Until some years ago, it was quite impossible to think about riding a bike in São Paulo, a city with a chaotic traffic. But things have been changing over the past years and São Paulo, that is the fourth largest urban agglomeration in the world, and has 7 million cars on the streets, nowadays can offer safety for bike lovers, especially on Sundays, when 45 km of bike lanes are available.
With this amazing evolution, the paulistanos have been wiping the dust off their bikes and crowding the streets with a bike-friendly environment.
For this reason, I booked a bike tour in São Paulo during my trip to Brazil with U-bike , a beneficent project run by volunteers who believe in the sustainable mobility. U-bike offers personal tours in different points of São Paulo, also with different focus, that can mix bike with architecture, street art, gastronomy, parks and museums.
I chose to enjoy the architecture and street-art tour. I biked between 9am to 4pm. Our group started at Hotel Unique and passed in front of the beautiful park Ibirapuera, the financial heart of Brazil (Paulista Avenue), the elegant Higienópolis neighborhood, the gross engineer of Elevado Costa-Silva (well-known as Minhocão), Roosevelt Square and Copan Building, neighborhoods as Paraíso, Bela Vista, Augusta, Jardins, Pinheiros and the agitated Vila Madalena.
In the morning, the tour was focused on architecture and we visited some residential buildings that were idealized by João Artacho Jurado, during the decades of 1940 and 50. His buildings reflect the Hollywood dreams of post-war in a mixture of styles and languages: modern, nouveau, deco and classic. Discover more about the singular life of Artacho Jurado here.
A great surprise was prepared by our guide, who brought us to the top of one of Artacho Jurado’s building named Edifício Planalto, in the neighborhood of Bela Vista. From there, I enjoyed the most beautiful view of this massive city. An astonishing view, similar to when you are at the top of Eiffel Tower in Paris. Extraordinary!
For lunch, we stopped to eat a traditional ham sandwich. Very, very, tasty at the famous Estadão restaurant.
During the afternoon, our group left us and I was alone with the guide to continue the tour until the famous alleys Beco do Batman and Beco do Aprendiz, at Vila Madalena, where there is a huge concentration of amazing street art.
Soon My Life on My Bike will present a guest post by Manuela Colombo who runs the super cool blog Conexão Cultural and offers street-art walk tour at Vila Madalena, one of the most trend neighbourhood in São Paulo.
At that moment, I had the chance to know the beautiful soul of Lincoln Paiva, the volunteer guide and founder of the U-bike. Lincoln is also the founder and president of Instituto Mobilidade Verde (Green Mobility institute), a nonprofit organization that has the goal of contributing to the improvement of urban mobility of Brazilian cities, increasing the welfare of people and encouraging the use of alternative means of more sustainable transportation.
Lincoln’s motto of life is “be the change you want to see in the world”. He has been biking for the last 20 years and he has been dedicating 70% of his time to social causes such as Bicicloteca (library bike) where the aim is to use the bicycle as a vehicle for transporting books for needy people.
Lincoln also leads the project Cidade que Queremos (City We Want), which encourages outdoor excursions that help to put people in touch with their urban environment and community in their neighborhood, in order to fill the gaps, creating social and geographical spaces for cities to discover themselves.
I don’t have enough words to describe the joy I felt during this bike tour. Now I feel confident to say I really understand São Paulo. The tour and the guide Lincoln inspired me to never stop biking, no matter where I am. After biking in the crazy São Paulo, I felt I can bike anywhere in the world.
If you are planning to visit São Paulo, I truly recommend you do this bike tour. For more information, click here.