If you’re tired of traffic and sick of sitting in a car, what other options do you have? Recently, districts have been trying to increase bike lanes in Lima. But can you ride a bike to work?
Bike lanes, known as ciclovias in Spanish, were non-existent a decade ago. Today, many districts have them and they are becoming more and more connected with each municipal project. Is it enough to merit buying a bicycle and saying bye to buses?
Bike Lanes in Lima
Just how many bike lanes are there? The answer is uncertain and hard to find, despite our best efforts. Estimates show that there were at least 100km of bike lanes back in 2016, and that district governments pledged to more than double that count by 2018.
A 2019 article claimed that there were 214km of bicycle-only paved areas in 2019, with plans to add another 147km.
Plans for Expansion
The aforementioned plans for expansion cover a significant portion of Lima. 29 districts have pledged to add to their existing total. Many districts are trying to connect their scattered lanes or link to neighboring districts’ networks.
You can see a map of the existing network here. As you can see, it’s a very fragmented and random labyrinth of lines that seem to have no central organization. But there’s hope that it will all coalesce into a functional system.
So, could you ride a bike to work with the present infrastructure? The answer is that yes, you probably could. But you’ll need to consider a few variables first.
Pros and Cons of Riding a Bike to Work
First of all, you need to evaluate whether or not you can actually utilize the bike network to get around. Going from one side of a major artery to another, for instance the Via Expresa or Panamericana, is quite difficult. You may have to improvise your way around using pedestrian bridges.
From there, you need to determine if your work area has a place to leave your bike. Talk to your employer. If the possibilities look promising, consider borrowing a bike or using a municipal shared bike, like the ones in San Borja, to test it out.
Obviously the pros of riding a bike to work are many. Better health, reduced stress, and environmental benefits top the list. You may even be able to get to work faster than by using public transportation!
You’re also likely to save money in the long term. Not having to pay for gas or taxi fares every day can save you a bundle.
The most glaring con is safety. Not all the bike lanes in Lima are segregated from the street, meaning you’ll have to share the road with Lima’s notoriously reckless drivers.
Then there’s the comfort and hygiene factor. You might find yourself working up quite a sweat by the time you get to work. Limiting your biking to winter months solves this problem.
Have you tried using a bike as your main means of transportation? Let us know how it went, and if you think it’ll become more viable in the future.