Thursday, October 17, 2013

BICYCLES IN MEXICO CITY--Now for Tourists as well





When Mexico City's 'EcoBici' bike sharing program was first announced in 2010 I thought,
"Who would be crazy enough to ride a bicycle here?" Then one day Nick came home with two green cards, one with my name on it. "Here's your new Eco-bici card. Let's go for a ride."

Despite my initial fears, it didn't take me long to become a fan, and now hardly a day goes by without at least one bike ride. It took some time to figure out routes beyond my immediate neighborhood, Condesa, which is fairly calm traffic-wise. But now I ride off to the Centro Hist√≥rico or Polanco, taking advantage of the bike lane along Reforma or a detour through Chapultepec Park. While hardly stress-free, riding in the city is not nearly as bad as I'd feared, and I sense that drivers are becoming more accustomed to paying attention to their two-wheeled neighbors. 

There are now around 100,000 users and 275 stations around the city. You swipe your card to release a bike and simply place it back in the rack when you're done--you can leave it at any station. 

The original program required a proof of city residency, but now it is open to anyone with a passport (or other major ID) and a Visa or Mastercard. You can get a card for one day (90 pesos), three days (180 pesos), or a week (300 pesos). 

You must go in person to sign up. There are offices at Nuevo Leon 78, between Michoac√°n and Laredo, in Colonia Condesa, or at La Fontaine near Masaryk in Polanco. The offices are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm, Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. Closed Sunday.

Here's the link to their website:  https://www.ecobici.df.gob.mx

For those hesitant to tackle city traffic, I recommend taking a bike out on Sunday (which means you have to get your card by Saturday). Most of Paseo de la Reforma is closed to traffic from 9am to 2pm on Sundays, and the feeling of freedom and the chance to appreciate the grandeur of Reforma without traffic is exhilarating. Bikes are also allowed within Chapultepec Park. On the last Sunday of each month there is a 30 km. traffic-free bike route that takes you around the entire city.

FREE BIKES are offered by the city at locations around the city--next to the Cathedral, along Reforma and in Polanco, Condesa and Roma. Click HERE to see the map of station locations. You must leave a credit card and passport to take a bike. Of course, the big advantage of the eco-bici is that you can drop it off at hundreds of stations around town, then just pick up a new one when you're ready to move on.







3 comments:

Carissa said...

I've been waiting for this! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ho Ho wow
I love that riding a BICI in the city....brave! Bravo!
AND I adore the new look...your web site!!!!
Think of you often...love f

Anonymous said...

Great information for tourists. I may change my Mexico trip itinerary just to be in Mexico City on the last Sunday in November!

Is the system similar to some US cities where the bike must be returned within a certain time limit, say 30 mins or 2 hours? With so many stations (2,700?!!) it's almost a moot point since a rider can drop one off within the time limit and pick up another.

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