BiciMAD is a bicycle rental program operated by the Madrid City Hall (Ayuntamiento). It offers thousands of 3-speed unisex bikes at 250+ stations or service points scattered around the city.
It’s a great service because you can pick up a bike at any BiciMAD station and return it at any other.
You can have a look at a printable map of Madrid’s bike paths network and stations. Alternatively, you can also check an updated map with the current situation at each BiciMAD parking station.
Fortunately, you can rent BiciMAD bicycles using any credit card. At least that’s what my readers confirm me.
Alternatively, you can go to a bike rental shop and hire one.
How are the BiciMAD bikes?
The bicycles are unisex, so you can use them regardless of your size and height (the seat height is adjustable).
All are electrical with a very easy gear change. So you can improve your fitness level and ride even further than a normal bike can take you. You won’t have any problem if you have to face a steep slope!
The main drawback is that the bikes are quite heavy, and because so many people use them every day, some of them might not be in perfect shape. Check the seat, tires and breaks of the bike you’ve selected before actually paying for it and unlocking it.
How does a BiciMAD parking station looks like?
Each station has a System Access Terminal and several docks.
The number of Posts depends on the location, the surroundings and the frequency of use of every station. Use the docks to either lock or unlock a bicycle.
At the System Access Terminal you can carry out several tasks.
- Select and rent a bike.
- Purchase a Short Term Subscription Card (valid for 1, 3 or 5 days).
- Get a printed receipt with your chosen route.
- Check on a map the closest taking or returning posts, and book one to return your bike.
- Top up your BiciMAD credit with your credit card.
You don’t understand Spanish? No problem. Each terminal offers you on-screen instructions in several languages.
Taking a bike
You always need to carry the subscription card.
First, make sure the dock has a green light. Then, identify yourself by placing the card next to the card reader. If you see it doesn’t work or doesn’t recognize it, you can always try with another bike or check that you have enough credit.
If the dock has a blue light, it means that this bike has been booked by another user. If there is no light, the bike is not charged and you cannot use it.
Once you unblock your bike, it’s time to start pedaling!
Returning a bike
Once you are at the station and you are done with your bike, go to an empty dock and make sure it has a red light. Place it correctly, you’ll see a light flashing and you’ll hear a ‘bip’ confirming that the bike has been returned.
But make sure that you have followed the procedure correctly! Sometimes the traffic prevents you from hearing anything, especially the ‘bip’. So check twice that you have locked it correctly at the dock or bike post. Otherwise, the system will not register it and it will assume that you are still using the bike… charging you an additional fee and even a penalty!
You’ll be required to supply credit-card information before taking a bike so charging you these fees and penalties is pretty easy.
If you want to return a bike and the parking station is full, go to the System Access Terminal and indicate that it’s full. The system will acknowledge it automatically and you will have 10 free extra minutes to find the nearest station.
Use the System Access Terminal or the BiciMAD app to locate the nearest stations and also their availability (number of bikes and available bike posts).
BiciMAD short term subscription card
This subscription lasts for 1, 3 or 5 consecutive days and you have unlimited access to the bicycles. There is registration fee that you have to pay with your credit card. At the end of the period, a new registration fee will be charged to your card if you want to renew it.
Then, you’ll need to authorize BiciMAD to handle a 150€ deposit. This deposit will be fully refunded once the subscription expires provided the bikes have not been damaged.
BiciMAD long term subscription card
If you plan to stay for a while in Madrid you should sign up for a Long Term Subscription card. It lasts 1 year (ie. 12 consecutive months) and you have unlimited bike rentals for this period.
To register you need to pay a registration fee. This fee will be charged to your credit card at the beginning of each year if you decide to renew your subscription.
The Long Term Subscription doesn’t require a deposit.
This article is part of a complete tutorial about exploring Madrid on bike where you can read all the information you need to enjoy the city on a bicycle.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. Cycling in Madrid: should you walk instead?
2. Riding a bike: Madrid rules and recommendations
3. 7 bike riding tips to safely ride around Madrid
4. BiciMAD: Madrid’s municipal bike rental
5. The best bike rental Madrid shops
6. The best Madrid bike tours