Free Public Bikes in Vilamoura

Vilamoura free public bikes

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A healthy lifestyle – this is the idea behind the free public bikes in Vilamoura. The bike-sharing scheme was designed by Inframoura, the municipal company behind the world-class infrastructure and services of the Vilamoura luxury resort.

Vilamoura is, of course, just one of the hundreds of cities and towns around the world with bike-sharing schemes. We daresay, nonetheless, that it has a glamorous quality to it, thanks to the collaboration with AND-RÉ, a multidisciplinary firm with specializations in urban planning, architecture and design.

The results: The bikes are decidedly Portuguese in design with a white vintage-inspired frame, sleek outlines and user-friendly features, all to encourage Vilamoura residents and tourists to adopt biking as their main form of transportation inside the resort. Most bikers attest to compatibility between the vintage design and the modern 3-gear system – a trendy yet timeless take on an eco-friendly ride.

Bikers have the benefit of beautiful landscapes in and around the bike path. At present, there are 32 stations equipped with a total of 218 bike spaces and 150 bikes, said stations of which are spread over 20 kilometers of biking route. The route itself winds through several of the resort’s areas used for residences, leisure and business so it is fast, easy and convenient for bikers to go about their day, too.

The bike-sharing scheme started on the 15 July 2012. The service is available from 7AM to 2PM until the end of August 2012 after which the bikes will be available from 8AM till 8PM every day. It is available to all commercial and residential owners of the Vilamoura resort as well as to the tourists.

Interested parties can acquire a free card for the use of the bicycles free of charge for one month only. Vilamoura residents will have their free vouchers mailed to their places of residence or business; each homeowner receives one free card and can buy more cards based on the size of their properties.

It should be emphasized that the use of the bikes are free for the first 45 minutes only during the trial period. Thereafter, the rates are €1 for the next half hour and then €1.50 for the next 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, non-residents cannot avail of the privilege although good news is on the way. Seruca Emídio, the mayor of the city of Loulé, has admitted that the bike-sharing scheme is of interest to the government.

Emidio expressed plans to extend the cycle network to other parts of the municipality especially in the coastal areas. It makes sense considering the 600-kilometer Via Algarviana where residents and tourists can also enjoy cycling.

After the free trial period has expired, interested parties are required to pay an annual charge of €30 per person or €20 for a 3-month pass. This will allow unlimited use of the bikes within the operating hours.

The only downside is that the bikes must be clocked in at one of the bike stations every 45 minutes – a safety and security precaution for obvious reasons.

Vilamoura residents and tourists can also stop by the Inframoura main office to get their cards. The cards are essential in operating the one-to-one system, which uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

To say that Vilamoura residents have taken to the bike-sharing scheme like ducks to water is an understatement. There are now 800 registered users clocking in over 1,700 hours of use since the scheme first started.

It has, indeed, exceeded the expectations of the people of Inframoura while the residents and tourists of Vilamoura are certainly enjoying their cool rides!

Vilamoura's bikes Network map - Download here

Public bikes Vilamoura - Video 1

Public bikes Vilamoura - Video 2

Published in: Guide to Portugal / Health / Portuguese Life