The rest of Spain claims that here in Madrid, we´re pretty cocky. That may be so, which is why one year ago, we became one of the only cities in the world to adopt a public, electrical bike rental program. At Mad4Madrid, we encourage you to use them and that´s why we are going to tell you how to obtain your BiciMad card and all that you need to know about this service.
The first thing you have to do is get a card. There are two types:
- Annual: Perfect for those who live in Madrid or who will spend an extended amount of time here, for longer than a month for example. You can get the card from any of the bike stations or online and it costs around 15€ if you are already a holder of a public transport card or 25€ if you aren´t. Regardless, even with a few uses, it´ll save you a taxi ride, and in the end it balances out. Once you register, you will have to add money to your account, which means [10€, 15€ o 25€], it´s a pre-paid system. On top of that, you can invite up to two additional people every time you ride and you don´t even have to park at the same station. What a luxury!
- Occasional: This card is for those of you who are here visiting for a couple of days. They have the option of 1, 3 and 5 days. These passes can only be purchased at the machines, not online. Although the card is free in such cases, they put a hold on your card for 150€ that will not be lifted until your pass has expired.
Note: You can only pay with credit cards.
How Does BiciMad Work
It´s as simple as going to a station and choosing a plan that best suits you. Currently, there are stations in specific neighborhoods in Madrid proper, but you can go wherever you´d like. The only thing you have to keep in mind is how long it will take you to get to the next closest station.
You can check-out bikes that are parked and have a green light. If it´s red, you cannot use them. Insert the card to scan the barcode until you hear a ¨beep¨, wait a few seconds and the light will flash, you´ll hear a noise, and that´s when the bike has been unlocked.
Before taking a bike, check the breaks and make sure the wheels are inflated and that the seat can be adjusted to your height. Then, turn on the motor. At times, there can be technical difficulties. If there are, don´t worry, if you return the bike in under two minutes, they will not charge you and you´re free to take another.
They charge per use, at the end of each ride they will show how much time you´ve used the bike and the amount will be deducted from your credit. At any moment, you can check your account balance online or through the mobile app. Generally speaking, to get anywhere in the city, it´ll take 30 minutes or less.
- Annual: 0,50€ for every half hour up to the first two hours, and you can get quite far in that time. For example from Embajadores to Moncloa you shouldn´t need longer than 20 minutes. This will cost only 0,50€ whereas an individual ticket on the bus would cost 1,50€ or 1,20€ with a 10 trip pass.
- Occasional: 2€ for the first hour and 4€ the next hour. Even though the price seems high, in comparison with other forms of transportation, it really isn´t bad at all. The advantage is that you don´t have to wait, there´s much more flexibility than with the metro and the bus because there are more stations and it works 24 hours a day.
In regards to the normal prices, they apply discounts and penalties of 0,10€ each way, but that´s rare.
When you arrive to your destination, you only have to return your bike to an open space with a red light. You´ll wait to hear that bike lock in, and a beeping noise. It´s important to make sure the light changes because if not, the counter will continue to run, and your account balance will be affected.
If at any point you have a problem with the bikes, call 010 or 900 50 54 63 with a Spanish telephone and tell them you have an issue with bicimad. They will take note, and happily help you.
Use of bikes in Madrid
These bikes work like the bikes you`ve used all your life. The only unique thing is that that these bikes have a motor. On the left handlebar, you´ll see an On/Off button. There´s also a green button with MODE written on it.0 is off and 3 is up to 25km per hour. At first, it may scare you just how fast the bike pulls when you pedal. You´ll get used to it. You know what? You may even discover a love of speed that you didn´t know you had!
Pay attention to the battery level and make sure it´s the highest possible. When it´s full, you can go up to 70km. Even with half of that, you can see most of the city.
When you ride throughout Madrid, pay attention to the street. You´ll see a bicycle icon that indicates preference, and that´s where you should go because there´s a speed limit of 30km/h. NEVER go in the bus lanes and always stay centered. Don´t be scared and stay to the side of the road because it can be dangerous. Just think that you´re a vehicle and they will respect you.
Benefits of BiciMad Compared to Other Means of Transport
To be honest, we see this as complimentary. We also get around using the metro, buses and of course walking. But in general:
- It´s cheaper
- You don´t have to wait, you arrive and grab a bike
- There are stations every 300m and you can choose any one of them
- It´s much better for the environment.
We hope that you get pumped, and decide to use bicimad as a means of transport. If you ride with friends, it´ll be a blast. Ride a bike, and save the environment! Avanti!