San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
I Want to Ride My Bicycle

VIDEO: New project introduces 100 public-use bicycles to Cartago

When the city of Cartago constructed a system of bike paths through the downtown area, the municipality became a beacon of hope for urban cyclists. A gift from the Automóvil Club of Costa Rica, the “ciclovías” that cut through the busy Cartago streets seemed to mark a new era in eco-friendly transport.

There was only one problem: Not everybody in Cartago has a bicycle.

Thanks to “BicipúbliCartago,” a joint project between the Municipality of Cartago and the Dutch Embassy, the city has now received 100 new bicycles available for public use. While the “ride share” concept is extremely popular in Europe and increasingly common in the United States, BicipúbliCartago is the first such pilot program in Costa Rica.

The project was inaugurated on Wednesday morning, with speeches by various officials and performances by jugglers, mimes, and unicyclists. The event culminated in a group ride through the city.

In order to borrow a bicycle, a patron must be at least 15 years old, possess valid identification, and demonstrably know how to ride a bike.

For more information about BicipúbliCartago, visit the project’s Facebook page.

Ready to ride.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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Dan Gibson

Tremendous concept — however — the heading should have read — ”ride to own” as applied in Costa Rica — take a look at the ”new” bikes now — and — see how many are left in one month — they will still be in use — only different colors and ”different places”!

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Ken Morris

Well. the Dutch are pretty good at these things, and Cartago is trying. My fear is that the project will be a failure, as most half-baked pro-bike projects are, and the result will be the usual one of people concluding, “We tried to encourage bicycling and it didn’t work.” Encouraging cycling and planning for same is a very complicated undertaking, making it almost better not to have the initiatives than to have them. Let’s hope this thing works, but I’m afraid that I have reservations.

BTW, I write this as a fellow 100% in favor of bicycle transporation, a veteran of same, but also a veteran of myriad failed and ultimately counterproductive pro-bike initiatives. It’s a lot harder than donating 100 bikes and building a path, although if there is wisdom among the bike planners in Cartago, there’s a chance this thing helps.

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Aitor Xaranga

I’d like to see the inventory figures in six months!

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