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Rio de Janeiro Sambas Into Bike Sharing

May 7, 2009 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

If cities like Milan, Shanghai, and Mexico City can enjoy successful bike rental programs, then we've been wondering when a South American capital would climb aboard the eco-friendly trend. As it turns out, Rio de Janeiro quietly launched their own bike sharing program last November, which welcomes tourists with open arms (or handlebars).

Appropriately named Samba, which in Portuguese conveniently means "Alternative Mobility Solution though Bike Renting," Samba is using this spring and summer to build up to 42 stations with 500 total bikes by the end of the year; it's a small number compared to Paris' Velib and its 20,600+ bicycles, but nonetheless a great start.

Happily the program is open to anyone with a credit card, and the bike reservation process sounds easy-peasy enough, provided you can access a loaner cell phone or pay phone. Treehugger explains the process:

People have to register in the website Mobilicidade.com.br with a credit card (in which you'll be charged a deposit of around 300 reais (about 150 USD). Then you pick a pass (daily, weekly, monthly or annual) and head to the point where you want to start. There you have to call the number on the pick up station panel and enter your security code, and a bike will be unlocked.

While this may be one way to ensure that you don't end up in a rough favela, sweating through your under-shirt passport wallet, we do hope you don't look at Sugarloaf and think "oh yea, I can totally bike that;" best to keep it to the stretches of beach.

Related Stories:
· Samba [Official Site]
· Rio de Janeiro's Bike Sharing System, Appropriately called Samba [Treehugger]
· Bike Sharing Coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Samba]

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