One of the things we wanted to do in Taiwan was explore it by bicycle. We decided, being in the land of Giant and Merida, that we would buy some bikes to ride for the year (and potentially take back to Canada). We always like to pop into local bike stores when we travel, and it was more fun to actually be in the market for new bikes this time! We checked out as many shops as we could in both Hsinchu and Taipei.
After much deliberation we settled on ordering bikes from our local Giant shop in Hsinchu. Mike opted for a TCR Advanced, and I opted for a Defy. The experience was different than what I was used to for my previous two purchases. I was used to large bike stores that carry many sizes in many bikes – you select the one you want, test ride it, and maybe take it home the same day. Our local bike store, Yicheng Bicycle, was a small shop with one of each bike on display, and the shop right out on the floor. Once you’ve decided on a model, Tim, the owner, measures you and orders the bike in the correct size. If you want to see how the geometry feels, then he sets up a fit bike to reflect the measurements of the bike you want. It was a neat thing to try different geometries on the fit bike instead of riding different bikes in stock.
As a woman, often stock geometry isn’t quite right for me. We knew this going in, but I decided to try my bike as-is before changing anything. Later, when I decided the reach was definitely too long, Tim had me hop on the fit bike to try out various stem length and handlebar combinations. The fit bike can quickly switch between different set ups, making it a lot easier to compare options and choose the best feeling fit. Shops in Canada tend to have a bike-fit package you buy instead which includes a full assessment of your body mechanics and bicycle setup. At Yicheng Bicycle, a quick hop on the fit bike and installation of any components you choose is built right into the (very reasonable) price.
Tim had his mechanic’s bench right on the shop floor, and he’d usually be working on a bike when we dropped in. He’d set that aside for any customers that needed help. We discovered later that this shop model is quite common! One thing I absolutely loved (and miss) about the shops, is that if you were travelling by bike and you came in to get a mechanical fixed, they’d do it right there so you could continue your ride. Over our time in Taiwan we had a couple of flats, a broken spoke, and a tire that wore out on our trip around the island. Each time, the shop fixed our issue and asked about our ride as we browsed around.
I have only good things to say about Tim at Yicheng Bicycle. He was very professional, chatting with us in English and helping us learn some Chinese. He let us know about a local ride, and took the time to make sure our bikes were set up correctly, right down to the cleats in our new shoes. He helped me dial in my fit and later set me up with gearing more appropriate to riding in the mountains. If you’re looking for a bike in Hsinchu, his shop is the place to go!