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I was stylishly late, but I’m here now: I love YouBikes. It’s shocking that I’ve been here for over 3 months – (wow, it’s shocking that I’ve been here for over 3 months) – and haven’t been using YouBikes.

Well, last Saturday, I came to my senses.

Bikes are great.
Sometimes HAVING a bike sucks because you have to lug it around all over the place. I can’t count the number of times I’ve nearly abandoned my (very cheap, old) bike in the street rather than drag it back home on the MRT. “Maybe someone needs this more than me! I’ll donate it to the world and be free!”

ENTER TAIPEI’S YOUBIKES. They are the perfect solution – you can ride your bike and leave it, too. All you need is a bus/MRT EasyCard, (which you can get for about $200 NT at a convenience store or MRT station) and, as I found to be the case, a little more patience than you feel like having.

Last Saturday was my first trip up the Danshui River bike path. (Danshui… Tamsui… The actual Chinese pronunciation sounds a lot more like Danshui, so I’m sticking with that.)

A couple friends and I started our trek outside Jiantan station, where we found a YouBike (UBike?) kiosk.

It was a demon machine. I tried to sign up several times before I realized, “Oh yeah, no wonder this phone number confirmation is doing nothing to activate my EASYCARD, since, ya know, my phone number is for my…phone. Not my EasyCard.” The only thing I can guess is that there’s some sort of EasyCard registration process in which you can register your phone number to your EasyCard account. Maybe. In any case, I never did that, and since the kiosk only asked about my phone and not my EasyCard, and since I assumed I couldn’t hold my phone to a touch sensor on a YouBike gate to gain access to a bike (and since trying to do so would’ve probably hurt the image I like to maintain as an adequately “with it” foreigner), I had no choice but to lie down on the ground and loudly bemoan the stupidity of machines while my friend signed me up on the YouBike website with her smart phone. (When you have more money than me, the machines in your life are less stupid – my phone was glitching out.)

I recommend the website.