By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cycling in Rio is a treat for avid bikers and novices alike, with more than 250 km of bicycle paths, the city is full of breathtaking sites to see while getting some exercise. For beginners, there are plenty of options to rent bicycles by the hour or day for some cruising along the coastline, and now there is a new option for more ambitious rides.
Mauricio Herzog started CYCLIN RIO in January, after years of organizing sporting events, he says he has decided to pursue a dream of working with and serving other cyclists.
Herzog, who was born in Brazil, but lived in the United States for fourteen years, says he decided to offer cycle rides in Rio that not only were designed by a local rider for a tourist looking to enjoy and visit Rio, but also offered the equipment necessary to make this an enjoyable and safe cycling experience.
“This is a hobby-service that I decided to offer specially to foreigners because of my cycling experiences in other countries.” Herzog explains, “I understand that cycling in Rio has many barriers so it is difficult and can be very dangerous for foreigners to cycle in Rio. Which is why I thought that such an initiative would make sense (a few of my foreign friends have been asking for my help to get started cycling here).”
For those living in Rio that are interested in cycling, there are challenges, and it starts with investing in equipment at a reasonable price. British expatriate living in Rio and owner Storm Studios, Harry Taylor, explains “[One of the] problems here is getting good quality bicycles.”
“The main brand here isn’t comparable in terms of quality to well known brands from the U.S. and Europe. There are a couple of places here in Rio that stock higher quality brands but the prices are eye-wateringly high. You can expect to pay a minimum of 2.5x the price they should be (obviously a lot to do with the import tax).” Taylor adds.
For this reason the CYCLIN RIO may make sense for those getting started, or in Rio for a relatively short period, as they rent performance equipment along with their tours. For example to have a single riding tour to Vista Chinese, a two hour ride to a popular destination with stunning views is R$175/US$70, which includes the bike (add R$50/US$20 for a road bike), gear and having a experienced rider to show the way.
Harry Taylor, who after after living in Rio for around five years, but just started riding with friends here over the last six months, says, “It is obviously very helpful to have someone experienced to show you the best routes, not just because it’s more fun going with others, but also so that you’re getting the best road surfaces and views.”
In addition to CYCLIN RIO those looking for a group ride have several options, from the local affiliate of Critical Mass (Bicicletada) to the Passeio Completo to bike stores like Kraft, although speaking some Portuguese is helpful here.