Rome: How to use the city’s bike share program
Over the last couple of years around Rome, ATAC’s bikesharing program has become a popular fixture around the city center and the beach resort of Ostia. Taking to the streets in Rome can be scary, as traffic is plentiful, but for the brave and those with padded clothing (those cobbles can be a challenge), it can be a great way to get around the city and beyond.
How it works
Go to an official ATAC center, which can be found around the city center (most often at Metro stations) to get your Smartcard. You then charge your card with credit (either at the station or online) enabling you to take a bike from one of many bike stations dotted around Rome. You will need to bring your passport or ID card when you join and the Smartcard will cost you €5.
Taking a bike costs €1 for every half hour and the bike must be returned to any station (not necessarily the one you took it from) within 24 hours.
Where to get a bike
Stations can be found all over the historic center, including the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Campo De’ Fiori, Piazza Popolo, Piazza Navona and Largo Argentina. (For a full list of stations, see the ATAC Web site.) The bikes (and stations) have remained in excellent condition and, unusually for Rome, the system works well. Each station has an information panel telling you everything you need to know about using the program.
Where to go
It is worth investing in a good map (try the ATAC Metrobus Map available for €5 at any newspaper kiosk) so you can explore beyond the city center. One popular destination is the Appia Antica, which is traffic free and can take you 14 kilometers to Lake Albano (for the super-fit) or as far as an ice cream seller (for the rest of us). Or ride along the river close to Castle St Angelo, where you will find a cycle track away from the road.
Another option is taking the Ostia Lido train from Piramide Metro. You will find bike stations around Ostia, and what better way to spend a few hours than cycling down the promenade towards the tourist port and stopping at the beach for a sunbathe and a swim?
To learn more about the bikesharing program, visit the Web site or call (+33) 06 57 003.