So you want to eat ice cream and empanadas while drinking wine, but you still want your clothes to fit you? Well isn’t this a conundrum? Actually no, it need’t be, just up the exercise.
A great form of exercise in Buenos Aires is biking because it is so flat, there are many bike paths and drivers are relatively accepting of cyclists. If you don´t know your way around BA, the idea of hiring a bike can be a little daunting, but I recently did a great day tour with Biking Buenos Aires with some students from Vamos Spanish Academy where I’m currently learning Spanish.
The tour is a full day starting at 10 am in San Telmo where we had a safety briefing and then headed off to see the sites around BA. We cycled down to La Boca and had time to wander around the famous Caminito market area before sampling mate. This was the first time I had tasted mate, and let’s just say I think it is an acquired taste. If you’re keen to try this iconic Argentine drink, check out our Yerma Mate Blog post for the low down.
We certainly covered the best ares to bike in the city. We did about 26 km, but because we took regular breaks to look around different areas and get some of the history we did’t suffer from the dreaded saddle soreness you would expect after a full day tour.
I opted for the full day tour, but Biking Buenos Aires also offers a range of half day tours and a special street art tour where you can go off the beaten track and see some of the outstanding street art that Buenos Aires has to offer. I am doing this street art tour in a few weeks.
As it was only a small group, we needed just the one guide but for larger groups there are always 2 guides. Our guide was an American who has made Buenos Aires his home. He was passionate and knowledge about the history and eager to share his suggestions to ensure we had a memorable time in Argentina.
With a little more knowledge of how to traverse the city, I decided I too would be one of these people you see cruising around on their bikes. With over 130 km of bike paths and a fantastic bike share initiative EcoBici which allows both residents and tourists to rent and return bikes to a large number of bike stations around the city. This is a free initiative and as I found, it is relatively easy to sign up for to rent bikes for FREE, all I needed was my passport. Also on this site you can find maps of the bike paths.
On the weekends I love to hire a bike and go exploring. I am becoming more confident in riding around even if it is not on a bike path but my advice to you: BE CAREFUL. Drivers rarely indicate and pedestrians will often walk onto the bike lanes without looking out for bikes. I´ve had a couple of close calls more from pedestrians not cars.
Cycling is a great way to explore this wonderful city and work off the calories from the numerous facturas you will no doubt sample. So if you’re in town studying Spanish for a couple of weeks and you are looking for an alternative to the bus or Subte, think about getting your bearings by doing a bike tour then sign up to the Ecobici initiative.