Friday, July 9, 2010

Biking is a breeze in Caoling Tunnel in Fulong, Taipei County; no need to worry about sunburn

By Nancy T. Lu

Sunday biking in Fulong, Taipei County, is so much fun. There is no need to worry about ultraviolet rays and sunburn. A train tunnel no longer in use has been converted into a biking lane since around two years ago. A midway marker indicates the boundary between Taipei County and Yilan County.

So go out and rent a bike this summer. Pedal away with the entire family in the Caoling Tunnel. Go solo or take a tandem bicycle with a partner.

Natural ventilation inside the tunnel makes bike riding a breeze. The exercise is very relaxing. Watch out though for bikers who sometimes stop without warning or parents who block the path while helping their little ones unmindful of the pace of the cycling traffic on a lane filled with riders on a weekend.

The North Entrance of the 2.18-kilometer stretch for biking has a sign which translates to mean “Overcoming Obstacles of Nature.” The marker at the South Entrance says: “Where White Clouds Fly.”

One end of the bikeway looks out to the inactive volcanic Turtle Islet just 10 miles off Toucheng in Yilan County. Its precipitous cliffs, sulfur hot spring, mountain peaks, sea-eroded caves and marine resources invite exploring. The Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Administration describes the islet as “an ideal outdoor classroom for the study of volcanic geology and natural ecology.”

While in the Fulong area, drive to Longtong-Bitou Geopark. Plateau 101 (top two photos), the apex of Badouzih Parks, offers a panoramic view of the area. Keelung Islet is to the north, Keelung Mountain and Jioufen are to the east, while Yeliu and Fugui Cape are within sight to the west. Sunrise and sunset from this point must be breathtaking. Beware of falling rocks and strong winds in the cliff area though, warns a sign.

A hearty seafood meal can be enjoyed along the coast. If you have a yen for the nine-hole abalone, call Yang Shu-chun on her mobile phone 0975733818. Motor to Joli Café (tel. 02-24903529) near a diving point by the sea in Gongliao. Yang will bring out platter after platter of the cooked gourmet mollusks for you to relish.