Category Archives: Madrid

Criticona 2019

Criticona is the annual Critical Mass in Spain. This huge event moves from city to city thanks to the democratic choice made by the participants in the previous year. It is coordinated by cyclists to riders. Urban cycling is motivated through different activities which are adapted to the organizing place. The organization offers free accommodation and cheap food to make it easy for visitors. Hence, the key target constitutes forming a gigantic Critical Mass since it is the country Critical Mass from the cities Critical Masses.

This year the Criticona will take place in Madrid. A fantastic group of bikers has been working on it for months. The programming can be consulted in the organization official blog (in Spanish). Basically, it starts on 25th April and ends on 28th April. The events per day are specified:

– 25th: Non-mixed riding (riding only for women) + The monthly Madrid Critical Mass

– 26th: Cyclist women experiences discussion + Bike-tapas

– 27th: Meloncleta + Picnic + Event to claim for intermodality + Interplanetary Critical Mass + Party

– 28th: Non-mixed riding (riding only for women) + Historic riding + Picnic

It is highly advisable that you fill the official form if you come from a place other than Madrid.

You can not miss it!

Flowerpots to increase quality of life

The use of flowerpots is a clear example of what is called “a soft pedestrianization”. Soft because its impact is low, does not require complex constructions and the cost is minimum. Moreover, it allows bikes to cross between them always having in mind that pedestrians should be respected in these pedestrian areas. By respecting them I mean biking at low speed and letting them be. Otherwise the cohabitation is difficult. Moreover, think about the pyramid I proposed some time ago.

We have seen its use in several cities like in the photos bellow.

Public bikes vs Public infrastructure

Madrid’s public bicycles are great: they include fenders, front and rear lights, they are electric, they have gears, a chain saver and even a front basket. There are plenty of them throughout the city and they aren’t expensive to use.

However, this doesn’t mean it is widely used. As a matter of fact, Madrid has 3+ million inhabitants but BiciMAD is only used about 150.000 times a day.

But why?. Well, on the one hand Madrid is quite a walkable city, but it’s also true that there are a lot of drivers which increase pollution way too much. The main reason, I think, is because the lack of bike related infrastructure. I had a really hard time finding bike ways, and even when I did, they were often blocked by tables, chairs or people because they weren’t properly differentiated. Additionally, most people will find frightening having a bike way you have to share with cars, which is what Madrid does on big avenues.

Therefore, I’d love politicians all around the globe not to think about public bicycles as an easy way to appear in the media, but to think about it in a global and organic way: Create a bike culture, provide good and safe facilities, and people will forever love you. Like the lads of en bici por Madrid ask.