mountain bike on the road from Pinglin to Shiding
This is a great ride that follows a circuit from Taipei to Pinglin (平林) and return. Once you pass through Xindian (新店) and begin climbing into the mountains you quickly leave the city behind. The mountain scenery is gorgeous and the gradient is gentle meaning you are not so exhausted that you can't enjoy the views. It's about 13 kilometres of continuous climbing before the road flattens out and you are rewarded with some great views from
Pinglin is a small town and every shop in the main street seems to be selling the same thing - tea! Tea is the main business of this town and it is home to the Pinglin Tea Museum. The museum is in an attractive setting and has some excellent displays.
A small road leads from Pinglin to Shiding (石定) and then back to Taipei. It climbs up and up amongst the tea fields until you finally reach the top and can then roll down to Shiding. Around Shiding they are busy constructing the Taipei to I-lan (宜蘭 Yilan) freeway. This is sure to change the character of this area somewhat, although much of the freeway will actually go through tunnels.
The route is very easy to follow. From Xindian take route 9 to Pinglin (follow the signs to Pinglin and I-lan). It is 26 kms from Xindian to Pinglin. About half is a gentle climb upwards and then a nice roll down to Pinglin. Traffic is moderate, but the road is twisty and sometimes narrow and you need to look out for the trucks.
From Pinglin follow route 106 (乙 yi) back to Taipei. This road is narrow but traffic is light. The climb out of Pinglin will test your legs. Once you get to Shiding the road is fairly flat all the way back to Taipei. You will come out in Muzha (木柵), near the Taipei Zoo.
There are several alternative routes you could follow. From Pinglin you could continue on route 9 to I-lan. From Shiding you could also turn off on route 106 to Pinghsi (平溪 Pingxi) and Ruifang (瑞芳).
3 October, 2002
* I travelled along this circuit by motorcycle in November 2006. The construction of the freeway is now complete, but it is still possible to ride this as per the information above. A more recent account of the ride is available at Biking in Taiwan.
** Also see the page about Pinglin for information about the Jingualiao Bicycle Paradise (金瓜寮鐵馬新樂園), a network of bike paths along the river near Pinglin.