Biking in Mexico City
Mexico City is a massive city and there is much to explore. Between dynamic neighborhoods, picturesque streets, historical sites, luxurious restaurants, and world-class museums, there’s never a reason to be bored in this magical city. Residents know how bad the traffic can get and unfortunately, it can prohibit people from going out again after work or on the weekends. Traffic should not hinder your sense of adventure in the city though; biking is a great solution if you know the options available at your fingertips!
The most important thing to learn before hopping on a bike is how to keep yourself safe. The rules of the road for bikers are different around the world. Here are a few tips as you get ready to ride:
If you are biking to work or to explore the city, either pack a change of clothes or wear close-fitting garments. Be sure that there is no fabric or ties on your clothes that might get tangled in your bike.
Follow traffic rules and ask experienced bikers for advice. Bikers must be aware of pedestrians, cars and motorcycles (which sometimes illegally ride in bike lanes).
Keep a bike lock with you and only leave your bike in designated areas.
Always wear a helmet and be sure your bike has the proper reflectors or lights installed.
Consider taking an urban biking course, which are offered for free around the city.
A bike share program was recently introduced in Mexico City to make it easier to travel via bike. EcoBici has hundreds of red and white bicycles docked around the city. There are more stations in safe, rideable neighborhoods, like downtown or Roma.
Bikers simply swipe a smart card that allows 45 minutes of travel between stations. If you want to continue riding, just swap the bike out at another station when your time ends. Bike share programs like EcoBici are popular among apartment-dwellers where it is difficult to own a bicycle. To sign up with EcoBici, you will need to provide a credit card and form of identification like a passport or driver's license. A one-year membership provides you unlimited riding at a reasonable cost of about $440 MXN ($30 USD).
If you want to try biking around for free first, head toward Paseo de la Reforma on a Sunday morning. From 8am-2pm, the road completely shuts down to cars and other automobiles, allowing bicyclists to travel freely up and down the main thoroughfare. Free bikes are available at Glorieta de la Palma, at the northern point of the roundabout. Bring an ID to leave in exchange for a two-hour bike ride. These bikes are so popular that they may run out, so try to arrive in the morning.
If you have a specific destination in mind, it is helpful to consider your route before you begin pedaling. Some streets do not have bike lanes and are very dangerous for bikers. The app ”bikemap” uses data from fellow bikers to help you plan your route. Plus, you can see statistics like average distance, speed, and time along with the navigation instructions.
Leave your car keys (and traffic) behind and zip around the city on your bicicleta, knowing you are traveling in a healthy, efficient way around Mexico City!