I wanted to ride this morning, but I want to ride easy after yesterday's climb up Yangmingshan. So I casually headed out to Pingxi, with no commitment to reach it. As long as it was easy going, I would continue.
The route to Pinxi is easy from my apartment. Just get on Rte. 106 east, which happens to be Fuxing Road in Hsindian which I live on, and head east. Of course, within a quarter of mile the road crosses into the southern Muzha district of Taipei, and continues on through and out of town.
After going past the intersection of National Highway 5, about 8 miles out, stay on 106 to the left, and don't take 106乙, which goes south to Pinglin. From there, Rte. 106 was pretty quiet on a Sunday morning, not a lot of road traffic, although motorcycle rides are in abundance.
And it's a pretty easy ride with a very gradual uphill. As I rode along, I set limits on the ride. I wouldn't go farther than 15 miles, I wouldn't climb higher than 1000', and I wouldn't ride longer than one hour.
When I reached 1000', I decided to ignore that limit, because as long as the road isn't steep, the altitude doesn't matter. I think I came upon the hour limit next, and decided to venture on just a little bit more to see what it looked like. At that point, the road was climbing a little more, and I have a problem stopping on a climb. I always want to see what happens around the next bend to see if the climb stops or not.
But I abided by the 15 mile limit. By the 15 mile mark, I hadn't reached Pingxi town, but I had crossed into Pingxi township. It also looked like the rest of the way was downhill, which meant I would have to climb it on the way back. So I turned around and Pingxi will have to wait for another day.
The reason I want to get to Pingxi is because that's the area famous for "sky lanterns", most prominent during the Lunar New Year. People set off lanterns with a lighted element that causes them to rise and fly away in the night sky. It sounds like a dazzling sight.
Also Pingxi is the start (or end) of a 12km branch rail line that I want to explore out to the coast. If getting to Pingxi is as easy as it seemed (no more climbing than I had done), then exploring the extra 12km is doable, including a stop at Shifen to check out Taiwan's broadest waterfall there.
I don't know if there are any variations to the ride. It might only be Rte. 106 out and back.