Bike Share in Taipei

I am on a trip to Taipei for work. I had briefly toyed with the idea of taking my foldable along and bike in from the airport, but in the end I decided against it. Part of the reason was that Taipei looked to have a reasonably promising bike share program called YouBike, with stations literally all over the city.

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After getting to the city by bus (fast, efficient, inexpensive) I had dinner with a friend and we then decided that it would be good idea to sign me up with YouBike. Once you know what to do (and have a friend who volunteers her sister’s Taiwanese phone number) the process is straightforward.

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You buy a card that you can use for the metro and YouBike (your friendly 7 Eleven gives you choice of designs), top it off with some funds, register your card at a kiosk (with the help of your friend’s sister) and then off you go.

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Lots of screens like this.

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Finally, success: img_20161113_210755 img_20161113_183642

I ended up going down one of the major thoroughfares of Taipei (Zhongxiao Road for those in the know or interested), heading back to my hotel. As always, exploring the city by bike is fun. I had done the same route in reverse by metro (fast, efficient, inexpensive), but this was far better.

Not only because are you above ground and actually get to see things, but drivers are generally courteous and give you room, with only a few minor instances of hurried driving.

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I decided against riding on the sidewalk as most people seem to do. Far too many pedestrians for my comfort and theirs.

That means you inevitably find yourself in a sea of scooters. Unlike in mainland China where it seems a large number of those are now electric, I have yet to see a single non-gasoline engine scooter so far.

img_20161113_212443 img_20161113_212207 The bikes are decent and ride well, but nothing I would want to use for a full day outing if given a choice. But the bikes and the system work and both work well. My only quibble is to make the stations more visible by putting up a sign with the logo so you can see them across six lanes of traffic. But that’s a first world problem to have. I dropped off the bike close to my hotel and headed to bed. More exploring in the days to come. Stay tuned.

 

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