Monday, February 9, 2009

Of Bikes & Ice Cream: A Warm Day in Winter

Hey all, long time no see!

For various reasons, I haven't been able to get in a solid ride since hittin' back State-side. (bad weather, cold weather, no-sunlight weather, bike-still-in-a-box, meteor crashing on my toes, etc.) But with it being sunny and in the mid 60's (that's like 15C), I just can't waste the weather. So the SL FINALLY makes its debut in NC!

Saturday I decided to ride out to the historic downtown Apex area for lunch and a workout. Since starting to ride in the area, the old town Apex has always been the most scenic (it also gives you a brand new appreciation of the town's name ~_^). After a rather annoying head-wind climb into the old town area, I was pleasantly surprised that a good few specialty shops were replaced by eateries. I counted 2 sandwich cafes, 1 pizzaria, 1 mexican restaurant for food! Here's a street-side view of South Salem st:

The plan was to get a sandwich and chill for an hour or so...but parking space, a.k.a. sidewalk space, were all taken up by other bikes! I saw entire FAMILIES riding out here for lunch! It was awesome chatting with the excited kids on their streamer bikes!

Anyway, as I was hungry, I settled for the next-best solution for lunch:
That's right! No old town is complete without its ice cream parlor! And business was good! I waited a whopping 20 minutes for my turn, but the icy-creamy goodness was sooo worth it! =D

After Apex, it was my favorite stretch of road: 6 miles of 2% downhills and tailwind! Perfect time to crank up the speed...until I realized a senior rider on an old-school steel frame-converted TT bike was tucked away right behind me...AND HE KEPT UP! o.0 I was definitely impressed, hehe!

Of course, after the nice downhill stretch to New Hill, I lost him quickly by turning back onto 751 to go through Jordan Lake:
Seriously...days like these really highlights the kind of potential for bike trips in NC! Its GORGEOUS!

...and for the record, the ride wasn't completely cakewalk either. Here are the stats:

Cheers! and expect more ride reports to come!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

back in the shop

After a week-long recovery from jet lag, I finally got around to bringing the SL over to Frank's for reassembly and maintenance today.

Besides the usual check-ups and cleaning, there's also been a recall on the SL's fork. Apparently somebody rode his SL into a pothole and the fork cracked, so now they're recalling & replacing a good portion of forks. Details on the recall at

Assuming the bike is ok to ride, I should be on it this weekend. Anyone up for braving the cold?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How would YOU spend new year's day?

...BIKING, of course!

Woke up at 5:00a.m. to prep up for the ride (only 2 hours of sleep, and just in time to see my bro come home from his parties =P). Then headed out in full cold gear to join about 50 others at the president's building for the annual flag-raising ceremony. Apparently this has been a tradition for almost a decade for bikers in Taipei...pretty sweet way to start the new year.

Full cold gear @ new year's flag-raising ceremony. Behind the camera was a small group of highly controversial human rights protesters (not to be confused with bikers).

After the ceremony, we headed out for the day's ride. First, we went across the entire cite (my clipless pedals HATE frequent stoplights!), passing by Taipei 101 on the way.

Taking a proper pic of 101 is harder than i thought...stupid backlight!

After that, we hit some epic McDonald's (that and 7-eleven are the most bike-friendly rest stops here =P) for breakfast and made our way up Xiping highway over a small mountain. The climb wasn't so bad, but the sweat + cold winter wind was more of a danger at the peak, where we all regrouped.

Then we descended into some really well-known (among the locals) old towns: Pingxi and Jingtong. The pack leader chose Jingtong for our lunch destination, and for good reason:

Old-school train station...

...and a crap ton of food booths across the colonial-style main-street. YUM!

After the food break, it was a smooth descent back into Taipei city, passing the zoo along the way (bunch of people lined up to see the pandas from china lol...happy new year?). All in all a good 70km leisure/cultural ride. Highly recommend it to anyone visiting Taipei.

Recovery ride

After that grueling climb (srsly, it hurted like hell!), I decided to go on a recovery ride...ALL FLATS

The ride started at the river-side park. Praised as the 5-star bike lanes, there are currently 200km worth of these bike-and-pedestrian-only paths along the rivers in Taipei. And I have to say...its definitely 5-star quality (except the under-construction sections...and when there's no need to dodge kids, dogs, baseballs, rugby balls etc)

View of Da-zhi bridge from the river-side park

Can even see Taipei 101 from here!

Of course, biking in taiwan inevitably involves the other favorite pastime: FOOD!
Oyster pancakes, barbeque pork, ball soup, fried tofu for lunch @ Guan Du temple...YUM!
Also learned something interesting: there's a CRAP TON of bridges around the taipei area.

Guan Du bridge...connects to somewhere >.>;;

After passing by the Guan Du area, we continued down the park lanes, then transitioned to some road until hitting 101甲 road...the beginning of another tough climb. Definitely skipping this one today =P.

Yeah...this is as far as I'll go for the day.

Not too shabby for a recovery ride, but there's definitely more to come!