About the Giant Rental Program (捷安特單車租賃,台灣)
There are many rental bike programs around Taiwan, but the longest running and most well-known is from Giant Bicycles (捷安特). They are Taiwan’s largest bicycle provider. One of the most convenient services that Giant provides is the ability to rent a bike (自行車租賃 to cycle around the island（環島）.
Their rental service is an extremely under-advertised and is an affordable program that I found through another web site (see reference below), yet there is still little information about it in English. Since many locals either have their own bike or take advantage of city sponsored rental bikes (like YouBike), I found that not many were familiar with the details of this program.
Works mostly through word of mouth advertisement, the rental program caters to those who:
1.) Do not wish to transport their bike into/throughout Taiwan (and associated panniers, racks, lights, etc..)
2.) Have a starting point and destination located in two different areas. For me this was from Hualien to Kending (花蓮–>墾丁).
At the time of reservation there was only one type of bike, a Giant Great Journey, which was more of a mountain bike than a touring bike, and they called it the “Around the Island Bicycle”, 環島車。
Minimum 3 day rental:
$1,200 NT (Deposit: $400 NT to reserve, applicable to total rental fee)
There is $400 NT deposit to reserve the bike, it can be done at a 7Eleven if you have a Taiwan bank account or through money wire at the post office (郵局) with cash, there is a $30NT wire fee. You will get the account information over the phone when placing the reservation, however it is not complete until the wire transfer is complete. During pick-up, you will be required to give them a credit card number in case any equipment is broken upon return.
Bike:Giant Great Journey – Deore front/rear derailleurs, raised handlebars. Adjustable front shock dampening. Front shocks can be locked for the road, and released for the occasional trail riding.
Included with the rental: Front/Rear light, Phone bag (bento bag), wire lock, hand pump, speedometer/odometer, water cage, rear rack w/ dual panniers
What you will need to bring / buy
- Helmet – Brought this from the states
- Cycling clothes. Clipless pedal/Shoes – I didn’t find this necessary although it would have been nice.
- Tire patch kit ($90NT) – basic patch kit with tire levers, glueless/vulcanizing patches, adhesive
- Spare tube ($210NT) – I don’t even leave on a long trip without one of these. Been on trips where I’ve never had a flats, and others where I’ve have had multiple flats in a single day. Opted to buy this the same day as pickup to make sure I got the right size.
The process to reserve was simple, and the experience was similar to how a bicycle rental would work in the U.S. Being able to speak and understanding Chinese seems to go a long way since the bicycle reservations are only done over the phone or in person. You may not get someone who can speak/understand English very well. There are multiple Giant stores, not all accept rental returns (see below) and some may even be outside the main city.
The Giant employees are extremely helpful and suggest route information. BUT be mindful that everyone’s athletic ability is different. An 80km ride could take a roadie 2 hours but 4 hours if on a touring bike with 10 kg of gear plus time set aside for taking pictures.
If you only speak English, it is suggested to e-mail for better communication (1). See the link in the reference for e-mail information of various stores.
A couple things to note:
- Not publicly advertised on the internet, you will need to call or e-mail them. Be prepared to have your height (in cm) ready.
- You will need at the very least 3-4 days advance notice, a week or more will be much better. They need to find a bike, and the deposit needs to go through.
- There is no guarantee on the size of bike. Reserving early is your best bet. If they don’t have a bike available, there are other services that provide rental bikes. If you are an average-sized asian man (170 cm), you are likely to be fitted with an M size bike.
- Inspect your bike carefully and do a test ride. The Giant employees are happy to help, just ask.
- Not all Giant stores participate in this program. Seems that only the franchised stores under the same owner. Be sure to know where the store pickup and drop off locations are.
- Save your contract paperwork, you will need this upon return of the bike.
Below is a picture of the pickup and drop-off locations. Perhaps when I get more time, I will translate the locations and contact information of the stores into digital text.
Giant Bicycles – Hualien (09:00-18:00, Thursdays closed)
No. 35 號, Guoxing 1st St. （花蓮縣 花蓮市國興一街35號）
Hualien City, Taiwan 970
Giant Bicycles – Kending (08:00-20:00, open 7 days)
No. 271 Kending Rd. （屏東縣恆春鍞寓里路27－8號）