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Several years ago, Moscow was far away from being called a ‘bike-friendly city’. Now in 2018, the city has an official bike rental system, as well as multiple bike routes going through the most iconic places of the city and dozens of private bike rental options. One of the most common ways of acquiring a bike among Moscovites is using the official city bike rental system. In this guide, we share some easy steps to have a bike ride in Russia’s capital.
To rent a bike, you’ll need to first register on the official Velobike website. The registration is very simple and can be done even from a mobile phone. You will need an email, phone number and your bank card number in order to rent a bike.
Once the registration is complete, head to the closest bike station (a map of all the stations is available on the official webpage). Once there, enter in your login and password in the bike system and voila, your journey is about to begin. A deposit of 1,000 RUB ($16 USD / £12 GBP) will be charged to your bank card and removed following the return of the bike.
We also recommend downloading the Velobike app on Google Play or the AppStore as the app is really handy throughout the bike journey. The Velobike app has one important feature: it shows which stations have free places for you to return your bike. The selection of bike stations is really big – there are currently 380 functioning bikes in Moscow.
One thing to remember regarding pricing is that the first 30 minutes of a bike ride is free. After that, the system will begin charging you 30 RUB ($.50 USD / £.38 GBP) for 31 to 60 minutes of time; 90 RUB ($1.5 USD / £1.13 GBP) for 61 to 120 minutes, and so on. So, if you want to enjoy the service on a minimal budget (say, almost free), make shorter trips, and return the bike before the first 30 minutes are over – the system will send a notification five minutes before.
Even though the payment system may be a bit complicated, the 30 minute option is well-suited for short rides in the historical part of town: the distances are not very long, and it gives a great opportunity to combine walking and sightseeing with a bike ride. Not to mention, it’s a great way to work up an appetite before exploring Moscow’s diverse food scene.