Life without a bike

I refuse to be on or ride a scooter in Taipei. It is very dangerous because traffic lights are just used for reference. I do own a scooter though but ride it around the Mountains for fun. Taxis are inexpensive but can add up if your taking them twice a day across the city. The MRT is great if you live in close proximity to a station and I think it is faster to take the MRT from Shi Lin to Xin Yi then to take a taxi most of the time.

[quote=“Persephone”][quote=“canucktyuktuk”]just get a nice boyfriend or girlfriend with a scooter or bike as soon as you can. You can get most things in Taipei by foot or bicycle.

You’re going to want to get into the mountains or off to the beach, though. :smiley:[/quote]

I certainly do hope to get a nice boyfriend to drive me around :laughing: (among other things :wink: ). But if that takes a while, what are my transportation options for getting out of the city, to the mountains and beaches?[/quote]

I’ve lived in Taipei for over four years now and have never driven a scooter or private car within the city limits. Actually, the only time I ever operate a motor vehicle is in Kenting and that’s only because the best beaches are too far (and too far uphill) to walk to and there’s no mass transportation or taxis. It is very easy to get around most places here without any car or scooter of your own. Besides, it’s far easier getting ready on your way to work if you don’t have to drive in the process. I was never good at driving and braiding my hair at the same time.

Yep yep. Scooters are an evil influence in Taiwan.

I don’t play Jade Empire, but I do have NWN. :smiley:

Um, curious. The Hengchun peninsula is pretty flat and the beaches are of course at sea level so how are you walking uphill to get to them?

Um, curious. The Hengchun peninsula is pretty flat and the beaches are of course at sea level so how are you walking uphill to get to them?[/quote]

Okay…it’s uphill and then downhill, but you have to get past sail rock, maobitou, the lighthouse, etc. to get to places like jialeshui and that beach that comes before it (which is free to use, but rocky and the waves are pretty rough for surfing). Not that I mind the nice view overlooking the cliffs of [color=darkred]impending-death-should-a-chicken-bus-come-flying-from-the-other-side-of-the-road-which-has-minimal-guardrailing-to-prevent-the-inevitable[/color], but it is a bit alarming. Ahem. Sorry, just my acrophobia talking. You know how that goes. :wink:

Those places are the only bits I go to at Kending any more, apart from Bart Simpson rock for snorkeling. That beach with the golden sand studded with huge rocks at the bottom of that grassy cliff? Simply gorgeous. Wish I was there now!

Hate to be an old fart, but Taipei traffic is eons better than it was 10 years back.

Traffic lights just for reference? In Taipei? Not on the main roads for sure.

But Taipei County?? HA! That’s a whole t’other story.

I don’t know. I have to travel from place to place and I am a little impatient waiting for busses and MRT’s etc.
I wouldn’t like to be without my bike. It’s 20mins walk or a 120NT taxi ride to the nearest MRT station and by the time I’ve waited in traffic on a bus or in a taxi or got to the MRT station I could be across Taipei and at my place of work.

So it all depends on what you do, your time limits and how confident you feel riding in a foreign country with mad traffic.

I wouldn’t come here and start riding here immediately, but after a few months perhaps buying a scooter will be beneficial, if only for the experience.

FYI, a poster said that owning a bike or scooter is more expensive than using the MRT or taking a taxi.
I disagree. A typical single MRT journey is 20 - 25 dollars - thats 40 there and back at least. I spend 200NT around town every 2-3 weeks on my bike.

Of course outlay and insurance costs have to be totalled in, but given the time spent in a taxi, MRT or on a bus compared to the time spent on a bike I believe it’s false economy.

Perhaps the best thing to do is come here and then assess your personal circumstances and then make a decision. You can survive perfectly OK without a bike here.

Different strokes for different folks. I’m considering getting a car because of how much I spend on taxis but if you want to go into Taipei city then you have to find parking, the stress of traffic and idiotic drivers. On a scooter you are at the mercy of busses, cars, taxis and scooters. I’d rather not take my chances and rely on public transportation at the moment.

I’m afraid to ride a [color=brown]bicycle [/color]in traffic because I tend to drift in whatever direction I turn my head. From what I’ve heard so far, Taipei does not sound like a good place to start learning how to ride a motorbike.

However, if I change my mind when I get there, how difficult would it be for me to get a license? I’m not sure I’ll have time to take lessons and pass the test before I leave here.

i have been told that it’s easier to pass the drivers test in the states than in taiwan. something to do with driving between cones on the ground and stuff. moped was supposed to be difficult because you have to go slow on a strip of paint.

get a drivers license in the states and then a AAA intl drivers permit. less likely to get a ticket i think.

as for bicycles, i personally would stay away from them. with a moped at least you have some speed to your advantage. bikes dont have speed when compared to a car, nor do you have extra mobility to dodge cars/buses/taxis/etc.

Persephone, you know my preference for bicycle and the reasons for it. I still feel the same way, so no need to go into that.

What I would like to comment on is the qualification of Taipei traffic as being terrible, dangerous, without rules, etc.

All things being relative, I’d say it depends on what your frame of reference is. Where are you coming from? What kind of traffic are you used to?

I have lived in Holland, country that is compulsive-obsessive about decency in traffic and putting the cyclist first (great when you’re riding your bicycle :slight_smile:, but sucks when you’re in the car, trying to pass the arrogant cyclist :fume: );
On the other side of the spectrum, I come from South-East Europe, where we’ve tons of assholes and idiots behind the wheel and until recently, similar disregard for rules as can be seen in Taiwan;
Or, even driving a car in places like Paris or small-town Italy, where creating your own lanes as you drive down the boulevards is part of the colorful lifestyle. Sure, it could get your car smashed, but you’ll enjoy it as a part of the folklore.

Getting advice and experiences from us here is certainly useful, but at the end of the day, the only one who can qualify Taipei traffic for you is you, your own experience of it. Same goes for whether you opt for public transport vs. taxi vs. scooter vs. pampering bf :wink:

Have you decided yet when to come, btw?

Erm, perhaps Easter Island would be a better option for you?

Regardless of what I have written above, I hate riding in Taipei and it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted.

If you want to pass the test here, for those of us that can keep a bicycle staright the practical part is not that much of a problem.
The real problem comes with the written test/bureaucracy.

You should see http://forumosa.com/taiwan/viewforum.php?f=75 for details on how to get a licence here and the procedures linked to getting your international drivers licence stamped and legal. You can do a search and you will be able to find loads of useful information about the subject.

I personally have an international drivers licence. All I do is get it stamped at the driving wotsit place and it’s good for a year so I don’t have to bother about getting a local licence.

There are different regulations regarding different international licences. I’m not sure, but I think you have to get a US licence stamped every 3 months.

That’s such doggypoop. You’ve obviously never done it. :unamused:

I’ll race you from ShiDa to XinDian (you motorised, me on bicycle), on any given weekday morning, top of the traffic hour on Roosevelt Rd. and a few alleys. :raspberry:

I put my bike in for a total overhaul last night, meaning it’ll be there for a few days. I felt so naked without it that I accepted a 50cc loaner so I could stay mobile. Those things are some SCARY shit! I’m giving it back tomorrow and just taxiing it till my own bike’s ready. :astonished: :astonished: :astonished:

Tash, how far is your daily bicycle commute? I’d love to ride mine to work but it’s like a 35km round trip and I’d be so sweaty and greasy by the time I got to the office…

[quote=“Persephone”]I’m afraid to ride a [color=brown]bicycle [/color]in traffic because I tend to drift in whatever direction I turn my head. From what I’ve heard so far, Taipei does not sound like a good place to start learning how to ride a motorbike.[/quote]From what you’ve said, I do think you’d find riding any two-wheeler here a bit intimidating, although as Tash said you don’t really know until you get here.

[quote=“Persephone”]However, if I change my mind when I get there, how difficult would it be for me to get a license? I’m not sure I’ll have time to take lessons and pass the test before I leave here.[/quote]Well, any form of western-style driver training you could get while still in the States would be very useful, but as for the actual license then you might as well get a TW one. As Dangermouse said, there’s lots of useful information on this in the “Vroom, vroom” section.

If you do decide to get a US license then make sure you get an International Driving Permit/License before you come to Taiwan. See this thread for further information:
[Foreign-issued International Driving Licenses/Permits

[quote=“sandman”]
Tash, how far is your daily bicycle commute? I’d love to ride mine to work but it’s like a 35km round trip and I’d be so sweaty and greasy by the time I got to the office…[/quote]

Not sure in km’s, but I imagine way under 35km. I’d appreciate it if someone would tell me, though:
I go ShiDa (home) - XinDian (office) - Taipei101 (gym) - ShiDa

We can shower at work, so sweating and dirt are not that much of an issue.

PS Drove car in weekend to Kaohsiung and back. Finally behind a wheel! I’m as happy as a gal can be :bouncy:

Taiwanese highway ethics suck big time, though. Jeez, get out of the fast lane if you’re going to drive 90, jerk! :fume: Or, am I the only one who thinks that should be the fast lane? Are the rules different here?:s They all seem to choose the lanes as they please, irrespective of the speed. :loco: Found myself overtaking in the slowest lane most of the time. It was like driving in England.

I just can’t help to think how many wonderful out-of-the-way places I would have missed had I not had my own transportation.

Don’t even think about coming here and not having your own transpo…There are too many nice places that you can’t get to by bus or train.

JDsmith is right, safety-wise it’s far superior to when I arrived.

I have a truck and 2 bikes…Unless it’s rainy or very cold, I’m on 2 wheels. In fact I’m packing up for a quick jog into the mountains right now :sunglasses:

Without your own transportation you’ll be very limited in what you can see IMHO…Just go for it.

Scars are cool anyway :smiling_imp:

Scooters are really convenient. You own more of your own time when you have one. You might get to work in 8 minutes instead of 38 if you have a scooter. Riding buses in rush hour is hell. People waiting to board the MRT don’t understand the concept of letting passengers off the train first before pushing and shoving their way in. Get a scooter.

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. The rules aren’t different here in that regard, though – the outside lane is for passing only. But no-one gives a shit. It’s quite liberating once you get used to it, and you can really improve your slalom technique. :wink: