Riding a bike in Malaga is the best way of travel in my opinion. It’s fast, healthy, traffic independent and you don’t have to worry about the parking either. In case you want to take my advice and ride a bike in Malaga, here are some tips for you:
Within the city limits as far as I know it’s not mandatory to wear a helmet and I got stopped a couple of times by the police who didn’t have any problem with me riding without a helmet. They only stopped me because I was riding a little bit reckless, not giving a way to anyone, slaloming between pedestrians warp speed. Do you remember the magic phrase that can save your ass in these situations? After saying „Lo siento, no hablo, no intendo” I was let on my way, igniting the warp drive and jumping back to hyperspace.
Unlike in some countries, here you are allowed to ride the bike on the pavement and you can also use the crossings by bike. In some countries this would involve getting a ticket, but not in Malaga in my experience. Once when I was riding on the pavement arriving to a crossing that didn’t have a traffic light, I saw a police car coming, which slowed down, but not to stop me and give me a ticket, but to give me right of way. Wow, I totally did not expect that.
Giving a right of way in Malaga is very common. Any time when I cross a street on foot or with my bike, cars let me go. Even if I don’t want to cross, but I am close to the crossing they usually slow down or even stop, in case I decide to cross. This is very nice compared to other countries where the hit and run in the more common practice.
Since you won’t be on your bike all the time to protect the seat with your bottom, you need to make sure it will be there when you come back to your locked bike. There are several ways to secure your seat, I share the best with you: change the stupid quick locking mechanism to a normal screw. If you use your bike alone, it’s not likely that you want to change the height of the seat. Which means you don’t need this quick lock that’s only purpose is to allow thieves to steal your seat in 2 seconds. By changing the lock to normal screw you make it impossible to steal your seat without proper tools. And guess what, in case someone happen to have proper tools, it won’t be your seat that they steal but the whole bike.
I don’t know how common is stealing bikes in Malaga, my personal experience is quite positive. Several times when I went to Malagueta beach I’ve just laid the bike on the sand and then went to swim. I swam to the buoys and back – so I was far away for some time – and the bike was always there. It was not even locked, since there was nothing to lock it to, since there was only sand around. But again, just because at that time my bike didn’t get stolen that doesn’t means you should do the same.
Having a bell on your bike is beneficial, because people here in Malaga have a very nice habit of blocking the whole pavement by walking next to each other, especially if they are 5-6 people together. You can signal them from the back to let you get through or you can make yourself noticed when you are approaching people who are too busy with their cellphones and can’t see shit.
One time I was riding slower then usual because it was a narrow pavement, and there was a girl coming exactly at me. She was doing something on her phone of course, for example liking kitten pictures on Facebook. So I stopped, I was standing with the bike in-between my legs. The girl kept coming until she bumped into my front wheel, because she didn’t notice that her way was blocked by something. Then she looked up and she said something not nice in Spanish because she thought I was the one who hit her, she didn’t realize that I was standing still the whole time and she waked into me. In case this happens to you, the proper expression to use is: “Puta Ciega!” and then ride away. If you encounter a man, not a woman, then first make sure you can ride faster than he can possibly run and say: “Capullo Ciego!” and then hit the pedal with all you got.