Where have all the cars gone? There are bikes instead!

While all the cars are not gone from Tel Aviv, the new public access “rent-a-bikes” have inspired us to write about some great bike routes right here in Tel Aviv. I’ll give you the scoop on a great beachside bike route that’ll take you through afternoon straight to the sunset complete with a light meal before we go crazy in the bars on Rothschild!  And yeah, there’s also a night route for anyone who wants to do the route backwards… and it’s highly recommended!  Riding drunk, downhill… don’t worry, there’s a nearby hospital.

tied to every tree in the city - tel-aviv bicycle

Before we talk about the riding, here’s a couple of interesting factoids about using the city’s bikes and bike routes/lanes that might tempt you veteran night owls to join the healthy, drunk riding on Tel Aviv’s streets.

To date, one hundred kilometers of illuminated bike paths have been paved throughout the city.

During the 2011-2012 year, the city is planning to pave tens more kilometers of paths as part of a 100-million shekel project paid for by taxpayers. There is some criticism about the dangers present on some of the bike paths, especially near bus stops, so be careful!

bikes for free - hotel on yarkon street

So, I ask myself why I am awake all night and sleeping during the day, while I can be managing the execution of an engineering project in the field of municipal planning?!  I have 8 years of real experience biking on all the existing bike paths in the city, and riding on many of the paths before they were even paved, before any municipal engineer said, “Ah, these cute kids are riding here already, let’s pave them a real path”.

In April of 2011, the municipality, together with a private company, established a computerized system of bike rentals throughout the city that would even put the Iranian nuclear program to shame!  The idea for the project was imported from big cities in Europe and has since gained a lot of momentum.  Today, you’ll find firefighters, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, bartenders (and any other psycho, regardless of profession, who’s willing to ride in 30 (86) degree heat) is using this service.

use your visa - take a bike - enjoy!

The city’s rental system has a number of sign-up options.  You can rent for a day or longer and the prices range between 14 and 240 shekels.

The bike use is limited to 30 minutes, and after this period you have to return the bike to one of the rental stops around the city and wait 10 minutes (don’t ask me why), and only then are you able to keep using the bike.  Any use in excess of 30 minutes (without returning to a rental station) will cost money – a lot of money – so keep your eye on your watch.

For a second I thought there wasn’t a capitalist motive for this project, but the truth of the matter is, like with many thoughts lately, I was wrong.  Perhaps my true calling in life is just to go to the beach in the evening, drink at night, eat well, and if I’m really energetic, perhaps even to be loved by a young maiden, though as it says on the instructions of my medication, “it is very rare.”

The use of municipal bikes is timely, and it’s easy to get from point A to point B.  The purpose is to reduce the use of automobiles among city residents, and also to provide transportation for those with less means.  I don’t know if it’s particularly comfortable for tourists who are going along some sort of planned tourist path.  For planned tourist paths, I will suggest specific recommended stores later on.

Article by: Uli Greenberg

My recommended bicycle routes, Coming soon – Stay tuned :-)