Monday, April 4, 2011

Why not travel 10,000 miles?

No, I am not travelling 10,000 miles. I am only doing around 300 or so. But it's a Chinese proverb: [Instead of reading] 1000 rolls of books, why not travel 10,000 miles?

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail - my literature teacher used to tell me that. And I understand this well enough to know that I really should prepare. I had one month since I came back from Taiwan and I found three routes that were to my liking. Both starting at Kaohsiung then heading up to Taipei in three different ways. All routes are above 500km with different degrees of climbing.

You might wonder why Kaohsiung - well, I could only find open jaw tickets to Kaohsiung and departing in Taipei. Never occurred to me to do it the other way round, which could be because of some personal reasons, involving someone amazing.

Route 1:  Kaohsiung - Central TW - Taipei

This route is probably the most ideal route as far as touring goes but with a major problem - no, it isn't that long at 523km, but it has two peaks that have some 14% grades. To a Singaporean, 6% is already a grade too high. 14%... I'll be spinning at 90rpm but going at 5km/h. But this route is quieter, has better scenery as a result of the major climbing involved.

Route 2: Kaohsiung - Taitung - Eastern TW - Taipei

The longest route and probably the second best route because they tell me that "the west is grime, the east is sublime". But in order to do this, I will have to do the 640km involved, or I have to take the train to Taitung which feels a bit... weak. Not to mention, train regulations on bike carrying is just a massive hassle. If I have more time... I'd do this, but I have around 7 days of cycling only.

Sure, with a bit of pushing, this is not difficult, but I've been reading touring guides and they say - the more your ride a day, the more the tour is about the destination. I have not tested this or tested my preference, but I'd like to err on the safe side.

Route 3: Kaohsiung - Inner-West Taiwan - Taipei

This route was recommended to my by a certain Andrew Kerslake of fame. I'd take it because it is ~540km, has the least hills, and is closer to the cities for safety. And it hits Taipei, thus allowing me to say that I have done the Long Way Up. Or at least, travelled to two of Taiwan's biggest cities by bicycle. I'm excited!

Anyway, if I reach Taipei early, there's much more to do. The Northeast is famed for being awesome, then there's Keelung to go to. Can't wait! 18 days to go!

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