Bicycle Shops   Bicycle Rental

A bicycle is the quickest way to get around in Athens, and it is not nearly as unsafe as it looks.  Outside Athens, a bicycle is the perfect way to experience the glorious countryside, once legs and lungs adapt to the steep slopes. Alas, bicycles are still considered in Greece basically a children's toy for children too young to drive a motorbike.  Most of those available for sale, outside a few specialized big-city cycle shops, are toys that will give as much annoyance as pleasure as a means of transportation.  

Always wear a helmet, if only to shame the motorcyclist!!

"Friends of the Bicycle" (Filoi tou Podhilatou) has bilingual (Greek and English) meetings every Tuesday night at 9:45 pm or so in Thisio at Eptachalkou 3, ground floor.  See their web site (down part of August) at http://www.filoi.eie.gr/  They embody lifetimes of expertise about bicycling, and are happy to share it.  They are at the heart of an effort to make Athens, and Greece generally, more bicycle-friendly.  HELADA supports their campaign to ease restrictions on bicycles on Greek trains and buses.

Athens News 2006 piece on bicycle touring in Greece

Colleen McGuire of CycleGreece is a another great source of info on bicycle touring in Greece. See her site at http://www.cyclegreece.gr/index.htm.

In Athens, the serious bicycle shops are clustered in a small area a five minute walk north of Omonia Square, where Patision (28th Oktovriou) and Stournara intersect. For a spreadsheet list of Greek bicycle shops by city, click here (compiled from various sources on the internet in September 2005 -- no endorsement implied).

Bicycles on Public Transport
The official rules for bicycles on public transportation are posted at the bottom of the page.  A mass demonstration by bicycle riders in central Athens in October 2005 had some result.  Though bicycles are still not allowed at all on lines 2 and 3 of the Athens Metro, as of November 2005 they are now permitted on the old ISAP electric train line (Kifisia-Omonia-Pireas) during off-peak hours (all day Saturdays, Sundays, holidays; weekdays before 0615, between 0930 and 1200, and after 1830).  Only two bicycles per train, from the last door of the last car.  No entry or exit via the Monastiraki, Omonia, or Attiki stations.  No bikes on elevators or escalators.  A great way to get from Athens to the Port of Piraeus.  Use it or lose it!

Bicycles travel free on the Suburban Railroad ("Proastiakos"), in limited numbers, in the spaces reserved for wheelchairs.  Fly to Greece with your bicycle, get on the Suburban Train (not the Metro)  at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, wheel off the train in Corinth 80 minutes later (see schedule here), and disappear onto the beautiful back roads of the Peloponnese effortlessly (mountains don't count as effort...)! Or (since May 2007) take the other line from the airport to Piraeus (schedule here), wheel your bike to the port, and head for your island paradise.

Ferry boats accept bicycles at no charge.  Usually, so will hydrofoils (flying dolphins), though space is limited.

Bicycles are allowed only on those OSE (long-haul) passenger trains that have a baggage car -- one per day each way from Corinth to Patras/Pyrgos/Kalamata in the south, perhaps more from Athens to Thessaloniki.  Bicycles are not currently permitted on the little passenger trains to Chalkis, unless the bicycle is disassembled and disguised to resemble hand luggage.  

Intercity (KTEL) bus drivers are cranky or worse about putting bicycles in the luggage bins.

 

AN OFFICIAL GREEK GOVERNMENT STATEMENT OF BICYCLE RULES

Hellenic Republic
Ministry of Transportation and Communications
General Directorate of Transportation
Directorate of Passenger Transport
Section of Municipal Transit

To:  Agrotouristiki AE, Nikis 2, Athens 10563

CC:  Political Office of the Minister of Transportation; OASA; Cycle Greece; Directorate of Commercial Transport

Athens 25 August 2005
Protocol Number A- 45485/4808
Information:  A. Plevritaki, telephone 210 650945
Subject:            Transport of bicycles by mass transit
References:       a) your document with protocol number 762/25-7-2005
                      
b) Cycle Greece document of 25 June 2005

 In answer to the items referenced above, which refer to the subject of the issue, we inform you as follows:

  • In accordance with the rules of Transport and Security of Passengers (law 484 of 1930), on city buses (ETHEL) and trolleys (ILPAP), the transport of bicycles is not permitted for reasons of safety, inasmuch as the appropriate infrastructure does not exist in the given vehicles for the transport of such objects.
  • In the electric train (ISAP) the transport of bicycles is permitted only as baggage. [webmaster's note: this part superceded as guidance November 2005]  Thus the transport of a bicycle is permitted only when it is boxed.  Likewise, the transport of bicycles is proposed for the first or last car of the train, where there are no seats behind the driver's cabin.
    It should be noted that the old ISAP trains used to have suitable cars (baggage cars) where, because of the arrangement of seats, the transport of bulky objects such as bicycles was possible.  Today the density of passengers on the trains and platforms, as well as the arrangement of seats in the new trains, does not allow the transport of bulky objects without bothering or endangering the other passengers.
  • In Metro trains (AMEL) the transport of bicycles is prohibited, since they have no spaces for transport of bulky objects.  These trains receive heavy passenger traffic and are designed exclusively for transport of passengers (most of them standing), whose need for safe transit limits the possibility of transporting bulky objects.
  • On TRAM trains, the transport of bicycles is permitted in the last doorway, on the responsibility of the bicycle owner.
  • On the trains of the Suburban Railroad, the transport of bicycles is permitted on condition that they be placed, with full responsibility of their owner, in the special space with the folding seats for persons with special needs, provided this space is not being used by a person with special needs.  The placement must not inconvenience the other passengers.
  • In KTEL buses, the transport of bulky objects such as bicycles is possible only when the buses are equipped with special trailers, which happens only on the high-speed routes.

  From the above it is clear that the transport of bicycles on buses and trolleys is not possible, given that these vehicles do not possess the suitable infrastructure for safe transport of bulky items (such as bicycles).

  Regarding the possibility of transporting bicycles on the trains of OSE, the Directorate of Commercial Transportation is responsible for the answer.  They have been cc'd on this reply, along with a photocopy of the relevant documents.

                        The General Directress

                                    E. Tsagka