2019 Skinny Tire Cycling Year in Review – Gravel and Cyclocross

With snowfall and bitter cold at the end of October it seemed that fat biking season was coming early. But we got a reprieve this past weekend with a glorious few degrees above zero and fast gravel. I think it might be the last time I ride the gravel bike until next year, given that we’ve got fat biking on the plan for tomorrow night!

So given that gravel’s done…. I thought I’d recap a few events from 2019.

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RCC Ride the Bypass

Yesterday bike riders of all kinds came out to enjoy the pristine pavement of the Regina Bypass before it gets opened to traffic at the end of October. I am an analyst on the project, and I helped to get the ball rolling with MHI and the Regina Bypass Partners who kindly let the Regina Cycling Club put together an event allowing access to a portion of the highway.

We made a day of it, setting up the RCC tent with snacks and drinks and having access to a ~15 km stretch. Some riders did one or two laps, while others did 4 or 5. I manned the registration station and then joined our club for one hot lap, and one casual lap, before tear-down.

Mike leads ~100 cyclists down the Bypass
And they're off! The view from the registration tent.

All ages came out – the youngest participant was being towed in a trailer, while there were others in their 70s. It was mostly locals from the City’s many cycling clubs, but one fellow came up to our team after to thank us and let us know he was from Prince Albert!

CTV also came by and  covered our event for the evening news. They got some great shots, and interviewed Mike. The only thing they missed was the headcount… we had 106 signed waivers at the end of the day.

It was a real treat to be able to use the full width of the roadway, and to be able to race and have fun without being worried about being passed by vehicles. This is just one of many examples of the project being considerate toward cyclists – they have also done a good job of sweeping the shoulder of Dewdney Avenue, which is a popular route. I know we’re all looking forward to the highway opening up – that pristine 3 m shoulder is going to be great to add to the roster!

Hello, again, Canada!

We’re all set up in Waterloo, Ontario. Mike is now a full time student in pursuit of a second degree at the University of Waterloo, and I am on the hunt for a job in environmental consulting.

It is nice to be back, but there are certainly things I miss about Taiwan, too. Still, one thing never changes… I’ll be cycling until it snows!

Cycling from Port Hope to Waterloo!
Cycling from Port Hope to Waterloo!

Cycling the West Coast of Taiwan

Many people recommend starting with the West coast of Taiwan and moving counter-clockwise when riding around the island. There are a few reasons for this – the higher population means more places to stop and fuel up and stay overnight, and more English speakers also helps with easing yourself into the Taiwan way of life, if you’re just visiting short term. It is also much flatter than the East, albeit most of the riding is along a pretty busy highway.

Wrapping up our cycle-tour!

Cycling the Northern Cross Highway

In addition to taking the coastal road that skirts around the edge of Taiwan, there are a few mountain passes as well. We planned to tackle the northernmost road that crosses the mountains, Highway 7, aka the Northern Cross Highway. Our route took us from Hsinchu to Luodong (near Yilan), via Guanxi and Baling, a total of about 160 km. The mountain pass topped out at 1170 m elevation, and Baling and Guanxi are spaced in a way that breaks up the climb nicely.

More on the Northern Cross (including pictures!)

騎自行車台湾環島 / Cycling Around the Island of Taiwan

As I wrote before, the day after I finished teaching at Royal we packed up our bags and started to cycle around Taiwan, something referred to here as 環島 (huandao), meaning ‘circle the island’.

Our trip can be neatly broken down into three sections: 1) the northern cross highway over the mountains; 2) the east coast and 3) the west coast.  I want to write about it in some detail for any future interested cyclists, so I will break it down into three posts based on those divisions.  But before we get there…

A summary of our huandao

Touring Taiwan

I finished work on Friday, and the very next day, Mike and I headed out on the next installment of our adventure in Taiwan: 我們騎自行車環島.  We are riding our bicycles around Taiwan! We started with the northern cross highway over the mountains to the East coast, and I’m currently sitting in a great B&B in Luodong writing this.  I have been taking some notes, and I’m going to write a more detailed description of everything when we get back to Hsinchu.  Until then!

Cycling Taiwan

Cycling is a great way to sightsee, and the conditions in Taiwan for cycling are absolutely fantastic! We’ve done a bunch of day and few-day rides since arriving. Sometimes we bring the GoPro, and Mike stitched together this: