Bicing: the public bike service to get Barcelona residents back in the saddle

Pauline
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Article updated 10 May, 2017. 0 comments

If you live in Barcelona and you're looking for a nice, green, flexible mode of transport then Bicing is perfect for you!

Bicing

Certain places in Barcelona are less well served by the metro or bus, such as for example the little medieval streets unsuitable for public transport. The practical, pleasant and green solution is the city’s free biking service: bicing!

The Bicing concept

Bicing is a municipal transport service for Barcelona residents. It is not intended for tourism, sport or recreation, although it naturally does involve getting some exercise and having a nice bike ride!

Here is how the system works:

  • Terminals for 20-30 bikes are spread out throughout the city.
  • To use one, insert your card in the place indicated.
  • The screen will then tell you the number of the bike that has been unlocked. You can see the colour beside it change from red to green.
  • You have half an hour to get to your destination.
  • When you return your bike to the station of your choice, make sure it is locked in properly and the light changes from green to red. Otherwise, someone can come and take your bike straight after you have returned it, and use it at your expense. Systematically check the screen to make sure you have completed it properly by putting your card against the reader.

Advantages and disadvantages of Bicing

The pros

  • It is a flexible mode of transport: unlike the metro, bus or tram, there is no schedule or route. You are free to go wherever you like as long as a Bicing terminal is open nearby.
  • Getting around by Bicing is cheaper than the metro or tram.
  • It’s 100% environmentally friendly.
  • Getting around the city by bike also means staying active and taking a pleasant ride.
  • Bicing has a 24 hour support service in case of problems, as well as personal insurance.
  • Getting around Barcelona by bike is easy due to the Mediterranean climate and the many cycle paths.
  • There are many terminals located around the city: you can find a map here.

The cons

  • The bikes are sometimes in poor condition. Remember to check the brakes, the wheels and the seat before heading off.

If you return a bike to the same terminal immediately after having taken it out, the system will understand that the bike is defective and will offer you another one. However, if you return it to another terminal, you will have to wait 10 minutes before choosing another.

  • Some terminals are either always full or always empty at certain times of the day. For example, if you are trying to get to the beach at 3pm on the weekend on a sunny day be prepared to wait half an hour to find a free space!

Some advice for use

If you’re thinking of going to work by Bicing, pay attention to the stations around you to decide if it’s worth your while signing up.

Note that if your 30 minutes are up and the terminal is full, you will get an extra 10 minutes free. Just run your card under the reader. The screen will also tell you if there are spaces at any nearby terminals.

We advise you to download the Bicing app on your phone or tablet, as this will allow you to quickly see the status of the stations and to choose the best route from A to B by bike.

bike

Signing up to the Bicing service

Conditions

  • Residing in Spain: you must provide a NIE to register.
  • Over 16 years old. If you are between 16 and 18, you will need authorisation from one of your parents or your legal guardian. You will then have to register at the Bicing office, and not online. Bring a photocopy of your family record book and the ID of your parent or guardian as well as the standard documents required of all applicants.

Steps

  • Online: registration is very fast. Follow this link, fill in the form, and you’re away!
  • At the Bicing office: if you prefer to request your Bicing card in person, the office is located at Carles Pi i Sunyer 8-10, in the Gothic district. The ticket office is open from 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday. You will need to bring your NIE and a bank card that can be used to make online payments.

In either case your Bicing card should arrive by post within 10 days. If it doesn’t arrive, call 900 31 55 31 to check if your address is registered correctly.

Once you have received your card, head to the Bicing site and activate it from your personal registration space. You can then start using the service.

Price and duration of subscription

  • Registration costs around €5o. It gives you access to unlimited journeys of less than 30 minutes.
  • The Bicing card costs around €5.
  • After the first 30 minutes, each half hour costs €0.074. If you have not returned the bike within 2 hours, the price goes up to €5 per hour. If you borrow a bike for 2 hours three times, your subscription is cancelled.
  • If you don’t return a bike within 24 hours, it will cost you 150.

Times

Bikes are not available 24-hours. See the times below:

  • Monday to Thursday: all day except from 2am to 5am. You can still return a bike within those times.
  • Friday: all day except from 3am to 5am.
  • Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 24 hours.

Enjoy your trip and cycle carefully!

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About the author

Pauline

Pauline loves books, food and new discoveries. For her articles, she loves finding original and authentic places which are a treat for both the eyes and the tastebuds. Her favourite thing to do in Barcelona? Getting lost in the Old Town and soaking up its unique atmosphere... whilst enjoying the appetising smells emerging from restaurant kitchens! Is there anything better than that?