Madrid’s public bike stations had been lonely for weeks, but yesterday morning we woke up to see the much-awaited electric bikes finally parked in their slots! So here’s a look at all you need to know about getting tickets, finding stations and participating in Madrid’s rising bike scene.
Although far from being comparable to Amsterdam, Madrid is in the midst of a fast transition towards becoming biker-friendly. In recent years, bike lanes have appeared on main streets such as calle Alcalá and calle Mayor. Community biking groups and blogs such as En Bici Por Madrid, Ecomovilidad and Ciclosfera encourage city biking culture in Madrid by providing info on the best cycling routes, workshops and how to lock up your bike properly. Bici Crítica organizes a free meet-up on the last Thursday of every month at 8pm, when cyclists gather at Plaza de Cibeles for a pleasant ride around the city. Now the new electric city bikes should be another fun way to explore, get through traffic, and tackle those relentless hills!
BiciMAD is an initiative launched by Madrid’s Ayuntamiento (City Hall) to provide affordable, public rental of electric-powered bikes, allowing city-dwellers to move around Madrid on eco-friendly wheels 24/7. Electric-powered means there’s a small engine that helps you pedal, especially when starting off or going up hills. The engine automatically shuts off when you reach a speed of 16km/hr. The first phase of the initiative consists of 1,580 bikes and 123 stations, in the following neighborhoods: Center, Retiro, Salamanca, Arganzuela and Moncloa.
- BiciMAD’s web and facebook
- Madrid city’s official info on BiciMAD
- Google map of all the electric bike stations
- Interactive map of Madrid for bikers, including calmest streets and bike paths
How does it work?
All transactions–registration, payment, getting and charging your card, bike pick-up & drop-off, and reporting of problems–can be carried out at each bike station, where you will find a machine (tótem) with instructions in English and Spanish. What’s more, you’ll be able to check availability and routes on your mobile device: IOS, Android and Windows P, and download a handy app.
How much does it cost?
Price depends on if you buy an annual pass (abonado) or not (no abonado).
For abonados, you will have to pay 25€/year and only 15€/year if you already have the monthly abono transporte (public train and bus pass), plus an additional cost per ride of 0,50€-0,60€ (see all rates above). For no abonados, also called usuarios ocasionales, rides up to an hour cost 2€-4€.
All rates include insurance. Sanctions are established for abuse or misuse.
How do you sign up & get your card?
Whether you’re an annual user or an occasional user, you still need to sign up. Here are the steps:
- Sign up to get your code:
- At any station’s totem
- By phoning 010
- In person at Línea Madrid offices
- With the code, pick up your card (tarjeta) and charge it at the station
*As an annual user (abono anual), you’re automatically part of the public bicycle club of Madrid (Club de la Bicicleta Pública de Madrid), a virtual forum for other biking fans to find out about events, workshops and exchange info.
How do you use it?
- Once you’re signed up and put money on your card at the station, you’re ready to start riding.
- To pick up the bike, there should be a Green light indicating that the bike is available. Swipe/hold your card close to the light until you hear a beep. Then gently remove the bike from its slot.
- To drop off the bike, there should be a red light at the slot meaning it’s empty. Push the bike in until the light turns green, hear a beep and voilá! Just make sure that the bike is stationed well by pulling at it slightly.
- If it’s blue, that means that the spot has been reserved by another user.
- If there’s no light, it means that it’s disconnected and you can’t use it.
What happens if you return a bike and the station is full?
- Check in so you don’t get penalized, and then you will be given 10 more minutes to go to the next station.
*We’ll be updating this post as the new initiative sets in… stay tuned!
And if you’re looking to take these city bikes out for a spin, check out: 4 Best City Biking Routes in Madrid