The sight-seeing tour around Barcelona of course had to be done slowly and … by bike! When, after three days, we returned our bikes to the bike rental shop, we didn´t miss the opportunity to interview Felix, the Dutch owner of Rent-A-Bike Barcelona and our newest Slowbiking friend.
Who? Felix, owner of Rentabikebarcelona.com.
What does cycling mean to you? “As a dutchman, I learned to bike almost before I learned to walk. Years ago, when thinking about new challenges in Barcelona, my partner suggested that I should use this fact to start my own bike rental company. I started with 20 second-hand bikes shipped from the Netherlands. When the new business turned out to be a success, I started buying new Kalkhoff bikes from a local bike supplier here in Gràcia. Now, after little more than a year, I have some 70 new bikes, most of them city bikes, but also mountain bikes and folding bikes. In the near future, I’ll be expanding my selection with long-distance hybrid bikes.”
What means slowing down in practice here in Barcelona? “Here, to get things done, forget about speed. One has to be patient. Especially as a newcomer, you have to take your time to connect with the people and to gain their confidence. It won’t work with a fast approach; you need to take it slowly.”
What do you think about the cycling culture in Barcelona? “Here, the people love biking as a road or off-road leisure time experience. Using a bike as a means of day-to-day urban transport is relatively new, in fact it has been introduced by tourists looking for an efficient means to visit the city, but now it is becoming increasingly popular among locals as well. The ´biking´ scheme (public rental bikes, only for local residents) is very successful as an alternative to the car or the motor cycle. Bike lanes are added almost every day, and now the city government faces the challenge to connect the existing lanes between themselves to create a coherent network of bike lanes and to transform Barcelona into the most exciting of cities for bikers. In the wake of this success, people are starting to rent my bikes more and more often to go to the park or to the beach with the entire family.”
Thanks to our Slowbiking ambassador Rene Mueller from WoodLoops in Barcelona, the Slowbiking crew found themselves in the magical place of Lavadero, a shop and gallery for handmade jewellery. A great place for an indoor Slowbiking Contest with local musicians. 2BC!