How To Find Your Commuting Route

Congratulations! You have decided to change your mind-crushing commute for cycling. This is awesome!

Next step: Finding the best commuting route.

This can be sometimes a tricky task, especially when you move in environments not prepared for cycling. Fortunately help is available: Google Maps offers now routes for cycling. This allows you to have a basic idea about time and the route in general. But the great thing about cycling is that you have a vast range of shortcuts and hidden sideways available.

But let’s see. Here are some criteria for optimizing  your route:

  • Fastest connection
  • Safety
  • Fun
  • Interesting sites
  • Transport connectivity (access to subway / bus)
  • Coffee / breakfast / lunch / dinner supply

These criteria are just an orientation. You probably will find over time variations of your commuting route. For example, it might be well worth to invest a few minutes to take a longer route and crossing a beautiful park. Other days you might be in a hurry and just get at your destination in no time.

But before starting out, just take some time to try out your new route your cycling equipment. Everything ok? Seat position comfortable? Great.

Here’s one of my favourite commuting routes in Madrid (Spain). Guess what? This route is also a great way to see the city center on your next visit.

Starting point: Atocha central station.

Atocha Train Station
Atocha Central Station – On a late evening commute 

Endpoint: La Paz Market.

You can pick-up a bike at the Bici-Mad post close to Atocha central station. You can even make the registration with a credit card at the bikestation. But I higly recommend you to check the bike before picking it up. There is nothing more annoying than to find out that the bike is broken when you just want start your ride. 

bike check
Checking a bike at Atocha Central Station

Usually I check all relevant details: Seat, brakes, air pressure, motor , lights, battery power…. In order to check if the motor is working, you turn the bike switch on. Then you lift up the back-wheel and push the pedal. The front wheel (where the bike is propelled) will immediately respond if the bike is ok… And if you find a bike with a seat turned around, this means that it is broken. It is a commmon way to indicate any defects to fellow cyclists. 

Bici-Mad checklist
Check-list for Bici-Madrid 

After a short ride over Calle Alfonso XII you arrive at the Retiro Park, at the Puerta del Ángel Caído. On the right hand you’ll find the Royal Observatory. Near the entrance is the bicycle station 69. 

Bike station 69, Retiro Park Madrid
Sign of bike station #69 near the Retiro Park 

Riding up the hill (Paseo Fernán Gómez) you will find the statue of the fallen angel.

Continuing Paseo de Cuba you will arrive to the large pond.

Lago grande Retiro
The large pond on a beautiful morning commute 

When you want to get to the city center, you have different choices. You can take get to Puerta de Alcalá and ride the bike lane at Calle de Serrano.

A bandstand at the Retiro Park

Or you can take one of my favorite shortcuts. Behind the Quiosco de Música el Buen Retiro you’ll find an pedestrian access to the metro station “Retiro”. This is tunel that gets you safely on the other side of Calle de Alcalá. Both sides of the tunnel are accessible for bikes, but make sure you get of your bike.


On the other side, you’ll see the church of San Manuel and San Benito. Nearby you can take Calle Claudio Coello up north. At the height of Calle Claudio Coello, Nº 42 you’ll find bike station 92. You can park your bike here and keep walking to the La Paz market. And if you are hungry, I highly recommend you La Bodega de Casanova, especially for breakfast. Their tomato toast is delicious!!

Bar Casanova
Since 1952 – Sign of La Bodega de Casanova

You can access the La Paz Market just behind the La Bodega de Casanova.

At the La Paz Market you’ll find Casa Dani. One of my favorite places to taste a Spanish tortilla. From the La Paz Market you can take a walk to the Santa Barbara district, where you find nice bars and lovely stores.

Enjoy this beautiful route crossing Madrid!

Want to share your commuting route? – Awesome, just write a comment! Thank you