Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jun 19 2007

Back on the bike

end of the lineMy goal of taking a nice long ride on the Crazy Bike along the riverside over the Dragonboat holiday had been frustrated by rain on Saturday and Sunday, so on Monday I covered myself in sunscreen, pumped up the tires, and set off despite the ominous rumblings coming from the sky. Negotiating the mouthbreathers on the bridge was troublesome, but once I got on the path itself things went much more smoothly. It was great to be cruising along the river, looking at the views, the trees and sky, listening to the cicadas and feeling the wind. Since I last rode that path, new sections have been added, making previously twisty bits straighter and smoother. The massive highway bridge they’ve been building south of the Xiulang Bridge looks almost complete, and when it’s done another messy detour will vanish.

bridge constructionA huge stage was being set up along the river in Banqiao. The newly paved roads were smooth as silk. I made good time all the way up the Xindian River, along which they are building an elevated expressway that crosses the Danhan River where it and the Xindian converge to form the Danshui River. The construction site for the bridge alone is huge.

The sun came out as I rode westwards towards Tucheng, and the weather became very hot. I stopped to put on more sunscreen, and two other bikers remarked as they rode past, “Oh, right, we should have brought some of that!” Both the Crazy Bike and I got stares and remarks. It seemed most people noticed the bike before they noticed who was riding it. The path to Tucheng has been made into a scooter lane, so the bike path had been rerouted, but the riverbank is wide enough that it doesn’t really matter.puddle

A huge black cloud loomed over Tucheng, thunder booming distantly from it every so often. I reached the end of the path and turned around, away from the black wall of weather, following a group of slow kids and pausing to take pictures of things along the way. The fact that I hadn’t ridden the bike in a long time impressed itself upon me shortly afterwards, and while it was still enjoyable, I was pretty much tired out. The return trip took almost an hour longer than the trip out, partly because of the massive crowds that filled the riverbank near the stage they’d been setting up earlier. Another reason was the multitude of people who apparently want to kill their retarded family members. I’ll be riding along and when I approach some group of people traveling the opposite direction, usually a family or group of friends, someone will always remain completely oblivious to my presence despite the fact that I am an apparent foreigner riding a bright red dragster bicycle directly towards them. I can only conclude that they are mentally impaired in some fashion. However, the other family members/friends will notice me, grab the oblivious person and invariably shove them or pull them right into my path. Thankfully I managed to avoid hitting anyone, but there were quite a few close calls.

The sun was setting over the river, reflecting off of Taipei 101 and turning it into a bright white flame above the city. It must have been raining in the Xinyi District as a rainbow appeared just above it. Bitan seemed to be shrouded in mist as I approached; it seemed particularly inviting after a long, hot ride. I rode on, through clouds of small bugs that flew into my eyes, nose and mouth, causing me to spit every few seconds.

The area was still full of holiday revelers, mandating another game of hit-the-tourist crossing back. I would have loved to taken a nice long, cool shower and gone for a swim, but I had to go to Darrell’s for looping, so I ditched the bike and went straight over. After that, I went to badminton practice, which tired me out utterly and completely. When I finally did get home, the pool was closed, so I drew a bathtub full of cool water, plunked down in it and zoned out with a tattered copy of the Dao De Jing comic.bitan

My little brother Philip was in town on Sunday, so he came down to Bitan to have a look, as he’d never been here before. When I met him at the MRT station, he made the usual remarks about how fat I’d gotten, and we talked about his scuba dives in the Philippines as the source of his relatively svelte proportions. Bitan is a madhouse these days thanks to the Dragonboat Festival-related activities, so the bridge and surrounding streets were packed. Philip really liked the area and my place. I showed him Clay Soldiers, and he found it entertaining despite his feeling that there was a lack of chemistry between the actors.

We had dinner at the dumpling place downstairs and then took a walk along the hillside out back before going down to the river bank for the obligatory Bitan Photo Opportunity. It was nice to see him; he said he’d like to bring his wife and kids along next time.

posted by Poagao at 12:24 am  

3 Comments

  1. Rainbows but no rain in Xinyi. Amazing light though. Makes my corner of central Taiwan seem very dull by comparison (except for the rare occasion when the pollution clears and I can see the ocean from my bedroom window).

    Comment by cfimages — June 19, 2007 @ 8:32 am

  2. Huh, so the family member wannabe killers are here, too? I used to ride through Bidwell Park in Chico, CA, and once a man shoved his little boy right in front of me. Barely missed him and couldn’t understand how a father could be so incredibly stupid. I think it would make me too crazy to try to ride here, although I keep eyeing the Danshui River trail. Maybe someday….

    Comment by 500cbfan — June 19, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

  3. I think it might have something to do with insurance.

    Comment by Poagao — June 20, 2007 @ 7:01 am

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