On two wheels
New website helps bike riders navigate Chile’s capital
The online map tool is taking the guesswork out of getting around Santiago - and finding a place to park your bike.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Exploring Santiago by bike. Photo: La Bicicleta Verde / Flickr
More and more visitors to Santiago are using bicycles to explore the city’s sights every day. Recently named the sixth best city for bicycle tourism in the world by website Hostelbookers, it’s clear that two wheels are becoming better than four for many travelers to the Andean nation’s capital.
But just as finding a parking spot for a car can be a challenge in a foreign city, so too can finding a place to park your bike - and that’s where Mapcity.cl’s website Ciclovías de Santiago (Bikepaths of Santiago) comes in. The interactive online map merges bike routes and bike locking stations, displaying not only the city’s bike paths, but also 168 places in Santiago to park your bike.
According to Patricia Ábalos, director of the website Mapcity, the map is a great tool for planning your perfect bike ride this spring.
"Our idea is to provide our users with useful information that is easily accessible. In this sense we are developing channels that contribute to everyday life, and what’s better than riding a bike this Spring and choosing the route beforehand that you want to take on Mapcity," Ábalos told VeoVerde.com.
Among the major Latin American countries, Chile is often regarded as a leader in the use of bicycles as a means of transport. Santiago alone offers 130 miles (210 km) of bike paths, and the number is continuing to increase. The popularity of bicycles in the city has been boosted by community events and the growing support of the city’s residents.
For visitors looking to take part in Santiago’s bicycle craze, there are several affordable bike rental programs in Santiago, including Paseos en Bicicleta and La Bicicleta Verde. Both also offer a variety of guided tours of the city by bike, including cultural excursions, food and wine tours, and nighttime trips.