Driving is always a good way to travel, but most people just rush through their journey. Imagine slowing down the pace and enjoying everything around you: the warmth of the sunlight, the rush of the air, and the staggering beauty of the scenery. Cycling is by far the best opportunity for such an amazing experience.
The Northern-Cross Highway is a popular route for cyclists in Taiwan, due to its vastness of sites and its fairly challenging course.
Our journey starts halfway through the highway pass at Jiaoban Mountain, heading east along the valley of the Da-Han River. The ride embodies the word “relax” in this cool sunny weather with hardly anything more powerful than a gentle breeze. Passing many mountains, you reach your first destination: Ba-Ling. It’s a quiet end to a peaceful 25km ride.
The next day you return west, this time cutting into another smaller but even quieter county road. The first half of the ride is as nice as the previous day. You pass more gorgeous and majestic mountains, until you start ascending uphill. Every time you think that the climb will end after the next turn, you end up finding out there’s another longer, steeper slope. Luckily, you will be rewarded with a great burger shop at the end. You also learn a lesson: to never ever fight gravity.
The whole journey is a marvelous experience, a relaxing, soft ride with magnificent scenery, and a challenging, tiring but definitely accomplishable (my little sister can do it) uphill. However, the traffic is a problem because of the narrow road. As such, riders need to be extra cautious.
One good bit of advice for cyclists, is to never ride in rainy days. With the bad weather you won’t get a good view of the scenery. Most importantly, it is dangerous for cyclists. The road is really slippery, and the risk of landslides is much higher during rainy weather.
Another piece of advice is to definitely get a good bike, and not a cheap 2000NTD city bike. You won’t have a great experience on a cheap one because you will put too much effort into riding, so you won’t even have time to stop and enjoy things around you.
Biking is always a good way to travel, especially in Taiwan. Even beyond the Northern-Cross Highway, there are almost too many cycling routes for cyclists to explore. So, get ready for an astounding ride in this beautiful land of Taiwan.