Travel like a clueless tourist
I could have checked the website for information ahead, I could have looked up the nearest bike station before arriving, I could have signed up to the bike sharing service the day before. But I didn’t, instead I wanted to arrive in Milan completely unprepared and figure out by myself how to get a bikeMi bicycle, as any new-arrived would have to.
I arrived in Garibaldi station, which is not the most popular choice, therefore there are no information offices or help for tourists whatsoever. I found a rack of bicycles after a nice stroll along the pedestrian Corso Como, past the big stone arch that gives the name to the rail station.
The instructions are clear and written in four languages. I struggled a bit to hook up one of the many free wi-fi hotspots until I gave up and switched to 3G. A few clicks (the site is apparently only in Italian but the “sign in” button is quite obvious: a hand holding a pen) and I got the code that would grant me a bike for the next 24 hours.
How does BikeMi work?
With the code provided you will unlock a bike, use it and put it back in any station when you’re done. Repeat whenever you need. It’s very simple and, being Milan so small and flat, is much better than the motorised public transport, weather permitting.
Remember: you need to return the bike within 2 hours, after which you can just pick another one. If you exceed this time limit for three times your account will be suspended.
The service is active from 7am to midnight, after that it’s only possible to return a bike, not pick it up.
If there are no slot where to return a bike or there are no bikes to pick up you can type the code on the column and the nearest available station will be shown.
How much is it?
- Daily (24 hours): €4.50
- Weekly: €9.00
- Annual: €36.00
As you can see 24 hours or a week on a shared bike costs as much as the public transport pass.
How to get a shared bike?
You can subscribe online, which is by far the most convenient way to do it. Alternatively you can call the free-toll number: 800 80 81 81 or go to an ATM points (ATM being the public transport company of Milan) open from Monday to Saturday, 7.45am – 7.15pm at these stations:
Cadorna Triennale M1-M2
What do you need?
To make your experience smoother I would suggest to subscribe ahead. Also make sure you know where the bike stations are: there is an online map, but it might be tricky to use if your smartphone is as rubbish as mine, alternatively you can download this map.