Day 04 – Keelung river and spirited away


Start: 10:45 / Arrival: 19:45
Distance: 81km / Gained height 720 hm

Left the hotel in the morning, paid the luggage fee for our bicycle cardboxes and rode to Dadaocheng wharf as an “official” start.

Cycled a little bit up the Tamsui river path to change to the Keelung river bicycle path. Both paths are amazing and a must do for cyclists in Taipei, even on a rented bike.

The Keelung path is very quiet with a dedicated lane for cyclists and you can enjoy the view on the city.

Headwind was quite heavy and temperature hot and humid, allthough it is already autumn. We were sweating quite heavily, but there are vending machines everywhere for a refreshment.

One thing I noticed: YouBike, the public bicycle rental system is super popular and some people even use these bikes for sport. So imagine a rented bike and people wearing lycra riding them. Interesting to see: almost no one uses electric bicycles (in the land of bicycle manufacturers).

The ride up to Keelung was extraordinary nice – almost 95% is seperated from traffic and has very interesting routing, below bridges, speedway feeling…all accompanied by nice flora on the sides.

Unfortunately we had directly the first flat along it due to some construction material but we fixed it quickly.

Then arrived at beautiful Keelung, went for a convenience store to strengthen up for the last part. After riding a little bit along the Keelung port we got our first sight of the Pacific.

Traffic was a little bit heavier here but still bearable. After around 10km we left the Pacific for the finishing ride up to Jiufen, which is like 350 meters of height in 4km. In this climate it can be quite demanding, so we stopped quite some times for cooling our selfs down. Also sunset had already set in and we discovered a beautiful lit big temple…but also some gigantic spider webbing its net beside our bicycles.

Finally we reached Jiufen, but had quite hard time finding our japanese styled hotel, without carrying the full loaded bicycles up some stairs. The hotel was in the end almost at the top of Jiufen and we had to call (to be honest: quite frustraded) the owner to lead us to his place.

Took our room and a much needed shower, rushed down the stairs to the night market and had some shrimp balls and stinky tofu before chilling at the local family mart.

After writing the blog entry we went for what is so special in Jiufen: the viallage at night. It is said, but probably not really true, that the formerly gold digging village was an inspiration for Studio Ghiblis “Spirited away”.

Had an amazing walk around the little streets with its closed down stores (prior super heavy populated) and enjoyed the view from above down on the Pacific.

Going back to the hotel then was quite a challenge, I guess without the recorded GPS track, we would have never found our way.

Then had a last drink before arriving tired at the hotel.

Wow, what an adventure and a very great first day of cycling…

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