As stated in a previous post, my Sevilla hotel was 5 km outside of the most desired area, which contains both Catedral de Santa María de la Sede and Reales Alcázares de Sevilla. A taxi was €10 each way, but I opted for a combination of walking, the bus (€1.40), and the Sevici bike-sharing system.
Having been introduced to European biking in Paris made Sevici a breeze. The bikes and the system are mechanically identical to Paris’ velib’ system, as the same contractors are used. Paris’ velib’ cost only €8 per week, and Sevilla’s Sevici strangely cost €13.33 per week.
My hotel offered bikes for rent at €2 per hour or €12 per day. A little bit of research showed the hotel would not dare to offer this preposterous option if the nearest Sevici station were in plain sight.
There was a marked difference between the bicycle traffic of Paris and Sevilla. I estimate Paris’ concentration of bicycle ridership is 2.7 times that of Sevilla. Sevilla is a much smaller city, and there are fewer cars and pedestrians in the areas where one would want to bike. However, bicycling in Paris is far more enjoyable. Although I would describe my initial experiences as terrifying, for want of experience, I gradually became accustomed to the speed and adrenaline rush of riding alongside automobiles. Bicycles and cars effectively share the road.
In Sevilla, the bike paths are more clearly delineated. You would think this would make things easier, but it actually slows bicycle speed since there are many curbs to deal with at every intersection. In Paris, I could easily run red lights and not have to slow down since there were no curbs to contend with. In Sevilla, I took a couple of falls due to hitting the curb too hard, one which could have ended up worse.
I observed that even the old ladies in Paris would be able to bike circles around above-average sevillano bicyclists because maneuvering through chaotic street traffic develops anticipation and a certain athleticism that cannot be built while lazily eating tapas and being unemployed.
Sevilla’s scenic area is so concentrated that a bicycle is unnecessary there. Bike-riding in Paris is picturesque throughout. The city is full of world-famous landmarks that make navigation easy even for a new visitor. Sevilla does not have the guiding lights of famous buildings outside the central area, so I stopped more than I would have liked to check my GPS location. For whatever reason, Sevilla’s bike routes are not Google Mapped, and even the city plan could not be downloaded for offline purposes.
My conclusion is if you are in Sevilla, then you should skip bicycling. In Paris, I highly encourage it!