A growing number of hybrid cars roams the streets and the use of public transportation is increasingly encouraged. This is particularly the case in big urban areas, where the public-transportation system tends to be well-developed and reliable. If you rent apartments in Barcelona, Paris, or Berlin there is no need to rent a car, a subway ticket will be just fine get around the city.
Another trend that goes hand in hand with caring for our environment is caring about us, our health on one side but – and I know this sounds vain – but also our looks. Obesity has become a minor problem in our society and many programs have been established to promote physical activity. In an effort to combine our need for a clean environment and good health we are encouraged to ride the bike to get around. And there is no better time to get your bike out of the shed than spring.
In a few European cities this successfully turned into the idea of a community bicycle sharing program. In 2007 Barcelona launched its version, Bicing. This service is very similar to the concept of car-sharing, but should be understood as a form of public transportation. A membership card allows you to grab a bike at any station of the city and drop it off at any station. However, there are time limits for the use of the bikes and exceeding those results in a fine. Also just like the metro and bus service the bicing stations have opening hours. The annual membership at 35€ makes it to the most affordable public transportation alternative and the so-called smart bikes are designed to prevent theft and vandalism. When you stay in Barcelona apartments you will notice that a lot of people are riding the same red bike around the city.
As a visitor in Barcelona you won’t be able to use this service unless you know someone living there that lets you use his/her card. But this will not keep you from exploring the city by bike as there are plenty of rental services. Especially in the spring and summer renting a bike to tour the city is so much more full-filling than the city tour buses. You will find that most of the roads have bicycle lanes and on the beach you will see many other people on bikes.