Poland´s love for bikes

Riding a bike to work or to school isn´t much popular where I come from. Especially because we only have up and down roads, and no cycling infrastructures. Poland, on the other hand, has bikes like it´s main transport for all ages, making life much easier, more fun and faster. Drinking and cycling is a crime in Poland. Believe or not, you may be sentenced up to one year in jail just for cycling intoxicated.

Before the bicycle, as we know it was first constructed, a wave of its various prototypes spread across Europe. In 1866, Warsaw witnessed the first sensational three-wheeled vehicle powered by human legs. One year later, following their premiere at the World Expo in Paris, Michaux-type velocipedes also began to appear in Poland.

Made out of wood, they weighed over 30 kilograms. Rudolf Wacek, one of the people responsible for instigating cycling tourism in the Małopolska region, recalled the reaction of Lviv citizens when they first saw this new type of vehicle:Inspired by these new machines, carpenters and various do-it-yourselfers soon began building vehicles of their own, which were usually quite uncomfortable and also somewhat dangerous. The cycling boom began for good in the 1890s, with the popularisation of the steel, rubber-wheeled bicycle.

Poland is a great destination for cycle tourists. With paved cycling lanes in the cities, hardened forest trails, river banks and railroad embankments, you will be spoilt for choice. The authorities of bigger cities in Poland tend to be more and more aware of the needs of cyclists; a network of cycling lanes has been developed rapidly and at the forefront of this trend are Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot, Krakow and Wroclaw. When visiting Warsaw, it is worth visiting the Kampinoski Forest.

Mafalda A.


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