Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cycling Entering Mainstream


If you're quick, you can still get a copy of the current copy of HVG (http://hvg.hu/default.aspx) with a 17-page special section on Hungary's bicycling phenomenon. The section leads off with some antedotes about a couple Budapest enthusiasts who put on crazy numbers of kilometers on their bikes week-in and week out, and then mentions the Critical Mass successes (60-80,000 riders last spring, the article recalls) and the frequent weekend traffic jams of cyclists entering and leaving Margit Sziget.

The section includes an article on the domestic bicycle manufacturing market, the annual bike race around the Balaton, and -- one of my favorite topics -- the example of Paris's cycling "Velorution." The focus of this last is on Velib, the massive bike-sharing scheme of Paris. I've written lots about Paris as a good example for Budapest in terms of cycling development. Check my master's thesis (http://www.greenmedia.hu/gspencer/) or an article in Hungarian that had a more narrow focus on Paris (http://epiteszforum.hu/node/9672.

I don't think there's much information in the article that hasn't already been widely circulated through Hungary's cycling blogosphere, but the fact that the subject merited such extensive treatment in Hungary's most prestigious news weekly (HVG is often said to be Hungary's version of the Economist) is just one more sign that cycling is becoming a popular movement. Now if we can get Budapest City Hall to give it the support that it deserves.

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