Hiring a Bike in Moscow

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OK, so summer is here – at last – and it’s time to get on the bike. But you don’t have a bike, and don’t want to buy one in Moscow. Maybe the cheap alternative to public transport is rather expensive in Moscow; it is almost impossible to pick up a reasonably priced second-hand bike here. Perhaps you are worried about your new two-wheeled steed being stolen, or don’t have room to store your ecological personal transportation system during Moscow’s long winters.

Don’t worry! You can still exercise those leg muscles, and show them all you care both about your health and the environment. 300 rent-a-bike points have opened up in Moscow and have been operating successfully for a few years now, which is nice for those of us who come from London, Paris, or just about every major city worldwide, which all have such schemes.

In Moscow, you have to pay a deposit first, then it’s pay as you go. You can register online, or at a terminal, which each pick up point has. In either case you need to pay a deposit of 1,200 roubles for a season (May 1st to 31st October), 600 for a month (30 days), or 150 roubles for 24 hours. That’s just the standard charge, then you pay an hourly rate on top of that, from 30 roubles for an hour, to 3,000 roubles for 48 hours. All the details are on the ‘velobike’ site, however only the registration part is in English.

To register on line, go to www.velobike.ru/en and hit the red button at the bottom that says ‘directly.’ You register with your name, email and mobile number. Then you wait to receive your login and password. After that, you pay a refundable deposit and book your ride.

On line booking works faster than if you book at one of the payment terminals. Once you have your login and password and have paid your rental charge, you type them in (the login and password) on the keyboard of any of the bikes’ handlebars and you are away. So DON’T LOSE YOUR LOGIN AND PASSWORD! I did last summer and had to start all over again. See where the nearest pick-up and drop-off destinations are online first. You can download Apps for your smartphone, but they are not in English.

The bikes are a bit chunky, but feel solid and reliable. There are more and more cyclists on the roads now in Moscow and cycling here is probably as safe as in any other large city world-wide, although you may have to overcome a slight fear barrier the first time you head out into the open (crowded) road.

Enjoy the good weather whilst it lasts and get cycling!