Gijón by bike, an alternative way to see the city
Like many European cities, Gijón stands out in the use of "two-wheelers" as an alternative to the car. The bike is also a great way for those visiting Gijón to see the city.
More than 19.5 kilometres of bicycle lanes available to users make Gijón an ideal destination for bike lovers. What’s more, the Gijón Bici (Gijón Bike) service allows free use of 64 bicycles that can be found at 8 operating stations, enabling you to move freely throughout the city. To use this service, you need only hold a “citizen card”, which anyone can apply for, whether they are a resident of the city or not, through www.gijon.es or at citizen information offices.
There are several pathways in rural areas which are perfect for cycling.
El Rinconín-La Ñora Path. 10.35 km. A ride along the borough’s eastern coastline, offering a high level of difficulty due to the abundance of slopes all along the route. In the early stages, you can also enjoy the many sculptures that dot the path, such as those entitled Solidarity, Song to Runaway Days and Monument to the Victims of the Nazi Holocaust. In the maritime park of Cape San Lorenzo, a natural area of extraordinary beauty, you can see the impressive boat-shaped scenic balcony.
Llorea - La Ñora Path. 4.5 km.La Ñora stream marks the boundary between Somió and Quintueles and, before flowing into the sea, its banks form a spacious meadow which leads to La Ñora Beach, the boundary between Gijón and Villaviciosa. Opposite the sands is the famous rock called Peña'l Romero, which can be seen at low tide. Cape San Lorenzo can be seen from this flat rock facing the beach, a paradise for bathers and anglers alike, and Cape Peñas, too, on a clear day. The path reaches Peña Quintueles and El Sorbiatu scree, where the mysterious footprints of dinosaurs have been found.
Peñafranca Path. 6 km. This route is perfect to take the kids on. The path ends at an idyllic spot: el Güeyu Deva, a fountain, wash house and stone bridge, where the water forms a large pool. According to legend, the xanas (Asturian water nymphs) came out of the güeyu, or eye of the spring, from which the stream emerges, appearing at dawn on certain days, such as San Xuan (Midsummer’s Day), when they could be freed from the spell they were under. It is a symbol of the cult to the Celtic goddess of Nature, Deva, worshiped in springs and rivers, where the shrine of Our Lady of Peña Francia (17th century) seems to wish to Christianize this sacred space.
The Piles Riverside Path. 19 km. This riverside route connected with the River Piles runs for nearly twenty kilometres between the Piles Bridge and the Parish of Vega. The path has the air of a quiet city stroll for its first two kilometres. However, it acquires a more natural appearance where the rivers Penafrancia and Piles join, the coloured asphalt giving way to a sandy limestone path.
La Camocha Greenway. 7 km.This route, which follows much of the former mining railroadthat linked up La Camocha Pit with Veriña, starts out from the neighbourhood of Santa Barbara (Tremañes). The route is surrounded by countryside and native woodland, passing by an industrial area, Asturian country estates and country houses, rural churches and coal pits. A good summary of what Gijón has been throughout its history.
In addition to the above proposals, there are other, alternative mountain bike routes that cross the more rural areas of Gijón on their way up to the peaks called Picu’l Sol and Picu’l Fariu. Routes for lovers of heights that offer magnificent views of the borough to those who get to the top.
All this and more has led to Gijón being chosen to host the 8th European Cycle Touring Weekin 2012, a meeting that will bring together over 1,200 cycling enthusiasts from all over Europe between 1st and 8th July.
Other spaces for exhaust-free wheels
However, the bike is not the only vehicle without a motor that has its place in the life of the city; skates, scooters and skateboards also play a leading role in the leisure of many people in Gijón. Poniente Beach is home to a large number of skaters on the weekends, when you can get free training through the Municipal Sports Board’s programmes. For the more daring, there is Cimavilla Skatepark, occupying 1,700 sq m, including a bowl with three heights for expert, intermediate and beginning skateboarders.It also has a snake run for streets, a high, low and ground-level handrail, a hubba, a hip-hop with inclined ramps, a panther, a funbox, a pyramid, a eurogap and a full jam.
Basic rules of coexistence
- The bike lane is designed for safety, not speed.
- Respect people who are walking in the bike lane, just ring your bell or say out loud “Bici!” (pronounced be-see, Spanish for bike)
- You should be particularly respectful when riding your bike in areas that are shared with pedestrians; good manners should always come first. Pedestrians always have the right of way in these areas. Remember to slow down and, if there are too many people, walk your bike.
- Respect the traffic regulations in those areas that are shared with vehicles.
If you haven’t brought your own bike
You can use the Gijón-Bici municipal bike service, which is free, although you must hold a citizen card (you can apply in advance throughwww.gijon.es without having to be a resident)
· Winter timetable (October to March): 8.30 to 18.00.
· Summer timetable (April to September): 8.30 to 15.00 and 17.30 to 21.00.
· Not available on 24th, 25th and 31st December, 1st, 5th and 6th January or 1st May.
You can hire and purchase Segways and bicycles (standard, folding and tandem) at Ecológica.
Marqués de San Esteban, 69 and Fomento (Talasoponiente Wharf)
Tel: 985 34 31 70 y 645 313 359/696 935 001