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Cyclist rides YouBike from Taichung to Nantou

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A cyclist surnamed Luo recently rode over 15 hours from Taichung to the highest point of any road in Taiwan — Wuling (武嶺) in Nantou County — all with a bicycle from Taipei's YouBike system.

Lou posted photos of himself riding a YouBike in Wuling on his Facebook page, noting that he had ridden the bike for 250 kilometers over the past few days, and ended up paying NT$810 for the rental when he returned the bike in Taipei.

The capital's YouBike bicycle-sharing system allows people to ride for free for the first 30 minutes, for NT$50 for the first three hours and then for NT$10 for every additional 30 minutes.

Lou's unconventional use of the YouBike system has caught a lot of attention as the public bicycle-sharing system is mainly designed to help people travel short distances in the city.

Liu Chia-yu (劉嘉祐), Taipei City Department of Transportation division chief, said the YouBikes are designed mainly for riding on level surfaces, noting that riding the bicycles uphill or downhill for a long time could damage the bike. Riding one of the bikes on mountain roads could also pose a threat to the cyclist, Liu added.

Apart from the potential damage to the bike and personal safety issues, the Taipei City Government does not encourage people to use YouBikes for too long, as the number of bicycles in the city is limited and other people's access to the bikes could be affected, Liu said.

The government will conduct a thorough examination of the bike returned by Lou before renting it out to other users again.

In light of the case, the city government is considering amending YouBike regulations and changing the charging method before the end of this year, Liu said.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Wang Shang-wei (王聲威) said that the city government could ask for compensation if a YouBike user misuses and causes damage to a bike.

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A man returns a bicycle to a YouBike station in Taipei yesterday. A cyclist surnamed Luo recently rode over 15 hours from Taichung to the highest point of any road in Taiwan — Wuling (武嶺) in Nantou County. And he did it all with a bicycle rented from Taipei's YouBike system. (CNA)

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