Taichung definitely has better weather than Taipei right now with its clear blue skies and warmer temperatures!
I met with Colon Lai from Champion System Taiwan and he showed me the National Taiwan Championships circuit. It was a nice circuit, 10km with a punchy 5-6 minute climb. The road was super-smooth and goes through the Taichung Science Park.
The Taichung Science Park circuit is quite popular with riders coming out to practice on. Feng Chun Kai – the national champion from Team Exustar was the clear winner at the Taiwan National Champs late in 2009. I did one “hot” lap of the course, 42km/h average and 20km/h average up the climb. Colon had enough of riding and took me to a cool place to eat breakfast at a cafe where you can take your bikes inside. Breakfast consisted of a delicious tasting black sesame bread roll filled with german sausages and fresh vegetables. Some small brownie style cakes came on the plate and were good with the Latte I had.
After riding with Colon for most of the morning, I continued exploring Taichung on my own. I found myself in the mountains fringing the outskirts of the city – where the Da Keng Park is located in. I found some really nice narrow mountain roads without any traffic and spent the afternoon riding up and down the small mountains that ranged from 250 to 500m in height. There were other much bigger mountains in the distance, however I did not have time to do those as I needed to be back in the city to meet my wife who was doing a commercial shoot.
I clocked up 150kms of riding in Taichung and got a taste of what riding is like. It definitely lives up to the fact that it is sunny 330 days of the year and seldom rains. Makes for even better riding than in Taipei since you don’t have to clean your bike every couple of days!
Highly recommended areas for riding in Taichung (at least what I got to see anyway!)
- Taichung Science Park Circuit – great for doing multiple loops and to race your friends. In the fact, the local cycling community holds races on this circuit regularly – I had just missed a local race that had about 30 riders on Saturday
- Dakeng Nature Park Area – its the next most accessible area for riding and there are countless number of small roads that zig-zag all over the mountains. Excellent for spending a day to explore and you are never far away from a 7-11 or some kind of convenience store should you need to come out of the mountains to re-fuel
Some additional photos below: