Saturday, 28 June 2014

Seville’s bikes, the Sevici

As I have mentioned before, Seville is a city without hills, meaning it’s completely, utterly, totally flat. This is an advantage that comes handy when you climb to the top of the Giralda tower, the highest point of the city, and can see 360 degrees for miles and miles. It is also great when you want to do sport, for example running or cycling. And this is what led the city to set up an extensive and ingenious cycling network, the Sevilla bici, which is shortened to Sevici.

I have always been a fan of city bikes however in London I never considered it successful. There are just simply too many people and the distances are too big to really take advantage of the scheme. Here however it works perfectly well. The city is small so during your allotted free half an hour you can actually cover quite a distance. The stations are numerous and close to each other and there’s a great app that you can download to help if one of them happens to be full. The network is surprisingly extensive and goes all the way out to the suburban areas. And the best thing, the cycling lane (called carril de bici) is part of the pavement, not the road, so you don’t have share your space the road with the cars. Hallelujah!

Not to mention the fact that it is very cheap, it only costs 30 euros for a whole year! As far as I remember in London it was 30 pounds for only a month. Even in Barcelona it was 45 and it was said to increase to its double soon. Even when you consider the price of the Seville Metro (only about 70 cents for a single journey) that you’d have to use daily for me it was still a great deal cheaper to use it to go to work.

So, how does it work exactly?
Very easy. You go online, find their official website and fill out the form (you can do this all in English, God bless them!), pay the required amount and wait. After 30 days your card will be looking at you from your mailbox with your name neatly printed on it. All you need to do now is to rock up to the closest Sevici station, activate it (the instructions on the screen will be in English if you filled out the form in English, NEAT!) and you’re ready to hit the town! When you get where you wanted, dock your bike in an empty spot, make sure you hear the double beep that signs that the bike is properly docked and that’s it!

An added bonus is that the people here are actually bike-aware, meaning they won’t stand and chat in the middle of the cycle lane like the tourists do in Barcelona, which is always helpful. The cyclists are very patient and won’t ring their bells if you don’t start within 2 milliseconds of the traffic light changing to green, like they do in London. It’s all very civilised and relaxed.

Just like everything else here in this gorgeous city.  

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