More from Taichung…
Today is our last day in the factory here at Ideal. Tomorrow we will be heading to Taipei for the show and the true madness that is the beginning of the season’s multiple trade shows and events. The coin has been tossed and the game is about to begin…
Saturday Steven and I joined a small group ride and rode up Snow Mountain- it’s about 52km of climbing… but thankfully for my big arse, we “only” rode up 18km to the police station.
The climb rose up out of the city and up into an amazingly lush tropical forest complete with bamboo and ferns and tones of trees. The air was so moist that there were corners that had to be ridden very cautiously because the road was covered in moss. But oh how fun that descent was!
On Sunday we went out by ourselves and rode up another mountain/ hill that climbs out of town and has a velodrome that was built several years ago for the Asian Games. The track surface is teak to withstand the weather conditions- which I would imagine actually retains a fairly good grip when wet.
On the way out of the velodrome facility, I snapped my chain. We tried in vain to fix it with a couple of rocks and the help of a very enthusiastic local who was there at the sports facility with his kids. Even though he spoke no English he came running- literally- with a handful of tools to try and help. Just another example of the amazing friendliness of the people of Taiwan.
We coasted down the hill and with the help of more friendly folks, found a small neighborhood shop that had a 10spd chain that I bought and they installed for me with free labor. They were even Fuji retailers and were very happy to help out. I gave them my new business card and then they really poured on the service. Wiping down my bike and lubing Steven’s squeaky chain. Steven had banged his thumb trying to repair my chain and had bled a bit, so the store owner sent his wife next door to the ever-present 7/11 to *buy* bandages for his thumb- even cleaning his thumb with an iodine wash before letting him put the band-aid on!
After that, we headed out again to finish our interrupted ride and stopped for a short lunch. Once on the road again, we climbed back up the hill to the velodrome to finish our intended route… only to find that the road we had been on just 2 days before had been completely cut up for repair! So we had to go back down the hill we just climbed so that we could take an even longer climb back into town. The hills here never stop and come one after another… for ever and ever.
So we rode along the rim of the city before dropping back down to the main road to the hotel… and the favorite part of our all of our rides- chasing the swarming mass of scooters! I’ll have to find a way to get video one day- GoPro perhaps- of sprinting in the scooter traffic. If you don’t know what I’m talking about… just imagine countless scooters swarming through the streets with no apparent regard for traffic laws, lanes or signals… and us sprinting in among them. IT ROCKS!
After all the riding, we got out for some touristy stuff and visited the area called “Art Street”… more on that to follow. Now it is time for another meeting here at the factory.
Ciao- for now!