Nowadays is more popular to see cyclists riding their bikes through the biggest Spanish cities. This vehicle is gaining more and more followers not only for doing exercise, but also for using more sustainable methods of transports or even for travelling in more comfortable way. According to the ‘Red de Ciudades por la Bicicleta’, at the end of 2019, around 9 million Spanish people between the ages of 12 and 79 were using bicycles on a weekly basis. Although the number of people who use a bike on a daily basis is much lower: 1.5 million, which represents 3.5% of the population.
Many European authorities are working to adapt their cities to this means of transport with the aim of making the world a less polluting place. In Spain, cities such as Madrid are a long way from achieving this goal, as their cycle lanes are right next to cars and therefore, they do not look like a safe place for citizens.
According to the OCU in its January 2022 report, “a useful cycling network must meet seven key conditions: it must be complete, continuous, uniform, direct, recognisable, dense and pass-through main roads“. They also claimed that there are only five cities in Spain that meet these criteria: Vitoria, Valencia, Seville, Barcelona and San Sebastian.
Vitoria would be on the top places through the different Spanish cities. The main reason for this is a bike network that reaches from the city centre to the outskirts of the city. This means that there are up to 100 kilometres of cycle lanes running through the streets of the metropolis, making it possible to find a bike lane within 300 metres no matter where you are. The only disadvantage is in the historic city centre, where bicycles have to share space with pedestrians and vehicles. However, for a stroll or for commuting to and from work, the capital of Alava is ideal for cycling.
The cycling network in Valencia also allows you to get from the outskirts to the centre and connects all the neighbourhoods around the area. In fact, many tourists choose this means of transport when they visit the city. Moreover, Valencia is the Spanish city, together with Seville, which has the most rental points per inhabitant. The adaptation of the city to make exclusive bike lanes, as well as its good signage and design, make the capital of the community a perfect destination for cyclists.
Barcelona is one of the capitals with more bicycles per inhabitant: 38 for every 10,000 inhabitants. This city could be seemed in a similar level with other European cities. The secret of Barcelona is the same as in the previous cases: a network that connects almost the entire city with each other and with wide and safe paths. Thanks to the flatness of the city makes this pleasant city a perfect destination to visit by this means of transport.
The bicycle network of Seville has 140 kilometers with many rental points as in Valencia. For that reason, regarding to OCU, Seville is one of the best of the south of Spain, much better than the Córdoba or Málaga bike lanes. Furthermore, several paths have been adapted to the Guadalquivir riverbanks. However, during the summer months… Be careful not to go out at very high temperatures!
Although in recent years San Sebastián has experienced a standstill in terms of its cycling network, it is still one of the cities in Spain with the best network. According to the OCU, the city has 32 kilometres of lanes in good condition, which also passes through beautiful landscapes.