Road Cycling Taiwan

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I have been pretty quiet on here recently, but I have some good excuses; a new road bike, an iPad 2 and a PS3 has meant virtually no time writing or sorting photos. Hopefully, things will return to some semblance of balance (though probably not).

First and foremost, is a heart-breakingly beautiful new road bike that is so far beyond my abilities to exploit it is silly. It’s a CervĂ©lo Soloist carbon frame finished in a custom Cantabrian hue, littered with filthy bits of SRAM Red and Zipp wheels so gloriously spendy I feel guilty just thinking about them. It neatly eliminates both performance excuses and likely upgrade paths for the coming years, and I absolutely love it.

A carbon virgin, I was expecting an unforgiving, jarring ride, but instead it provides a pleasantly beech cricket bat snap and crack, and while not exactly sofa-like in ride cosseting waftiness, I do not come back from rides pummelled and abused. I am, though, still getting used to the strange plasticky sounds that emanate when you miss a gear or hit something in the road: imagine watching a toddler abuse some cheap electronic product and you get the picture; you know it isn’t going to break but you can’t help but grimace.

What it does do, however, is bloody shift. I ride a pretty swift fixed-gear bike here in Taipei, and riding the same roads at full tilt on this is like night and day; rise up out of the saddle and you demolish traffic light count-downs with a satisfying ‘whooosh!’ as the air molecules try their best to react to a set of Zipps on spin cycle. The higher gearing than a mountain bike leaves you fewer places to retreat to when you are sweating and puffing on a climb, but the stiffness and Fedex efficiency when you start dancing in the saddle is extremely entertaining.

Plans are afoot for several summer trips, but for now, let me show you some photos of the wee beastie, and some Garmin data from a couple of our rides; my next toy for sure.

First ride out to the fruit stand on route 106 (photo taken with my iPhone and filtered to death in Instagram)

Pausing for a rest and grabbing some vitamins.

I notice I am hardly taking any photos on these rides; trying my best to keep up, combined with few opportunities for rest stops.

At the top of the Pinglin climb and looking a little harassed! The bike is pretty though, eh!

Domestique

Tony, in one of his regular attempts to violate me. I guess it is the lycra.

A bromance flourishes! Abe and I made it out to Shihding today, but will leave the climb for next time!

Cycling computer has come on a long way in the last ten years. Garmin is leading the charge to map, geo-tag and socialise riding, and their services look like just the ticket to explore some of the more obscure routes around Taipei. The first one is the ride up to the Pinglin budda (where I look like I am going to fall over above). The second one is our ride to the coast – before lunch!

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