Cycling in Madrid: should you walk instead?

Cycling in Madrid is a fun and healthy way to get around the city. While it’s true that Madrid is not particularly flat, riding around its streets can provide a richer understanding of the space and distance that get warped behind bus windows and destroyed in the tunnels of the Metro.

Even if you only pedal around for a few hours, riding a bike is an essential Madrid experience.

Renting a bike or taking a guided cycle tour is a great way to discover the city and can be quite an adventure. Exploring the city on a bike lets you see more in a day, while blending in with the locals at the same time.

Below you’ll find all you need to know about cycling in Madrid, including where to hire a bike, cycling safety, rules of the road and some tips to avoid your bike gets robbed.


A complete guide to cycling in Madrid

I love exploring a city on a bike. And it’s something that I try to do as often as I can, especially when I am in big cities that cover a huge area. I prefer the autonomy that a bicycle provides rather than relying on the subway or the bus.

Alas depending on the destination I am in, this is not always the case…

But back to cycling in Madrid, I believe that apart from walking, a bicycle is a great option to discover this bustling city. It’s definitely more efficient and it allows you to cover more ground and material than walking while providing a much more intimate experience than a mass transit solution like an open top tour bus.

That’s why after many years using rented bikes myself, I decided to come up with a complete guide related to cycling in Madrid based on my own experience.

The following section contains all the information 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 cycling tips to safely ride around Madrid
4. BiciMAD: Madrid’s municipal bike rental
5. The best bike on rent shops
6. The best Madrid bike tours


Why should you explore Madrid by bike?

Exploring Madrid by bike is for just about everyone – people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and ability levels.

If you are traveling with children, they will love riding behind mom and dad in a bike trailer, tag-along or tandem. But if not, you can choose among road bikes, mountain bikes, and the increasingly popular electric bikes and travel down memory lane when you were a child too.

And, of course, cycling in Madrid heightens your senses. On a bike, you can quite literally smell the food cooked at any tapas bar, listen to locals chat in the streets, and feel the beauty of the colorful architecture surrounding you.


Cycling in Madrid “works”

Cycling in Madrid works for a number of reasons.

My personal opinion is that it’s a combination of a number of things: weather and infrastructure.

In terms of weather, Madrid enjoys an amazing climate. Spring and fall are the best time of the year to spend your holidays in Spain. During both seasons you’ll find extremely sunny days along with fantastic temperatures.

Regarding geography, Madrid is not flat. I know. But you can always rent an electric bike!

As for the infrastructure…


Madrid is becoming a bike-friendly city

Over the past few years, the City Council has invested time, money and resources to transform Madrid into a bike-friendly city and catch up with the European leaders in two-wheel transportation.

The city boasts over 200 km of bike lanes and plans to add another 400 by 2024. They are classified into five types: bike lanes, shared-use paths, car-shared lanes, bike sidewalk-path and greenways.


Wander around to explore the city at your own pace

Getting on a hop-on hop-off bus is sure fun, but wandering on your bike all by yourself allows you to discover the city sights and some other off the beaten path areas at your own pace. Bike across some of the most amazing streets and parks while marveling what a wonderful place Madrid is.


You don’t need to worry about traffic or parking

There’s no need to rent a car to visit Madrid on your own. Driving and parking in the center of Madrid can be a stressful experience.

If you don’t like walking, try renting a bike instead. You won’t need to worry about traffic jams and you’ll be able to park your bike pretty much anywhere you want. Be careful not to getting robbed though!


It is easy to get a very cheap rate

Because the competition among bike rental companies is so fierce, they usually offer really good deals and a wide range of bikes.


Reap the benefits of active travel

If you enjoy doing a little exercise, you can appreciate the chance to burn off a couple more calories and keep the oxygen flowing to the brain as you explore some lesser known and further away areas of the city.

You will definitely experience the beauty of being active during the day so you can give into the pleasures of good food and drink in the evenings!