How to Use YouBike in Taiwan

Sick ride.

“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 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:

  1. Easy Card (With Money on It)
  2. Local Phone Number
  3. 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.

Very simple.

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.

There is a bike path a long either side of the Keelung River. Nice path, but there are some sketchy and stinky bits. Danshui to Lover’s Bridge is another path you can take.

In most cases, cycling a log 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! 

Fun tips: 

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.

Good luck out there!

Read more: 

Leave a comment if you have any questions!