Technically, this walk is not a hike, but I keep it here for two reasons. I promised to do one each week, and more importantly, I want to showcase some of the beautiful murals along Taipei's rivers.
After a few tiring adventures (mainly, my Alishan weekend), I need to take it slowly. Instead of doing another hike, I opt to finally make time to explore the riverside close to my home in Banqiao. It's also a small homage to the concept of “long walks” my friends and I started in Singapore a few years back, a mix of urban exploration and hiking, exploring different parts of the city by foot.
Most of Taipei's rivers have flood walls along its shores with “evacuation gates” every few hundred meters (give or take) which form the entrances to its gorgeous riverside parks. They're perfect for exercising. Designated bicycle and running paths stretch endlessly, uninterrupted by any other traffic. If running or cycling (or inline skating) aren't your thing, there's also an abundance of basketball courts. Should you be worried about rain, don't be, just use the ones located under a bridge.
Even if you don't care about exercising (or you're more than happy with your indoors gym), there's still another good reason to visit. Many of the flood walls are used for murals and graffiti. I'm blown away just by the ones I've come across on this random stretch of river.
I guess it's time to get my bicycle ready and explore some more. Banqiao to Tamsui sounds like a perfect first tour.