On April 22nd, the roads of Hungary’s capital will once again be cleared of cars to instead welcome bikers of all ages for 2017’s I Bike Budapest procession, this time taking participants on a fresh route that passes by spectacular sights. This immensely popular mass-cycling event began in Budapest in 2004, and by 2013’s group ride, over 100,000 people turned up to roam the empty city streets on two wheels. This year, cyclists can enjoy a true festival feeling while simultaneously celebrating pedal power and drawing attention to the continuing need for creating better bike routes around town.
Originally called called Critical Mass, Budapest’s first group-cycling event took place back in 2004, and cince then is has become an indispensable part of the city’s soul. The yearly gathering is now called I Bike Budapest, but its aim remains the same: to invite everyone – even those who don’t use their bikes often – to hit the streets on two wheels, and to draw attention to the continuing need for development concerning the city’s cycling community. According to the organizers – the Hungarian Cyclists’ Club – more and more people dust off their bikes every day to choose this eco-friendly form of transportation, thus Budapest needs to become more cyclist-friendly to meet the needs of its residents.
The event is a joyful, family-friendly celebration filled with a festival spirit as bikers freely roam the empty streets, squares, and bridges as they are closed to car traffic for the duration of I Bike Budapest. Both the start and the finish of the moving festival are located in a park, so before and after biking around, participants can catch their breath while relaxing together, or even enjoying a picnic. Anyone is welcome to join or leave the ride at any point, or to take shortcuts, but the route is truly accessible to bikers of all skill levels.
The 2017 I Bike Budapest event will be held on Earth Day (April 22nd), and it costs nothing to join the procession. Participants should gather at 3:30pm at Szabadság Square, and all cyclists set off together at 4pm.
This is the rough route plan for I Bike Budapest in 2017: Szabadság Square – Garibaldi Street – Pest-side Quay – Közraktár Street – Petőfi Bridge – Irinyi József Street – Karinthy Frigyes Road – Móricz Zsigmond Square – Bartók Béla Road – Szent Gellért Quay – Attila Road – Tunnel – Chain Bridge – József Attila Street – Andrássy Avenue – Olof Palme Boulevard – City Park, Királydomb. Around 6:30pm, when everyone should have already crossed the finish line, participants can lift their bikes above their head to celebrate, and cheer each other amid the serene setting of City Park.
Click here for the map of the route, and here for the Facebook event.