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Cycling Hualian - Suao

Taiwan is a cyclist's paradise, and here's the place to share your experiences, questions, and pictures!

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Cycling Hualian - Suao

Postby Nuit » 05 Feb 2008, 20:54

Anyone done this route - the Su-Hua? Pretty dangerous road, lots of tunnels, usual mad overtaking. But I've driven it several times now, and I usual see cyclists somewhere on route. No idea if they get the local train to somewhere though, or are doing the whole thing, never stopped to ask.

2 sections truly concern - Taroko to Heping has several tunnels and would be safe-ish at first light, very early. Even then, the tunnels have No Cycling signs on them (but when does that stop anyone here?). I imagine there's no way around all of those tunnels, though I think one of them can be missed out by taking an old road.

Then somewhere in the middle (after nan-ao?) there's another pretty long narrow one-way tunnel.

Perhaps it's a death wish of a journey... :s
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NOT SO BAD

Postby BigJohn » 05 Feb 2008, 22:10

Hi! I don't think it's a death wish, although there's an element of danger. I haven't done it, but I've walked most of that coastline. I tried to avoid tunnels, as they are boring. But sometimes there was no choice, so I've been inside many of the SuHua tunnels. Sometimes you have a pedestrian sidewalk, and that is elevated so reasonably safe. When there was no sidewalk, I hitchhiked. Easy - with no bike. However, I have talked to someone who did the whole island by bicycle, including that area, and he said it was no big deal. I think the key is to be visible: wear light-coloured clothing. Have a flashing rear light on when in the tunnels. Keep a bit of distance between you and the tunnel wall, so you have a bit of room to manoeuvre in. My experience is, and what my friend said was, that the truck drivers are pretty alert and considerate, unlike their Taipei blue-truck bretheren. You should be OK. Go for it!
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Postby Joesox » 05 Feb 2008, 23:35

Read through this thread for more information:
http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi ... nel#811757
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Postby Nuit » 07 Feb 2008, 12:58

Thanks didn't find that thread before. I was already looking at taking the 8 then the Lishan branch (7甲) of the Central Cross as a detour - for sure it will be far more peaceful, lots of climbing but that's not a problem.

The OP needs to understand that the Suao Highway is crowded with tour buses, day trippers, and worst of all, overloaded gravel and cement trucks. It is unpleasant at best and extremely dangerous--I should add that after nearly 20 years in Taiwan, I have a fairly high tolerance to risk. I rode it once about 12 years ago. Never again, and I hear it has gotten worse


I know I should be leaving the SuHua well alone, but it's frustrating at being forced off a road just because of trucks and cars. When I get around to doing the island tour (and this was a bit of pre-thinking about that island tour), it's a beautiful road that hugs the coast and begs to be ridden. A shame. But even if you can put the Heping tunnel section behind you very early one morning, there's still a lot of narrow cliff-hugging road to come. Also, there's often no escape route, as the road is flanked either by crash-barriers, cliffs or the dreaded concrete drainage ditch. None of which you want to be forced into by a overloaded tour bus.
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Postby maunaloa » 08 Feb 2008, 02:26

My advice, forget SuHua on a bike. The scenery plus is offset by the fear minus. Ride a safer coast line twice to make up for it.
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Postby seamac » 12 Feb 2008, 23:30

i just cycled this route going south a few weeks ago. aside from the many trucks passing uncomfortably close, the only real danger i felt was in the tunnels. you could, however, walk your bike through these tunnels on the raised sidewalk if you feel that it is too dangerous.

I would recommend it with an early start and good lights.
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Re: Cycling Hualian - Suao

Postby Nuit » 15 Nov 2010, 13:38

Rode most of the Suhua yesterday from Hualian to Dong-Ao. Traffic was very light as the road was still closed between Dong-Ao and Su-Ao) – so no Taipei-bound Mercs or tour buses, But even though it was Sunday, there were still gravel trucks bucking through the tunnels (do they ever stop?).

Those tunnels - you got to be in and out of them quick. Get a good set of lights on the bike, and wear a helmet. I jumped off a couple of times mid-tunnel and stood against the wall to allow trucks to pass.

The nicest section IMO was outside the Taroko NP, from Heping to Nan-Ao. Only 1 short tunnel, and whichever way you do it, there’s a long climb followed by a fast and twisty descent. Great fun.
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Re: Cycling Hualian - Suao

Postby Mucha Man » 15 Nov 2010, 14:02

Good on you, but this one line says it all for me:

I jumped off a couple of times mid-tunnel and stood against the wall to allow trucks to pass.
:eek:

I'll wait till the new highway is in and the gravel industry starts shipping by rail (as planned).
“Everywhere else in the world is also really old” said Prof. Liu, a renowned historian at Beijing University. “We always learn that China has 5000 years of cultural heritage, and that therefore we are very special. It appears that other places also have some of this heritage stuff. And are also old. Like, really old.”

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Re: Cycling Hualian - Suao

Postby Nuit » 15 Nov 2010, 15:23

Ach, I was just being over-cautious. Just in case the driver hadn't seen me. There's a certain something though, standing halfway through a km long tunnel, inky blackness diluted by sodium lights, the drip-drip of water from the ceiling, and the shriek of bats as the rumble of an approaching gravel truck fills the space.

With you on the wait, It's not a route I'll be re-riding now that through traffic is on the move.
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Re: Cycling Hualian - Suao

Postby Mucha Man » 15 Nov 2010, 15:44

Nuit wrote:Ach, I was just being over-cautious. Just in case the driver hadn't seen me. There's a certain something though, standing halfway through a km long tunnel, inky blackness diluted by sodium lights, the drip-drip of water from the ceiling, and the shriek of bats as the rumble of an approaching gravel truck fills the space.

With you on the wait, It's not a route I'll be re-riding now that through traffic is on the move.


The new highway will be built to allow cycling, which I assume will mean raised walkways in tunnels, and extra lanes on the sides on the regular stretches as we know have on Highway 11 and 9.
“Everywhere else in the world is also really old” said Prof. Liu, a renowned historian at Beijing University. “We always learn that China has 5000 years of cultural heritage, and that therefore we are very special. It appears that other places also have some of this heritage stuff. And are also old. Like, really old.”

https://www.facebook.com/taiwantemples
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