The sun is shining, temperatures are rising and it’s a great time of the year to explore the city of Madrid. If you are looking for a fun way to explore the Spanish capital, try using Lime’s new electric scooters to get a close view of the city streets. Some people aren’t into big scooters or mopeds, so these smaller two-wheel vehicles are a wonderful alternative.
Electric scooters are the new way to get around to help increase mobility and reduce busy traffic. They have appeared in the center of Madrid because it is sustainable, saves time and doesn’t take an effort to ride. With 18 authorized scooter companies, there are over 8,000 vehicles throughout the city. Scooters, offered by the company, Lime, are easy to rent with four simple steps. Download the app, sign up, find the nearest scooter and enjoy the ride.
Downloading the application is simple and it doesn’t require a lot of information to fill out. After the app is downloaded, you must enter a phone number or Facebook account number, credit card information and accept the terms and conditions. There is no special license required and once you finish, you are ready to start riding.
To find a Lime scooter near you, simply open the app and it will automatically take you to the map screen. It will then show you all of the available vehicles in your area and there are usually many parked around Madrid. If you are having difficulty finding a scooter near you, zoom in on the map to get a closer look. The cost of riding the vehicle is 0.17 euros (around 20 U.S. cents) per minute, and your time begins once you click the reserve button. Therefore, I would advise people to arrive at the destination before reserving the scooter in order to save money.
It was a Monday afternoon and I decided to start off my week by riding a scooter through the famous Retiro Park in the Spanish capital. The closet vehicle was a seven minute walk for me. Before you ride for the first time, the app will explain each step on how to ride the scooter safely. After reading the directions, I was able to scan the barcode on the front of the scooter to unlock it. ‘Ding Ding!’ That’s the alert noise to notify you that the scooter is unlocked and ready to ride.
Riders have to kick start the scooter for momentum before accelerating. The accelerator is on the right handle to control the speed, and the brake is located on the left handle. I figured out a comfortable hand position by placing my thumb on the accelerator to get myself going. Making sure I was aware of pedestrians on the sidewalk and cars while crossing the street, I finally made it to Retiro Park, considered Madrid’s Central Park.
There was no sign with the park’s name, but I knew I made it when I spotted the tall modern gates surrounding lots of green space on the other side. There are many different entrances and exits to the park, so you may see something new each time you arrive. As I entered the park on the rocky pavement, I noticed a green meadow area in a humid ray of sunshine. Families and couples enjoyed quality time together sitting in the grass while soaking up the sun on a beautiful Monday.
While riding the scooter, it is best to avoid deep sinks and bumpy walkways because they can be a real danger for smaller two-wheel vehicles. I interviewed an analyst, Sam Nathan, who was riding through the park with three children and he said, “ The scooters can be dangerous if you are not being responsible or cautious. You could slip or fall.” Being aware of all surroundings and following safety instructions are key steps to maintaining a smooth and enjoyable ride.
As you get further into the park, the pavement becomes smoother and you’re able to see other riders on wheels. People ride around the park on scooters, bikes, skateboards and roller skates. I rode past a group of people learning how to skate on rollerblades. There were even younger children learning how to maintain a steady balance on the skates. Retiro Park is a great place for people who like to roll, stroll, relax or even work out. That’s right! You can work out in Retiro Park.
It’s almost ideal that people will walk through the park, but the wide dusty paths are perfect for jogging. Riding the scooter gave me more excitement than an average walk around the park. Nathan noted that, “the park is pretty big, so they’re a great way to get from each destination a little quicker. It’s a different way of exploring the park and it’s nice to feel that breeze while riding.” Scooters allow riders to make loops around the park to rejoice in the amazing sights.
The park is also filled with interesting sculptures and fountains you want to take a look at while riding. One fountain caught my attention while riding because it was surrounded by blooming red and white flowers. The natural features of the landscape makes a beautiful scented place for an elegant walk. The flowers were so lovely, I had no choice but to pause the ride to take fantastic photos.
Another tip! Since the scooter rides cost per minute of use, riders can pause their time to save money. The application allows us in the middle of the route to stop to grab a bottle of water or an ice cream cone while keeping the scooter reserved. The pause button basically ensures that another Lime user won’t take your scooter while you take a quick break. It is important to keep track of your time riding, so you will only be charged for the time the scooter is used. Just make sure to put the kickstand down before leaving the scooter unattended.
When asked about his first time riding, Nathan said, “They are great, easy to ride and easy to rent. But there are a lot of different brands, so it was kind of difficult finding scooters for all four of us.” While exploring Retiro Park, you will see many different scooters, but Lime scooters are easy to spot with their bright green logo.
Retiro Park is a huge peaceful spot in the center of Madrid that is open every day of the year for all visitors. After exploring the park for an hour, I decided it was time to end my ride and park my scooter. However, you can’t just park the vehicle anywhere. The app will notify you if the spot you are trying to park in is prohibited. I rode the scooter past the exit of the park in order to get to the main streets. I found it less frightening to ride the scooter inside the park rather than in the streets with loud honking cars and buses speeding past. Once you’ve parked the vehicle in a suitable spot, click the lock button to end your ride. The app will then show your riding route and your final cost.
Rules of the road according to Lime:
- Wear a helmet (not provided).
- Abide by all traffic laws.
- You must not ride down steep hills.
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- When you are riding, you are riding at your own risk.
- Only one rider at a time is allowed to ride.
- More importantly, please respect the ride.
Several of the scooter companies operating in Madrid include:
Edited by Julissa Ramirez.