By Jessica Colley—
In 2009, the streetscape in Dublin changed for good. Almost overnight, the bicycle lanes were filled with splashes of bright blue – the Dublin Bikes (or simply “db”) bike-share program had launched. A development like this in a city as small as Dublin caused quite a stir.
Suddenly, you could be almost anywhere in the city within a leisurely 10–15 minute pedal. With clearly designated bike lanes, cycling in the city is safe and simple. While many commuters use a db every day, travelers can also take advantage of this (almost free) program, too.
There are 44 db stations in Dublin’s center. Stations are never too far away from one another, and are located right near some of the top attractions including the National Gallery of Ireland, St. Stephen’s Green, and Grafton Street.
If you are unfamiliar with the layout of Dublin, you might want to consult a map before heading out on your db. Each station also has a map providing details on where to return the bike.
How to Rent a Bike
This is where it gets a little tricky. Local residents who use the db program have an ID card that is connected to their credit card for security purposes (to make sure you don’t ride off for good with the bike!). Travelers don’t need the annual card, but they do need a credit card to use the bikes. MasterCard and Visa are accepted, and your card could be charged a hefty fine if you don’t return the bike.
Travelers can purchase a three-day pass right at the db stand. (Note: Not all 44 stands have credit card capabilities–consult dublinbikes.ie to find one that does). A three-day pass costs just €2, and provides free 30-minute rentals. If you go beyond 30 minutes without returning the bike, you will be charged .50 for an hour, €1.50 for two hours, and so on.
Cheapos should know that there is no limit to the number of free 30-minute rentals you can enjoy in one day. Thus, to avoid the service fees, simply return your bike to a station and rent a new one.
After you rent your first db, you’ll be a pro. Unlike other countries where you have language to cope with, in this instance it’s English all the way. When you approach a db station, have a credit card ready. After you’ve selected a three-day pass, you will be asked to select a four-digit PIN code. This number is important, as it will help to identify you and confirm that you’ve returned your bike (avoiding the €150 fee for “stealing” or not returning a bike).
Renting is simple: Approach the station, enter your PIN, select an available bike, press the “release” button and you’re off. Returning the bike is just as simple, and detailed directions are available at every station.
Where to go with a bike rental
Dublin is a compact city, and once you have your three-day pass, it’s all at your fingertips. Some fun bike excursions include going for a ride in Phoenix Park, the largest city park in Europe, or riding along the water of Dublin Bay along Sandymount Strand.
Best of all, your free bike rentals let you avoid expensive taxis and see more of Dublin. Have fun!