Most visitors (and locals) may get around Mexico City by bus, cab, or on the city’s extensive subway system, but anyone who’s explored the capital city on two wheels knows that it’s one of the best cities in the world for cyclists. Local government has invested heavily to install bike lanes across the city and organize “learn to ride” classes for children, adults, and seniors. The city now runs one of the largest weekly car-free cycling rides in the world and visitors to Mexico City are welcome to join the fun!

people riding bikes in front of the Zocolo in Mexico City
Mexico City has created a system of bike lanes throughout the city and even close down major streets on Sunday's for citywide cycling events © Cassandra Brooklyn / Lonely Planet

Sunday Ciclovía

From 8am to 2pm each Sunday, local cyclists, pedestrians, and rollerbladers pushing strollers and pulling dogs enjoy 55 car-free kilometers during the weekly Ciclovía (cycle route). Pro tip: riders hoping to avoid the crowds should hit the pavement right at 8am, as streets become crowded by 10am.

The main stretch of road closures is along Paseo de la Reforma but sections of the historic center and several streets in the southern part of the city are also car-free. On the last Sunday of each month, the Ciclovía expands into a Ciclotón (longer route), stretching up to 97 kilometers across Mexico City and encompassing several highways. Both rides are massive undertakings and are exceedingly well organized.

Where to get a bike

Visitors to Mexico City have a few options for securing a bike. EcoBici, Mexico City’s bike sharing system, is technically available to visitors, but pay stations often don't accept credit cards and visiting one of the city’s four offices in person can be a hassle. 

Free bikes and rollerblades are available to borrow for up to two hours at a time from various préstamo or loaning stations along the route. Though the bicycle borrowing program was established for locals lacking their own wheels, international visitors are able to borrow a bike if they leave a form of identification and a phone number at which they can be reached. Note that these bikes are available on a first come, first serve basis and the condition of the bikes can be less than ideal.

Renting a bicycle from a proper bike shop is a great way to ensure you’ll have a safe, comfortable ride waiting for you. Poray Bikes, conveniently located along the ride on Paseo de la Reforma, offers hourly and daily bike rentals, including: tandem bikes, trailers, and bicycles equipped with children’s seats. Poray’s bilingual guides also lead excellent bike tours that can either stick to the closed-streets route or safely guide riders through other parts of the city. The hotel the shop is located inside even offers a discount on the buffet to anyone who arrives on a bike.

Two women on a tandem bike in Mexico City
From tandem bikes to bikes with child seats to roller blades, everything goes on a Sunday Ciclovía © Cassandra Brooklyn / Lonely Planet

See the sights along the way

Restaurants and cafes line Reforma Avenue and many have installed bike racks, encouraging riders to stop for lunch. Another great option would be to follow the closed streets to Bosque Chapultapec, Mexico City’s largest park, which houses the must-see Chapultapec Castle and several museums. Most food vendors can be found around the lake, at the zoo, or at the gate of the Museo Nacional de Antropología. Sunday is the busiest day in the park so ride carefully, especially around families with young children.

The government-managed Muévete en Bici CDMX Facebook page posts the exact route and special activities a few days before the ride each week. Zumba, yoga, capoeira, and other fitness classes are scattered along the ride. Family storytelling and tandem rides for visually-impaired cyclists are also offered some weeks. Check the weekly map to find bike borrowing stations, bicycle mechanics, and bathrooms along the route. 

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a return traveler hoping to see the Mexico City from a different perspective, the Sunday Ciclovía is a unique and unforgettable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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