Cycling is finally catching on in Budapest – cyclist numbers have risen sharply and cycle lanes are more or less fast, but appearing. It isn’t easy riding: car drivers are only beginning to be aware of cyclists and you also have to contend with sunken tram-lines and bumpy cobbles and bad air pollution.
Bikes are banned from the major thoroughfares and the cycle routes are still patchy – they don’t link up to form a network yet. However, there are also good routes out of town, such as along the Buda bank of the Danube to Szentendre and on up towards Slovakia.
Tourinform has free cycling maps of Budapest. Bicycles can be carried on HÉV trains and the Cogwheel Railway for the price of a single ticket, but not on buses or trams.
Budapest’s public bicycle system was launched on the 8th of September 2014, following the example of London, Barcelona, New York and other large cities around the world. The municipal council made the decision to build the system in 2008: the deadline for the handover was missed again and again, but the results justified the long wait. In the first month following the launch over 120 thousand bikes were checked out, thousands bought passes at one of the 76 bike stations. Currently 1100 bicycles are available to locals and tourists to reach the districts further from downtown.