We are excited to announce the kick off of our new "Expatme-Experience" series. We will be sharing articles and interviews from and with our expats in Latin America with the goal to give you a better insight into what is moving, troubling and exciting our expats. If you are an expat in Latin America and want to contribute in this series feel free to contact us at any time! We are happy to hear your stories and share them with our expat community.
For the start we will be putting a special focus on transportation in Mexico City. Getting around the huge city is quite a problem, especially when streets are congested, demonstrations block entire "colonias" and being on time for meetings becomes impossible. One alternative to get from A to B is by bike, using the network of ECOBICI, the rather newly installed bike share system in Mexico City.
ECOBICI - (Yes! you can ride a bike in Mexico!)
by Patrick L.
When you first get to Mexico City and see the traffic on the streets, the endless and chaotic traffic, you think of many things, participating in this mess with your bike though might not be amongst those things. However, after being stuck too many times in too many traffic jams and getting late to my appointments regulary I started to think about alternatives. Around that time the Mexico City government started to introduce a system of collective bicycles, available at public renting stations at fair prices and spread around the city. I decided to give it a try and have since then regulary used the ECOBICI system.
ECOBICI's have been around now since 2010 and have developed into an attractive alternative for getting yourself from A to B. The system is fairly popular in the City, despite - or maybe because of - the heavy traffic and has currently about 4,000 bikes at 275 "cicloestaciones" ready to use. As the traffic rules might get some time to get used to, the government published a manual for the urban bikers to ensure safety is guaranteed as best possible. The manual can be downloaded here.
The ECOBICI net is constantly growing, the city plans with a net growth rate of about 70% in the next couple of years. The Benito Juárez neighborhood will soon be included too in the ECOBICI network, so increasing the range of bikes further and further.
If you plan on renting a bike at a ECOBICI station you should consider a couple of points. First, ECOBICI stations are not in every part of the city. Check the map and the availability of bikes before you plan your trip. You also need to register to use the service (online is best). Safety is of course something to take into account as well. Ride carefully and take care of traffic, obstacles and car drivers! More information on ECOBICI, the prices and the bike availabilty can be found on their webiste which is accessible here.