Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sunday Biking

Having just seen the first of the Hobbit movie adaptations, I'm reminded of Bilbo Baggins' reported remark to his nephew, Frodo, when I think of Taipei's riverside bike paths:

'It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,' he used to say. 'You step onto the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."

Setting off on one of Taipei's numerous interconnecting series of bike trails could lead you to far away destinations if you aren't careful. You can travel from the city edge to edge in most directions, out of it, or all 59 km around it.

It's been just over a year since I last wrote about biking in Taipei, and since then we've been on many expeditions. We're very lucky to be living next to a riverside bike trail, so can avail ourselves of the opportunity whenever the weather suits. We have my son's bike we brought over from the UK, soon to be outgrown, and I bought a second-hand, sedate ladies' bike, both of which we store in our basement garage; but there are also many bike rental places for those who don't own one, and most of them allow you to return your bike at your destination.

Today was beautifully warm and sunny, and as we've learned to value such winter days in Taipei, we took to our bikes and enjoyed a relaxed cycle up and down the river. As usual, we took a drink and a snack to break up the journey a little.

There's lots to see. As well as the beautiful scenery, as the trails pass through the riverside parks, there are many basketball courts, baseball grounds, playgrounds and general recreational areas. So we sit and eat our snacks and people watch.

It's nice to see lots of dads out exercising with their children.
Eyes shut is less scary.
 I'm not sure what this man's scarf is for. You often see scooter riders wearing them to protect themselves from exhaust fumes, but there aren't any noxious fumes on the bike paths.

You don't even have to be big enough for a bike seat to take to trails!

I think mum is coming up behind.

The river has been low for a while, which has an interesting effect:

The black shapes are fish congregating in the shallows. This area is near a drain outlet and the fish  like the nutrient-rich water. They're all the same species, up to a foot long and silvery-black. The other local wildlife clearly appreciate the easy pickings.

This heron is cooling down, possibly?

You can see the water teeming with fish around it.

These stray dogs leapt excitedly into the water, hoping for an easy meal I think, but were completely confused when the fish all swam away.

The paths are generally well-made and slope only enough to exercise cyclists' legs.

Construction of the paths continues, and I'm particularly looking forward to the opening of an access point just across the road from us in the next month or two. I'll be jogging by the river in the morning when that happens, rather than on the running machines at the local sports centre.

With a view like this, who knows what adventures the road will lead us to?

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