Want to take up biking around Taipei...help me get started?

I did a quick search and didn’t exactly find what I was looking for, so I decided to post a new thread. Don’t get mad at me!

Anyhow, I’ve decided to take up biking as both part of my weight loss exercise plan and also for transportation, but I am unsure where to start and do have a few questions:

  1. Where should I go to get a decent bike (used or new)? Knowing virtually nothing next to biking, is there some sort of multi-purpose “crosstrainer” bicycles I can get. I don’t want anything too expensive though.

  2. Do bicyclists observe traffic rules as scooters on the road?

  3. I’m thinking about riding for a couple of hours every morning before going about my daily business around Neihu and maybe Shizih…are there bike trails around the area?

Thanks in advance.

Head for the rivers. Jilong, Danshui, Shuangxi, Jingmei, Xindian…

They all have bike trails around them and they all make for a nice break from the traffic.

Something you might want to think about too is that if you get a folding bike you can carry it onto the public transit systems.

When i went shopping for a bike the dealers all steered me to the Giant Yukon. I bought the one with disc brakes and love it. riverside bike trails are fantastic if you’re not into hills. I’m not, I pull a trailer with the little guy in it. you can go all the way from Shijr to Danshui on the bike trails and never mess with streets, It’s great. try a rental first and make sure you like it.

Are you allowed to take bikes on the MRT? I’ve never seen anyone do it. I’m not a big fan of the collapsible bikes because the form factor doesn’t look too comfortable to me and I’m right on the border line for the maximum weight limit.

How much was your Giant Yukon? I rented one before around Danshui and it was all right, but those are kinda pricey aren’t they? Wouldn’t it get stolen easily around town in Taipei?

You ask good questions.

People WILL steal your bike if they get the chance. They don’t steal other things here but your bike, yes, they’ll steal it.

Yes, you can take foldable bikes on the MRT.

Then again at many MRT stations you can take any kind of bike.

Rules of the road? I dunno man. I wouldnt spend too much time biking the streets of Taipei till I was really comfortable with both riding and the flow of traffic.


How much was your Giant Yukon? I rented one before around Danshui and it was all right, but those are kinda pricey aren’t they? Wouldn’t it get stolen easily around town in Taipei?[/quote]

I bought one for my wife last year and it was around NT$9500. I’ve had my own as well for about 5 years and it’s still going strong.

you can only take bikes on the mrt at the weekends (and not from 4 pm tp 7 pm!). if you get the yukon make sure to get road tires…its a waste of time riding with knobbly tires unless you’re going off-road. training bikes usually refers to road bikes with flat handlebars such as the Giant Rapid giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bik … 875/36259/. However these aren’t cheap.

I’ve lost 7 kgs so far in one year of cycling…if you’re cycling in Neihu you’ll eventually want to hit the hills behind it. Hill climbs in summer are what’ll really melt the fat off you!

You can’t take a bike on the brown line of the MRT anytime. Also, I would highly suggest you store any bike worth more than a couple thousand NT indoors to prevent both theft and rust.

That’s a silly policy not being able to have bikes on the MRT all the time. The BART didn’t have policies like that…

Are there decent bike shops you guys can recommend?

I agree, but a lot more people take the MRT than BART. c. 350,000 rider per day compared to 1.1 million per day on the MRT. BART is also much more spread out.

Restrictions at peak hours make sense on the Taipei MRT but they should let riders on during off-peak week day hours.

And get one of those steel U-locks to lock up your bike. I thought it was necessary to lock my bike to something since anyone could just throw a bike in the back of a car/truck and saw off the lock at home. But nobody drives cars/trucks here. and if they have enough money to have a car they aren’t stealing bikes. So my first bike was stolen :fume: .

So for my 2nd bike I got an ordinary KHS mountain bike and I’ll replace the knobby tires once they wear out. This was around 5K with a couple of freebies included. I looked at the giant but passed on it to save a few dollars. As long as my bike last the 3 yrs I’m planning on being here I’ll be happy.

The bike paths by the rivers are the one thing that i really like about Taipei. But in less than 10 minutes I can be out of Kaohsiung and the road to Tainan is nice for cycling.

First thing I would recommend is that you pay the most that you can afford for a bike. My reasoning is that I’ve been biking almost daily for 11 years now and I have had my shares of cheap ‘Walmart’ bikes. I wasted more time on maintenance and repair than enjoying a ride. Until recently I got a TREK 4300 and the I’m satisfied with the durability but it could have better equipment for the price tag. The materials in high prices bikes are meant to last for a very long time. Some tips:

  1. Dahon and Giant are one of my most high ranked bikes. Their quality is outstanding . Dahon is one of Taiwan’s best bicycle manufacturer and so is Giant. Dahon specializes in folding bikes. And Giant makes just about any type of bike.

  2. Avoid buying bikes with steel frames: they are prone to rust and are heavier than aluminum frames. Nowadays, almost all medium priced bikes are aluminum frames: lighter and no rust.

  3. Depending on your cruising speeds you can select the wheel size for easy acceleration. The bigger the wheels (16" ~>20") the harder the acceleration but the more power you need to pedal at higher speeds. So if you’re going uphill smaller wheels are great. While cruising the streets a personal preference is the best answer. Test a bike out before you buy it. Look for the amount of power you need to put on the pedals when you start.

  4. If your neighborhood has bumpy roads I recommend a full suspension (like the Dahon Jetstream P8). If you can afford it you will never regret it. However, most of the uncomfortable shock impacts your seat. So you can get away without a full suspension by buying a shock absorbing seat post (they have a spring inside and are adjustable for comfort) and maybe have a front suspension.

  5. Buy a bike with skinny and almost bold (with some traction) tires. For roads it’s the best. If you plant to go off-road you can buy hybrid tires: they can be used on roads and on off-road surfaces.

  6. Protect your bike and use a steel U-lock. They are the most durable and they are difficult for thieves to get past.

A lot of good advice in the rest of your post, but suspension is completely unnecessary in Taiwan and since riding in Taiwan means going uphill, you will waste a great deal of energy bobbing up and down. And suspension adds a lot of unnecessary weight.

I would also add that if you are going to buy a folding bike the Dahon touring bikes like the Speed TR are not good for the mountains. Great for going uphill but not stable enough going down because of the lack of a crossbar. I love my folder but I really dread going down steep mountain roads. Good tires help. The Apple tires are not good for twisting downhill but the Marathon are.

Actually there are restrictions on when you can bring a bicycle onto BART as well.


I can’t imagine trying to bring a non-folding bicycle onto the brown line, there’s just not enough space in the cars on that line. Brown line’s the oldest line in the MRT system though, fortunately the newer lines are all much more spacious.


For folding bikes “any time on the MRT”, the “bike bag” doesn’t have to be much of a bag. “Leaf and garden” bags work fine.

If you are not sure what to buy at first, for the first couple of months just rent a bike on weekends and ride for three or four hours along the river paths. Rental is by far the cheapest way to discover cycling, to see others riding, and to find out what works and what doesn’t in different shapes and types of bikes.

then, when you’ve seen all the options, go out and buy a road bike from Giant, Fuji, KHS, Specialized, whatever… be it a single speed if you never intend climbing or a normal geared machine if you do. Not that a single speed need stop you from hill climbing, i regularly climbed YangMingShan on mine. But if you do get serious, then you will almost certainly climb hills, and so you should: Taipei and Taiwan in general are among the best cycling areas in the world specifically because of the mountains.

Don’t even bother with any kind of folding bike or mountain bike if you want to get more serious and ride hills daily. Mountain bikes are too heavy, and folding bikes generally can’t go fast (there are exceptions, but a road bike is always better at actually riding roads).