After a quick train ride to Luodong, Rob and I picked up our bikes at the Giant store a few blocks from the station. A week rental cost about $60 per bike. It’s super convenient for us because they came with helmets, a pump, spare tubes, lights, bike tool and panniers. Somehow, we managed to cram everything into the pannier/back rack bag combo things. I miss our panniers which are much larger and waterproof.
After flattish, boring highway ride (scooter/bike lane) with infuriating stop light timing along highway 2, we reached Su’ao for a beef noodle soup lunch ($90 NTD for a bowl).
Then we headed on to highway 9 down the coast. The climbing went on forever. The road is a clearly marked bike route but the shoulder was pretty inconsistent. There are also a number of tunnels.
We finally reached a summit and scenic viewpoint to find a large group of cyclist completing their eighth day of an around Taiwan ride. According to their chart, we had just done the largest of three climbs with two smaller ones to follow. The long descent was fun and almost tiring from all the braking.
Soon enough, we were headed back up. After the second climb and descent, Rob and I realized we had no hope of making it to the hostel in Taroko. To make matters worse, it started to rain. We managed to book train tickets for us and bikes for two hours later from Nan’oa to Xicheng (Taroko). We were happy to learn that the bikes could just be rolled on and not bagged. This left us time to buy some food and dinner in town. Luckily we stumbled upon a xiao long bao place that serves the soup dumplings and huge bowls of hot and sour soup. Yum!
Finally we arrived in Taroko (Li Wu Hostel) after a short ride from the train station along highway 8. Yay for dry room and hot shower!