Relocating to a major metropolitan city is much like riding a bike; it takes focus to stay balanced, it feels a bit uncomfortable when the "training wheels" of familiarity are removed, and it allows you to see the world in a new way.
For those who live in Mexico, this analogy is especially true after sitting in rush hour traffic. When the streets get congested during peak travel times, many residents might find themselves dreaming of zipping past the cars. Fortunately, Mexico City is a very bike-friendly city. Grab your helmet and vamos!
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 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.
Get Your Wheels
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 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, bikes are available in various locations throughout the city. Check around the Cathedral, Polanco, or Condesa. Bring an ID to leave in exchange for the bike. These bikes are so popular that they may run out on the weekend, 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 plan your route. Plus, you can see statistics like distance, speed, and time along with the navigation instructions.
Leave your car keys behind and zip around the city on your bicicleta, knowing you are traveling in a healthy, efficient way around Mexico City!
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