Right at the end of the ride on Sunday we encountered a large group of walkers – an increasingly common sight in Taiwan. Unlike the UK, where you are greeted with at best a nod and at worst a dirty look, the walkers in Taipei are astonished to see anything on two wheels attempting their walking trails, no matter if it is flat earth or a hair-raising descent. Climbing is met with a loud “Jia Yo” which means “Add Fuel”, technical sections get a “Li Hai” (“great!”) and they will invariably greet you with a fumbled “Hallo!” and then stand in front of you smiling as you try to ride around them.
The group on this day, however, were at the bottom of the final section of downhill for ‘Helens’ – named after the coffee bar at the top. 25 birst into sustained applause at the sight of us, and we were not even sure if it was safe to attempt it! On previous weeks it was really touch and go. In my experience, walkers or spectators of any kind mean default crashing but we all got through to cheers and applause! A very nice end to a ride where I could not get a good rhythm going (indeed, I got in a childish bad mood half way through and kicked my wheel, buckling it … frustrations of Taiwan find their way out one way or another!).
I’ll be adding some video and more pics as soon as I get my new server arranged.