Cycle Lisbon with Jump

Frank Glanert
Nov 8 · 5 min read

Even before the trip to Lisbon for this year’s Web Summit, I tried to book a bike for Portugal´s Capital. I had not even thought about, that maybe there could be a public rental system. Uber had rolled out his stationless e-bike rental system Jump in the Portuguese capital Lisbon in the spring of the year and even expanded the fleet in the following months. Once there, the presence of the pink bikes could not to be ignored. They are almost as present as the ubiquitous scooters from different suppliers. And since my attempts to book a bike in the stationary trade had failed becaus of the opening hours of the shops, I came to my first experience with Jump. At first, that had little to do with driving. This took more than one try.

My first Web Summit in Lisbon

When I travel to a city, I can not imagine not cycling there. When it became clear that I would be a bit spontaneous at this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon, I soon tried to borrow a bike online. In principle, this is not a problem in a touristic city. However, I did not want to make the visit to the event dependent on the opening hours of the retailers and therefore had to reject the idea in the light of the coordination effort.

Of course, a public rental system offers clear advantages. Although I am not necessarily a friend of this solution for a variety of reasons. Especially because of the appearance in the streets. Last year, in New York, I tried unsuccessfully to find out more about Uber’s Jump rental system. At the Navy Yard site was still tested in the protected area at this time. Since the beginning of this year, Jump has been rolled out in different cities in Europe. In Munich, Berlin and London, recently in Rotterdam and also in Lisbon and so I was able to cycle and experience with Jump.

You navigate in the app with a map. Free cycles are shown as well as their range and time to reach by foot. The “multilingual” support makes it even possible to reach out for Lime. Don´t know why.

Beta tester for Uber´s Jump

Still in the AirBnB I look in the morning on the app for available bicycles. Because of the numerous bikes there are also some nearby and while I’m looking, some of them were booked. I reserve a bike and make my way. Four minutes and two street corners further is my first vehicle. I scan the QR code, the lock opens and I want to go free. But the rear wheel is almost completely flat. Try to roll wih the bike anyway, walk it, because of the one-way regulation on the first few hundret meters. By this, I come to the main road. There are two more Jump bikes. The attempt to unlock these, however, fails for some reason. Time is running out, I do not want to search further and decide to go by metro. The whole thing has probably cost me a quarter of an hour and thus 3.50 euros, for a bike I could not use.

None of city planners behind these bike paths is a cyclist

Uber bikeride through streets of Lisbon

In the evening, I dare another try. In front of the Web Summit event area are numerous Jump e-bikes, which, however, are not all easily to unlocked. I’m sort of racing with a nice dutchman for the next free jump bike. Is that part of the concept, I wonder? After a few minutes, I am “victorious” and can go cycling. From the former Expo site, head south along the water to the old town. The potential of the waterfront has not yet really opened up the city of Lisbon. But at least it seems to be recognized. In addition to industrial and commercial areas you can see newly developed parks. And the design of the bike paths on the nearly ten kilometers, reflects this change. On the first hundred meters, I drive on a wide green marked bike path. It ends in a busy car roundabout. Without restraint, I arrange myself in the flowing traffic. The bike rides well, the saddle can be set to the appropriate height even with my 1.95 meters and overall makes the bike a stable and robust impression. Could be a bit faster (and support), because if the e-support beyond 25 km / h away, you also notice the weight of the bicycle.

Right hand I see a bike path between the trees. Over a high curb I can reach this marvel. Every few meters a stop pictogram is marked. A sign supports the strange impression: the bike path “ends” at each of the numerous road junctions. The whole area after not even 500 meters. At the end, I am standing in front of a staircase. But right on the water. This is how it continues. I let the pictures speak for themselves — many signs, many markings and little bicycle-friendly. As in almost every major European city.

Potential of the waterfront seems to be recognized in Lisbon

My first Jump ride

The bike buzzes pleasantly and calmly towards the old city centre. The journey ends in the tourist bustle and between traffic jam in half an hour. I manage to catch the sunset over the beach and the pregnant “Ponte 25 de Abril” bridge. That there are so many cars at this point — can´t get it. This, too, seems to be uniformly (badly) regulated in every European metropolis. And I interfere with scooters and public bicycles in the streetscape.

The app tells me that I can not leave the bike at this point. The application gives me ridiculous three seconds to make up my mind to continue the journey and escape a 15 euro fee. Too slowly I understand what it’s about, adjust the bike parking two minutes later and the system does not even register that as another borrowing operation. The 15 euros appear on the bill anyway. 22 euros instead of 7 euros for the half-hour drive. The money from the morning, I had already been refunded. Now I turn back to the support.

My conclusion? I am glad that there is an offer like Jump in Lisbon. For me as a cyclist, the stationless system makes life a little easier. And it works, apart from flat feet and other imponderables.

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