Bucharest by bike

crw_4455__bromptonThe best way to get round Bucharest is by bike. Bucharest has no ring roads and the result is gridlock. Getting anywhere by car is slow and frustrating. Public transport is good but very overcrowded.

Non cyclists tell me that cycling in Bucharest is dangerous, that Romanian drivers are crazy and that there are no proper bike lanes. But even the most insane speed freaks can’t do much in Bucharest where traffic moves at a snails pace (but watch out for the sons of the Nomenklatura who come out at night to race on the Boulevards). And if you keep your ears open you can hear the motorbikes and Kamikaze BMW drivers from miles away.

What about the dogs? I’ve been told this is a big problem. It certainly used to be but recent extermination campaigns have decimated the packs and all survivors have become much more polite. No longer am I trailed by a pack of hounds.

Scores of new bike shops have opened in town, as well as hire centres, and there are some rather pointless bike lanes on pavements.  They even sell English Pashley’s, Brompton fold up bikes and the wonderful Brookes leather saddles (see www.velorutia.ro).

I cut my teeth cycling in London, a place I consider a lot more dangerous to cycle in than Bucharest. I also drove for many years and can predict the behaviour of drivers. If you have this experience, plus a fast bike and waterproofs, you should have no problems getting round this city by bike.

Rupert Wolfe Murray has cycled in Bucharest for over 6 years. He can be followed on Twitter @wolfemurray

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