YouBike on Taipei Riverside

It's a little heavy, but the YouBikes are comfortable for sightseeing
It’s a little heavy, but the YouBikes are comfortable for sightseeing

I’ve been planning on using the YouBikes, Taipei’s public bike share, since my first week here. Unfortunately, unless you have a cellphone to connect to your EasyCard, you have to use a credit card to rent the bikes, which means you lose out on the free first half hour of use. So, I broke down and bought the cheapest smartphone I could find from Taiwan Mobile–this thing is so cheap that the camera is only 3 megapixels and doesn’t have a flash (I didn’t know such phones still existed).

I rented a bike from Linsen Park, which is just around the corner from my apartment. On Saturday I rode down the street and took a few turns off the main road. I found some new restaurants and shops that I would have to return to, including an American chain brewpub. I had no destination in mind Saturday, and ended up getting a little lost at times just because I didn’t care where I went. For around two hours on the bike, I paid about $1.

View from Rainbow Bridge
View from Rainbow Bridge

Sunday I made more of a plan. I was determined to go for a ride along the Keelung Riverside Park. This was a little more difficult than I expected–entrances to the park aren’t as easily recognizable or plentiful as I thought. There’s a high concrete wall around the park and only a few entrances–fortunately, I found one of them by the Rainbow Bridge, which was not as interesting as I had hoped.

On Rainbow Bridge
On Rainbow Bridge

From Rainbow Bridge, I rode out to Dazhi Bridge and crossed the river before making a return trip. There was some light rain and some strong wind, which made the ride a little less enjoyable. Had I found this route the previous day in all the bright sunshine, I would’ve been much happier (and more sunburned).

Taipei 101 from the opposite side of the Keelung River
Taipei 101 from the opposite side of the Keelung River

I had expected more trees in along the paths, but they might have obscured some of the photos. I was also surprised at the number of baseball fields in the area–and they were all being used. There was even a graffiti wall (there was a sign encouraging people to use it instead of defacing public property), which had some decent art.

Dazhi Bridge
Dazhi Bridge

According to the estimate from MapMyRide.com (the map doesn’t follow the roads/bike paths exactly), my ride on Sunday was a little more than 14.5 miles. I couldn’t calculate my ride from Saturday because I really don’t know where I was.

Yuanshan Hotel in the distance
Yuanshan Hotel in the distance

The YouBike is my new favorite way of seeing Taipei. They even have lights for riding at night and it’s common, and sometimes easier, to ride on the sidewalks. Traffic can get hectic, but I really didn’t have any problems with drivers like I used to have back home in NJ.

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