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We rented bikes today and went biking through Rio. I saw bike paths (“ciclovia”) along the beach in Ipanema and Copacabana earlier but didn’t realize that the trail continued from Copacabana/Leme into the city, for about another 8 km (pretty much all the way to downtown), making the total path about 15km.

(The yellow line shows our path today, the green - other bike paths that I know exist. Image from Google Maps.)
After biking along the ocean beach in Copacabana we turned towards downtown on Rua Princessa Isabel, which has a bike path running along the divider. There were a few lights to cross, but they seemed to be timed in bikers' favor. (Of course, in Rio what matters is not whether you have the green light but whether the cars actually stopped.) The bike path then continues through the tunnel and then again along the divider. At one point there are four streets that need to be crossed in close succession, but other than that you go uninterrupted. Then the path runs along the coast of Guanabara Bay with no further intersections for about 6 km, with great views of Pão de Açúcar, Corcovado, Niteroi, etc. All along it's a well-marked bike path and the pedestrians generally stay away from it. You do get to share the path with the joggers, but there weren't many. Praia do Flamengo was over-flowing with people on Sunday, so we had to maneuver around them a bit, but a section of Aterro (an expressway running along the beach) is reserved for pedestrian and human-powered traffic on Sundays, so on the way back we went through Aterro. (On the way there the sun was still high and the fact that the bike path was mostly in the shadow made it more attractive, plus you get a better view.) Finally, there are a few make-shift bike repair stations on the way and no shortage of people selling water. The bike path ended at the Santos-Dumont Airport - a small airport near downtown. As we were approaching the airport I thought the path would dead-end right before it. To our surprise, however, they actually let us pass through along the road that separates the runway from the bay. (There is a guy sitting there making sure you don't try to cross when a plane is about to land or take off. They also have a sign warning you to look for landing planes.) However, on the other way side of the runway the road quickly dead-ended into a fenced navy academy. We tried asking whether there was a way of getting around it, but the guard wasn't much into talking. The whole trip (probably about 20km) took just a bit over two hours. It could probably be done in less time if we were in better shape and on better bikes.