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A reminder of yesteryear in Zhubei

Zhubei 竹北

Zhubei 竹北 is located immediately to the east of Hsinchu City 新竹市. Much of it was built in a very short time not very long ago, giving it the feeling of an unusually artificial place with a forced history. It is known mainly for being home to the high-speed rail station for Hsinchu 新竹.

Sad Elephant

Abandoned elephant slide
An elephant slide abandoned in the basement stairwell of a commercial building in Zhubei.

I found this sad elephant while tromping around the commercial building that was once home to Jīnbǎo Grand Theater 金寶大戲院 in Zhubei 竹北. I was not able to evade detection and sneak into the old theater but this discarded playground slide I found in a basement stairwell made the attempt worthwhile.

Taiwan bicycle tour: Zhubei to Fengyuan

After taking it easy the day before I set out to ride south to Taichung 台中, about 100 km away. There were several sights I wanted to see on the approach to Taichung City 台中市 itself so I wasn’t entirely sure I would make it all the way there with daylight to spare. In fact, I was quite sure I would not—I had been up late again, wrestling with insomnia, and was not ready to go until the early afternoon.

Crossing into Miaoli county with the rosy afterglow of sunset on the horizon.

Crossing into Miaoli county with the rosy afterglow of sunset on the horizon.

Taiwan bicycle tour: Hsinchu and Zhubei

After my first day on the road I slept poorly, in fragments. I was roused in the early morning after two hours of rest to snack and have coffee before returning to bed. I did not awaken until after noon—at which point I decided to stay an extra night to catch up on work, blogging, photo post-processing, and to rest. I treated it as an opportunity to take a closer look at Zhubei 竹北, where I was staying, and to make a side trip to explore Hsinchu City 新竹市 across the river.

A park in Zhubei
A hint of culture amidst the fabricated city.

Taiwan bicycle tour: Taipei to Zhubei

Leaving Taipei behind
Looking back along the riverside park in Wanhua on the way across the bridge to Banqiao.

This is an account of the first day of my bicycle tour around Taiwan. I began at the paifang outside Liberty Square 自由廣場 in Taipei 台北 and ended up in Zhubei 竹北, a newly-built city just outside of Hsinchu 新竹, covering a distance of approximately 80 km, most of that after nightfall.