Rio's magic can become lost in a traffic-snarled car or lurching from point to point on a steamy bus, but thanks to an ongoing project providing bike stations throughout Zona Sul, there are now no excuses not to get out and about on two wheels. Previous initiatives may have fallen foul of chronic underfunding but now the unmistakable orange glow of the cheap, well-maintained and remarkably comfy bikes are waiting to be unlocked and taken out all over town by day-trippers, commuters and trips to the juice bar.
Further investment is promised to improve the city's bike routes (of the official 250km of cycle paths, the actual useable amount is considerably less) but just as importantly there are now over 60 stations from which these light, orange machines can be rented. Getting set up couldn't be easier via the official, bi-lingual website (mobilicidade.com.br) with a credit card; day passes (R$5) can be bought over the telephone and are valid for 24 hours, and a free smartphone app allows users to monitor in real time which stations have bikes available and where the nearest one is to your location at the time. Either select your bike on the app or call the hotline (also available in English), input the station and bike number and it unlocks both the bike as well as the city. Just be sure to test the pedals and brakes before you choose your trusty steed, the occasional breakdown can be frustrating.
For more information and one day passes call Bike Rio (21) 4063 3999.
Day passes are valid in one-hour slots for 24 hours, with a 15-minute interval between uses, but you have to use the same mobile phone to unlock the bike as used to purchase the pass.
Map of the city's current bike stations