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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 Zhúběi 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 2013: Zhubei to Fengyuan

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

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 way there so I wasn’t entirely sure I would make it 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.

Taiwan Bicycle Tour 2013: Hsinchu and Zhubei

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

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 Zhúběi 竹北, where I was staying, and to make a side trip to explore Hsinchu City 新竹市 across the river.

Taiwan Bicycle Tour 2013: 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 Zhúběi 竹北, a newly-built city just outside of Hsinchu 新竹, covering a distance of approximately 80 km, most of that after nightfall.