By Ana Gabriela Ribeiro, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With more than 250 km of bicycle paths in Rio, the city is full of breathtaking sites to see while getting some exercise. Residents and visitors can choose from a number of places to rent bicycles and get moving, but for those unfamiliar with the city, we have done the legwork to help get you on your way faster.
Recently the streets have been filled with some-600 bikes introduced by the BikeRio program, encouraging cycling as a healthy habit in the life of Cariocas (people from Rio) and tourists exploring the Cidade Maravilhosa. These bikes are free for the first hour, and can be rented by the day for R$5, or the month for R$10.
But to rent one of these a cell phone (and a R$300 deposit by credit card) is required, something not all travelers have handy. Fortunately there are plenty of other options, and although not as economical, they are certainly convenient and accessible for all.
Bike & Lazer (Ipanema)
Rentals are R$15 per hour, R$60 per day and including a lock. They have special road bikes and a maintenance service if needed. “If a client has a problem with one of our bikes, we’ll rescue them!” says José Flavio Duarte, known as “Duarte”, salesman at Bike & Lazer. English is spoken and credit cards accepted. The address in Ipanema is Rua Visconde de Piraja, 135B, phone: (21) 2247-0018 and the web site is: www.bikelazer.com.br.
Ciclovia Zona Sul (Arpoador)
With thirty green bikes made of aluminum (light and easy to ride) rentals are R$15 for the first hour, with R$5 for additional hours. Daily rental is R$70 (24 hours) or from Monday to Friday and weekends between 9AM to 7PM the cost is R$50. Clients have the option to leave a R$500 deposit or just a document (passport/driving license). There are men and women’s models (the girl’s models even have baskets) and a lock is included. English is spoken, and the address in Arpoador is Rua Francisco Otaviano, 55/A, phone is (21) 2247-0018.
Special Bike (Copacabana)
Special Bike has several convenient locations (Copacabana, Botafogo and Leblon) and the rentals are R$45 a day, with a R$300 deposit on a credit card (preferably VISA) which is cancelled when bike is returned. The model available is the CALOI 100, (comfort) and for five days there is fifty percent discount, says Marcelo Gomes, owner of the shop. The also offer bike “packages”, with travel agencies and hotels, with English spoken. The address in Copacabana is: Rua Barata Ribeiro 458, Loja D, phone is (21) 2547-9551 and the web site is: www.specialbikebotafogo.com.br.
Girls Bike (Lagoa)
With twenty years in the market Arlete and Guilherme rent bicycles only around the bay of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Rentals are R$8 for 30 minutes and R$12 for one hour. The only requirement to rent is a document with a picture (passport or ID). With several different models 26 bikes for women (with the option of a baby chair) and twenty for men. They also have models for children who are learning to cycle and allow a “test drive”. Languages spoken are English and Italian. The address on the Lagoa is: Av. Epitácio Pessoa 3300 – Parque do Cantagalo, phone is: (21) 8167-0079 and the web site is: alugabike.aluga.com.br.