June 6th - Taiwan Lockdown - CycleBlaze

June 6, 2021

June 6th

caped crusader

Plum rain season has arrived at long last and it's rained for the past 48 hours, but it's not too heavy now and it seems like it could totally ease off before long and getting out for a short ride is on. 

Before 11 o'clock I dig out the orange rain cape from the rack-bag on my commuter bike only to realise it needs repairing because the last time I wore it the long air vent across the back shoulders completely came apart, with the mesh holding it together ripping and leaving a gaping hole that let the rain in.  

Not to worry. A woman with a sewing machine just a few blocks away is hopefully home and willing to fix it. 

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I guess she's in her 70s and I peer through her window and she opens the front door. She doesn't speak any English so I simply gesture to the opening in the back of my now damp cape and she gets the idea. I've brought along a strip of yellow hi-viz tape for the repair.

Once she's stitched it in place she sews another piece of pink-ish hi-viz tape that I had knocking around at home lower down the cape for added effectiveness in the dark. And for good measure, a small section stapled around my camera strap gets stitched in place and she charges me NT$50 for the lot, which is less than US$2.  Winner. 

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The rain is now quite heavy and I stand outside on the street sheltering under a canopy as it rattles on the metal above my head until it seems pointless waiting any longer. 

I take a snap of myself riding away from camera, activating the flash to test if the hi-viz strips work OK. The pink piece seems a bit too low, but the yellow one sewn on to repair vent is nice and prominent. 

It's tempting to ride straight home, but it's not cold and a short ride to Longtan appeals. The town is about a dozen kilometres away and having a coffee there seems like a good idea. Staying home doesn't grab me.

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The rain is constant. 

I soon escape the urban roads of Zhongli and veer through countryside for 20 minutes before reaching the edge of Longtan. Starbucks beckons.

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There are half a dozen customers lining up and nothing seems to be happening and after a couple of minutes waiting it's time for Plan B and I exit and walk 50 metres along the road to Louisa Coffee to find it empty. 

My order is a hot cappuccino and a bite to eat and a wedge of chocolate cake and while my order is being processed my camera is set up and takes a snap as two people come in for drinks. They must wonder what I'm doing.  

The goodies get put in a bag that goes over the end of my bars and my destination is a shelter along a cycle path just a few minutes' ride away. 

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Rice is grown around this southern side of Longtan and the cycle path dissecting the paddies was originally a lane giving farmers access.

The shelter is all mine as you'd expect on a rainy Sunday lunchtime and the egg muffin disappears in a few bits and the wedge of cake gets its photo taken before vanishing in around 10 seconds.

My damp cape, cycling mitts and hat are draped over the railings and bike while I enjoy the tranquil view for 10 minutes or so.  From my seat I can see the escarpment to the south and the shelter stands next to a pond that was likely some part of an irrigation system. A narrow stream runs beside the winding path.

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From here I often cycle up the escarpment, but today's wet weather makes that unattractive: there's a strenuous climb involved and it's now clear that the rain isn't going to ease off any time soon.  During the plum rain season it might not stop for days on end and the forecast for this coming week is for more of the same.

With my mind made up, I ride towards home, knowing it's about 30 minutes away. It's doubtful there will be any stops en route to take photos unless there's a spot to shelter to set up the tripod.   

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Scott AndersonYou’re making me feel better about our current streak of very hot but DRY days.
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6 days ago
Graham FinchHi, Scott

It's warm here, even though it's wet. I had shorts on, as you can see, and a short-sleeved top and felt comfortable.

It'll be really hard to get out soon, once this rainy period ends, which will be soon.
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6 days ago
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I'm not sure if this orange cape is very good. It's an eBay purchase and is probably from the 1980s,  but it seems to have done well. The chief problem is the front of my shirt is wet -maybe that's condensation - but my shoes and shorts seem to be quite dry when I get to the corner of my block and take one last snap of me crossing the junction where there's a Hi-Life store. I bought all the IPA it had over a month ago.

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Today's ride: 25 km (16 miles)
Total: 45 km (28 miles)

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