The 64-kilometre long Green Cycling Belt connects Madrid’s outlying neighbourhoods with large parks such as Lineal del Manzanares, Juan Carlos I or Casa de Campo.
Although thousands of cyclists have used these cycleways for leisure and sports since 2007, it has also served to promote sustainable mobility.
This extensive cycling infrastructure is currently under renovation to improve accessibility and lighting. It will be fully open again in the summer of 2021.
For over a decade, the Green Cycling Belt has been the city’s most iconic cycling infrastructure. Officially referred to as AVC-64, this cycleway encircles Madrid’s urban core, running mostly along the M-40 ring road, connecting the outlying neighbourhoods. It also makes it easier for cyclists to access the “green lungs” of the city, including Juan Carlos I Park, Casa de Campo or Parque Lineal del Manzanares. It is divided into six sections, taking the six radial roads (A-1 to A-6) that criss-cross the city as reference. The cycling belt runs through nine of the 21 districts: Fuencarral-El Pardo, Hortaleza, San Blas, Moratalaz, Puente de Vallecas, Usera, Carabanchel, Latina and Moncloa-Aravaca.
The Green Belt is currently being redesigned. It will soon reopen with a better and more accessible layout, safe for everyone.
A milestone for Madrid’s cyclists
From the outset, Madrid’s cycling enthusiasts embraced this cycleway with its rest areas, milestones and uninterrupted itinerary. Indeed, they coined the term “anillada” to describe cycling meetups along its distinctive deep-red lanes. Although it is primarily used for sports and leisure activities, the infrastructure also encourages cycling as a sustainable means of transport, as the cycleway passes through many neighbourhoods which until then were isolated from each other.
The belt officially opened in 2007, following the completion of significant engineering works that involved the construction of 20 walkways, bridges and tunnels. These elements helped to overcome natural or artificial obstacles, such as the railroad tracks or express throughways, that kept some neighbourhoods isolated from others.
“The Green Belt was an excellent idea for encouraging the use of bicycles in Madrid and in the whole region”, said José Almagro Valero, Secretary-General of the Madrid Cycling Federation (FMC). “Most importantly, it provided a sense of safety to many people who feared cycling on roads with vehicles”, he emphasised. According to Almagro Valero, this well-lit and signposted route around the city was a major step toward making cycling the favourite sports in Madrid. According to the FMC’s estimates, some 50,000 Madrilenians cycle regularly.