As part of an ongoing series about city bike hire schemes around the world, Miguel from Travelsauro introduces us to the city bike hire scheme in Rio.
Bike Rio – The city bike hire scheme in Rio
Guest post by Miguel of Travelsauro
With 435 kilometers of well-paved bike lanes, Rio de Janeiro has the largest cycle net in all of South America. Actually, one of the images that grab’s a person’s attention when he or she first arrives is the number of people cycling around the city.
That’s because even though mountains surround Rio, most urbanized areas (except for the favelas) are flat, allowing you to cycle pretty much everywhere.
Having lived in Rio for over a year, I would like to explain how the bike scheme works and give you some tips if you are going to use it.
Cycling in Rio
First, you should know that cycling around Rio is not just about going from point A to point B. It’s a very enjoyable experience!
I lived in a small favela close to Copacabana and cycled to different parts of the city three or four times a week. My girlfriend lived in Gloria, so I went to the city center often.
To do that, I cycled along Flamengo and Botafogo Bay, which is one of the most beautiful parts of the city. It’s a green area surrounded by water, with Sugar Loaf on one side of the lane and Christ the Redeemer on the other.
In addition, the weather in Rio de Janeiro is great year-round, making it a wonderful journey.
Cycling infrastructure in Rio
The bike infrastructure is really good, and even though the traffic is pretty crazy in the city, it doesn’t feel that way when you’re cycling. Most bike paths go along the beach, the lagoon or the “terreiros” (huge green areas). Rio has so many green areas, you forget you’re in a huge metropolis.
If you are a resident, you might need to travel to the northern part of the city, which is not that beautiful. (There are no beaches and the traffic is terrible.) However, most visitors cycle only around Rio’s southern part, where you’ll find touristy spots like Ipanema, Leblon, Copacabana, Botafogo and Lapa.
Using the Bike Rio city bike hire system
The bike system in Rio is easy to use. Just follow these steps:
- First, visit BikeRio which is available in Portuguese and English.
- Go to “Register” and insert your email address. You’ll get a confirmation email.
- Go to “Buy Pass”, read the instructions, confirm your Monthly Pass and enter the data from your credit card.
- Download the app at Google Play. You can also buy your pass from the app.
- Check the app’s map for stations where you can rent and get a bicycle using your smartphone.
By Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44987177
How much does it cost?
This is the best part of all! It’s super cheap. If you buy a monthly pass, you will pay only R$10 (around $3). The pass is valid for 30 days.
What if I want to use it only one day?
Another option is available for those paying a short visit. A daily pass costs R$5 and requires no registration.
You’ll need to download the app, find a station and a bicycle, and make a call from your phone to 4003 6054. You’ll be asked for personal information and your credit card data; then you’re done.
However, I don’t think this is worth it unless you have only one day to explore the city.
What if I don’t have a CPF?
If you’ve been to Brazil, you probably know that you’ll need a CPF (Brazilian register number) to buy pretty much anything from electronics to bus tickets. This is quite annoying for visitors, as they must usually use third parties to buy products and use some services.
One of the advantages of BikeRio is that, when registering, you can select the option “foreigner”. They won’t ask for a CPF but for a picture of your passport, which you can easily upload from your phone.
A suggested bike tour of Rio
Now that you know how to use BikeRio, let me suggest a nice bike tour if you ever visit the city:
Start your day around the city center and visit downtown and Lapa. Then cycle along Botafogo Bay before going to Praia Vermelha. That’s where you can get the famous cable car up to Sugar Loaf. As an alternative, you can hike to the top of Morro da Urca, a nearby hill with amazing views of Sugar Loaf, Guanabara Bay and other impressive hills. Rio de Janeiro offers many great hikes, so I suggest you take some time to climb at least one of its hills.
In the afternoon, cycle along Copacabana and Ipanema and stop for a refreshing swim in the beach. When you are done, go to Lagoa Rodrigo Freitas (not far from Ipanema Beach) and cycle around the lake, making some stops to take pictures and drink a well-deserved cold coconut water.
Before it gets dark, travel to Arpoador, which is located between Ipanema and Copacabana. There, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful sunset spots in the city.
1- Despite Rio’s bad reputation, you should not encounter any trouble while visiting the city if you take basic precautions. I recommend not visiting downtown on the weekends, when most businesses are closed and assaults are common.
2- The BikeRio system works on hours. If you take a bike, you can use it for an hour at no extra cost. After that, take it to one of the stations or you’ll be charged R$5 for an extra hour. You can use a bike for 60 minutes, stop for lunch, use another bike, stop for a swim, take another bike, go hiking, take another bike and so on.
I hope this guide inspired you to visit Rio de Janeiro and cycle among its beautiful scenery!
BIO: Hi, I’m Miguel, adventure traveler and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last five years, always trying to explore and hike some of the most remote regions.
Follow me on my blog travelsauro and enjoy exciting adventures in places like Papua, Timor, the Himalayas, Africa and the Caribbean!
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