In this conclusion to our Budapest series, I’ll be giving you all the details of how the trip came together, as well as sharing a few of my own images and final thoughts. We had an amazing time exploring this beautiful and vibrant city, as well as the surrounding hills, and would highly recommend it as a cycling destination!
Date: 4-6 May 2016
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Total Mileage: 98.9mi
The Team: Myself, Eloise: Vulpine’s graphic designer and new recruit to the team.
Alexander Rhind, photographer, whose fantastic images you’ve hopefully had a chance to enjoy in our last two posts.
Jon Woodroof, of startup Twotone Amsterdam, cycling obsessive and veteran Vulpine shoot attendee.
The Plan: We set out with a plan to explore the city, but didn’t restrict ourselves by pre-planning routes; cycling is an amazing way to explore a new place, you can cover the entire city in a day. The best bit is having the freedom to turn down streets and lanes at random, which often leads to the most interesting and unusual discoveries of the ride (such as the Robot Orphanage we stumbled upon on a quiet cobbled street in Budapest – totally bizarre!). When we headed out of the city, we did plan a route for this longer ride, but still allowed ourselves the freedom to divert off the planned direction to take in a nicer looking path. We used Komoot to plan the route the night before, which is a really great app for planning rides, as it allows you to see points of interest or sights that other riders have added, and incorporate them into your route. Definitely worth checking out for when you are exploring an unknown area.
The Travel: Alex and I flew with Wizz Air from Luton, while Jon flew with Lufthansa from Amsterdam. If you haven’t come across Wizz Air before, they offer budget flights to mostly Eastern European destinations. Their bike charges are pretty reasonable, unlike many other budget airlines – £23.50 each way – and the bikes seemed to be well looked after during transit, arriving unharmed. Lufthansa meanwhile doesn’t charge a penny for bikes which is amazing! You just have to call 24 hours before departure to register it.
Base camp: We stayed in the Újlipotvaros neighbourhood in the 13th district of Budapest; the Pest side of the Danube. An industrial area until the 1920s, today, it’s a highly sought after residential area. As our AirBnB apartment owner told us, prices here are now sky high. The location provided a perfect base to explore both sides of the city; it’s within easy walking (and cycling) distance of the bars, restaurants and sights that Pest has to offer, including the stunning parliament building, while its proximity to the Margit Hid (Margaret Bridge) means it a quick hop over the Danube to explore the historic Buda side of the city. The apartment we stayed in was also massive which was great as it allowed us plenty of space for all of our kit!
The Bikes: Loyal though I am to my 80s steel Raleigh, I had a great time on the Liv Avail Advanced Pro that I borrowed from the team at Giant St. Pauls (thank you!!). The bike was super comfortable to ride all day on, and racing up hills was definitely a lot easier than usual! Alex was also kitted out by Giant with a Defy Advanced Pro, while Jon had a eye-catching ride from Amsterdam start-up My Wild Love: an 80s Italian Colombus SL frame, updated and resprayed with electric style.
The Kit: For the first and last days of our trip we wore Vulpine kit – I felt really comfortable all day exploring Budapest in my summer cigarette pants and silk air t-shirt. The spring weather brought us a mixture of sun, chill winds, and rain, so I was glad to have an original rain jacket to keep me warm and dry when the weather did take a turn for the worse!! I’ve worn this jacket non-stop since the shoot, and absolutely love it; waterproof without being plastic and shiny, it looks smart while also offering excellent technical features. Perfect for spring city cycling!
For our ride out to the country surrounding the city, we wore Hoy Vulpine road kit. The Senko bib shorts and jersey I wore fitted perfectly and again were very comfortable for a long ride (13 hours!!) in the hills. I really like the sleek texture of the kit and flattering fit. Again, the mixed weather conditions meant I was very grateful for my arm warmers and waterproof too!
The Food: Our diet during the trip mostly consisted of goulash, meat stew, more goulash and coffee. Goulash is a delicious dish created by the Hungarian herdsmen (gulyás) who would cook goulash hung above an open fire out in the hills. While I’m not a nutritionist, it did seem to make the perfect ride fuel and recovery dish. It’s got pasta (csipetke), potatoes AND bread (all of the carbs), paprika, beef and lots of veg, and if you want to try it for yourself, there are plenty of helpful recipes online. Be sure to search for Hungarian Goulash specifically, as there are many different kinds!
The Cost: With 400ish Hungarian forints to the pound and a not so sharp mathematical ability, most of the time while we were out there I had almost no idea how much things were costing. Looking through my receipts on return though, I realised how affordable Budapest is: out in the hills, a round of espressos and all of the pastries that the bakery had left cost just £1.95. Average goulash price: Less than £5.
Best Moments: Looking out over the city from Fisherman’s Bastion at sunset after an epic ride.
Riding along the Danube.
Cycling on the perfect, quiet roads in the Pilis Mountains.
Packing in an incredible amount and variety of riding, from muddy trails to super smooth country roads to city cycling, into barely three days.