Cycling is undoubtedly one of Polish favourite pastimes and in recent years it has become an eco-friendly alternative for their daily commute. Being such an enormous part of everyday life, it is widely supported by the officials both national and regional. Well thought-through cycling infrastructure is being constantly developed with new cycling lanes, designated rest areas and emergency tool boxes literally popping up every single day. The Polish travel agency, ITS Poland, recommends visiting Poland for your next cycling adventure.
Rules and regulations
As your probably guessed there are certain rules and regulations that you should bear in mind whilst moving about on two wheels. First and foremost, you should generally keep to the cycling lanes and you might want to look for a round blue sign with a bicycle on it, since cycling lanes are often separated both from the streets and the pavements. When there is no cycling lane in sight you are obliged to share the streets with cars and other motor vehicles with the exception of city streets with a higher speed limit than 50 kilometres per hour, in bad weather or when cycling with a child. Those three exceptions are the only time you are allowed on the pavement. You should also give way to pedestrians both on the pavement and on the pedestrian crossing. Within city limits, cars should give way to cyclists when the cycle lane crosses the street, although the Polish travel agency ITS Poland advises to make sure you can cross safely. Helmets are not mandatory, however, we strongly recommend that you do.
Cycling in the cities
Naturally, you cannot always bring your bicycle with you on your travels. Although anything is possible, sometimes it is just too much hustle. That is why when you are planning your journey you may check beforehand if your travel destination offers city bikes. Most major cities in Poland offer bicycle-sharing services both for the locals and visitors. In most cases you will need to download an app on your device that will guide you to the nearest available bicycle. You will also have an interactive map of the rental zone on your display and you will pay as you go. It is important, however, to study the terms and conditions before you start your rental. There might be certain spots where you cannot park or leave your bicycle once you are finished. You may also be charged for leaving the bicycle unattended or outside your rental zone.
Those of you who seek greater adventures and those who feel cramped in the city might turn to some of the Polish grand cycling routes. Apart from regular cycling lanes that run between different cities there are quite a few that will take you on a unique journey. The Green Velo, for example, is the longest of such trails that runs for nearly 2,000 kilometres. Its starting point is located in Elbląg in the Warminsko-Mazurskie region. The Green Velo takes you along Polish Eastern border up to a small town of Końskie in Świętokrzyskie region. Along the way you will have plenty of opportunities to admire a great deal of diverse landscapes, historic cities, castles and 5 national parks. As much as 580 kilometres runs through the woods and 180 kilometres along rivers. There are also some other trails equally worth recommending, such as Eurovelo, Baltic Sea Cycling Route, Eagle’s Nest Cycling Trail and countless trails in the Bieszczady mountains.
Poland is home to numerous cycling events for people of all ages and of different level. One of the most popular events with about 45 thousand participants is Rowerowa Stolica Polski (Eng. Cycling Capital of Poland) where via a tracking app participants gather kilometres for a particular city for an entire month. In 2021 the total number of kilometres cycled reached 7 million shared among all taking part. The most active participants can boast impressive 7,144 kilometres among men and 6,044 among women. Rowerowa Stolica Polski is also an eco-friendly event that helped reducing the carbon footprint by 257 tonnes. Unlike the abovementioned there are also some major professional events such as Tour de Pologne, held annually since 1928. The South of Poland, for example, holds numerous cross-country and downhill competitions. If you would like to combine your travels with a bit of competitive thrill, then Poland is definitely your go to place.
Pack your bags and go!
Poland is as cycling-friendly as it gets. You are guaranteed to spend some quality time on two wheels regardless whether it is a short trip around Kraków’s Old Town or a multi-day adventure out in the open. For more information or assistance in planning your stay reach out to ITS Poland – the Polish travel agency with helpful staff, who happen to be keen cyclists as well.