Nowadays, there are plenty of cities around the world that are creating public systems through which people can rent bicycles for leisure or to move around. Barcelona has the famous Bicing system, while Madrid has BiciMAD, which rents out electric bikes as a way to help decrease the use of motorized vehicles in the city.
How does BiciMAD work?
There are two different ways to use BiciMAD: you can either register as an annual user or simply rent a bicycle whenever you need it. Those who want to become annual users can do so by registering online, using BiciMAD‘s app, or going to one of the Oficinas de Atención a la Ciudadanía de Línea Madrid. Once the user is registered and has paid for the early membership, a key will be given so that they can get a card at the machine at one of the stations. From then on, the user simply has to use the card every time it wants to use one of BiciMAD‘s bikes.
For those who only want to use the service occasionally, there is the option of getting cards that can be used for 1, 3, or 5 days.
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What are the prices for BiciMAD?
For annual users, the prices are as follows:
25€ per year, independent of the Regional Transport Consortium of the Community of Madrid.
15€ per year, including the Regional Transport Consortium of the Community of Madrid.
Price per first 30 minutes: 0,50€.
Price for the next 30 minutes: 0,60€.
Price for using the bicycle for over two hours: 4€
The service also rewards users with small refunds of 0,10€ when they get a bicycle from a station that is over 70% full or return a bicycle to a station that is less than 30% full.
For occasional users, the prices are a little different.
Price for first hour or fraction: 2€
Price for the second hour or fraction: 4€
The price for using the bicycle for over two hours is the same for occasional users, 4€, as are the refunds for getting a bicycle from a station that is over 70% full or returning a bicycle to a station that is less than 30% full, which is 0,10€.
How do the bicycles work?
A great advantage of the BiciMAD bikes in relation to other, normal bikes that can be rented across the city, is that they are electrical, which means the user won’t have to make as much of an effort when pedaling. But don’t be fooled – the bike won’t move on its own. You will still have to pedal to get the Booster Bike moving, what happens is that the motor of the bicycle will harness energy and will help it to keep moving for longer before the user has to pedal a lot again.
It’s important to understand how the bike works before starting to use it, especially due to the fact that it has such autonomy. On the left handle of the bike, there is a panel with buttons. There is a red ON/OFF button, a blue button which allows the user to turn the bike’s lights on and off, a green button, which allows users to regulate how much they want the electrical part of the bicycle to help them, and there is also an indication of how much battery the bike still has.
Parking the bikes
Whenever you park your bike, make sure you have done so correctly, to avoid being charged for extra time without actually using the vehicle. Each one of the parking bases has a led light on the left side. If the light is green, that means that the bicycle has been correctly parked. If the light is red, it means that the space is free for parking. In case the light is red but there is a bike parked in that spot, that means that the vehicle is not available for use, even if you need a bike and that is the only one left at that station. Users can also reserve parking spaces, which can be very useful for those who need to be at a certain place at a certain time. Reserved parking spaces will have a blue light indicating it. If you see a parking spot with no light, it means that it is out of service.
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Before you start your journey on your BiciMAD bike, make sure to check if the vehicle is in good conditions. Check if the brakes work properly, if there isn’t anything stuck within the wheels and if everything else looks ok.
It is advisable to use a helmet when riding in order to prevent injury in case of a fall. This is mandatory for people under 16 years old.
Riders cannot take their bikes on the highway. They should try to circulate on the sidewalks and bicycle paths when possible, and when riding on the road, maintain a safe distance from the cars. Also, it is important to respect the traffic signs.
Don’t carry animals or other passengers with you on your bike, as that can represent a risk for all those involved.
Operate your vehicle responsibly and enjoy your ride through the city of Madrid!
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* Main photo by Cristina Cifuentes via VisualHunt