“Dark Line” in Sandiaoling, The Most Beautiful bicycle path in Taiwan

 Picture reproduce from New Taipei Government website
 Picture reproduce from New Taipei Government website
Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network】Editor/ Tim Wu (吳宗翰)

"Dark Line", the bicycle path consists of the old Sandiaoling Tunnel, Sanguazi Tunnel and the outdoor section of the Sandiaoling Bicycle Path, is finally completed after three years of construction. During the trial operation in July this year, not until the opening of the tunnel that connects through Mudan, New Taipei City to Sandiaoling did many people realize that Taiwan has such unexpectedly beautiful scenery. “This is an outdoor museum.” Professor Chu, Rui-Ji of the Department of Architecture said

The old Sandiaoling Tunnel was completed for a hundred years and sealed for 35 years. Wu, Zhong-Xun and the Spanish and French teams reopened a sealed world for Taiwan.

On this day, he guided the tour and led a group of people in person to ride U-bikes through the tunnel. There was only the occasional sound of water in the tunnel which was specially designed by using the height difference to make the water flow under the path to produce sound to make everyone aware of the stream under the tunnel.

Sandiaoling bicycle path

The light in the tunnel only shines on the wall when sensed, allowing the rider to follow the lines of the tunnel, but the darkness becomes the theme of the tunnel. Looking up at the dark vault and brick wall, the black spots are accumulated by the steam train during the occupation of Japan. And if you ride it forward, there are also drop-shaped stalactites on the wall, thin and long in white, like jewels given to the tunnel by nature. Every centimeter here has dimension that lasts for centuries. At the end of the tunnel, a small light appeared. The architect asked everyone to get off the bikes temporarily to keep the volume down in order not to disturb the Formosan leaf-nosed bats.

“People riding on the path, but don't disturb the creatures, let the water continue to flow, so the crabs, fish, shrimps and bats still live in peace.” Wu, Zhong-Xun said which is also his basic standard for the project.

Wu, Zhong-Xun, landscape architect gave introduction to the public.

Wu, Zhong-Xun couldn't forget the astonishment in him when he stepped into the tunnel for the first time when he took over the public project three years ago. He was wearing a frog suit then, wading all the way, stepping on the mud, but he felt the greatness and abundance of nature. "Thirty-five years since the tunnel was sealed, the land has not slept. Fish, shrimp, frogs, and bats are all in the tunnel. That is the power of nature. As a landscape architect, this is the essence of the landscape we are looking for."

Therefore, in the public project of bicycle path, he decided to have a battle with Taiwanese old-fashioned tourism thinking.

The path is not stable to ride. The light in tunnel is dim. Why is it not paved with cement? There are gaps in the reinforced pavement. What if the items fall? Why bicycles can only be led my hands during trial operation? Wu, Zhong-Xun explained in detail that behind each reason is painstaking efforts and sincerity to the nature. Once the cement is poured in and the bright lights are turned on, it is designed for human beings first, and all living creatures can only disappear, "Then the meaning of activation will be lost."

As soon as you come out of the Sandiaoling Tunnel, your vision immediately brightens. You can see ferns sprawling on both sides of the slope which are only 20 meters long, but a beautiful little forest is made. However, the exit of the Sanguazi Tunnel is a broken wall for flood relief. Will it be the end of the project of bicycle path?

Sandiaoling bicycle path connects through Mudan, New Taipei City to Sandiaoling

Wu, Zhong-Xun decided to extend the rebar of the path. He and his team cleverly designed to bring light, shadow and scenery in which forms a water reflection at the tunnel entrance. It has unexpectedly attracted the most attention since the trial operation. Many people came here especially for taking pictures, while others stop here to catch the train passing through Sandiaoling on the other side.

In order to connect the tunnel to the road and at the same time preserve the natural landscape, the team abandoned the practice of building concrete columns directly from the river valley. The Spanish team used the cantilever bridge construction method instead, to nail the 200-meter-long steel driveway obliquely to the rock wall.  "If we don’t do this, the exit of the tunnel can only be set up as a bicycle bridge, so that the public can only see the huge structure, not the forest and riverbed."

Wu, Zhong-Xun said with a smile that during the construction, everyone hung on the rock wall like a spiderman, "I can't do it myself; I can't even climb up."

People can catch the train passing through on the other side at the exit of the tunnel.

During the tour on the path, Wu, Zhong-Xun detailed how each tree was preserved, how the rebars were rusted, and then painted with clear lacquer to make them last longer. He hoped that the color will be integrated into the local color, and make nature focused again.

“Taiwanese people tend to think that rocks are nothing, and the grass are boring, but in the eyes of the Spanish team, these are treasures. They think that the texture of Taiwan’s mountain walls is intricate, unlike the magnificent Pyrenees Mountains, which is indeed significant yet plain, Taiwan is so beautiful!”

Further Reading

First Response

Popular News