For the first time in my time here in Taipei it actually snowed. In years past there were many jealous looking faces as I boldly claimed it would be a near impossibility for it to actually get cold enough in northern Taiwan to snow in the city.
A winter wonderland of sorts.
January 24th, 2016 I was out changing the oil on my motorcycle, and it happened. There were about three or four flakes falling, but they were falling none the less. In the most technical sense, it snowed.
Of course it required an immediate drive up Yangmingshan to join in with everyone else who had their own transportation or time to bus it up the mountain. The roads were packed to bursting with cars, scooters, and even walkers taking in the wintry sights. Right around the culture university the snow got into full swing, and the excitement of everyone around was palpable.
By the time my scooter snaked up to the national park proper there were snow laden trees and almost enough accumulation for it to stick near the roads. While the pavement was wet it was in no way dangerous, yet the police would only let those with chains pass uphill the visitors center and beyond.
Wet roads without ice or snow. Chains are clearly unnecessary.
After biking and driving in snow my entire life the demand for chains felt a bit ridiculous. It's understandable that going uphill in a deep snow would be better done with added traction, something that chains undoubtedly provide. Going uphill on wet, unfrozen roads in a slushy snowfall with chains was a bit too much, especially given that by using the chains on blacktop you'd be reducing the actual contact patches of your tires and replacing them with far smaller bands of steel.
Views out into the plateaus of Yangmingshan.
Obviously there is no way to argue your way past the police, so I drove around the "back way" to Qingtiangang and made my way steadily up the mountain. There weren't any restrictions there, and it was enjoyable to drive around the road ringing Qixingshan to take pictures and see the sights. And in case you were worried about my chainless tires, I didn't slip come close to slipping, let alone falling off to my death.