The 1st Epic Bike Ride of My Life

It was just another weekend for me.

…until the cloudy weather called me to bike and explore the Yuanshan and Xinsheng park areas.

I spent around 2 whole hours on these parks, but the trip still left me hanging because there weren’t much sights to see–just landscapes and people taking a leisurely day off with their families.

Soon enough, I decided to move on and try to explore the path I often glimpse while riding the MRT along Yuanshan.

The Yuanshan’s MRT track lines are on the bridge just below the red horizontal pipe.

At first, I felt quite hesitant to go beyond the road because I was expecting trucks and cars to zoom out of the blue. But minutes ticked by and none of those types of vehicles drove past this road.

So I moved on and decided to follow the other bikers that went ahead of the road.

I was only trying to find a new path to bike on. I only wanted to find a place where the asphalt roads are solely for bikes, where I can pedal to infinity and freewheel beyond.

Lo and behold, the path that I saw…

IT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE WITH CHERRY ON TOP AND WHIPPED CREAM GLAZED WITH CARAMEL.

This all caps sentence tries to put into words the rush of hyper-excitement I felt when I realized that I was right to heed my instinct and follow grandma biker. Trust your elders always.  I think I was unconsciously hyperventilating and might have also cussed a bit out of sheer excitement for something new and unknown.

From that winding road, I rode on to the sight of these:

The Grand Hotel–one of the famous landmarks in Taiwan.
 This is where Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Sr. stayed the night before he went back to the Philippines and was immortalized via the People Power Revolution.

I just can’t help but drop thy jaw and thank thine God for this wonderful wonderful discovery that had me chasing sunsets and so much more.

It was a blissful ride. It was liberating. For the first time since I started to bike around Taipei, I felt so happy and just flourishing with natural happy hormones that I just wanted that moment to play forever.

Almost running on empty (food and water) it was probably my endorphins which fueled me to pedal and continue my unknown journey onwards Dajia wharf until I eventually reached the long scenic bike path beside the Keelung river.

It was the moment I realized why Taiwan is rightfully called by its other name, “Formosa.”

So even if the sun finally said goodbye along the horizon, I decided to continue pedaling wanting to satisfy my curiosity while high on adrenaline. My only concern at that moment was to find out how long the trail is and where it would lead me to. AND IF I CAN EAT ANYTIME SOON.

The Miramar ferris wheel on the other side of the Keelung riverside bike path
is another popular tourist spot here in Taipei.

The ferris wheel lights up the sky at night with its candy-colored lights.

It was a bike ride to remember because it encompassed 6 whole hours of riding. I started biking around 4PM and was back home pass 10PM. Yup, 6 whole friggin hours with a few minutes of pitstops in between and boy oh boy did my butt scream in pain the day after.

What happened in those 6 full hours? Let me break it down for you:

First 2 hours – The real plan was to explore Yuanshan park and Xinsheng park. But soon as it dawned on me that I was just going ’round in circles, I slowly got bored and wanted to see more. Where are the rivers? What’s with all the shrubbery? And where are bike paths without kids suddenly popping up?

The next 2 hours – Thanks grandma for breaking the sign’s meaning. I shall not say more. Anyway, soon enough I was pedaling onwards Dajia wharf and there was the Keelung river greeting me with its promising view. 

The whole stretch of the Keelung riverside bike path is meant to be covered for roughly 2 1/2 hours. According to the map I saw, It takes 70 minutes to cover the stretch of the left bank from Yuanshan and 75 minutes to finish the right bank onwards Nangang.

So why did it all add up to 6 hours?

Maishuai 1st bridge

The golden-ish bridge is Maishuai 2nd bridge while the farther and smaller red bridge here is the famous
Rainbow Bridge. I was already exhausted by the time I saw the latter so photo op was skipped for next time.

Final 2 hours – Well, I spent my 8PM-10PM trying to find the Houshanpi MRT Station so I can ride there together with my bike. By 8PM my energy was spent and whatever adrenaline I had was slowly transforming into hunger pangs. I was starting to feel like I was high on hallucinations instead.

Soon as I’ve spotted a convenience store (Thank God for Family Mart!) I parked my bike and grabbed the first rice meal I spotted. This time also allowed me to recuperate before going to full MRT station exploration mode a.k.a. I-Need-An-MRT-Ride-Home-Please-Enough-Biking-Today.

Thus, I now conclude the 6 hours grand total epic bragging-rights-worthy bike ride of my life.
Hooray for getting lost. 

Finally on my way home! This was in Yongchin Station though, not Houshanpi. Why? Coz I got lost. DUH.

I am not sure if I ever want to repeat the same thing again. Let me rephrase that. I am not sure I CAN ever repeat the same adventure again. Besides, it was a happy accident. It’s something short of a miracle for me. It was really a pleasant surprise though I almost wanted to cry while searching for the nearest MRT within the Raohe area. I mean, what’s life without spice right? And like my friend said, there’s really no need to worry. Taiwan is just one stretch of an island. So long as I’m on land then I’m still in this country and that’s all that matters.

Vending machines: the miracle box that saves lives from dehydration, unless you forgot your coins

It was also an achievement that I would never forget. This epic bike ride beats the heck out of this scar that I got when I accidentally hit a post  when I got stunned to find an egret fly past me. I stopped so suddenly to take its photo and then smack! Post had its reflectors knocked out while Tel suffered a scratch.

Me – 1, Post on the street – K.O. 

I never thought biking can be as momentous as this. This epic bike ride taught me so much about enjoying what this world has to offer and how living in the moment truly feels like.

There were moments while I was biking along the riverside wherein I seriously can’t believe that I am being blessed to bear witness to what I am seeing–the river, the smooth and well-lit path, me surviving on just a bottle of water, people who also took the time to take photos of the sunset as I captured the pink sky on cam–it felt like I was meant to be there and feel alive.

I wish to return to this path again and when I do, I will bike ’til I reach the end on Nangang.

Next time, I will make sure I have enough supplies to last me the entire trip and also have friends to share the fun with.

Also next time, I will not get lost. Or at least, try not to.

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