Friday, May 16, 2008

Taichung and Taipei Trip

In Taichung, as in much of the central and southern parts of Taiwan, it is common to see rice paddies by the side of the road, often next to factories or residential houses. These last two or three days I did a lot of traveling on buses, on a train, in taxis, even on a bike which I borrowed from my friend. This bike reminded me a little of my bikes in Kona, especially the first one. Until I found out Matt Reed is 6ft 5in tall, I just assumed I would spend much of my life on bikes like these.
While in Taichung, I did get to visit a carbon bike manufacturer. They make nearly everything on a bike in carbon, except for the cassette and cables and a few obvious things like tires and tubes.
They even sell seats made of carbon. Perhaps OK for an indoor track race, and maybe not for Hawi and back. I don't know, but they are quite expensive. What's more, they have a 61cm carbon time-trial frame made to order, plus various styles of aerobars, brakes, cranksets, etc. Later this year, I hope I will be able to afford to buy enough parts so I can actually have a proper racing bike. If I get that to Kona, say, next year, I should be able to have some fun riding it.
After returning to Taipei fairly late last night, I got up fairly early and actually took breakfast with me on my walk in the hills. I visited the beautifully designed garden which is a long walk from anywhere and so very few people go there, but the flowers and trees are amazing. This is the one thing I miss about living in the old apartment in Taipei, which we will probably try to sell this year, as it is quite a lot of trouble to keep it. I will post more on this walk later.
It takes the best part of an hour to get to the middle of Taipei from our apartment which is on the outskirts of the metropolis. The older part of town, where I worked for many years, while very built up, is also quaint in places. For instance, in this relatively quiet alley just off a busy main street, the store owners have spread their bedding out over their bicycles to take advantage of the strong sunshine during the lunch hour.

While in Taipei, I had to sort out quite a few things related to our old house, like paying an overdue bill or two, visiting a police station to pick up a court document (fortunately just an action by a large group of neighbors that includes us because we own the property), sorting out my last year's taxes at the tax office, and going for a routine visit to the hospital, etc. Fortunately, I was able to get everything done in time to take a bus to the main train station where I caught the bullet train. Leaving Taipei at 17:00 hrs, it travelled 300 kph most of the way, and arrived at the last stop in Northern Kaohsiung, which is two miles from our home, at 18:36.
The reason I came back quickly is so that I can swim tomorrow morning, and get back to my "normal" workouts hopefully.

1 comment:

Randy said...

Great photos Bruce. I especially like the one of you on the bike. The helmet is great. I'm actually riding to Hawi tomorrow (Saturday) but from Hapuna (the Honu portion of the Ironman.) It'll be my first trip on the bike up there. Have a good swim.