Cycling in Bilbao

Bilbao and its leaders, in spite of its acclaimed transformation and its cycling fondness, never saw the bicycle as part of its mobility system. And even less as a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, by integrating cycling policy into other policy areas. This applies also to its metropolitan area, which consists of nine out of ten Biscay's major towns, and of another nine smaller towns as well, accommodating three fourths of Biscay's population. 

I am ashamed to say that there are still no bikeways leaving or entering Bilbao today!!  

Ok, there are many slopes and a large concentration of population in Bilbao, known as "botxo" or "bocho" (the hole). However, the fact that there are very few bicycles travelling around the town or its surroundings in such high traffic, shows the lack of more sustainable policies that really take social and environmental concerns into account.

Anyway, you should know Bilbao and its people, the city who managed to regenerate itself from its lowest point. I hope it will progress in the right direction and will implement cycling safety demands too, despite being light years behind many European cities, even far behind the other Basque cities.


Open Street Maps is a useful tool to see cycles lanes in Bilbao, as Google Maps, unlike in other countries, isn't showing any in Spain or the Basque Country. You should see a picture like this in OSM:

Blue dashed lines indicate the segregated cycle lanes. You can refer them as "carril bici" in Spanish or "bidegorri" (red lane) in Basque, if you need to ask for them when you arrive in Bilbao.

These are the main ones:

      Up north:

           - Elorrieta to Lutxana: 600 meters. Should be part someday of the demanded "Bilbao to Getxo bidegorria" which would be 6,1 km long alongside the "Eskuin aldea" or "margen derecha" (right bank) road, if the local government ever approves it.

 Bilbao is actually building its 600 meters. The worst thing is that its contribution will be very limited as it is very short. The best thing is that it shows people (pedestrians and bike riders) the value of recuperating a highly degraded area alongside a much more sustainable way of transport themselves with no fear of cars.

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Elorrieta to Lutxana cycle lane (under construction by Bilbao council): 600 meters only. Won´t go further by now, as the local government of Biscay district does not support it.

           - Zorroza to Olabeaga: 1,80 km. This "bidegorri" by the Nerbioi (Nervión) river connects these two neighbourhoods in Bilbao. With luck, it might someday be continued along the left bank of the river to the sea.

           - Elorrieta - San Ignazio - Deustu - Campo Volantín - Ayuntamiento. The largest cycle lane. along the Nerbioi (Nervión) river: 4,90 km. Opposite to the Guggenheim museum.

           - Enekuri etorbidea - Enekuri etorbidea: It takes you nowhere, although you can see the north part of the city from the highs.

           - Juan de Antxeta - Juan de Antxeta. Not very functional either.

      City Center:

           - Euskalduna - Guggenheim - Uribitarte. By the river. It runs through the newest transformed part of the city.

           - ...

           - (to be continued)

© Iker Diaz 2016