So you want to cycle in the big city but have no idea where to start?
Do not panic.
Budapest Pulse is here to save the day with our brand spanking new guide to getting on your bike.
Check it all out below.
THE BIKE YOU NEED
Choosing the correct bike is key.
What type of bike is that you ask?
How often are you planning to whizz around on two wheels?
I’ve got friends who cycle everywhere.
I tend to stick to a daily cycling commute to the office.
From time to time I throw in the odd weekend trip with my girlfriend to Romai or Szentendre.
The ride of my life is a Raleigh Hennie Kuiper road bike.
This badboy can go at a fair rate of noughts.
It is slender, agile & retro.
That comes in handy when I am attempting to outrun death star sized trucks on Budafoki Ut.
I’d suggest going with whatever bike you feel comfortable riding.
As long as it’s not one of those ridiculous tiny hipster ones then you’re all good.
ALL THE GEAR
To wear or not to wear?
Pulse would be pretty irresponsible to ask you not wear a helmet.
This reinforced plastic may be the difference between splitting open your skull or bouncing off the pavement and returning in one piece.
Despite it being an absolute necessity I will say this:
No one can ever look good in a helmet.
If you’re planning to impress a girl or a boy with your bike then kindly leave the plastic monstrosity at home.
As for wearing a full lycra get up come on man?
I am sorry but it’s not The Giro d’Italia.
Riding on the pavement is illegal pretty much everywhere you go.
Yet every day in BP countless cyclists hurtle down the street almost mowing down unsuspecting pedestrians.
I used to be like those said cyclists & I get why people do it.
Some of the roads on Budapest have death trap written all over them.
Take the Korut for instance?
Who hasn’t shit themselves before first rolling down this road?
Even now my heart is bobbing in my throat when I hit this stretch of concrete.
But I promise this.
You’ll probably be fine.
For the most part drivers tend to be a wee bit more careful these days.
In the space of year since I started biking there was has been a massive improvement.
You’ll still get the odd arsehole who’ll pass you so close that you’ll pish yourself (more on this later).
Best thing to do is stay alert.
Don’t take any unnecessary risks.
If you don’t fancy the road there is no shame in riding on the pavement.
Don’t lose sleep over it.
It ain’t pleasant but there is always going to be someone hungrier, faster, fitter & bigger than you out there.
Racing someone through traffic to try to win an imaginary race will end in humiliation & tragedy.
One word of caution.
If you intend to drop someone please make sure you can last the pace.
There are so many times people have forced themselves in front of me only for us to spend the next ten minutes wheel to wheel.
Only yesterday, some boy barged past only to weakly yield when he realized I could overtake him.
I refused to pass.
Just to noise him up.
For my troubles he farted in my face.
It can be a brutal out there.
That brings me on nicely to my next point.
Cunts come on two wheels as well as four.
There are as many arseholes on bikes as there is in cars.
I should know.
I am one of them.
Arguments with drivers & cyclists are a near daily hassle.
Stand your ground when you are right.
Apologize when you are wrong.
Signal when you turn.
Don’t go through red lights.
Stay off your phone.
Don’t cycle down busy roads one handed whilst eating a slice of pizza.
Remarkably that happens all the time.
As for drivers a few of them will see you as a nuisance & they will wish you didn’t exist.
AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE
This may not be politically correct.
But fuck it.
We go with it.
Middle aged men & woman in their early twenties are the bane of my cycling existence.
These two groups can be a real menace on bikes.
They cycle like they have something to prove.
What that happens to be?
If you do decide to join the cycle fraternity by biking to work then do us all a favour and jump in a shower.
As the summer approaches you will find more and more colleagues cycling to the office.
Amazingly where I work there is one shower.
At least for male employees.
I’ve not done a Mark Lewis yet and checked the girls bathroom.
If you are faced with a hygiene dilemma then please have some fucking manners.
A 3 minute quick wash is ok.
Taking 20 minutes and having two showers is not.
If you don’t have a shower at work then bring some wet wipes and a change of clothes.
THE BICYCLE THIEVES
They are everywhere in Budapest.
Just the other day, I saw a scraggy looking Trainspottingesque character rolling down the street.
He was cycling on a banged up city cruiser.
Beside him he wheeled a beautiful piece of bike craftmanship.
Now I might by wrong but I would put a few k on that riderless bike being stolen.
Whatever gave me that idea?
Well first off?
Who has two bikes?
If you do then would you take them out at the same time?
In any case.
People look after your bicycle.
When you leave it somewhere outside try to keep eyes on it.
Never chain your bike outside your house.
That’s a thieves wet dream.
Drink & cycle.
This goes without saying.
After a few pints I feel invincible on my saddle.
I’ll shoot head first into traffic & give them abuse for getting in my way.
Leave your bike at home if you plan to see off a few craft brews.
A more than decent cycling city.
Sure it ain’t The Dam or Copenhagen but it’s still pretty damn good.
Don’t believe me?
Well try cycling around London or Edinburgh.
Both are big wealthy cities with cycling facilities straight out of a horror movie.
Yeah, BP could do with a few more bike lanes but this is Eastern Europe we are talking about.
Give the city a chance to catch up.
Cycling gives you the freedom to go where you please, when you please.
If you’re reading this on a Monday.
Go grab your bike now and head home.
It’s only 10am?
Go for it.
The boss man will never know.
* Disclaimer to add that this article is to be taken in jest.