For many years, Budapest dwellers frequently faced the surreal spectacle of slow-moving pedal-powered bars on wheels traversing major downtown streets, often propelled by costumed stag- or hen-party groups singing in drunken discordance. Beer bikes surely delivered a lot of good times for their bibulous passengers, but locals who were stuck in traffic behind them (or who were simply annoyed by their ear-piercing presence) gradually grew increasingly opposed to these cacophonous conveyances, to the point that city officials of Districts VI and VII have recently decided to permanently ban them.
During the past decade, beer bikes became an equally loved and loathed feature of the Magyar metropolis, as several companies offered central-Budapest excursions aboard these unique contraptions – basically covered quadracycles equipped with a set of pedals for each passenger, bar counters, and a full keg of beer aboard. However, last week the city council for District VII announced that beer bikes would no longer be allowed on the streets of this downtown neighborhood already known for its abundance of immobile bars, and yesterday the municipality of District VI followed suit by announcing a similar ban. This most likely means that Budapest’s beer-bike business is about to go bust, considering that most beer-bike journeys began by heading up District VI’s Andrássy Avenue to Heroes’ Square before traveling back to Oktogon and trundling along the busy Grand Boulevard to Király Street (the dividing line between Districts VI and VII), to finally conclude the tipsy trip among the ruin bars of District VII.
Although details remain vague as to when the bans will take effect, anyone who was looking forward to a beer-bike adventure during an upcoming Budapest visit may want to start changing their plans… however, as an alternative, the old-fashioned quadracycles of Margaret Island are still available for rent, and they certainly have plenty of room to bring beverages aboard – just make sure to designate a sober driver!