Almost completely flat with a network of bike lanes now covering more than 130km, cycling is often the quickest and always the most pleasurable way to get around in Buenos Aires.
Cycling around Argentina’s capital, you’ll find yourself part of the city’s greatest charm: the everyday lives of its eccentric residents.
Maneuvering on two wheels, you’ll be part of it all, overhearing snippets of conversation from sidewalk cafes, passing crumbling old buildings with bright murals and inhaling the scent of tree blossoms as you experience the BA’s neighborhoods up close.
Getting a bike
The first step is to find yourself some wheels. The Buenos Aires city government’s EcoBici scheme (buenosaires.gob.ar/ecobici) provides free bikes for up to an hour at a time. To use them, you need to first register at one of 32 bike stations around the city. Bring a photocopy of your passport ID page and immigration stamp.
You’ll be asked to provide the address and telephone number of your accommodation in Buenos Aires, create a pin code and sign an agreement. Once in the system, you can use the yellow city bikes for up to an hour before returning them or renewing the rental at any of the stations. There are helmets and maps available on request.
If you would prefer to rent a bike for a longer period, there are several hire companies in the city, including Urban Biking who hire out bambucicleta – hand made bamboo bikes – and offer cycling tours of Buenos Aires. Likewise, La Biclecleta Naranja does bike hire and tours from their base in San Telmo.
Buenos Aires has a network of bike lanes, which are generally well maintained, but it’s good sense to keep your eyes open for potential hazards. Expect to encounter anything from motorbikes, trash cans, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, dog walkers with up to a dozen pooches in their charge, dog poo, unicyclists, people on deckchairs drinking mate, potholes, ladders, parked cars and even a clown walking on stilts around the streets of Buenos Aires. An open mind and a bike bell are essential. Take it slow and remember that cycling is probably still quicker than taking a bus, and possibly even a taxi.
The Ecobici website has a handy map of the city’s bike lane network, and another useful online tool for planning journeys is ComoLlego. Selecting the ‘bike’ option will suggest a route that uses cycle lanes wherever possible. When there isn’t a cycle lane,cyclists have priority in the lane furthest left on one-way avenues, while buses use the lane on the right.