Skip to content
CityLab
Transportation

The Challenge of Selling Bike-Share in a Hilly City

Lisbon can be hard to navigate on two wheels. But the city is launching a bike system anyway.
relates to The Challenge of Selling Bike-Share in a Hilly City
Flickr

Cycle regularly in Lisbon and you'll end up with buns of steel. Beyond a very compact central grid, streets in Portugal's capital are notoriously steep. Winding up hillsides and down into unexpected dips, the charming irregularity of these streets requires cyclists to navigate narrow lanes and bone-shaking cobbled surfaces.

It's not cyclists alone who suffer from this, of course. The trams navigating some Lisbon streets can feel like fairground rides, while pedestrians find the many (and sometimes stepped) slopes tough enough that the city has resorted to public elevators and several funiculars to help them. In a city with this sort of topography – Lisbon isn't likened to San Francisco for nothing – getting a bike-share scheme off the ground isn’t the easiest of tasks.