Taiwan: Typhoon Day #3, Riverside Bike Slides

RIVERSIDE BIKE SLIDES

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It’s another wet and windy day here in Taipei, and after the last typhoon trip’s success (definite sarcasm here), we’re setting off again in our wonderful waterproofs on another weather-defiant trip! This time, we’re renting five of the city’s public Youbike‘s and heading down the riverside cycle path north from the bottom of Taipei. Youbikes are 10NT per 30mins for single rental users and free for the first 30mins, then 10NT per half hour thereafter for members. If you have a metro card and Taiwan mobile number, it’s super easy to sign up and avoid the queues for bikes so I recommend taking the extra five minutes to register!

It’s been raining hard these days, and the ground is mucky and slippy. The first family member to slide off their bike is… Dad! A full 180º backwheel slide propels him into the ground and two Chinese ladies watch, grappling with their basic English to ask “Are you OK?”, but no injuries sustained, Dad hops back on the bike and we trundle on down the path. When I say path though, really the cycle paths here are excellent, as a the youbikes themselves, with more markings than I’ve ever seen on a walkway, cyclists are treated like motorbikes with the seriousness of their road signage.

Next off the bike is yours truly! Pacing it downhill at speed with my brothers, I attempt to control my wacky downhill descent by gently squeezing the back break – only it’s not the back break at all: it’s the front break, and it is so sharp the entire bike pitches forward at 90º to the road as my body keeps flying in the my original direction. My legs pitch and wheel as I run through the steel frame of my bike, continuing a good five meters beyond it’s crashing frame, miraculously without any injury bar a bruise on my thigh, and the shock of adrenaline that accompanies my attempt at flight. As I now know, not only should you check your bell and basket on Taiwanese Youbikes, but your breaks; for Brits out there, they’re configured the American way – back break on the right, front on the left.
It may be a life saving distinction!

Lastly, but certainly not least Mum takes a tumble on the muddy wharf where the typhoon has swept up mud, sand and even fish. Covered all down one side in mud, we decide it’s better for us all to call it a day for the Youbikes. Turning off the bike trail at DaDao Cheng, we venture onto the busy night time road to leave our bikes back to ShuangLian station and head for some food!

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The MRT takes us home from a long days cycling and sliding.

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Taiwan: Typhoon Trami

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Wahoo!

It’s the week of the 19th in Taipei, and there’s a Typhoon/Tropical Storm headed this way. By today, the 21st the epicentre is hovering over the capital giving an exciting torrential downpour to the streets and flats. It’s muggy, and the streets seem to steam with the intense humidity, and the bullets of water drum relentlessly on the corrugated sheets of awnings and roofs. Traffic turns to a frantic window-sweeping confusion of taxis and buses, and pastel sheeted motorcyclists in their head-to-toe raincoats swerve between blurry car lights; pedestrians play umbrella battles on the sidewalk; foreigners are unfortunately heighted for umbrella-spoke attackage.

Schools, hospitals, services are closed. Mudslides, minor floods and accidents. Living in sub-topical climate is no joke. We dash out between streets to get lunch and eat it in the safety of our flat, under the constant drone of rain. Rain like this doesn’t occur in UK.

On a positive note, yesterday nights run was wet but pleasant, with the temperature dropping from 30 degrees to a cool 26.

I’m quite enjoying this typhoon malarkey!

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