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BIKE RENTAL IN MADRID

At first sight, Madrid seduces you with its vibrant mix of cultures and a balanced blending of past and present. It’s one of those cities whose spirit you can only discover on the streets, which lately have become quite bike-friendly! How could you then say no to bike rental while when exploring Madrid?
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THE CITY

Visit Madrid by bike

Madrid bicycle tourist
Madrid belongs among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, as a city with a prevailing atmosphere of cultural exaltation, a festive spirit and a sense of belonging to the local community.  Among the many reasons to why you should choose this city as one of your top destinations, the most charming thing about Madrid is that it’s constantly changing. Good news for cyclists, because the city is currently in the process of updating its cycle network, extending its bike-share scheme close to the city centre, and also planning to encourage locals and tourists alike to rent a bike and smooth up the daily public transit. You wouldn’t want to see the sights of Madrid in any other way than by bike: whether you’re heading for the popular Retiro Park of Madrid, the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor or have a secret wish to visit Santiago Bernabéu, renting a bike is the best way to plan your Madrid day trip, and explore the city attractions. If you’re planning to visit Madrid and want to experience both the best sights of the city’s infrastructure and the energetic vibe the city has to offer, our tips will give you a glimpse into how to make the best of your trip. 

To start your bike tour in Madrid, just pick up your ride from one of the available bike rental hubs which you can find via the Donkey Republic mobile app. You can also check them out below - you’ll be happy to see that most of them are situated around the city centre. With only a few clicks in the app you’ll rent a bike and start your cycling tour of Madrid! Also good to have in mind are these Madrid cycling trails.

CITY AREAS

Cycling to Plaza Mayor

Rental bike in Plaza Mayor
source: wikimedia.org
This symmetrical and rectangular-shaped main square in the center of Madrid is located close to another famous city square - Puerta del Sol. You might want to take a turn with your hired bike to notice a bronze statue representing King Philip III of Spain and Portugal. His reign in the 17th century unfortunately brought negative notoriety to Spain, the country having had to face serious economic decline and failure to show evolvement through political reforms. Pedal your bike across the north-side of Plaza Mayor and you will come across the Casa de la Panadería, a municipal and cultural building comprising of four floors. This beautiful piece of architecture was initially used as a bakery (the lower levels), later becoming the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, then Royal Academy of History and today becoming the headquarters of the Madrid Tourist Board and Madrid Tourist Centre. In case this is your first tourist stop, park your bike and pop into the office to find out more information about what to visit in Madrid. 
Find a Donkey Republic bike rental hub here:

Cycling in Casa de Campo

Casa de Campo Lago y vista, source: wikimedia.org
As a serious contender against New York’s famous Central Park for the many trails and beautiful natural spots, Casa de Campo Madrid is surely the place where it's worth pedalling on your bike. Apart from being the largest park of Spain’s capital city, the criss-crossing trails are an amazing opportunity to bike together with groups of local mountain-bikers. So give yourself and your rental bike a challenge and try out one of bike routes of Casa de Campo. Not only will you get to take part in an exciting trip, but also indulge with the natural semi-arid environment with red soil and scruffy pine trees - a distinctive feature for Spain’s natural parks. You should know that the Casa de Campo also hosts a local Zoo and an Amusement Park, so park your rental bike to get the most of these attractions. 
In case you’re visiting Madrid during summer, don’t hesitate to leave your rented bike on the side and cool down in one of the city’s most popular public swimming pools - Centro Deportivo Municipal Casa de Campo. You can also grab a bite around one of the restaurants nearby and enjoy the holiday ambience, but just make sure you hit these last two spots before lunch, as it usually gets very crowded around that time.  
Here are nearest places to find a Donkey Republic bike rental hub:

Cycling around Paseo del Prado - Paseo de Recoletos

Iglesia Madrid desde el Museo del Prado
If one of your goals as a tourist is to visit one of the top museums in Madrid but also to bike across the city boulevards, don’t worry, this bike tour has you covered. Cycle towards Ronda de Atocha and follow the Paseo del Prado boulevard. You’ll be enjoying not only one of the most beautiful boulevards in Madrid, but also biking by some of the main tourist attractions: Real Jardin Botánico and the National Library of Spain. Keep pedalling on your bike all along Paseo de Recoletos, up until you reach Plaza de Colón (also known as Columbus Square). This square displays a monument that commemorates explorer Christopher Columbus. If you want to make a few more stops on this journey, the main attractions on this route that deserve a break for your rental bike are Prado Museum and Caixa Forum. We warmly recommend visiting Prado Museum, because it is the premier tourist attraction in Madrid, and also gathers a fascinating curation of Spain’s leading artists: Francisco de Goya, Diego Velázquez and El Greco being worthy of mention. 
 
Amid the traditional galleries of Madrid that house the most important national works of art, young galleries are making their way into the cultural space of Madrid. Besides exhibiting art, such newcomers design their space around the pleasure of enjoying a good life: sip from a cup of coffee, read a book, and enjoy the tranquillity of the exhibition space. Try out La Fabrica as a great alternative spot for unique and modern exhibitions. You can easily spot the galleries even while biking, and (why not?) make a quick stop to spend a leisurely afternoon, accompanied by your café con leche (coffee with milk). For this area, rent a bike from here:

Cycling in Buen Retiro Park

Main pond - Estanque principal. source:wikimedia.org
Buen Retiro Park initially belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, and it remains a favourite destination for both locals and tourists when it comes to enjoying an alternative biking fiesta. The best starting point to hop on your rental bike is from Calle Salustiano Olózaga, biking further along landmarks such as Puerta de Alcala, Palacio de Velázquez and Palacio de Cristal. It's a great idea to park your bike and enjoy a tour around the amazing glass building of Palacio de Cristal, built in the late 19th century and initially constructed to be used as a greenhouse - a perfect fit for the high glass dome and uniquely built baroque shape of the building. Although it no longer has this use, it remains a cultural landmark along with Palacio de Velázquez, both buildings currently sheltering art exhibitions. 

You also won’t want to miss cycling around the Statue of the Fallen Angel (Fuente del Ángel Caído). Like most masterpieces that are now considered a monument, this one also got some criticism at its time - it was initially considered a satanic tribute, rather than an artistic expression; but if you're a sucker for Impressionism, you and your rented bike will love gazing at this statue, most of all the amazing attention to details that make the statue deserving of its spot in the park. Continue your bike tour along the Jardines Cecilio Rodriguez, but before you make an exit back to Puerta de Alcala, there’s one more spot worth parking your rental bike for - The Fisherman’s Cottage. As a historical landmark, this unique design surprisingly adds extra charm to the beautiful park, and surprises both through its small size and strong colours. Ready to discover Buen Retiro Park and its surroundings? Then go and rent a bike from one of these nearby rental hubs:

Cycling in Malasaña

Malasaña, credits: Nicolas Vigier
Think it’s time to shift a bit from museums and parks and get the taste of the city's streets: Malasaña is a perfect illustration of this - after all, it’s renowned for being the most creative and counter-cultural district of Madrid, reflected through independently run boutiques and eccentric cafes. Saddle up and bike around this area to discover iconic façades, buzzing local markets and cool bars that host a variety of cultural events. Looking for a place to grab a bite? Depends on what you’re looking for: Instagrammers love La Tasquita de Enfrente, a restaurant that serves organic and freshly made dishes. If you’re looking for something less sophisticated, and more socially buzzing, there’s always a party at Ojalá
Find your bike at this rental hub:


Cycling in and around Madrid Rio

Matadero, source: Natalia López Pevida
Manzanares River is the perfect example of how the bike network in Madrid has improved in recent years. Madrid Rio Park holds the perfect bike trails to cycle across an extensive waterside, spot cultural activities that are happening year-round, or stumble across playgrounds designed for cyclists. I know you might feel tempted to ride your rental bike all around the different paths of the park, but pedal a little longer down the path and you’ll come across a renowned cultural hub that has caught tourists’ attention and won locals’ hearts: El Matadero Madrid. Previously a slaughterhouse, this now creative hub hosts a series of public and private events and cultural performances, a lot of them free to the public. This modern landmark of Madrid is a statement of how tradition meets innovation in a modern city. If you’re a bit tired after your Madrid bike tour, freshen up with a drink and a delicious local dish at La cantina.
Here’s where you can pick up your rental bike close to Plaza Mayor:

CYCLING RULES

Spanish cycling rules

Urban cycling rules in Madrid are mainly linked to safety measures in traffic. For example, keeping your rental bike on the far-right lane on a street without designated bike lanes is the safest measure you can take, as well as a way to avoid any inconveniences with car drivers. A very straight to the point guide for cycling rules in Madrid can be found on this page. We’ve also highlighted a few rules and requirements below.

Bicycle requirements in Madrid

Bicicritica Madrid, source: Nicolas Vigier
Helmets | Although they’re not mandatory, helmets are highly recommended when riding along Madrid’s bike trails.
 
Lights | According to the Spanish law, a red back light and a white front light are required to be turned on at night. Reflective vests are also recommended during longer bike rides in less central areas.
 
Bells | Spanish law also gives a large importance to bike bells, and adds them on the list of necessary bike accessories.
 
Hand signals | “right turn”, “left turn” and “stopping” are mandatory rules to go by on the Madrid bike lanes.

Cycling rules in Madrid

  • Make sure you’re riding your rental bike on the right-hand side of roadway. Keep away from riding against the traffic flow.
  • It is mandatory that you park your bike in designated bike racks and leave a clear space of 3m in width for pedestrians.
  • Don’t park more than two bikes on each side of a bike rack. Never attach your rental bike to trees, traffic lights, benches, wastepaper baskets, etc.
  • Keep your cycling speed limit at 30 km/h.
  • Don't ride on the following paths: pavements, sidewalks, public parks and other pedestrian areas, with exception in the following circumstances:
    • There are no separate lanes for cyclists
    • The sidewalk is 3m+ wide
    • The sidewalk is not crowded
    • There are no signs or markings that prohibit bicycling in park spaces
  • Keep your rental bike away from bus lanes.
  • Cycling in public parks, promenades and other central pedestrian areas is permitted, but you need to keep within a 10 km/h limit and give way to pedestrians.
  • Avoid using mobile phones or similar handheld devices which might affect your attention during biking.
  • You are also not allowed to ride while listening to music through headphones
  • You cannot cycle with an alcohol level exceeding 0.5 grams / liter in blood (0.25 milligrams / liter exhaled). The fine for drunk riding can go up to €500.

Hand signals for cycling in Madrid

RIGHT TURN | Extend the right arm perpendicular to the body.
 
LEFT TURN | Extend the right arm perpendicular to the body.

STOPPING | Use the same signals as the ones for turning, depending on the side you're getting off to.