Bike Rentals in Stockholm

Stockholm City Bikes is a scheme similar to those already existing in other European cities. And even though there is only one more month left in the bike rental season in 2008 (ends October 31), it’s a handy tip for next year when the bike stands open again in April.

image from Stockholm City Bikes

How does it work?

In order to rent a bike, you need to purchase a bike card, and in order to purchase a bike card, you need to be over 18 years of age and present a valid ID. You can buy the card on the Stockholm City Bikes website, or at the Stockholm Tourist Information Office (Hamngatan 27) or at the SL (Stockholm City public transportation authority) Centers at the following locations: Fridhemsplan, Gullmarsplan, Tekniska Högskolan, Sergels Torg, Slussen, Täby C and T-Centralen.

There are two choices for the cards: a 3-day card and a season’s pass. The 3-day card costs 125 SEK.
With the card in hand you can go any of the 60 self-service bike stands and pick up a bike. There are a couple of things you need to remember.

1. You can only rent a bike between 6AM and 6PM. The website cheerfully announces that you can return the bike anytime. But that is not exactly true, because:
2. The maximum time you can rent a bike for is 3 hours. And that means the last return time should be around 9PM. After that, you’re out of luck.
3. During the day, if you’re 3 hours are up, you can return the bike and immediately hire another.

Even with those limitations, the program seems very popular with tourists. The bikes on offer are sturdy types suitable for even an inexperienced bike rider.
Riding a bike in Stockholm is an easy and safe, not to mention eco-friendly, option. Most streets have designated bike lanes and regular drivers, by and large, seem to follow the rules of the road.

Minuses: When we tried to use the scheme earlier this summer, several of the bikes at each stand we visited were damaged and it took quite some time to find one that was useable.
When you rent a bike and ride around, parking it temporarily can be a problem, if you don’t carry your own bike lock. Your only option will be to return the bike to another rental station and then pick up a new one.
Limited rental hours are a huge minus, at least to me, and especially in the summer, when it’s still bright outside after 9PM and you want to continue exploring the city.

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