Rome by bike, Rome, Italy (Photo )

How to rent a bicycle in Rome

First things first: Car traffic in Rome is crazy, so riding a bike in Rome should be attempted only if you’re used to biking in city traffic.

That, or stick to renting a bike in the Villa Borghese park, or one to explore the Via Appia Antica on a Sunday (when that road is closed to motor vehicles).

You can take bike tours, or simply rent a bike and go it on your own.

» Bike tours

Renting a bike in Rome

Frustratingly, Rome has had multiple municipal bike sharing programs that keep failing. Hopefully, the one that started in the fall of 2017 (and was still going strong at the time of publication) will stick around.

It's called oBike (O.bike), and it works by downloading an app, putting down a refundable €15 ($17) deposit (credit card or PayPal), topping it up with some euros, scanning the QR code on any of Rome's 1,200 yellow-and-silver oBikes (find them using the app; you can even reserve one for up to 10 minutes) to unlock the tire lock, and riding away. You lock it by hand when you are done. It costs €0.50 ($1) every 30 minutes.  

If all that is too complicated, there are still plenty of old-school private bike rental outfits, including:

  • Viator.com – Among the cheapest (though full-day only, and you have to book ahead online); near the Colosseum.
  • Bici e Baci, Via del Viminale 5 (tel. 06-482-8443, Bicibaci.com)—Four pick-up and drop-off locations: Via Viminale 5 (near Repubblica), Via Cavour 302 (near Colosseo), Via del Bottino 8 (near Spagna), and Via Rosmini 25 (near Termini).
  • Rome for You (tel. 06-4543-3789, Romeforyou.net) –  Two central locations: Vicolo San Nicola De Cesarini 4 (near Largo Argentina) and Via di S.Calisto 9 (Trastevere); also rents scooters and Fiat 500s.
  • Topbikerental.com (tel. 06-488-2893, Topbikerental.com) – A few blocks beyond the Colosseum at Via Labicana, 49; Higher end bikes with higher-end prices.

The cost for renting a bicycle in Rome are pretty standard across most companies: about €4 ($4)–€5 ($6) per hour or €10 ($11)–€20 ($22) per day.

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Tips

Always on a Sunday

On Sundays, though, when traffic is relatively light, renting a bike or a Vespa can actually be pleasant. In particular, I enjoy biking the Appian Way on Sundays, when its closed to traffic (though you'll want a mountain bike for this, given the massive ancient flagstones).

 

Related

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Biking by the Colosseum (Photo Public Domain)

Guided bicycle tours of Rome