Bicing, Spain’s worst public bike scheme

Sez a German motoring organisation.

ADAC’s survey is here. As Pascal observes, they’re interested in bikes for tourists (there’s a valid and interesting debate in there), and you wonder how much research went into the study. But they’ve made the effort, so all kudos to them, and let’s see what the next people come up with.

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Last updated 16/07/2012

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

ADAC (1): The ADAC is an automobile club in Germany, founded on May 24, 1903, as German Motorbiker Association, and renamed to its present name in 1911. With more than 18 million members in May 2012, it is the largest automobile club in Europe.

Barcelona (1399):

Bicing (7): Bicing is a bicycle sharing system in Barcelona inaugurated on March 22, 2007.

Kaleboel (4307):


  1. What an attention grabbing headline :-)

    You have to realized that ADAC is an “automobile” club, which main purpose is to ban anything which is not a car from the street and also build as many of these streets as possible.

    Secondly it is the “D” as in German club, as you might have noticed the German bike sharing schemes had quite good results, while they have been around for ages and nobody really uses them. Similar to the “Stiftung Warentest”, which tests consumer products, most of the winners will be from Germany.

    And as you already mentioned, this is about bikes for tourists, which bicing is not even for.

  2. @Damian: Completely agree. (How to make headlines that vaguely reflect content but attract at least 2 readers?!)
    @MM: They’re good train company bikes designed for commuters, who like them, but they fail the German test. I’m dubious – we tried a couple of the Italian schemes as tourists, but it was very difficult to actually get hold of a bike and return it. My favourite, as in so many other things, is Logroño where they’ll give you one for a few days in turismo and you can cycle out to vineyards and get steaming.

  3. Christof, this is the 21st century, at least in Germany. You might have noticed that the C (not the D) stands for club, which means that it reflects the interests of its members. I understand that Germany has evolved in the past 50 years, and that now the bike is a valid means of transportation also for car drivers.

    I am not sure if whether or not the bikes are actually used influences the performance of the service or the quality of this test; which actually states that the use of bike renting is growing fast in Germany. Similarly, I do not know if Stiftung Warentest has a nationalist bias, and I will not be bothered to spend weeks analysing its work. But if I accept that its the German products that make the best impression this would be much in synch with another observation: German products are appreciated for their quality around the globe and hence much exported.

    I see that the ADAC criticises precisely that Barcelona’s Bicing is “reserved exclusively for local residents”. I find that a fair point (if true, which I don’t know) given the number of tourists that visit Barcelona.

    What this test seems to miss out on is the issue of bike lanes. This should have been within the scope of the test.

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