“Just take a YouBike there!”
Is probably something you hear often, if you’re new to Taiwan.
But what is a YouBike? and how do you use one?
Do they have English interface?
Do you need any special documents to create an account?
Continue reading to find out.
YouBikes (also called UBIKES) are Taiwan’s version of a bike-sharing system.
The first 30 minutes is free, and anyone can make an account. Pretty convenient.
Taiwan is known to be the land of convenience.
Convenient stores and restaurants are on every corner, its practically impossible to go hungry.
But what they don’t tell you is a lot of this “Convenience” is actually not so convenient, unless you can read Chinese, and have a valid ARC.
It is convenient for locals, everyone else, not so much.
Thankfully, the YouBike system is not like that.
But you do need a few things:
- Easy Card (With Money on It)
- Local Phone Number
- Credit Card (Optional)
Getting a SIM Card in Taiwan:
In most cases you can get a local phone number from the airport.
They sell a whole bunch of sim-card packages and cheap ones at that.
You can also buy them at any convenient store, so its not difficult to get a local number.
Avoid phone stores and contracts because you won’t be able to use them unless you have a ARC.
Same goes for the Easy Card.
You’ll be wielding a giant pink Hello Kitty easy card in no time.
Create a You Bike Account:
To create a YouBike account, first you’ll need to find a YouBike station.
A quick search on Google Maps should suffice.
Locate the digital kiosk and change the language to English. You should see two options:
- Single Use (Credit Card Required)
- Create Account
Hit Create an account, and enter the details requested. It will ask for your phone number and a password (remember the password!).
Then you’ll need to wait for a verification text, it should arrive in a few seconds. Scan your easy card on the sensor and you’re done. It only takes a few minutes to make an account.
And now you can find a bike that is not full of trash, swipe your card on the sensor, and pull it out.
To put it back, do the same thing but in reverse, swipe the card to lock it in and pay.
The bicycle itself is quite basic but it can get you from Point A to B.
They’re rather small too.
I rode for an hour and a half and my Easy Card was only charged 25 NT.
Where to Ride:
So now that you have easy access to a bicycle, its time to find somewhere to ride.
Just a warning before you begin:
Driving (anything) in Taiwan can be really dangerous, especially on narrow streets where scooters and cars fight for every inch of space. Hell, even walking is dangerous.
Most cyclists (unless they’re a team) cycle on the sidewalks because the roads are just too dangerous. I recommend sticking to the designated bicycle trails, which are usually a long the riversides.
You can bike on roads, if there’s no biking path, but make sure to stick to the far-left side.
Thankfully, though the pollution and traffic in Taiwan can be bothersome, it’s relatively bike-friendly.
Here are some ideas:
Take the MRT to Danshui Station, rent a YouBike from behind the station, and bike North to Fishermans Wharf or Shalun Beach.
(Listed as walking because Google Maps doesn’t have Bicycling paths yet)
You can find bike-paths along most rivers and coastlines. Sometimes there are ferries that will take you across the rivers.
Bike from Yuanshan MRT, through the park, over the bridge, to Miramar Ferris Wheel (Shopping District)
Take the MRT or a bus back.
Keelung River is another place you can bike along it’s got a mini-golf course at the end too, which is cool.
But if you take your basketball, there are courts you can play in here.
Nice path, but there are some sketchy and stinky bits.
In most cases, cycling a long the coast or river-sides is much more scenic and pleasant than cycling on the city streets.
If cycling one way is enough for you, ditch the bike at the nearest YouBike station and take a bus or MRT back to your starting point.
You could also consider biking to one of these three beaches!
Don’t try to cycle anywhere in summer or you’ll die from heatstroke and dehydration.
If you don’t go deaf from cycling on the streets, you might get cancer from the pollution.
You can store all kinds of cool things in the YouBike’s granny-style basket.
And now you know how to make a YouBike account.
You can search on Google Maps for either YouBike or UBIKE to find the nearest stations to either pick-up or drop-off a bike.
Good luck out there!
If I find more cool routes, I’ll update this post.
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Leave a comment if you have any questions!