Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pacific Coast of North East Taiwan

Photos by Detroit Jack
From the temperate forests of the high mountains, to the Pacific coast, training has thrown a mix of challenges at me.  Now, it's rain, more rain, and torrents of rain.  I generally don't mind riding in the rain, because that means it's cooler.  The only problem is drying out your things for the next days ride.
A car pulls up while I'm eating some plums, and the guy says, "Have you seen some cyclists?"  I say, "Yeah, they went that way."  "Thanks."  He drives off.  After about twenty meters, he stops, backs up and says, "Do you know the train tunnel path under the mountain?  It'll save you two hours to Fulong . . . , otherwise, you'll have to ride around the mountain."  "Thanks."  "We'll wait for you up ahead to show you the way, and we'll go to lunch if you would like to join us . . . , our treat!"  "Wow, thanks!  I'll meet you up ahead."
I road for about tens minutes before I met them, and they took me down off the main road, around a small park onto a bicycle only trail that led into a three kilometer long old train tunnel that has been converted into a cyclists only road under the mountain.  
During the twenty-three years since I last lived in Taiwan the whole country has gone cyclist friendly, from bicycle only highways through Taipei, to marked cyclists lanes everywhere!  Unfortunately, the drivers haven't changed at all.
After a fantastic lunch of fresh seafood dishes on a traditional rotating table center (so all dishes can be shared ) . . . and lots of beer, they invited me to spend the night on a farm, about thirty kilometers into the mountains.  Why not.  Well, after all that alcohol, we hit UP! And more UP.  These retired and near retired train drivers just kept on riding . . . , UP!
It nearly killed me, but finally, we arrived at a huge house sitting on a roaring high tributary of the Keelung River.  We settled into some homemade Chinese herbal duck soup, rice noodles with all the duck innards, and fresh fruit.  This was the main reason I came back to Taiwan for my bicycle training . . . , hospitality in this country is endless.  
The next day we biked for about forty kilometers into Taipei from the mountains around Jingtong in Pingxi, by following the picturesque Keelung River out of the mountains, and catching the Danshui River cyclist highway (to avoid all traffic), which is brilliant (even though the Danshui is still a sewage filled tributary after all these years . . . come on Taipei!).
My new friends treated me to a great traditional Chinese lunch with some old favorites, followed by some Chinese pudding with shaved ice . . . , and then . . . "Saichien!"

*All photos property of Jack Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)

Monday, May 20, 2013

What Goes Up, Might Come Down . . .

Photos by Jack Waldron
Remember this, going down hill on a bicycle only means you'll have to up hill . . . eventually, and when your afternoon begins with ten kilometers of UP, well, you might not make it down . . . 
Biking from Fuxing to Baling (about 30 km) yesterday morning offered some challenging ups and downs, with regard to hills. In Baling, I found a nice picnic table in front of a shop, bought a sports drink, and ate the sandwiches I stowed away from lunch. Little did I know that the next ten kilometers would climb to an elevation of 1500 meters!!
After pushing my bike up hill 90 percent of the ten kilometers (because I'm not Lance Armstrong!), I had finally exhausted all my water. I was now in the middle of the Mingchih Forest with no water . . . , but, don't be alarmed! I pulled out my water purification pump, and filled my bottles to rim. I continued climbing. 
Then, finally, a little bit of down hill. I had no more peddle left in me. Then, just two kilometers from the Mingchih Recreation Mountain Facility (with rooms!), the mountain police drove up to inquire about my situation, cause I didn't know it was 5:30pm. The rest of the story is fairly uneventful, so I'll just leave you with some pictures . . .

*All photos and content property of Jack Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fuxing, Taiwan

Photos by Jack Waldron
Bike Classical in Fuxing, Taiwan!! I left Taipei at 4:30am to beat the traffic out of city, and arrived in Fuxing at noon. My first day of training was a complete kick!! Tomorrow, it's up up up into the stratosphere . . .


*All photos and content property of Jack Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

School Of Rock vs. Bike Classical

Photos by Jack Waldron
EXCLUSIVE: School Of Rock has decided to hire Detroit Jack to teach Philosophy of Rock with a ten year contract with a salary of seven figures!! Therefore, the Bike Classical world tour, which was to begin May 10th, has been suspended . . . . . . . . . NOT!!!!!

I've been in the U.S. for the past three weeks, received 70 boxes I sent from Japan (in storage), prepared my tour bicycle (SURLY!!) and flew out of Portland, OR. yesterday. We flew 300 miles out, and the pilot discovered there had been a leak in the cockpit oxygen system, which they need as a back-up in order to cross the Pacific, so, the plane turned around and flew to Seattle. We were on the ground for two hours, while repairs were made, then flew to Tokyo. I missed my connection to Taipei, so I am in the Nikko Hotel (very nice, with dining vouchers), and I fly on to Taipei tonight.

I'll begin my 10 year around the world bicycle tour from Rome (after 2 weeks training in Taiwan).

*All photos and content property of Jack Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)

Out Of The Box In Taiwan

Photos by Jack Waldron

Boxing by the infamous John at River City Bikes, Portland, OR.

Bike boxes get no respect during shipping!
Storage position in the back of box, with removed front rack also stored in the back of the box, and all three water bottle cages tied to the rack . . . 
Storage position in the front of box, with handlebars removed and stored in an up/down position under the top bar, and shifters positioned inward from the box wall . . . 
Handlebar neck turned around and covered with sticky cardboard
Seat and neck covered with cardboard . . . 
Storage position in the front of box, with foam over top bar . . . 
Foam over the rear fender and removed front fender . . . 
Front of box with bike removed, misc. parts box in the bottom (with U.S. customs inspection tape) . . . 
View from back of box.  The silver bags are filled with foam for cushioning and protecting the sprocket . . . 
Inside of box with hard plastic shields attached to the side walls to protect central gearing . . . 
Front wheel (with brake rotor removed) stored and tied under the top tube . . . , and all tubes covered with protective foam . . . 
Handlebar turned down (with all cables connected), and put through the front wheel spokes . . . 
Rear tubes covered with sticky cardboard for protection . . . , zip tie holding both fenders and rear wheel in position . . . 
Front forks and hand brakes covered with sticky cardboard protection . . . 
Front brake and brake pads stored in protective bag . . . 
Forks covered with sticky cardboard . . . , plastic fork protector attached to tips of fork . . . 
All tubes protected with foam, with pedals removed . . . 
Back tubes covered, with detailer put in a forward postion to avoid damage . . . 
Removed front fender stored on top of back fender and tied together with zip tie . . . 
Front forks (in simulated stored position) with foam under forks (and hard plastic fork protector attached) . . .  
Handbrakes covered with sticky cardboard . . . 
Rear drive covered with hard plastic for protection . . . 
Seat tube covered with protective foam . . . 
BUSTED!!  By customs . . . , they just had to pull the perfectly boxed bike out of the box . . . 

Hand break covered with protective sticky cardboard . . . 
Handlebar neck covered with sticky cardboard . . . , handlebar tied to top tube with zip tie . . . 
Front wheel tied to top tube . . . 
Front wheel tied to chain-stay (non-drive side) . . . 
Handlebar neck turned backward over top tube for shipping (protective sticky cardboard removed) . . . 
Sticky cardboard over seat-stay . . . 
Hard plastic cover over non-drive wheel shaft . . . 
Sticky cardboard over chain-stays . . . 
Forks covered with sticky cardboard . . . 
Forks with hard plastic fork protector attached to the tips (it snaps on very snug) . . . 
All protective covers for shipping . . . 

Front brake rotor removed to avoid damage during shipping . . . , hard plastic discs are used to cover and protect the shaft and brake rotor attachment point . . . 

*All photos and content property of Jack Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)