Biking in Buenos Aires?


Jul 20, 2010
First of all: Is it really that bad?

I've heard so many horror stories from people that have visited and actually live there in BA. I know it has some horrible traffic, which is to be expected of any city of considerable size. I also know that the driving habits of Argentines are not the...errr, safest.

I'm an experienced urban cyclist. Not that I'm some alleycat bike-messenger in NYC, but I've logged a hefty number of miles in Denver and done a few trips in Boston while on vacation.

Assuming I can ride smart, wear protection, pick good routes, and dodge autos with grace...can I enjoy at least a modicum of confidence in my safety?

What's the price of bikes (new or used) like in the city? I'm debating on whether to bring my bike right away, or leave it with family to pick up next time I'm in the states/have it shipped. If I can pick up a decent cheaper commuter bike, I'll do that and save my $900usd rig for when I'm more settled and can, say, enjoy a little ciclotourismo (bike touring).

Also, what's the mountain biking scene like there? I guess the topography in that region does not lend itself well to that pursuit...but there have to be some gnarly lines to explore SOMEWHERE. Salta province looks promising...
it is not too bad. trafic is horrible and of course cars drivers are not (yet)used to see bikes around, but is affordable. there are few bike paths.

you can easily buy second hand bikes or new ones. local made or imported.

are you sure about 900 usd cost for shipping it? I paid 87 Euro when I took my one, last month, from Europe.
are you sure about 900 usd cost for shipping it? I paid 87 Euro when I took my one, last month, from Europe.

Thinly veiled 'I no understand the English very well'
I cycle a bit in Buenos Aires. And as you mention, if you pick the good route, the right time, the right gear (helmets and lights rather than the skin tight pink leotard - actually that would help the motorists to see you!!) cycling in Buenos Aires isnt skull crashingly dangerous
I avoid the microcentro during weekdays, I try to use the new fancy bike paths as much as possible and I have extra goo in my tyres for the countless times that a bus will pushes me into the gutter.
Bike theft is a bit of an issue. For cycling around the city I would buy a beat up one gear cruiser on or a second hand one from a bike shop rather than use your good one from home.
If you intend to go off and do some mountain biking - Mendoza, Cordoba, San Juan are some places to look into.
I've had a bike for nearly a year in BA, using it everyday, average of 10/15 miles a day.
I have to confess I am mainly a motorcyclist so I accept a bit more the risk factor.
Nevertheless it is not much more dangerous (a bit more yes) than in other countries.

- Buses are dangerous because when they drop passengers, they turn really quickly on their right and don't mind if you are there or not.
Anc once the bus goes on again, you breathe a lot of dark smoke (pollution).

- Car drivers are crazy but well. Main difference from other countries is that car drivers will pass you really close (by 8 inches sometimes). At first, you are going to get very upset but you'll get used to it since so many people are doing that, you cannot change it.

- If you bring an expensive bycicle here, make sure you keep a picture of it so you can remember it once it has been stolen !
You'll get a lot of advice to the contrary but mainly from inexperienced cyclists or people who have never cycled here at all, its certainly doable, take care and ride conservatively and you'll get the hang of things.
I'd be lost without my bike, use it all the time. But yes, it's a cheapy used one, so if one day I come out of a store and it's no longer there I won't be upset.

They are investing money in bike paths here, so the network will grow, but as anyone who's used the paths has seen, they were definitely not paved by someone who's been on a bike before. You'll be riding along in a straight line and there will be a sudden 90 degree turn to get out of the way of a statue etc. And of course Portenos just think that they are nice smooth surfaces made for walking on, so sometimes it's just easier to ride in the street than on the designated bike path.

Polution can be gross, but I love riding on Sundays, there's no traffic so you have many of the streets just to yourself.

There's really only a couple of hills in this city -- I have 21 gears, but maybe have to shift gears once in a blue moon. You could easily go without gears in this city.

One thing my crappy bike doesn't have that I'd love to upgrade for is front suspension... maaaan riding on cobbles across town can start to drive you nuts and I come home from long rides with vibrating hands.....
Moxon said:
You'll get a lot of advice to the contrary but mainly from inexperienced cyclists or people who have never cycled here at all, its certainly doable, take care and ride conservatively and you'll get the hang of things.

This is good advice. BsAs is not the safest city, but also not the worst. There is a growing network of bike paths, especially along the coast. Also, if you bring your bike with you on the flight it will cost about $100 in extra baggage fees - far less than separate shipping. Be sure to pack an extra kryptonite lock in any case. The double lock strategy makes your bike marginally less attractive to thieves and thus works well.

One last thing: join the group Mejor en Bici on Facebook, or check out their website: An excellent, city-sponsored association of fellow travelers and like-minded souls.
Hi fellow biker. Once I bought my first bike here in Buenos Aires I never looked back. It is bar none the best and fastest way to get around the city. I love it! Of course you have to be careful about traffic, but I wouldn't say it's really much worst than any other big city. In fact, as a biker you will get more courtesey from the drivers (of regular cars, not taxis or busses, ojo!) than you would as a pedestrian.

As to bringing your bike--leave it at home! Any bike that is halfway decent here is a target for robberies. I am on my fifth bike here, only one of those was not stolen (I traded up). You can buy a nice street-bike (the kind you have to keep your eye on) here for around $1200 pesos. Really fancy bikes will cost you, both in pesos and in that they won't last very long. You can get a 'playero' (beach bike, no gears) from anywhere around 400-800 pesos. You don't need much oomph to ride a bike around here--as many have already noted, a bike with no gears will serve you just fine though a few gears make a few sectors a little easier. Also depends on how far you have to ride, and if you bring gear with you. Regardless, buy a u-lock! Bring flashing lights and a helmet with you.

Personally I won't be without a bike in this city, even in winter. I have explored and seen far more things aided by bike travel than I'd have ever been able to see without a bike. A big bonus is that on your bike you're largely invisible (that is, if you're not traveling with silly bright bike clothes, or have a camera hanging around your neck) and can travel safely (and quickly) through areas that might otherwise be dodgy. Anyway, you have lots of options. best of luck!
My fiance used to bike to and from work every day... the traffic is not that bad once you get used to it but the problem is the amount of pollution you inhale riding along side buses... and its especially bad in warmer weather. He now walks or takes the subte... and we save the bike riding for the weekend.