How to Use the Moscow City Bike Rental

If you’ve been to Moscow, you’ve probably noticed a lot of automated bike rental stations in the centre (in 2019, they are grey bikes branded with VTB bank ads). Bike rental is a great option for short trips around the city in the warm weather. Below are some brief instructions on how to use these bikes.

How to Use the Moscow City Bike Rental

Image by snow-dog from Pixabay

Public bike rental in Moscow is operated by Velobike company. It is available 24/7, usually from May to November.

Registration

To start using the bikes, please register in the Velobike system using one of the following options:

  • At the rental station data terminal;
  • On the Velobike website;
  • Via the mobile app.

Velobike on AppStore

Velobike on Google Play

To register, enter your name, last name, email address and mobile phone number. You’ll receive a message on your phone with your login and PIN code to access the system.

To begin using the bikes, enter the Velobike system, using your login and PIN, choose a rate plan, and pay with your bank card (Visa Master Card or MIR). There are discounts for MIR card users (HSE University students who receive a scholarship get MIR bank cards).

Getting a Bike

To take a bike:

  • Choose a bike station in the mobile app or on the Velobike website;
  • Choose a bike and press OK on its pin pad;
  • Enter your login and PIN, or use your Troika card, if it is registered in the system;
  • Wait for the sound and take the bike.

Getting an Electric Bike

Some stations offer electric bikes. These can be rented by any user registered in the system. Choose a bike that has enough battery charge: if all the three indicators – green, yellow and red – are lit, the bike will travel up to 18 km; yellow and red – up to 10 km, and only red – up to 5 km. A blinking red indicator means that the battery is low.

To turn the electric bike on, press the red button on the right-hand side of the handlebars. Then, gently push the speed trigger.

You can return the electric bike to any operational rental station with a special port marked ‘electric bike’. You can also return it to an ordinary port, but this will incur a RUB 1000 fee.

Rates

Moscow bike rental offers a wide range of rates. Please note that most of the rates include only 30-minute rides. Rides longer than 30 min will be charged additionally from your bankcard. If you want to ride longer and save money, here’s a useful tip: return your bike to a station after 30 min and then re-rent it for the next 30 min.

  • RUB 120: unlimited number of 30-min rides over a 24 hour period. This rate is only available if you pay with a MIR card.
  • RUB 150: unlimited number of 30-min rides over a 24 hour period.
  • RUB 280: available on Fridays and includes an unlimited number of 30-min rides for 3 days. This rate is only available if you pay with a MIR card.
  • RUB 350: available on Fridays and includes an unlimited number of 30-min rides for 3 days.
  • RUB 600: unlimited number of 30-min rides in 30 days.
  • RUB 1200: unlimited number of 30-min rides until October 31, 2019.
  • RUB 1500: unlimited number of 45-min rides until October 31, 2019.

Extra charges for rides longer than 30 minutes are listed here. They differ for ordinary and electric bikes.

Returning the Bike

You can return your bike to any Velobike station that has free slots.

To return the bike:

  • Place the bike in the port as far as it can go and press OK on its pin pad;
  • Wait for the sound;
  • Wait for the confirmation message on your mobile phone;
  • Make sure that the bike is locked in the port and its display says ‘ВОЗВРАТ ОК’ (‘return OK’). This confirms that the system has accepted your bike.

IMPORTANT! Make sure that the system has accepted your bike, that you got the confirmation message and that the display says ‘ВОЗВРАТ ОК’. Otherwise, your trip won’t be classified as finished, and after 48 hours from the start of the rental period, you’ll be charged a fee from your bank card. This charge is 30,000 roubles for a conventional bike and 50,000 roubles for an electric one.

For more tips and instructions, please visit the official Velobike website.

Enjoy your ride!