I headed out of Tucheng along Zhongyang Road toward Sanxia. Here one enters a kind of nowhere land. The crowded areas of Tucheng are left behind and Sanxia is still some distance ahead. There is nothing there apart from a few small factories and betel nut stands.
Just as the road passed under the freeway I turned left down a small road. There was hardly a car or motorcycle to be seen. The road slowly wound up into the hills past a curious mix of small temples and factories. Further along the road there is less industry and more natural scenery.
Eventually I arrived at the area near Shanxi Temple (善息寺) where I regularly go hiking. The hill in the picture above is Cha Shan (茶山), the highest point on the road, named after the tea fields that cover it. From the top of the hill the road goes off to Sanxia in one direction and back to Tucheng in the other. After the hard work of climbing up it was a fast and easy trip back down passing near Chengtian Chan Temple (承天禪寺).
I wouldn't recommend riding all the way from the other side of Taipei to do this ride but if you live in the Banqiao/Tucheng/Zhonghe area then it is a good short ride through the hills and a welcome escape from the city.