A bicycle life for me: Cycling in Budapest

This Christmas holiday I was fortunate enough to be whisked further afield  after the chocolates and turkey had settled and the wine was just starting to run dry, we fled to Budapest, land of good wine, soviet memories, thermal baths and a damn good cycle network.

The architecture of Budapest, a view from Buda castle across the Danube

The architecture of Budapest, a view from Buda castle across the Danube

A warming 38 degrees at Szechenyi thermal baths

A warming 38 degrees at Szechenyi thermal baths

It’s long been a belief of mine, and many other cycling enthusiasts for that matter that European cities got it right with their modes of transportation, that goes for trams, metros and cycle lanes, all of which can be found either side of the Danube, be it in Buda, or Pest. For a start just about every main road we walked along had an adjoining cycle lane, clearly marked and wait for it, pothole free. As well as this were some scenic routes set out along the great river and across the many bridges  which straddle it.


Budapest also has many areas where specific bike traffic lights are installed, to allow bikes safer passage across crossing points, and they also have a comprehensive hire service, which, despite the cold weather, we saw many people utilising.

A collection of Budapest's finest two-wheeled transportation

A collection of Budapest’s finest two-wheeled transportation

But by far the best part of cycle lifestyle in Budapest is it’s dedication to being stylish on saddle, as I found out whilst perusing the Cycle Chic Hungary blog. This September hundreds of Cycle Chic fans rode along Andrassy Avenue, the capital’s World Heritage Site for the chance to be named Cycle Chic’s most stylist cyclist of 2012. Check out their Facebook page for pics of the winner and an excellent archive photo of Sean Connery on saddle in tweed circa the Bond era.

If given the opportunity I would definitely encourage anyone to visit Budapest, if not for the medicinal thermal baths that at 38 degrees warm up the coldest of nights, or the incredibly lavish mash-up of neoclassical, art nouveau and baroque architecture, then certainly the cycling, yes, do it for the cycling.


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