Since November I’ve been the proud owner of a bicycle in Madrid. Early on a Sunday morning in that fine month I, along with 4,999 other hardy souls, rode through the center of Madrid in a bright orange t-shirt on a brand new bike. We were part of the “Madrid Bike Tour,” an initiative that originated in Portugal to get people out and riding bikes. Here in Spain the Ministerio de Sanidad joined in as a sponsor and dubbed it “a bike ride against drugs.” Whether or not riding a bike fights drugs, what’s clear is that mola. It’s great. Madrid is not a bike-friendly city, though, and it’s really a shame. But you do see riders out there, especially on Thursday nights when it’s time for Bici Crítica. I haven’t been yet cause it’s when I go to yoga, but I fully intend to participate in La Criticona.

So far, I ride my bike a bit around the city, especially to places that are annoying to walk to and not too too far away. I have invested in a super-cool reflective vest because I figure that looking ridiculous is better than losing my life. In reading some urban cycling sites, I came across this page, which I think is very well done, although in Madrid (and Spain), someone should really create an addendum for how to ride safely with motos, which are all over the place and a bit of a threat cause they can move like bikes but of course are a lot more dangerous. It is slightly risky to ride your bike around the city, mainly because Madrid drivers aren’t used to bikes and there are virtually no roadways, lanes, or other concessions to cycling traffic.

For a while, though, I’ve been meaning to try out Madrid’s one concession to cyclists: the Anillo Verde Ciclista, a bike path that goes the entire way around Madrid in 64 kilometers. Yesterday a friend and I ventured out on it and did about a third of the whole route before catching the metro and heading home (yes, you can bring your bike on the metro at all times on weekends!). We had passed the very northern reaches of the city, way beyond the four ginormous new towers that redefine the city’s skyline, and ended up stopping on literally the other edge of the city (the area doesn’t even make it onto the map of Madrid I have hanging on my wall). The experience was really enjoyable and I’m hoping that next weekend we’ll tackle the last two-thirds of the ring.


4 Responses to “Bici!”

  1. 1 Alx Tuesday, 10 February, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Ya era hora de que te animaras a volver a escribir!
    Podrías subir alguna foto montada en la bici con tu ropa reflectante?? :p

  2. 2 carolina Wednesday, 11 February, 2009 at 9:53 am

    joder!!! no me jodas! no lo sabía!!! tia! qué ilusión y qué envidia!!!!

  3. 3 Valerie Thursday, 12 February, 2009 at 7:11 am

    ooohhh fun! a bike! I just got one too! I agree with alx, please post a picture of you in the hot orange jacket on the bici!!

    miss you!


  4. 4 Troy Wednesday, 25 February, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    The best thing are the growing opportunites available to cyclists here in Spain outside the cities, which as you have mentioned are still as dangerous as Somalia on a good day. Google “Vias Verdes” which are train track in disuse that they have fancied up to become biking/hiking lanes. Then there are the Cañadas that are open to the public, even if the gate is closed…loads of car free riding to be had out there.

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