Barcelona by bike: a brief cycling guide

The best way to know the Catalan capital

We love bikes. And the good weather makes Barcelona a great city to ride a bike, which is an awesome way to get to know it. That’s why today we bring you this article offering you all the details you should know before getting on the bike in Barcelona. Multiple aspects of safety, civility and legality that you should know before starting to pedal around the city.

Barcelona is a city full of movement, buses, cars, motorcycles and bikes, so you must follow the safety instructions, and always keep an eye on traffic. Here are some tips and rules of circulation that will be useful on your bike route through Barcelona. Take note and enjoy Barcelona by bike!

Barcelona by bike, what to know:

The bike

Whether you already have your own bike, buy it or rent it, the first thing to do is check the wheels conditions and pressure. It is also important to check the brakes, making sure you can stop the bike without any inconvenience. The direction of the bike and the chain are also a priority, although they are more durable elements that you can quickly check. Once we make sure that the bike is in perfect condition we can move on to the next step.

Your Security

The helmet is the most important safety element. In Barcelona, it is not mandatory in the downtown area, although we recommend you always use it. A pair of gloves can also help you if you fall, as it will prevent skin burns. It is also advisable to wear sunglasses since it will prevent our vision to be affected by excess light, especially in the summer months between 12 and 5 PM.

Traffic rules

It is not obligatory to know the whole circulation code, but it is good to have some basic knowledge. Keep in mind that, from the moment you get on the bike, you are considered a vehicle, so all the traffic rules will be applied to you. That means giving way to pedestrians, stop at traffic lights or consider the priority when accessing certain roads. Riding on the sidewalk is prohibited unless it measures more than 5 meters wide. And, of course, it is totally forbidden to drive a bicycle under the influence of alcohol. As a vehicle, there is the possibility of you having to pass a breathalyzer test in which you cannot give a result higher than 0.25ml of alcohol per liter of air.

Tourism without music

In Barcelona, it is totally forbidden to use headphones while traveling by bike. First, because you must be aware of all the traffic signals or warnings. Secondly, because it is dangerous to be abstracted while you are driving between cars. And finally, because if you do, you risk getting a 200 euros fine. So, the best thing is that you leave the headphones for another moment and enjoy the bike while keeping all your senses alert.

Bike Lanes

The bicycle is, together with the motorcycle and the car, one of the most common means of transportation in the city. There are 4 modalities of bike lanes in the city and it is essential to respect them to integrate easily into the city’s traffic and avoid collisions with other cyclists.

The 4 modalities of bike lane that you will find in Barcelona are: bidirectional on the sidewalk, unidirectional on the sidewalk, bidirectional on the road and unidirectional on the road. In these lanes, it is essential not to circulate in parallel and not to invade the opposite lane. It is also critical that you do not drive in the opposite direction through unidirectional bike lanes, regardless of whether these are occupied or not by other cyclists at that time. Remember that it is forbidden to drive on the sidewalk.

Food and meteorology

We are fully aware that you are not preparing to participate in a professional cyclist round, but it is also important that you consider two points that many cyclists forget: food and weather. Barcelona is a city at sea level, so humidity is always high. This means that when exercising, your body sweats more and lose liquids faster than usual. Therefore, you should hydrate correctly before, during and after. Try to drink in short sips without filling the stomach, especially during the pedaling phases. You must also consider the duration and category of your route and feed yourself correctly. Avoid heavy meals, as they can make you sleepy during the trip. And if you plan to ride a bicycle during the summer, be aware of the temperature forecast and take the usual measures to fight the heat: hat, sunglasses and light and fresh clothes.

How to leave the bike on the street?

We recommend the use of several locks when parking the bicycle. Barcelona is a very safe city, but there is a risk of having a bad experience if you do not ensure your bicycle well. This must be attached to a tree, street lamp or special bicycle parking. It must be locked by the rear wheel and the body of the bike, in addition to having a second or third padlock to secure the saddle. As much as possible, avoid leaving it on the street for a long time, especially at night.

If you have arrived here, you are ready to enjoy Barcelona by bike. Congratulations! Take care and have fun in the city on two wheels!


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