Mad or not?
14.10.2009 23 °C
If I tell people that I use my bike to get around in Madrid, and to get to and from work on a regular bases, they look at me like I am mad. And to be honest, sometimes I feel that I am when I am riding my bike. But it is not as dangerous as it sounds.
Although Madrid is not the safest city to bike around in, the city does have some bicyle lanes, but most of these just start somewhere, and also end on some streetcorner, leaving you to wonder how to continue. Therefore a lot of time bikers use the pavements, and as long as you are careful nobody will complain. In a lot of place the pavements are big enough, but on the smaller ones you need to be careful.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Madrid is hilly, and some climbs can be extremely steep. If you would go from Embajadores to Sol, you might want to think again if you want to make the climb through Lavapiés or if you would rather go around it. The climb from Atocha to the statue of the fallen angel, is also pretty steep, but doable.
There is one very large bicycle route, the Anillo Verde, that is almost complete (they are still working near the Olympic Stadium) and that is a route that circles the city for 64 kilometres, which makes it a nice way to spend a day, and see another side of the city. In the Casa de Campo there are also a couple of routes you can take. The local government is buidling more and more bike lanes in the city itself, but it will take a while before Madrid can be called a bicycle friendly city. There is a special map for bikers, which can be collected at the tourist office at Plaza Major, these maps are free of charge.
On Public Transport
You can take a bicylce with you on the Metro. On weekdays this is restricted from 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., and 21.00 p.m., until the end of service, but in the weekend and holidays there are no restrictions. If you want to bring your bike with you, you need to use the first or last wagon of the metro. On the cercanias you can take your bike with you whenever you want, unless there is no place. Busline 33 (from Principe Pio to Casa de Campo), is adapted so that also bikes can be taken onboard.