Lonely Planet Writer

Barcelona wheels out new plans for a cycling revolution

Barcelona is experiencing a cycling revolution – with a promise of plenty more to come. The city is to begin working, within the next week, on five new cycle lanes which will cross the Catalan capital.

Barcelona is set to roll out a major new bike initiative
Barcelona is set to roll out a major new bike initiative Image by Elliot Brown / CC BY 2.0

In fact, authorities in Barcelona want to increase its cycle network by 165% within the next two years. That would translate into over 300 kilometres of cycle lanes and paths through some of the city’s busiest areas. The Daily Telegraph reports that tours on bicycles have become popular there with increasing numbers using two wheels to explore the city.

Nine years ago, the city initiated a bike-hire scheme similar to the one in London, which allows customers to undertake short journeys. By 2015, the ‘Bicing’ scheme, as it was called, had recorded its 100 millionth journey. Ada Colau, Barcelona’s new socialist mayor, has promised to pump €32 million into new lanes and parking facilities to encourage more people to become part of the cycling revolution.

Barcelona suffers from traffic congestion and the introduction of extra cycling facilities could help reduce the number of cars on city streets
Barcelona suffers from traffic congestion and the introduction of extra cycling facilities could help reduce the number of cars on city streets Image by Bert Kaufmann / CC BY 2.0

Frederic Albert of Bike Tours Barcelona said that the weather in the city means that cycling is a great way to get around. While Barcelona doesn’t have the same cycling tradition as the Netherlands or Germany, the new drive to increase the number of cyclists could reduce traffic congestion. Mr Albert stressed that the better the city organises the cycle paths, the fewer cars they would have to worry about. Tourists would find it much easier to cycle to see the Gothic Quarter or go to the beach or parks, he added.