Riding on Route 106 towards Ruifang City offers some stunning mountain scenery alongside the Keelung River as you pass through a couple of old townships (Pingxi and Shifen) that make for some interesting exploration.
Once out of Taipei City via Muzha it was raining for the most part of my 100km ride, however it was quite enjoyable and peaceful. The only real hills was the 3-4km climb up to Pingxi Township (250m) and then the longest climb (500m) occurs after Shifen before it drops down to Ruifang. After riding to the highest point, I turned around to ride back. It was quite a tricky descent due to the narrowness of the road and a number of switchbacks to negotiate in the wet.
Pingxi is worth the stop for an hour or so if it is your first time through and you have time. You can explore the old cobble-stoned streets, check out the market; and see evidence of what was once an important coal mining town in the early 20th century. If you have to have caffeine during your trip, you have come to the right place as it has many tea plantations in the area. On my way back, I stopped at a local restaurant at the crossroads for big plate of pork, egg and vege fried noodles for $60NT ($1.85US). Good feed after spending half the day exploring in the rain!
After passing through Pingxi, it is a very easy ride alongside the Keelung River to Shifen. It is highly recommended to spend at least half an hour checking out the Shifen Waterfall (
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