I really enjoy making free long distance call to clients, friends and families in USA from a moving bus in Taipei, but it’s even better for me to move around the Taipei City freely. The city government offers a free bike ride for the first 30 minutes to members of YouBike.
If you stay in the main area in Taipei, you can ride a bike at very low cost. Mostly free. Here are the steps.
- Create an account for YouBike.com.tw, which requires a mobile phone number (see #2).
- A mobile phone to verify you account. You can bring your unlocked phone to Taiwan and buy a pre-paid plan for NT$300 (US$10) from any authorized store of ChungHwa Telecom (中華電信). It allows you to make and receive calls, to use data, and to use it for many services (Free Public Wi-Fi, Free Taipei WiFi, etc). A mobile phone is almost required anywhere for online registration in Taiwan.
- Buy an easy card (悠遊卡) at any convenient stores (7-11, Family Mart, etc). You can refill the cards easily and use it for bus, subway, and purchasing merchandises.
- Register the EasyCard with your YouBike.com account.
- Find any YouBike location, simply scan your EasyCard, and you can enjoy first 30 minutes for Free. It will charge your EasyCard NT$10 (US$0.34) for every 30 minutes after.
There are many stations that you can return and rent the bike. So You pretty much check out the bike at one location and check in at the other location in 30 minutes. Take break for 2 minutes and check out another bike again for next 30 minutes for FREE. Just to remember, always check your next destination at the Kiosk, and make sure there are bikes available for rent/check out. You may find no bike available at popular area.
I have to honestly say that it’s one of the best exercise and it costs you almost NOTHING. I’ve been riding the bike around the Taipei 101 area.
If you need, you can also lock the bike and go for a longer break. It has a built-in locker and key. I’ve heard people taking the bike for a sight scene for a whole day (8 hours), and cost you only NT$150 (US$5.00). You can’t rent a bike cheaper than that.
After all, I highly recommend traveler wearing hat, sun glass and a mask while riding the bike. The air-pollution, flu season and high UV can be really bad to your health.
I know what you think and I don’t care. :)