Bike recommendations + Bike shops

Hello everybody,

I moved to Taiwan a few months back and live in Nangang district. It’s a very beautiful place and I often see groups of cyclist heading into XiJhi. I thought I would finally get off my lazy a$$ and explore Taipei as well as exercise.

I am new to cycling but have done some research (e.g.bike forums). Cycling would be a once or twice a week activity for me. I don’t want to spend too much (10k ~ 15k with some wiggle room) and am looking for a road bike. I am about 5’6’’ and 140lbs (from the states). If all goes well I eventually want to transition into races. Any suggestions?

I live near Nangang Exhibition Hall MRT station, can anyone recommend a bike shop close by.

Also, anything I should know about cycling laws in Taiwan such as riding on the streets or roads?

Finally, are there any cycling clubs? I would love to join those groups of cyclist I see riding around.

TIA.

I think you’ll be pleased by your options in Taiwan. I’d look at Giant and Merida first. Great value there. Lots of Giant shops in the area. Check out the Defy.

Try the Giant bike store just north of the MRT DongHu Station (2 stops from your station where you live). Get out of the station and walk in the same direction as the train (right side of the street). Should hit a decent Giant store before you reach DongHu Road 東湖路. (You’ve gone too far if you hit the big Wellcome on the corner.) Never been in this Giant store, but passed it many times and looks like it has a decent selection of bikes. Best to go to a few bike stores and get a feel for prices and how nice the boss/salespeople are.

No real cycling laws you should worry about. I’d recommend at least buying a small side-mirror to put on your left-side handlebar. It makes a world of a difference being able to see which cars or trucks are coming up on you either in heavy city traffic or when climbing up a hill. Cannot rely on cars to be as bike friendly as some cities in the states are.

As for cycling clubs, there’s plenty of them. Quite a bit of them are from the local bike shops themselves. You can always ask the local bike shops salesmen (if they are young) when they go training or for long rides (usually on the 1 off-day that their shop is closed). Weekends you’ll see the river bike paths and even Yangmingshan and Neihu mountain rides clogged with riders.

If you can ride during the week, you may only pass a few riders on some of the nice mountain hills of Yangmingshan and Neihu, and the river bike paths are not as crowded. Plenty of foreigners get together usually around TAS or elsewhere in Tienmu on early weekend mornings for mountain rides.

Can PM me for more info on what hills to ride from where you live or for local bike websites.

You can get a great deal on Giant bikes here. The Defy is a good option, as are the TCR series. I bought a TCR 3 with full carbon fiber and tiagra for just over 30k… back home they go for like $1800 CAD, so that’s a pretty good deal. Most bike shops will knock 10% off the price of the bike if you ask. I’m in Hsinchu though, so can’t recommend much for you locally. Good luck!

10% off is for new bikes. A further 10% for subsequent years. For example, my bike was three years sitting in the shop, new it was 90k, so I got it for 60. Very sweet bike. They may offer you the 10% in goods (e.g. A helmet). It’s up to a certain degree of negotiation/luck.

It depends on the weather… I biked on Thursdays and the weather was good, and the path along the river was clogged with riders as though it was the weekend. I guess if the weather is good then it will be crowded regardless of which day it is…

TL,

The schools are all closed now for vacation for about 1 month surrounding the Chinese New Year. Been that way for about 2 weeks or so.
Most everything seems crowded during the day on weekdays (MRT, malls, etc.).
And yes, sunny days during the winter definitely bring out everyone from their caves. :slight_smile:
Though riding the hills of Neihu and Yangmingshan aren’t getting those students on their vacation, ha!

Thanks for all the info, I think I will check out a few Giant stores on my next day off.

My friend recommended this place 內湖悠客單車, anyone ever been there?

Also, aside from a helmet and a side mirror, what other accessories so ya’ll recommend?

A really loud horn or bells because you need to get people out of your way

[quote=“Nivlek”]Thanks for all the info, I think I will check out a few Giant stores on my next day off.

My friend recommended this place 內湖悠客單車, anyone ever been there?

Also, aside from a helmet and a side mirror, what other accessories so ya’ll recommend?[/quote]

That bike store is near about where I live. Never been there, but maybe will check it out as I have some things I need done on my bike.

Probably can buy a speedometer/odometer. No need to get some fancy GPS-locating one, unless you are into posting your rides on your Facebook or website. A cheap Cateye will do, as I have found. You can always use Google maps to see how high your climb was.

Agree about the bell. Make it a very loud one. One of the best defenses to put on offense when you find a taxi driver doing something stupid, old people about to cross the road in front of you, or wild dogs a few meters up the hill you are climbing (or on the river bikepath) to get their attention that something, YOU, is coming so as to not startle them too late.

2 water bottle holders for the heat in the summer.

LED headlight (white) and LED backlight (red), only if you plan on riding at dawn or dusk. Can include an LED light on helmet if you feel it’s needed.

At least one inner-tube, speed pump, the tools to use to take off the tire, and some cheap gloves to wear so as to not get your hands all greasy from a tire change.

Not much else bike accessories to think of for a 2-hour or so ride from one’s home.

re: the defy, agree it’s a nice bike, but in their 2013 lineup, to get the 105 set you have to get the CF version, which kindda sucks if you’re getting one for some city riding as well as light racing. I found a 2012 MY Defy with the 105, and they tried to sell it to me at full price. After looking at road bikes for half a day I decided to get another fixed gear at 鐵馬假期 (台北市大安區信義路三段31巷4號1F), great service and reasonable prices. I’d check them out if you’re around there.

Are bikes allowed on all roads in Taipei? Just not really sure where I am allowed and not allowed to ride. If the road splits off into a scooter and automobiles, would I take the scooter lane? Also, crossing bridges seems like a risky stunt especially with no bike lane or turn out lanes.

You’ll know where bikes are allowed to ride. Generally should not ride on the national highways (like North-South Highway, Highway 3, etc.). Follow the scooters when the road splits off. If the sidewalk is very wide, you can take that if you are going over a bridge, otherwise it’s fine to be in the scooter lane. There’s no traffic law booklet per se (that I know of), more just rely on your common sense and know when not to go on a bridge or road that even scooters are not going over.

Crossing bridges with no bike lane are not that risky. Just depends on the bridge and the time of day. Many cyclists have crossed some of those famous narrow bridges in Taiwan with no bike lane. Just have to be aware off all your surroundings (and where a mirror comes in to help).

Worst case scenario is a police car may tell you to not take the bridge or road again, or even escort you to a better road. Don’t lose sleep over this.

Good thing about police stations islandwide is that you can stop and ask them for some water if you need of it. Some of them will even try and get you to come in for some tea (like during my trip around the island).

what about running lights?

I think under the law here bicycles are treated as pedestrians… hence no mandatory helmet laws, etc.

Seems to be effective useful: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22884376

I don’t usually run mine during the day, but definitely at night time I think it’s a huge bonus to your own personal safety.
In my opinion, reflectors are not enough and seem pretty useless as I almost never see light being reflected off other people’s reflectors.

My criteria when shopping for a light is brightness, cost and easy-to-find batteries.
This typically means lights that run on AAA batteries instead of less common sizes (such as the round flat ones).

Where can I get one of those lights that runs off of a generator that sticks to your bike wheel? That way no worrying about batteries.

They went out of fashion about 30 years ago…Shane beachside they could be so cool

Thanks for the awesome advice, nice to know I can fill my water bottle at the local 5-0.

I went to a few Giant Bike shops today (1 in Nangang and 2 in Neihu) and most of the sales attendants didn’t really seem knowledgeable. They kind of just asked for my price range, gave me a selection and went back to the front desk.

The last shop I checked out was 內湖悠客單車 and the owner, William, was very helpful and knowledgeable. He was more personable and took my measurements and gave me a wider range of selections. I ended up getting the Primavera Eximo. I don’t know much about and can’t find much about the Primavera brand but he told me they are local Taiwanese brand. I like the bike and it fit my budget.

Thanks again for all the help and hopefully I will run into you guys on the road.

CTaitung: Can you tell us more about your Taiwan bike trip?

When in doubt, just follow the scooters. As for bridges, most bridges in and around Taipei have bike access ramps from the riverside parks which lead you onto the sidewalk on the bridge. I always ride on the sidewalk when I cross a bridge; it’s a lot safer than the scooter lane, which is quite narrow with scooters whizzing by just inches from you. Plus there’s hardly any pedestrians on the bridges. One place I can think of that’s off limits to both bikes and scooters is the underpass below Songshan Airport that connects to Fuxing N. Rd.