fancy bridge, where we would drop onto the river side path and ride more or less non-stop to Gongguan (公館).

Road 4

Road 4 was a pretty easy ride: very flat, no hills and, for the most part, no trucks. We cruised quite quickly down the road and made good progress. Everyone I think felt energized by the long lunch break and the food we had just eaten. Along the road we passed some beautiful rice paddies (but not many). Still, the rice paddies are very common in Taiwan and make the countryside look beautiful


Rice Paddies on Road 4
Rice Paddies on Road 4

Pretty soon we came to a bridge that crossed the Dahan River (大漢溪) in Taoyuan (桃園). We would pretty much follow the Dahan River (大漢溪) from here all the way into Taipei and onto the Xindian (新店) River.

Bridge over the Dahan River (大漢溪)

Rice Paddies Next to the Dahan River (大漢溪)

The Dahan River (大漢溪)

After crossing the Dahan River (大漢溪) we followed Road 4 for two more kilometers before we came to a beautiful bridge that was clearly built as a tourist attraction. We stopped here for a water break and also so that I could take a look at the bridge since it was my first time there. I also saw an aboriginal girl doing some modeling so of course I had to get my regulation snap.

Fancy Bridge over the Dahan River (大漢溪)

Aboriginal Model

We rested for about 15 minutes and then from there dropped onto the river side path next to the the Dahan River (大漢溪). I was pretty amazed to realize that we could ride from there to Taipei all next to the river (except for a small detour in Yingge (鶯歌)). The riverside path itself was, in the beginning, a combination of a cyclist-only path and a small country road for farmers to be able to drive on. Altogether it was a well kept road and pretty safe to ride on. In the beginning the road was a bit a rustic, but it was still a good place to be riding.



Riverside Path Next to the Dahan River (大漢溪)

The views along the riverside path were still stunning. I enjoyed riding there as it seemed quite natural (although I new just a few hundred meters to my left it was now very industrialized). The riverside was beautiful and still had a lot of greenery. We rode hard next to the river and picked up the pace quite a bit (thanks to David). I tucked in behind David and drafted him for long stretches at 30 km/h. It was a great cardio workout!



Views Next to the Dahan River (大漢溪)

Just before we arrived in Yingge (鶯歌) we stopped outside the sluice gates on the Dahan River (大漢溪). I never expected to see those. To be honest, I thought we would first have to ride through Sanxia (三峽) before we hit Yingge (鶯歌) but was happy to realize we were much further along when we passed the sluice gates and got into Yingge (鶯歌) itself. From there, we jumped back onto the river side path (which I have ridden a few times before) and headed for home.

Sluice Gates Oustide Yingge (鶯歌) on the Dahan River (大漢溪)

The riverside path from Yingge (鶯歌) is well maintained, but on a late Friday afternoon it certainly gets busier. I decided to jump behind David and draft him for a while, this way I could maintain 30 km/h more easily and get the workout I was craving. David is a fast rider and I think he could go faster, but happily he didn't!

Riverside Path from Yingge (鶯歌)

The views from the riverside path from Yingge (鶯歌) are still spectacular with beautiful lush green vegetation on the right side and the river valley extending before you. Of course you can see many more buildings in the background but it is still a good place to see some nice greenery.


Views from the Dahan River (大漢溪) Riverside Path

After blasting along the riverside path for a while we finally came to the bridge where we would cross over to the other side and head for Gongguan (公館). We stopped there for a 10 minute water break and that is where I realized my camera battery was finished. We looked over the river and saw the massive highway on the other side of the river basin. It was an impressive view but not the view that inspires and brings peace to the soul.

Looking over the Dahan River (大漢溪)

We crossed the river quickly and headed for Gongguan (公館). Up ahead were the big mountains that frame the Northern part of the Island and when we were heading for home I looked over my shoulder and saw the beautiful sunset and the fading light. When I looked up again at the mountains and the dying sun I realized that I was sad the ride was ending and there was a longing for a new road, a new ride, a new adventure. It is something I feel every time I head for home and I cannot wait for the next ride.

We very quickly arrived back in Gongguan (公館) at around 6:40 pm. It had taken us three hours to get home compared to the 7.5 hours it took to get to the reservoir.. I couldn't believe how fast we had gotten back. It was a good effort by everyone. We took our leave of one another and will probably ride together again soon on new roads and new adventures.

Final Thoughts

This was the first time I have ridden on a long ride with a group of people ever. I normally ride alone. It took some getting used to. I think though we need to learn how to stick together and support each other more as a team. We should always stay with the trailing cyclist, especially in more remote parts of the ride. If something happens to the guy at the back and no one is there to help him, he will be stuck. It was a good experience but I think I need to learn more about riding in groups. It was fun though and I am more open to riding with other people now than before this trip.

As for the route, except for the first part of Road 110, the route was a good one. I think if I can avoid the first part of Road 110 this ride would be worth repeating. Also, if you are a cyclist in Northern Taiwan riding to the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) should be on your cycling itinerary. I am glad I did it and will probably do it again in the next year.

It was a good day out. It tool longer than I thought it would but it was a lot of fun. I will be out on the bike again soon and I am looking forward to new adventures and new roads. See you next time somewhere out there on the bike!

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