Like many cities around the world, anyone can now rent a bicycle in San José. Soon rent-a-bikes will also be available in the cities of Alajuela, Cartago and Heredia.
OMNI is the company behind this venture. It currently has 600 rent-a-bikes and plans to add 400 more in coming months. The cost to rent a bici or cleta (bicycle in Spanish) is 600 colones per hour or just a little over one dollar. It appears that this mode of transportation is a complete success since 4,500 application were downloaded first day it was available.
All of the bikes are equipped with a GPS so the company can track their location and prevent theft. They are made of recycled material, have a holder for a cell phone and a USB port, and a basket on back for backpacks and other items.
Electric bikes have a range of about 100 kilometers or 61 miles when fully charged and can reach about 40 kilometers per hour (24.8 mph). However, for safety reasons they cannot exceed 25 kilometers per hour (15.6 mph).
The company has an insurance policy for its users and bikes. However, it is user’s responsibility to provide their own helmet and reflective sash for safety reasons.
Good news! There are now bike paths in San José. Since 2018 there has been a ciclovía (bike path) that extends from the Sabana Park in the west to the University of Costa Rica in Pedro, to the east.
This new mode of transportation will cut down on pollution, the use of automobiles, help people stay healthier by exercising and create more mobility in the cities.
Here is how to use one of the rental bikes. Each one is blocked and will not move or roll until a code is activated. This is done by activating the company’s application. At the end of the trip the process is similar to block the application. Users will be charged for the time they use the bicycle. Unfortunately, the application does not indicate how many miles have been travelled nor the amount of calories that have been burned. For that a special applications like Google Fit is needed.
When finished riding, the bike has to be left at one of the specific places around the city. Every night the company picks up the bikes and recharges their batteries so that they are ready to be used the following day.
Extra! The company Rappi just announced that it will now offer rent-a-scooters (escúteres or patinetas in Spanish). Rap currently offers rental scooters in 9 countries and 70 cities including Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Sao Paulo, Bogotá (Colombia), Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires (Argentina) Montevideo (Uruguay), LIma (Peru). The rental process is similar to renting a bicycle. The user first has to download the application and then rent the scooter (escaper)
¡Vuela pedal (Take a spin!)