I’ve made my thoughts on the Longquan climb up the 318 pretty clear. It’s nice and familiar, but if you’re looking to get away or get a challenge in, it kind of sucks. Fortunately, there’s a cornucopia of climbing to be had in the surrounding areas if you’re willing to break the shackles of familiarity.
At the head of several great climbs is the city itself. From there I like approaching the hills from Baoshi Lake (宝狮湖). This stretch of road is fun as hell. The climb isn’t one straight 4% slog, but offers a rolling uphill. Quick dips lead to steep stretches that force you to make full use of your legs and equipment.
It’s also quieter and more pastoral which lends itself to more enjoyable scenery as your grinding it out. No plastic peach flowers or parking lots or lit up signage. Traffic is also a different breed and you aren’t forced to the inside or outside of city-goers cars crawling uphill, nor do you have to worry about having some hardy jackass narrowly wiping you out while overtaking someone on a blind turn. Worst case scenario you might have to dodge the chicken that crossed the road or whistle at a dog sunbathing on the road so you don’t startle them as you pass.
Once at the top, you’ve got some options. You can do a short loop back over to Shanquan Village (top of Longquan, 山泉镇), or drop back down to 宝狮湖 before you make it that far. This gives you a little bit more climbing but riding the ridge offers some fine scenery.
Today I was lucky enough to miss the turn entirely, instead finding myself coasting towards Jiajia Village (贾家镇) but spotted a neat little road that lipped it straight back up to where I suspected giving a nice introduction to the peace and quiet of a forested canyon. (Really don’t know how I missed the road all these years but definitely look forward to revisiting it).
My recommendation: Next time you go to Longquan, don’t go to Longquan. Aim for any of the network of roads surrounding the 318 and play on those instead.