TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—In Taiwan, sometimes truly wonderful places are visited by just a handful of people who know where the treasure trove is located, while many undeserving places are praised to the skies.
The 15-kilometer-long Yilan Coastal Bikeway certainly falls into the first category, so does the Daiyujue River Cycling Path in Pinglin Township, New Taipei City. I also wrote about the popular Old Caoling Circle-lined Bikeway in Fulong, Gongliao Township, also in New Taipei City back in 2016.
Located between the estuary of the Dezikou River in Yilan County’s Touchen Township (頭城) in the north and the estuary of the Lanyang River in Zhuangwei Township (壯圍) in the south, the bikeway runs parallel to the long sand beach on the ocean side and to the coastal Provincial Highway No. 2 on the land side.
The bikeway sometimes runs closely along the beach and sometimes goes into seashore forests, where you can find many Sea Mango and Screw Pine trees, but more than half of the bikeway has views to the Pacific Ocean and Turtle Islet and allows easy access to the beach.
Even though it’s a bikeway, it is also an ideal place to jog because the wonderful views of the ocean and the pleasing sounds of waves lapping the sand will have a soothing effect on the mind and body of the jogger, making the jogging less strenuous and more enjoyable. I assume the same is true to biking along the bikeway.
I started jogging from Donggang Village near the estuary of the Lanyang River towards the Touchen side around 3:15 p.m. on May 12, which was a perfect sunny day. Along the bikeway, there must be two dozen short side trails leading to the beach. When you are tired of biking or running, you can just take one of the side trails and go to the beach to play with water or swim. I still have to find out if swimming is allowed on some portions of the beach after I saw a no-swimming sign at Yongzhen Beach (永鎮), which is a popular beach midway between the two ends of the bikeway. I arrived at Yongzhen Seaside Park around 5 p.m.
My starting point near the estuary of the Lanyang River
An easy way to access the coastal bikeway is to drive along the Provincial Highway No. 2 and turn into Yongzhen Seaside Park, which is located right behind the Yongzhen Temple (永鎮廟), which is a large temple located between the coastal highway kilometer marks 144 and 145. There is a parking lot in the seaside park. You can start biking from here towards Donggang near the estuary of the Lanyang River and back.
The Yongzhen Temple (永鎮廟)
Biking towards the Touchen side is not recommended for the moment as about two kilometers from Yongzhen Seaside Park, cyclists will run into a blockage of the bikeway. A stretch of about 300 meters of the bikeway has been fenced off for a repair project, which will not be finished until September 30, according to a notice posted at the site. However, cyclists can circumvent the blockage by pushing their bikes along the beach. In my opinion, the half of the bikeway from Yongzhen to Donggang is much more scenic than the other half.
The bikeway is also well facilitated with several resting pavilions and temples doubling as bicycle service stations along the way, including the Bao’an Temple (保安宮) and the Yongzhen Temple.
I ran back to my parked car in Donggang when the night began to fall. I worked out such a good appetite that I was ready to eat a horse in Yilan City.