Sunday, April 29, 2012

Agongdian Reservoir Loop

There wasn't supposed to be a ride today - the weather forecast said a 70% chance of rain. After yesterday's thunder and lightning, I'd planned a swim at the gym. Woke late however to clear blue skies, so headed out. Haven't fixed the broken spoke on my Kona yet, so dusted off the road bike.

I have a bit of trouble doing pleasure rides on this bike as H.G. Wells described best:

I came out for exercise, gentle exercise, and to notice the scenery and to botanise. And no sooner do I get on that accursed machine than off I go hammer and tongs; I never look to right or left, never notice a flower, never see a view - get hot, juicy, red - like a grilled chop. Get me on that machine and I have to go. I go scorching along the road, and cursing aloud at myself for doing it. ~H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance

First ride with my new 50/34 compact crankset.

Earlier in the week, I'd planned a weekend ride out to Cock’s Comb Mountain for a hike, but the thought of starting a 200m hike just before noon made me change my mind. I therefore dedicate today's ride to Bruce Lee who said Be Like Water ( and follow the path of least resistance? )

Started the ride at Ciatou Sugar Refinery MRT station and headed east for around 25min. to Yanchiao and the Agongdian Reservoir bike path. It's best to do this ride counter-clockwise, as there are a couple of very short, but brutally steep, climbs that are easier in this direction.

The loop around the reservoir is only about 7km, but a nice escape from the sounds of cars and scooters. Also has a couple of suspension bridges thrown in.

After finishing the loop around the reservoir, it was time to head back the way I came. I have a fairly strong aversion to out-and-back rides - guess it comes from the limited choices I had for road rides as a lad in my home town: ride 20 miles north of town and back or 20 miles south of town and back.

I saw a fellow on a bike exit a little side road that followed alongside a canal. He said it would take me to Gangshan, just north of Ciatao, so I was off to explore. Turned out to be a very good choice.

A 10 minute blast south from Ciaotao on Highway 1 brought me to the Nantze Industrial District. The name alone should give you a pretty strong mental image of the place. Nantze is in fact an offence to every sense but one, as the high concentration of workers from Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand make it a culinary paradise in the middle of a wasteland. Stopped by my favorite Thai hole-in-the-wall for lunch.

Pictures of the king and queen on the walls, Thai whiskey and beer, Karaoke machine and heaping plates of cheap Thai food. Heaven! Was pretty quiet today due to being the last weekend before payday.

Ride Summary:  30km total
Ciaotou MRT to Agongdian Reservoir :  9km
Loop of Reservoir:  6km
Reservoir to Nantze : 15km

See this ride on Bikemap:  Agongdian Reservoir

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