By Douglas Williams
When the weather is like this, there is simply no better way of getting round the city than by bike and these days it couldn’t be easier. Not only is Bucharest completely flat and not only is there an increasingly sophisticated cycle path network – Arc de Triumph to Sky Tower to Tunari to Uniri and Alba Julia – but now you don’t even need to have a bike (or go through all that life threatening rigmarole of bike racks on your car) – you can just hire one.
There are rental points all over – Herăstrau at both Charles de Gaulle, Aviatorilor and Arc de Triumph, at Piața Victoriei at the top of Calea Victoriei, at Piața Romană, Revoluției, Universității, the Old Town and Unirii. Basically right across the centre of the city you are never too far away from a pick up or drop off point.
Here I’m mainly talking about the i’velo bikes that you’ll no doubt have seen around and this system is so neat and user friendly it would be a travesty not to use them, though there are others.
Firstly you go to their headquarters near Aviatorilor – you can tell you are in the right place cause there is a massive balloon that floats above it emblazoned with the i’velo logo. There you register (need ID), get your card and put credit on the card and it works like this: (for an adult) for one day, it’s 10 lei, one month it’s 35 lei and for one year it’s 100 lei. Then you go to the nearby docking station, present your card as instructed and release your wheels, your iron horse and off you go. The only thing is that the bike is yours for 45 minutes so it’s probably worth pondering just exactly where you are going cause after the three quarters of an hour you must return the bike for at least 15 minutes. After your 15 minutes break you can release another bike and so it goes. So for the princely sum of 100 lei you can have the use of a modern, well-maintained bike to scoot about the city on for an entire year!
See www.ivelo.ro/en for more details.