MADRID, SPAIN. Over the past few years, the Spanish capital has been trying to initiate movements for cleaner air and sustainability, and social movements have been doing the same. Through one of these social movements, Spaniards have been asking for a bike system.
Their requests have finally been answered. Mirroring San Sebastian’s bike system, about a week ago Madrid launched its electric bike rental system called BiciMad along with its partner Bonopark. According to the website, BiciMad has 123 self-service stands with 1,560 electric bicycles located around the city. The bikes are available for rent 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. The bike’s battery lasts 18 hours or about 70 kilometers, and all of the bikes instructions are located on the handlebars. You can purchase an annual card for discounted prices, or pay for each rental individually. If you choose to pay individually, the first hour costs 2€ and the second 4€. More specifics of pricing and rental instruction can be found on the website, and the bikes are open for natives of Madrid and tourists.
Although the program is only in its first weeks, it has undergone some minor glitches. In the first 24 hours, the system shut down and later on in the week, the system was hacked and pornographic images filled the screens in place of the rental information.
Yet, even with these glitches, BiciMad wants to continue to expand and improve the rental system, including BiciMad Club — a virtual gathering place where users of the bike system can find events, promotions and training. According to an article on cleantechnica.com, within the first 24 hours of its launch there were over 1,000.
Jenna Wren, 21, a student from the United States studying in Madrid, says she is happy to be a part of the start of this program and glad to hear it is trying to continue to expand.
“I think it’s a great program,” said Wren. “It promotes exercise and prevents pollution which is amazing especially in a city such as Madrid, where there are cars everywhere. The metro helps with traffic and pollution prevention, but these bicycles are much more convenient than the metro and more direct.”
BiciMad was put into place to promote bicycle use in the city and promote clean and healthy citizen services. With over 1,500 bicycles, it’s an easy way to explore the city while promoting cleaner air and a healthier lifestyle. BiciMad may only be in its early stages, but as it continues to grow, so will the sustainability and healthiness of Madrid.
For a list of frequently asked questions and rules BiciMad’s website.