A route which leads you to Yangmingshan along the riverbank cycle path. The path is vehicle free, and the you’ll climb in the shade of some trees. It's an escape from the busy city and you will have a bird’s eye view of it when you reach the top.
Elevation gain: 1,100m
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I’m Hsi-Chun Tsai, 30 years old, and a former GARMIN electronic engineer. I’ve been pedaling for over 13 years. From a college student, who commuted everyday between dormitory and campus in Taipei city, to a road bike owner, I suddenly fell in love with cycling after an unexpected climb to the outskirts of the city.
Why are you so obsessed with cycling? What makes you sustain your passion for this sport? What’s your motivation?
Not until my first climb of a hill near Taipei did I find my passion for cycling. Before that, I just thought that owning a road bike was a cool thing. The burning legs from slow pedaling on an ascent, the sense of accomplishment, and the view acquired through gaining altitude were what made me realize that cycling would be my favorite sport. Since then, I indulge myself in the joy of spinning every second. From the 8,000 kilometers I cycled in Japan in 2011, I’ve learned that through cycling you can see the world from a unique perspective. Touring 30,000km through Europe in 2015 made firm my passion for the road bike. Through pedaling, I learned to push myself to keep moving forward regardless of what’s waiting ahead. Seeing more of the world’s beauty keeps me keep riding. My motivation is the unknown beauty lying ahead.
To me, a bicycle is the best tool to explore a city. Starting from the large campus located in the center of Taipei city, I can reach the hills that surround the Taipei basin. My speed drops and I start sweating, yet I also get a clearer look at things. Sometimes I pedal alongside the rivers that sweep through the city. The riverside path guarantees a car-free loop heading to the sea, where you can watch a dazzling sunset.
If you choose to ride on a busy road, it will be fun of another kind, with the excitement of gliding through the busy city, the crowds, and the traffic. Dashing forward with an army of scooters at a traffic light, switching between roads and sidewalks, or weaving through buses and cabs. I used to feel solitary on the road, but now there’s a great number of public bikes allying with me against the force of scooters and vehicles. Taipei has been gradually turning into a cyclist friendly city with more bicycle infrastructure. Having travelled through 34 countries by bike in Europe, including 31 capitals, each of them has their own strong points and beauty. Nevertheless, the most wonderful thing is still to ride in the city you’re most familiar with. Whether cruising through the small alleys or taking on the climbs a stone’s throw from your door, the bike can lead you to fun you never knew.
My impressions of Taipei
Taipei is no less busy or crowded than most cities. As a result of the mix of commercial and residential areas, the city appears to be even more disorderly. Yet you can still have fun cycling through the hustle and bustle by switching swiftly from a busy avenue to a quiet alley. Or you can ride a bike-only path to enjoy this exclusive luxury for cyclists.
Wherever you start and whatever direction you head, the riverside path rolls out from Taipei at a low-and-smooth speed. Climb with a stable cadence and you’ll get the full view of a city bustling and flourishing, surrounded by quiet mountains and interlaced by rivers.