2017 West Coast Highway Challenge 100K Summary:
- Event by: Taiwan Bike Association
- Starting Location: MaLin Temple, HouLong, Miaoli 媽靈宮, 苗栗
- Length: ~98 km. Elevation gain: ~ 100 m.
- Hill profile: Flat
- Good for: Easy base training.
- Route Highlights:
- Soooo many wind turbines.
- Estuary crossing.
- HouLong HaoWanGjiao 後龍好望角
West Coast Highway State #61
I’ve always being hesitated at doing rides on Taiwan’s west plain area, as there Taiwan’s crowded and chaotic traffic always scared me even when I drive.
This time I decided to take a leap and ride 100K on the equivalence of US 101: Taiwan’s West Coastal Highway, or State #61 西濱公路.
HouLong HaoWanGjiao 後龍好望角 near the starting point.
It was also the first time in my life I did 100K rides in consecutive days (with ChangHua Classic), but that was a different story 🙂
Start from Miaoli
The ride started at a temple (MaLin Temple 媽靈宮) near #61 at Miaoli. It was dripping a little bit, which made the ride nice and cool.
F**k cars. The roads are all mine.
Pretty cool temple.
The starting little hill.
Soon we were onto the West Coast Highway #61. The cycling (scooter) lane was nicely separated from the fast lane. Even the fast lanes had few cars. As a major road near the west coast, State #61 was decorated with many wind turbines at its side.
VIDEO: Miaoli Start
Crossing the big estuary.
At one point we saw a train catching up on us.
Cyclists, wind turbines and the train.
To enable cars get out of State #61, we constantly got on and off the elevated speedway.
A swag grandma cyclist.
As Taiwan is small and has no lands for storing garbage, garbage incinerators were built near west shores to burn trash into ashes.
VIDEO: Passing Garbage Incinerator
Connection to National Highway #3
West Coast Highway #61 sign.
Need some gas and pee-pee?
The white structure was the White Cloud Bridge (白雲橋) on a 17km coastal bike trail starting near here and went all the way to north of HsinChu City.
The Harp Bridge 豎琴橋.
Bottle-up Ship Bridge (曬船橋)
At about west of HsinChu City the West Coast Highway lost its separate speedway/scooter lane structure and became standard 4-lane road plus scooter lanes. There was a brief stop for some refreshment.
A betel nut stand.
At north of HsinChu City two major rivers merged together and exit to the ocean, forming a massively wide estuary which the high-rise road crossed through. Magnificent views.
Fat tires and downhill helmet!
The fan-like structure were two bridges connecting a delta in the estuary.
A super-long open tunnel. Quite scary when big trucks created massive sound inside.
Texas BBQ… This was quite unexpected 🙂
As yesterday I’ve ridden ChangHua Classic, this time I took it safe and did only the 100K version. Thus not far north of the long tunnel I went to the 100K turning point.
Grabbing wristband of proof.
Swag cop bikes.
A pretty famous temple built at Qing dynasty 200+ years ago (池府王爺廟). Hard for me to explain the deity, but it was considered as popular as the goddess Mazu (媽祖).
Heavy bike gang!
Partial 17km HsinChu bike trail. Looked pretty cool. Definitely want to ride on it sometimes.
Second Rainbow Bridge!
At we approached the starting point, there was a small hill to climb and drained our last energy.
And it was done!
Bamboo Bao (竹筍包). Chewy exterior with cut bamboo blocks, mushrooms and little meat inside.
As the starting point was close to a coastal vista point HouLong HaoWanGjiao 後龍好望角, I decided to take a bit more effort and rode to it.
Here you could go directly below the wind turbine.
Interestingly somebody was having fun flying his parrots.
The old bunker used to monitor Chinese Communist Army at the other side of Taiwan Strait.
VIDEO: Below the Wind Turbine!
West Coast Highway Challenge Verdict:
This 100K ride on State #61 was a really nice experience. Yes you have to battle with the winds, but the cars are relatively few and at large part separated from the scooter lane. This is a ride I would definitely recommend.