Getting around Budapest by bicycle

Hi everyone!

I was wondering if you had any advice on using the bicycle around Budapest. I love riding my bicycle everywhere and here in Barcelona I use it as the main transport on a daily basis to go to work, meet friends, go buy groceries...etc... I was wondering if it is also safe and practical to bike everywhere in Budapest.

I have realized that the expat community has been really nice and helpful in the other topics so I would love to read your thought and advice on this subject.

Thanks,
Xabi

It's definitely feasible, but keep in mind during Winter you'll have a (3) month period where you won't be able to ride it.

I do not live in Budapest, so I can not answer your question directly, but if you allow me to go slightly off topic: if you like bike riding in general there are also many great bike touring routes in Hungary. For example, where I live near Lake Balaton, there is a bike road around parts of the lake which makes for very nice traffic free riding.

Thanks for the answer, I am definitely looking forwards to bike touring as well!

xabier wrote:

I am definitely looking forwards to bike touring as well!

Then definitely check out http://www.bikemap.net/

GCM wrote:

It's definitely feasible, but keep in mind during Winter you'll have a (3) month period where you won't be able to ride it.

Heh, even in Berlin I occasionally meet the supertough cyclist who will bike throughout the year! But I usually give up around Nov.

Incidentally, I have just edited the related Wikitravel page, I also included a link to a bike lane map:
http://wikitravel.org/en/Budapest#By_bicycle

Assuming you can get a flat within a few kilometers of your workplace (is it going to be near Tüzoltó utca? most of Semmelweis should be in Pest anyway, i.e. conveniently flat area) then I think you should be able to work out a feasible bike route.
The bike situation in Budapest is not as good as in Berlin or, say, Vienna, but still reasonable, and improving. You cannot take bikes on the tram, not even the metro, I think but you can on the HÉV (suburban train), and of course on normal trains, which is helpful for the weekend tour. (s. official info: http://bkv.hu/en/  )

Btw, because of the economical mess we are in now (god may grant our politicians a long life on a tropical island far, far away) fuel prices/salary went up to the extend that Budapest traffic significantly eased.

Yes, you can definitely take bikes on the "HEV" commuter trains!

I commute to Budapest from a village, the first leg by bike all year around, so it's not so much the weather that should prevent you from cycling in Budapest either, but the increased risk of getting hit by cars.

(full disclosure: I never bike in car traffic, all my biking is on a remote island, isolated bike routes, ideally both.)

I ride everywhere - Budapest is a fantastic city for biking! I was expecting it to get too cold over winter, but I ended up riding the whole time, bar a few days when it was too snowy and icy. All the main streets are ploughed, so it was fine.

Thanks so much for all the replies.

Margle by any chance could you tell me how much biking do you do in bike lanes, how much sharing the road with traffic and how much in sidewalks?

Both really. There are enough bike lanes in the inner city that I mainly use them when going to and from work. But everywhere else is sharing the road with cars, and I haven't had any problems with Hungarian drivers at all. Generally quite considerate. I don't ride on the sidewalk unless I have to - people/tourists/crowds drive me crazy and I hate using my bell on them :)

The only road I feel is unsafe for riding (though, plenty of people, myself included do it) is the Korut. Not enough room for us and the cars are going fast.

Wow that's really great to hear, in that case it is similar to Barcelona. I was afraid perhaps cars were really inconsiderate but if its ok to sometimes share the road and not get honked/yelled at then I am looking forwards to biking all over the town.

I rarely see bikes on the roads in town, most people seem to ride on the pavement, which I assume must be legal in Hungary?

Nope, not unless a yellow marking separates the pavement into a pedestrian and bike lane. But I don't think this is enforced too strictly.

Actually Budapest has been ranked by Danish cycling group (after all they invented urban cycling) as 10th best city in the world, beating Vienna hands down: http://copenhagenize.eu/index/index.html

Personally i bike 12 months a year, i just skip days when it is raining cats and dogs or when there is black ice on the roads.

Pest is very easy to go around, Buda side then requires a bit more physical challenge.

Outside Budapest, there is plenty of very nice areas to bike, both easy and pretty challenging. If you are looking for mountain routes ála Col de la Madeleine then you better head to France but otherwise you have plenty of oppotunities.

tomasc wrote:

Actually Budapest has been ranked by Danish cycling group (after all they invented urban cycling) as 10th best city in the world, beating Vienna hands down: http://copenhagenize.eu/index/index.html

Yeeeaaah! we got'm! :-)
Speaking as a semi-Viennese - lived 1/3 of my life there...

Seriously, I'd have never thought Bp. would beat the old big sister in anything but... youthfulness.

Even more seriously:
The criteria are a bit... the wording emphasizes 'effort' (not only 'results')
http://copenhagenize.eu/index/criteria.html

The report on budapest celebrates the 5% mark
http://copenhagenize.eu/index/10budapest.html

while the report on Vienna says '8%. Perhaps not the boldest target'
http://copenhagenize.eu/index/18vienna.html

Oh well, maybe they just liked Budapest more:-)

szocske wrote:

Nope, not unless a yellow marking separates the pavement into a pedestrian and bike lane. But I don't think this is enforced too strictly.

That's good, I will shout at them like I do in UK then ;)

"I'd have never thought Bp. would beat the old big sister in anything", well Danish have the right to apply their own criterias as they wish... but (having been living in Vienna as well): what about women, food, weather, cost of living, fun? did i mention women?

tomasc wrote:

"I'd have never thought Bp. would beat the old big sister in anything", well Danish have the right to apply their own criterias as they wish... but (having been living in Vienna as well): what about women, food, weather, cost of living, fun? did i mention women?

hey - I am from Budapest, so my side should be clear.
I still believe Budapest is the cooler city for young people, so women, parties, subcultures... I declare, all of that is better here:-)
But as you get older, perhaps even before, and start to yarn for a sensible income/expenses ratio - well, Vienna belongs to the richest regions of Europe.

Regarding danish bike criterias - if you publish a serious study, say a quantitative measure, you should also publish your criteria i.e. formulas for calculating those numbers, and also the numbers you use. They did not do that, and the verbal description of their criteria sounded a bit strange to me, but that's just an impression. The point is, if not well designed, an 'index' may not describe well a phenomenon, regardless what you name it.
But I still like that they did some research, I was just saying that their statements should not be taken without thinking.

fidobsa wrote:

That's good, I will shout at them like I do in UK then ;)

Do be reasonable when there's no safe alternative :-)

Does anyone have any recommendations for finding a decent second-hand bike?!  I have been looking on expressz.hu but, because I don't speak Hungarian, I don't get many replies to my emails written in English!  I have been into BikeBase but they didn't have many 2nd hand bikes on offer and didn't seem to think they'd have many in now due to the fact it's getting towards winter, and I always seem to be out of town for the Szimpla Bike markets.... Any good bike shop/websites that anyone can recommend?!  Cheers!

I can recommend Rocket Bikes - lovely staff, most of whom speak perfect English. They have a shop in the 5th district where they restore/refurbish great old bikes. You point to the one you like and they customise and make it like new - new brakes, wheels, tires, basket etc etc. I bought mine for 35,000ft, and I love it. Old/retro frame but new everything else. I've also been back for cheap and quick tuneups and repairs several times, and they've always been great.  http://www.rocketbikes.hu/

I do have a man's bike for sale right now for 16,000 ft, if anybody is interested: https://www.expat.com/en/classified/eur … 000ft.html

Thanks a mill! I will go there ASAP....Need to make the most of the last of summer!

Regarding the biking network in Budapest:
there are 10 new bus lanes newly opened to cyclists are allowed.
sorry, I do not have time to translate, but copy here the google-translated article which contains the list,  and a map
- I wonder if those short new sections are connecting existing bits of the network(which is not indicated, sigh)

http://translate.google.hu/translate?hl … k-elott%2F

here the original:
http://bkk.hu/2012/09/elkeszult-tiz-bus … sok-elott/

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