Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cycling in Budapest

On my day off, I rented a bike from nice people at Bikebase Budapest.

The bicycles are in storage because it is out of season. Nevertheless, Georgie made arrangements for me to get a bicycle anyways. She was extremely nice and helpful.

For my ride, she gave me an upright dutch-style city bike, lights, a repair kit, a heavy lock, a map, and lots of advice. (Including- Stop a messenger for help if you need it. There are many of them and they know everything about cycling in Budapest.)

I took the bicycle out for 7 hours and managed to see everything I'd circled on my map. It was exhausting to ride up the hills, especially (and ironically) on an upright dutch-style bicycle but it was worth it!

A view from the Castle hill.

And some basic bicycle stuff... 

Bike lanes are on the street or on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk without a lane is allowed but can be slow in the heavy tourist areas... which is fine, again, with an ironic dutch-style bicycle.

The city provided bike map is mostly 'recommended' streets that don't actually have any bike lanes at all. Those are the dots... This can be confusing. At some point, it's best to just follow the other cyclists.

There are very few dedicated traffic lights for bicycles, most are combined with pedestrians lights.

Fun fact!

The yellow light is used for telling drivers/cyclists to get ready to speed up, not to slow down.
A green light is go. It will blink when it is about to end.
Then red. Stop.
Then red and yellow will flash at the same time for the signal, Get Ready...
And then green again, Go!

Overall, I had a very pleasant day.

There were no problems that necessitated my stopping a hardworking bicycle messenger... which I would have been afraid to do even if necessary. Most of them look like a cross between Brooklyn hipsters and Mad Max road warriors. Face masks, cycling tights, giant bags and an extreme aversion to chain guards even though most have fenders.
(Why all the ankle gear? I saw many types of reflective banding, fancy socks pulled high and even shin guards. Just buy a little plastic chain guard!)

But at least it's not only fashion, they are actually working.

And, sometimes even they have to stop and wait for the torchlight processional to pass.

Torchlight in Budapest, originally uploaded by _Alicia.

1 comment:

  1. :D "... which I would have been afraid to do anyways. Most of them look like a cross between Brooklyn hipsters and Mad Max road warriors." :D heeehheeeee

    Very informatively interesting about the traffic-lights.:)