Beitou (北投) has a few idiosyncrasies that make life here interesting. One is the bike service that ferries people around the immediate environs for a paltry NT$40.
Affectionately dubbed the Limited Special Delivery (限時專送) by locals, it is in a little nook on Gongguan Rd (公館路) across the road from Beitou Market, near where the hill of Wenquan Rd (溫泉路) begins.
The generally 50-plus-year-old gents who man the bikes will take you a bit further afield for a slightly higher fare, though I’ve not quite sussed the system – if any – behind the increments. I’ve also not established how far afield they are willing to venture, though I’ve been told the boundaries of the district are about the limit.
I don’t know of any similar services – certainly not in Taipei or my home county of Miaoli (苗栗), but I suspect there might be something along these lines down south. I’ve heard that these kinds of bike taxis used to be more common back in the day. Perhaps Beitou’s awkward, seesawing layout has something to do with why this service survived here.
I occasionally jump on the back of a bike when I’m a rush to get to the hot spring before the end of a session (if I miss it, I have to wait another half an hour) or on a sweltering afternoon when my son is whingeing about walking. From observation, I’d say the large part of these guys’ trade comes from elderly women going from place to place – particularly those carrying their shopping back from market.
If you’re in the Beitou or Xinbeitou (新北投) area and are in a hurry or just fancy pretending you’re in Southeast Asia, give the lads a call. The digits are in the photo.