Our penultimate day in the saddle saw the Pedal Taiwan cyclists whizz down the east coast from our fantastic hotel in Donghe to the beautiful hillside village of Taimali. We covered 59km of stunning riding along the coast in hot sunshine and were once again blown along by our best friend – a strong tailwind.

Chris MJ – October 31st – 8.40pm

With a manageable distance to cover and a long final day to contend with, Day 9 started in very leisurely fashion. We made the most of our stunning B&B in Donghe and the fantastic weather. Breakfast wasn’t until 9am and the group spent their morning reading books on the balcony, jogging on the beach, going for a swim or simply sleeping in.BeachThe swimming was definitely an experience. After yesterday’s attempt at sea swimming and with the waves still crashing down, we headed to a pool in the river nearby where rumours had been spread that the rocks below the surface were warm. I was slightly sceptical but it was completely true – obviously there was a hidden hot spring – and the swim was awesome.

We then set off at around 11.15 (slightly delayed by a minor mechanical issue with Julia’s bike) and covered the first 15km of the day very quickly, reaching our stop point at Taiwan’s mythical uphill river in under an hour. We won’t reveal why the water flows uphill but it certainly confused the life out of some of the group! A quick water top up and a banana later and we were back on the road.Pedal TaiwanWith such spectacular scenery and weather we had scheduled another stop to check out the sea views a little further down the road. It certainly did not disappoint, although the wind was super strong and made for some wild looking photos!We then pulled into the city of Taitung in time for a late lunch where we ate a typically Taiwanese lunch box in the cool shade of a locals’ café. After lunch there was only 25km to cover to our endpoint of Taimali, a traditional village of the Paiwan Tribe, nestled in the foothills and amongst lush custard apple orchards.

We’re staying at the fantastic Jilufugan B&B, which is located overlooking the Pacific and decorated with a vast array of tribal artwork and artefacts. Our host George could not be more welcoming and hospitable – he even drove us down to dinner in town (and fetched us on the way back too!).

After arriving I took the opportunity to go for a ride in the hills, where I was lucky enough to see some monkeys, and the three J’s (June, Jane and Julia) also went exploring on foot to see a bit more of the village and the sea views.Sunset, TaimaliDinner was perhaps the best of the trip so far, a fantastic recommendation from George and now the new record holder for fastest meal consumption by the group. The fish was seriously fresh, the squid the best we’ve eaten so far and the greens – particularly the sweet potato leaves – were delicious.

With full bellies we drove back up through the illuminated custard apple orchards to the B&B and as I type at just after 8pm almost everyone has hit the hay!

Alarms are set for 6am however as we are due to cover 131.8km and climb 2000m tomorrow – so I guess an early bedtime is fully justified…