“Just take a YouBike there!”
What is a YouBike?
YouBike is Taiwan’s public bike-sharing system. You can register with an Easy Card and beep that card at any terminal to unlock a bike. It’s very easy and there are plenty of stations around most major cities in Taiwan. It’s the perfect way to commute while also staying in shape.
What You Need to Know:
The first 30 minutes are 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.
How to Register YouBike in Taipei:
To register a YouBike in Taipei you will need a local phone number, Easy Card, an ID, and a password.
You can make an account online through their website or a Kiosk.
I found the Kiosk is easier because you can tap your Easy Card, otherwise, you have to enter your Easy Card number and no one knows what that is.
Creating an account is pretty straightforward just walk through the steps and fill in the details. You will need to register your Easy Card number to your YouBike account, to do that just place the card on the sensor.
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.
How to Use a YouBike in Taiwan:
And now you can find a bike that is not full of trash, swipe your card on the sensor, unlock it, and pull it out.
Very simple. To put the bike 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.
Don’t Have a SIM Card?
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 it’s not difficult to get a local number.
Avoid phone stores and contracts because you won’t be able to use them unless you have an ARC.
The same goes for the Easy Card.
You’ll be wielding a giant pink Hello Kitty easy card in no time.
Another thing to consider would be to get a SIM card with NFC so you can add an Easy Card to your phone (like I do!).
YouBike Frequently Asked Questions:
Can Foreigners Rent a YouBike?
Yes. You just need a phone number for SMS verification. Previously only foreigners with ARC (Resident Card) numbers could register but now you can opt-out of adding an ID number. You won’t have insurance though.
Where Can I Find a YouBike Station Near Me?
The easiest way (I found) to find a YouBike station near you is to use Google Maps and search for YouBike. You might have to search for “UBIKE” or other variations. Generally, there are stations at almost every hot spot (parks, MRT stations, etc).
There’s also a station map on this website.
Can I Rent a YouBike with a Credit Card?
Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You have to agree to place a 2,000 TWD deposit, which will be returned after 15-days. If you plan to rent bikes often, being charged 2,000 each time is a hassle. Just use an Easy Card.
Are YouBike’s Comfortable?
Not really. You’ll have to adjust the seat to your height. Overall, they’re not bad though. Definitely not recommended for long rides.
How Much is YouBike?
YouBikes are really cheap, the first 30 minutes are free, and then it’s around 20 NT for an hour.
Here’s a list of the rates:
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 along 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:
Bike to Shalun Beach from Danshui:
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.
Yuanshan to Miramar Ferris Wheel
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 here.
Nice path, but there are some sketchy and stinky bits.
In most cases, cycling along 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.
Or you can bike to a gym to get that extra pump in!
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 use a YouBike in Taiwan.
You can search on Google Maps for either YouBike 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.
Leave a comment if you have any questions!