I used to ride a bike in New York City. I would always tell tourists, “If you really want to get to know this town, get on a bike”. I still say the same thing, only now in Buenos Aires.
It’s not until you get aboard two wheels that you’re able to view the fast paced energy that a city has to offer. You see more people, architecture, and random, often inexplicable situations that you might never have seen while afoot. Cars can present challenges, but with the help of bike lanes and a smart phone with a map, navigating is made less difficult. When finally arriving to your destination, you feel energetic and level headed. If you have a chance, you should definitely consider riding a bike in Buenos Aires.
If still not convinced, here are 7 reasons why you should ride a bike in Buenos Aires.
1. It’s free – That’s right, if you’re visiting Buenos Aires you can rent a bicycle for free. There are 32 bike rental stations, called Eco Bici, available for both locals and tourists. All you need in order to rent a bike is your Passport. (If you’ve overstayed your 90 day visa unfortunately you can’t rent a bike.) After you rent the bike you have one hour to return or renew the bike at the same station or another one in the city. See the attached map to help you locate the Eco Bici stations in Buenos Aires.
2. Public Transportation– When you ride a bike in Buenos Aires, you’ll arrive at your destination faster than if you had taken the bus. It’s no denying that there are a plethora of bus lines and services in the city, but when traveling shorter distances it’s much more convenient to use a bicycle. Besides, the view is much more pleasant from above a bike seat than behind a bus window.
3. 135 km of bike lanes – There are 83 miles of 2-meter wide bike lanes throughout the city that are separated from the street by a small barrier. They’re convenient, safe and a lot of fun to cruise around. But, don’t be surprised if you see a motorcycle whiz past you. Although it’s technically illegal for motorcycles to use the bike lanes, it happens more often than not, so be sure to wear a helmet.
4. See more, faster – If you want to see more sights in less time, a bike is definitely your best bet. A mere twenty-minute ride down 9 de Julio Avenue has over 10 different tourist attractions. If you’re in San Telmo then a bike is definitely much more convenient because the streets are smaller, there are less busses on the weekends, and it’s much easier to get around. Additionally, biking has far less impact on your joints. For those with bad knees and ankles, cycling can be a much easier way to get to know a city.
5. Masa critica– If you happen to be in Buenos Aires the first Sunday of every month, you can participate for free in ‘masa critica’. Critical mass was started in San Francisco in 1992 and now exists in over 300 cities around the world. Hundreds of cycling enthusiasts gather together to cycle around the city. The average distance cycled is around 20 km. Critical mass is a lot of fun because you never have to stop for cars. The hundreds of bikes block traffic and it feels like you’re in a giant stampede of steel horses with unstoppable momentum. If you get hungry or thirsty there are bikers that sell food/drinks and you can munch on something at a slower pace than the rest of the pack.
6. Guilt-free Malbec tastings – With so much Malbec and red meat to be consumed, your ticker is going to need a recharge. Cycling has been proven to reduce your risk of heart disease. Now you won’t feel as guilty ordering that medium rare bife de lomo with a bottle of Norton Malbec. Just be sure not to ride after drinking or you’ll end up face planting like Ed Harris in “Pollock”.
7. Good-looking people – Who’s got better legs: a cyclist or a tango dancer? That’s a trick question because they both have great legs, but the point is that cycling keeps you in shape and helps you have not only toned ‘gambas’, but also a toned body.