Reviewing Veturilo Bike Rental

picture of veturilo bikes
Veturilo bikes in Warsaw

During a visit to Warsaw in Poland this weekend, we hired a couple of bikes using the city’s bike-share scheme Veturilo.

The concept is very similar to the successful bike-share schemes in Paris, London and Dublin (and many other places), in that you pay a small registration fee – in the case of Veturilo that’s 10 zloty (around €2.50) – and after that the first 20 minutes of each bike rental is free, the next 40 minutes after that is 1 zloty, and the second hour is 3 zloty, and so on in an escalating fee structure.

The registration process is really simple, and thankfully the website is available in Polish, English, German and Russian.  There’s no smart cards to issue; you register using your mobile phone number (and international numbers can be used), and they will send an SMS text message with a 6-digit PIN.  It all takes less than a minute, and you’re ready to go.

Picture of Veturilo bike rental station in Warsaw
Veturilo bike rental station

The rental process involves walking up to any of the 57 rental locations (there will be 70 locations by spring 2013) and entering your phone number and PIN into the terminal, followed by the code of the bike you want to hire.  The system will then tell you the combination lock number for the bike, and you unlock and go.  You then repeat the process at the terminal when you return the bike, to end the rental.

The bikes are pretty sturdy, although my bike had a broken seat. You get the usual step-through frame, 3-speed hub gears, basket, bell and kick-stand.  To stop the bike you get a hand-brake and a back-pedal brake.  These back-pedal brakes are pretty common in the US and parts of Europe, but I’m not used to them, and so I found it a little disconcerting – but I’m sure most people would have no problems.

The cycling itself was fun, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend riding on the main roads in the centre of Warsaw.  The traffic is pretty horrendous, and the vast majority of cyclists we saw rode on the pavements, off-road cycle paths, or through the parks.  The footpaths are all really wide, and cyclists seem to go quite slowly and with due consideration to pedestrians, so it doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

Veturilo has only been operational for a few months since August 2012, and at the end of November it’s due to shut down for it’s annual winter break of 3 months.  I guess even the Poles don’t want to cycle when there’s a foot of snow on the ground and temperatures of minus 20 degrees celsius!

Richard Bloomfield

Richard is the founder of Dublin Bike Blog. He commutes to work every day by bike, come rain or shine, on his Dutch city bike. You can read more from Richard on his blog

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