Getting to know Santiago, by bicycle
The Chilean capital was chosen as the sixth best place for bicycle tourism.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Category: Daily life
La Bicicleta Verde’s green bikes have become symbols of the city’s growing bicycle tourism. Photo by labicicletaverde/Flickr
Santiago is fast becoming a cultural hub for bicycling, so next time you’re in town why not skip the tour bus and get to know the city from behind a set of handlebars? In a recent survey by website Hostelbookers, this city by the Andes was chosen as the sixth best place for bicycle tourism. Ample services and a wide variety of easily accessible locations make bicycling Santiago one of the easiest - and greenest - ways to see the city.
The London based website considered several important factors in its survey, including bicycle-friendly lodging and services as well as overall geography. Santiago came in strong in all three categories to reach sixth on a list that included Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin.
Recent years have seen significant growth in bicycle based tourist services with La Bicicleta Verde being the most recognizable. Located in the city’s historic Bellas Artes neighborhood, the company offers a variety of entertaining services including city bike tours (by day or night) and bicycle tours of the nearby Maipo Wine Valley.
Co-founder Joel Martínez noted that with 4,000 people a year participating in bike based tours, the industry is growing fast. “We’ve been working four years on creating circuits and in the last two we’ve seen a significant increase of Brazilian tourists as well as from the rest of Latin American,” he said.
“The number of clients that rent bicycles has doubled. Tourists are surprised by the number of parks that Santiago has to offer. A person can spend all day riding through them.”
An average year round temperature of 60º F (15º C) and generally flat terrain make the city one of the most desirable places to pedal. Sofía López, coordinator for women’s bicycling website Macleta.cl, highlighted the city’s bicycle friendliness. “The incline is quite good and there are facilities for cyclists that make journeys easier, such as bike racks in various places and bicycle paths.”
Other notable features include Princesa Insolente, hostel distinguished for its bicycle rentals, and CicloRecreoVía
, a project that closes parts of the city on Sundays for bicycle exclusive activities. Bicicultura
is Santiago’s leading bike culture organization and its website has a wealth of information including tips for riding around the city, maps, and bicycle related activities throughout the city.