Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Loaner Bikes in Stockholm

You can borrow a CityBike for 3 hours in Stockholm as long as you have a loaner card. Photo courtesy of

I wrote about my borrowed "Old Lady" bike awhile back in my blog for You can read that post here. Now that I am trying to move to Stockholm from Uppsala, I have taken more notice of a system for borrowing bikes in Central Stockholm. I did a little research and found out the bikes belong to Stockholm City Bikes. The bikes are a partnership between an advertising company called, Clear Channel and the City of Stockholm. The project is funded by advertising so it doesn't cost the city of Stockholm anything. 

Right now all the bikes seem to be advertising Svenska Dagbladet whose common abbreviation is SvD. Svenska Dagbladet is published in Stockholm and covers national and international news as well as local  Stockholm news. Its subscribers are concentrated in the capital, but it is distributed in most of Sweden.

According to the CityBikes, The plan is for there to be more than 2500 rental bikes, spread over 200 stations throughout Stockholm. To use the bikes, you have to buy either a April -October subscription card for 250 SEK  (approx. $34.91) or a 3-day card for a little more than half that. 

It's a nifty idea and maybe I'll get a card although it's best to have done that back in April since it's the same price.

Here's how it works:

  1. You buy a bike card and take it to any of the Stockholm City Bike stands (there's all kinds of maps that show where the bike stands are located via a PDF or online). 
  2. You scan your card in the reader at a particular bike stand. You are allocated a bike and you  take the bike from the allocated slot. 
  3. If you don't take the bike within 30 seconds, then it is locked again for security reasons. 
  4. You are only supposed to have the bike for less than 3 hours. Return the bike at any Stockholm City Bike stand. Place the bike in an empty slot where the lock has a green light. Wait until the light turns red and ensure that the bike is firmly locked.  
  5. If you return your bike late you get a penalty point on your card. After three demerits, or if you keep the bike for longer than 5 hours, your card is blocked. 
Interestingly, the section of the City Bikes website that says it is about the bikes & helmets says nothing about helmets. But I read at one of the stands that there is some sort of deal where when you buy the card, you can buy a helmet from them for very cheap. Of course, I read that in Swedish so perhaps I misunderstood. The website does says that the bikes are repaired regularly and are replaced when necessary.The specially designed bikes are meant to be used in a city environment and are equipped with both foot and handbrakes and all have three gears. 

Kinda cool. Maybe I'll check it out! 

Anybody out there use this service or one like it?

One of the bike stands near where I work...

Here's a close-up of the locking mechanism. They don't want you using your own lock...rather you are supposed to find one of these stands, even if you are going to come back and use the bike again shortly.



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  2. I really like this idea of being able to rent a bike for a few hours. It is great for people who don't want to buy their own bike or don't have the storage space for the bike.

    Also Kristin at the local Walmart this morning they were selling the Schwinn 20" Girls' Schwinn Spirit Bike with the banana seat!! Mine was purple with a white banana seat!! Oh how I miss those days! :o)

    1. Ooh, the banana seat! Why don't these loaner bikes have a banana seat? Thanks for commenting!