I bought a bicycle last night and went cycling with Emma through the streets of Taipei, which felt eerily like taking part in a massively multiplayer game of chicken with the cast of Death Race 2000. The bike is built by Giant, and given the sheer number of bicycles on the road here, it's no surprise the market in bikes is indeed gigantic, helped somewhat by the fact they're very cheap but apparently generally also very well made.
Unfortunately, the market in stolen bicycles is pretty huge too, so perhaps it's a good thing I didn't spend very much money on it. I have a decent enough u-lock for it, but that's more about me feeling better about having at least tried if and when it does get stolen. I was told it's a good idea to spray paint your bike to make it look older and less new than it is, but I rather suspect the bike thieves of Taiwan are pretty handy at respraying jobs themselves.
On the other hand, now I can get around and about without relying on the subway too much, and can at least feel like I'm trying to be healthy whenever I feel the need to take a break from the writing. After we picked up the new bike, we headed for the Chiang-kai-Shek Memorial Hall, which is no more than a couple of miles away, made even easier by the fact most of Taipei is as flat as a billiard table.
Today was a bit damp, so I jumped on the subway and headed for the Underground Book Street. More on that later.