Photo Credit: @ecobici by David Sasaki on Flickr using CC license
I remember when I first moved to Mexico City from London, one of my first priorities was to sort out a bicycle. I then saw the state of some roads; the immense traffic and the multiple lanes. This did dissuade me somewhat! But once you become a road user there is little to worry about as most roads in the block system are only one way so there is really less to worry about.
I moved into the Condesa neighbourhood and EcoBici outposts were everywhere and I would always see people casually riding on them. For those that do not know, the EcoBici project is a government initiative where holders of an EcoBici card can use bicycles free of charge at locations all over Mexico City. You simply find an Ecobici outpost, swipe your card, unlock your bicycle, and then are free to cycle it to another outpost.
I wanted my EcoBici card so badly, but the application process and waiting list meant that I probably would have had to wait several months to get a hold of one, in addition to providing all sorts of proof to show that I was eligible. Now there is a much faster option… and it’s available to tourists!
Now as a tourist or visitor, you can register for short term options using simply your passport and a major credit card. For $M90 you can get a card for the day, $M180 will give you a 3 day pass, and $M300 will give you a pass for the week.
You have to go to one of their offices to register. These can be at Nuevo Leon 78 between Michoacán and Laredo in Condesa, or at La Fontaine near Masaryk in Polanco. The offices are open Monday to Friday 9am-6pm, or on Saturdays from 10am-2pm.
Cycling in any city is a great way to explore it and feel like you are living there. Mexico City is surprisingly easy to learn your way around because all the streets in one area usually carry similarly themed names, such as philosophers, rivers, cities etc. There are also main routes such as Reforma, which is always not too far away and will carry you through the city.
Speaking of Paseo de Reforma, this street is closed to cars on Sundays between 9am and 2pm, and so is a great opportunity to get out on the bicycle if you are more concerned about traffic.
So check out EcoBici… it’s great. You can pick up a bike in one place, drop it off in another… then get a completely new one and do it all again! Here is the link to EcoBici Mexico City’s website. Also here is a map showing the Ecobici locations throughout Mexico City, and also shows you if they have bikes or spaces to park one.