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Thank you for messing up my ride today just a little. For finding me, the cyclist who never cycles on pavement, stops at red lights (all of them), stops for pedestrians to allow them to cross, give way when required (and sometimes even if it isn’t), use hand signals…

So what was my mistake according to the fine man in blue? Well, I cycled in the outside lane. Yes, technically I must not do that. This is so us cyclists do not hold up the motorists on two or four wheels (or more). Now for one I was absolutely not holding up any traffic as I was going 40 kph just like the car a few metres ahead of me (just outside my stopping distance). I know this is normally not an excuse to “break the law” but I had another one, I was actually going to take a left just two or so hundred metres ahead which is allowed. True the paintjob in the lane starts only about 50 metres before the junction but let’s be realistic, in a traffic that goes with 40-50 kph I would have never had the chance to cross TWO lanes 50 metres before my turn.

I pointed to the left in vain to the policeman on a motorbike and in the end I just shook my head and changed lanes. He sped off afterwards I guess very proud of himself that he put me in my place whereas I slowed down figuring that I’d just wait for the lights to turn red ahead so I can sneak ahead of the left turning lane of course completely illegally.

So thank you dear Policeman for lengthening my journey and forcing me into breaking the law!

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Wasted Morning

I usually go biking 6 times a week mostly during the day after peek times so that there are less impatient motorists on the go who are pissed that the speed limit is 50 kph or generally 30 kph where I bike and I dare to go 30-40 kph which of course mandates an immediate take over spiced with hairy close passes. But this is rather commonplace so I stopped writing about it…for now.

As of lately however the temperature rose significantly and is now around 37 during the day when I usually biked and there is one thing I hate more than anything is hot temperature. I loathe it more than I do inconsiderate jerks who own cars (or vans). So there was really one choice for me if I wanted to keep on biking 6 times a week, wake up at 5-6 am and go for a ride in the early hours of the morning. Problem solved. Or not?

As awesome as it is to ride in the cool breeze with a bunch of WVM (two of them very nearly run me over this morning but what the hey) there is one little drawback in this plan:

Yeeeees, the waste guys. They are nearly all over the place and since I bike in one way streets such as the above, but of course parked all the way through with cars, it is impossible to go around them even on my bike. Surely I can just mount the kerb and pass them but the pavements are very tiny downtown and there are a couple of ppl walking dogs or themselves even this early and they hate cyclists for the fact that many ride on the pavement by default, plus I have an SPD shoe and I was not exactly in a hurry…but the smell, oh geez, that smell, I nearly fell off the bike as the breeze filled my nostrils with the heavenly stench of rotten food and various other smells that I rather left unidentified.

The bin men were looking at me funny expecting me to pass them I guess but I never ever ever pass a lorry not even on the left on narrow streets like there are downtown. I might have a bike but I am not crazy.

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One would think that it is much more fun to ride on the weekends when there is less traffic but today I had to realize that while there are less people on the roads the percentage of morons rise significantly.

I planned a nice long ride in the practically dead city (it is three days holiday here so everyone buggered off somewhere nicer). I get out through the gates and come face to face with a police car standing in the middle of the road I normally take with the whole road taped off. As on our corner there are two one way streets meeting I could either go to a main road or to another main road which is straight suicide even on a day like this so I decided to push my bike on the pavement till the next corner where I was greeted nicely by a security guy who told me that I could only go right. Guess which way I wanted to go? Of course left. I looked around and saw a bunch of brave crimefighters mingling around. There was either a movie shooting again or some important knobhead decided to come among us lowly folks then decided he needed a ‘little’ protection while doing so, either way I would wish that next time I need them at least half of them turn up when called…dreams.

Anyhow I took a right which again led to a main road but I thought I’d get off it as soon as I can. To my joy the road leading out is built with cobbles that were last fixed…well, never. It was a great way to start a ride on my road bike. Once my spine was carefully rearranged by the city of Budapest I took my primary position behind a cop car that seemed to have an intention of leaving the closed off section too. Behind me a car that came from a nearby car park pulled up. We were waiting in the red when to my horror the white lights flashed at the back of the police car and yes, he started backing into me. The security guy posted on that corner had to yell at him that there is a biker behind him! I could see his porker face in his bloody mirror so he SAW me. Correction, he should have if he were to check the mirror which he obviously did not. One fright later I went on to continue my journey.

Near a posh area there is a cycle path which is constantly used as parking space by a few very nice people who would go to the toilet with their Cheyenne if that were possible. Seriously, they have a fancy underground garage just 200 meters from there but no, they have to use the cycle path. And I mean every single time I go that way they are there. Posh people do not have money for an eye doctor or it is an unfortunate side-effect of money that you go blind to anyone else but your own huge ego? What is even better is that while say a BMW parks on the sidewalk the Cheyenne parks halfway on the cycle path and half on the sidewalk just a few inches from the BMW so it is impossible to get around them from time to time. Naturally they have foreign licence plates so there is no chance in hell a cop would ever bother to have a word with them. Around here you can do anything, and I really mean anything, provided you have a Slovak or German or Romanian licence plate. I do not wish to give you ideas but say you wanna check the speed of your new Veyron just come here. You can even try it in the middle of the city, the law just does not care. Great, isn’t it?

Later on I was cycling down very carefully on the bike lane on Andrássy designed by the biggest idiot on the face of the planet when I noticed a little gang leaning against their car standing halfway in the lane. To my left parking cars, to my right a 20 cm curb. I announced my approach but obviously one of the kids were deaf because despite my little bell’s loud warning he leaned down to pick something from the ground this way effectively blocking the whole lane just as I got there. When he noticed my front wheel quite near his nose he jumped up and told me off to which I merly pointed out that as he did not have two wheels between his legs he has no business on the lane and be happy I opted on breaking instead of the rather tempting teaching him a physical lesson method.

On my way back I saw that my usual road is blocked off by the rozzers again but they did let you go down the street before you could come face to face with the fact that they cordoned off even the darn pavement! Aboutface. I made a bad move with taking a rather wide turn and ended up on the pavement but there were railings all around so I proceeded very slowly my face reddening as a quite big guy came walking a tiny dog that was hellbent on making friends with me. I apologized to him and to my luck he understood why I did what I did and gave me a smile then gave a rather nasty look to the policemen posted  behind me realizing that even he could not take his dog further. I jumped down to the road again very soon realizing I was again against the law as it was a one way street 😛 . At this point I just could not give a damn because I knew I had to cycle miles around the block on the main road with wackos to get home.

I hate being right. The main road has three lanes, one being a bus lane that is illegal to use as a cyclist so I could pedal between the bus lane and a normal lane. Great. Just great. Thankfully I only had to do two corners. Before the second I checked the bus lane and saw it was empty so I indicated right and went to the side. Further ahead a BMW with a German licence plate indicated right too. Unfortunately he was not familiar with our ways and did so at the furthest ahead which is what people do in the West but not here in the wild-wild East. After starting his turn he stopped immediately letting through the pedestrians on the crosswalk. With this manoeuver he blocked the bus lane and I caught up to him and waited patiently with him. Unlike a taxi driver who was speeding down the lane and only stopped inches from the BMW. Effectively sandwiching me in. To this very Eastern action he added some more Hungarian spice with practically laying on his horn. This was where I had enough and gestured to him what I was thinking in a very censored version by raising my index finger to my temple. The fun part was that the whole road, that is the other two lanes were totally empty next to him so he could have just leave the bus lane and go around but no, he HAD to go that way.

I will buy a helmet cam soon coz this is just madness and the worst thing is that I do not remember half of it.

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VIP

Cycling again. Today I did it like a VIP 😀 .

Just a few corners down from home two cops rolled in in front of me on their little scooters.  Now this is usually not a giggling matter however today I found it really really really hard not to burst out laughing at the sight of – I will try and be PC now – the two brave guardians of the law who seemed to have still had their Christmas weight on them hence their pocket rockets built up speed slower than I used to when my bike had stabilizers on them almost two decades ago so I was pretty much stuck.

On a side note I should say that even if I would have wanted to I had no chance of passing them as they rode side-by-side, yes, against the law. But then we all know that in Hungary laws do not apply to the protectors (and makers) of them.

Anyhow, there I was pedalling stuck behind two policemen and decided on enjoying the escort, their 25 kph speed just idle after a good 20 k training not even talking about the fact that suddenly everyone gave way on the corners and we turned a couple of heads on the way. I have to tell ya, it feels good to roll with a police escort. I wish I could arrange one for all my rides 😀

Unfortunately I do not have pictures (tho I am thinking about buying a helmet mounted camera) but for those who only respond to visual stimulation here you go:

They looked kinda like this...

 

...but in this uniform. And much much chubbier.

 

 

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Ride ’til I Die

The mentality in the title is what a lot of cyclists in Budapest seems to have adopted. Maybe they all listen to too much gangsta rap? Well, when they get pancaked and lucky enough to survive I would like to send them this music video:

A bike gives you freedom. True. But freedom does not equal anarchy. Well, it could but then do not be surprised when the more traffic rules you break the more bones you will likely break also. We, on two wheels,  all know that people sitting in tons of steel with four and more wheels are not so great in following the rules either so why raise the risk of loosing our teeth by becoming as or more stupid than they are.

This has been going on for years now and the hatred between cyclists and motorists is rising unsurprisingly. So why do I rant about this just now?

Maybe it was thanks to the crazy woman who swirled in front of me in a one way street with her pretty city bike going the wrong flipping way! And she was the one who was all pissed when I refused to pull further to the side of the road and let myself yell at her warning that this was a one way street.

Or maybe it was the lunatic who tore past me three times while I was patiently waiting at the red lights. She was lucky twice and to her luck the third time too although it had nothing to do with her masterful biking skills but more with the quick reflexes of the car driver who slammed on his brakes just in time. Of course the girl rode on screaming an insult at the shocked motorist.

And it is not just women. I had to warn many men to leave the bus lane (which is too thin for a bus and a cyclist hence we are not allowed to bike there) when the bus was breathing down their necks. Some complied but from others I only got a middle finger. If you are a sissy to bike between the bus lane and the car lane then look for another route and stop making 50-60 or more people’s trip a misery at 20-30 kph.

My golden rule of cycling – apart from the usually emphasized ‘ride as if you were invisible’ –  is not to sit on the bike with the mindset that you hate every motorist. And most certainly, never ever judge anyone by what kind of car they sit in. By far the best partners in traffic I have ever come across with were sitting in ‘cock’ cars.

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I just read something peculiar today and if this is true we have the BEST police force on the entire planet, oh wait, no the whole galaxy! Seriously!…not.csihu

Hungary’s finest – that would be the coppers – said in a definite tone that the gun that was used during the shooting of a Roma (Gypsy) woman and her child was the same gun that was used at two other shootings of Romas. So why was I a bit sceptic? Me who has been watching almost every single CSI episodes ever created? Because the gun in question is a shotgun. For those of you who have no idea why this is significant: CSIs ID a gun from the striae/groove on the bullet after it has passed through the barrel of the gun. A shotgun shoots out pellets and there is absolutely no way of identifying which gun it has been fired out from. (more…)

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It’s July. It’s hot…well mostly when it is not raining like in a rainforest or something. Half of this year has already passed which makes half of the country depressed the other (naive) half say that there is not much left now of the credit crunch aka making the poor even poorer and the rich just a little bit richer.

But hey the last two and so months went by without me around here so let’s recap them through my eyes.

The new democracy celebrated its 20th birthday (June 16th)…alone it seems because the people living in it pretty much forgot about the whole thing. Okay, so it was a Tuesday and that might threw a little damper on our enthusiasm…the bright side for our paranoid government was though that this way they did not have to be afraid of The People as they were all off working while they partied like, well not rockstars, more like politicians, but then who knows what’s going on in the governmental cars behind the tainted windows.

Click to see the pictures of Heroes Square all prepped for the party

Click to see the pictures of Heroes' Square all prepped for the 'party'

(more…)

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