Giant Bicycles Corporation (捷安特), Taiwan's largest bicycle designer, builder and retailer, offers a highly attractive rental program (自行車租賃) to encourage more Taiwanese to take multi-day cycling trips across the island. The program lets you choose from two mid-range (NT$20,000 / US$650) bicycles [Great Journey 1 and CRX-2] and comes with a saddle bag and support kit that includes basic cycle accoutrements (air pump, tool kit, flashlight, lock, etc.).
The program allows rentals and returns at any of Giant's 30 some wholly-owned distributors (contact details for around 15 of them are posted in Chinese here). For our most recent cycling journey from Kaohsiung to Taitung, we rented bikes from Giant's Zuoying (Tsoying) outlet (捷安特左營店, tel: 07-348-0975), a 10 minute walk from the Zuoying High Speed Rail (HSR) station, and returned them at Giant's Taitung City outlet (捷安特台東店, tel: 08-934-7416).
The rental program is exceptionally cost effective, with rentals billed at NT$1,000 (US$35) total for the first three days and NT$200 (US$7) for each day thereafter. While bikes seem to be kept in good condition, make sure to give them a thorough once over before setting out. You probably will also want to consider packing a spare inner tube and/or tire repair kit as well.
The bicycle rental program is surprisingly under-advertised. Prior to our trip in March, I did a Chinese language search of the Internet and came up empty on any rental program details. The Giant website (also in Chinese) is quiet on the rental program as well ... the company apparently treating it as somewhat of a stealth operation. Giant may be concerned about over-subscriptions and thus prefers word of mouth promotion.
Program rules ask that you book reservations through your pick-up location (Giant outlet) at least one week in advance. English will likely prove too challenging for most of the store attendants taking phone-in reservations, so suggest that non-Chinese speakers book by e-mail. A partial listing of outlets with e-mail links follows:
Giant Taipei Hsinchuang (Sinjhuang / Xinzhuang)台北新莊店
Giant Bali (Shihsanhang) 十三行站
Giant Taipei Banqiao (Banciao) 台北板橋店
Giant Taipei Nanjing (Nanking East Road) 台北南京店
Giant Hsinchu Jiedeng 新竹捷登店
Giant Taichung City Hall 台中市政店
Giant Taichung Nantun 南屯店
Giant Taichung Beitun 太原站
Giant Fengyuan Circle 豐原圓環店
Giant Tainan City 台南店
Giant Kaohsiung Zuoying (HSR Station) 左營店
Giant Kaohsiung Qijin (Cijin) 旗津站
Giant Kaohsiung Ersheng 高雄二聖店
Giant Pingdong City (Pingtung) 屏東店
Giant Taidong City (Taitung) 台東店
Giant Hualien Liyutan 鯉魚潭站
Giant Hualien Qixingtan (Cisingtan) 七星潭站
Giant Yilan Zhongshan (Jhongshan) 宜蘭中山店