Two wheels get you farther. It’s been a long journey to find those we sought for – old bikes from socialism era, meetings at the Kuzmányho / Škultétyho corner, coffee at the end of Hlavná Street, bicycle shops, sneak holes of the nearby Bankov forest, glaze-painting, dusty carpets spread on clay hills and common suburbia kids – way bolder than you are when on a bike. All of that happened in order to portray bicycle communities of Košice. Which are those and what’s special about them? Discover more about the locals who prefer wheel-moving. It gets boring on foot.
City cycling / Dutch Bikes / Mišo Bradovka
Right at the end (or at the beginning) of Vítezov dvor piled up with summer terraces, second-hand shops or religious bookshop you’ll find a wooden table surrounded by Dutch designed bicycles. Four guys are chilling out here and greet with an instantaneous friendliness. The owner of the Dutch Bikes shop Mišo Bradovka explains how city cycling works in the historical centre of Košice to a slight rock ‘n’ roll background. He’ll show you all the bikes he’s got here, you can either buy or rent them, the old-friends kind of talk you get as an extra. That’s the reason the others come here so often despite not working here at all.
An unofficial Dutch Bike club emerges thanks to them. “City cycling increases every year, I can see that in the number of customers who come here, both local and foreign ones,” Mišo says. All of a sudden people stop by and kids point at tall bicycles, shamelessly. No wonder the Hlavná Street holds the pride of the city. Mišo believes that as well, adding: “The beauty of historical centre obviously enhances cycling experience as such. Dutch bike provides an unbelievable comfort taking time to observe the city, old town and its building.”
Trail cycling / KE.CY / Zoran Bosák
The morning begins at a Bankov parking lot with Zoran Bosák. Subtly proud, he explains the formation of KE.CY, the civic association he and others similarly-opinionated established together. Their intention was to collectively work on single track construction in the nearby forests of Košice. Zoran’s dialogue emanates determination and proves that an intense effort leads to success. High-numbered participation at single camps organized by KE.CY and current trail route status in the city confirm it.
“Košice has the second-largest city forests in Europe. KE.CY obtained permission to work here in Bankov area. We consider it as a display of our vision now, it’s here where we wanted to show what single tracks actually are,” he says after multiple descending down the sharp curve of the KE.CY single track. “Some people in our team are certified trail builders under the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) who give lectures on how to compose single tracks. It’s essential to keep a certain angle so water erosion is avoided, or forests don’t suffer from drainage. One cannot artificially counteract the woods zone or let the trail lose its quality over time. We use only natural material we find along the way.”
BMX / Bikros Furča / Mišo Tomčo
Where can you get more romantic sunset than from the hill of Furča neighbourhood? We’re coming here during that pink light hue and it’s immediately clear how well the Bikros pics will look. Of course, no one has counted with children cycling school when five-year-old dazes with his crazily coordinated ride through wavy mounds and high curve inside this panel concentrated landscape. Not worried, he says he fell a few times.
There are more boys around, though – official BMX Košický šarkaň club couch Maťo Maurer gives them the feedback and orientates them along with the bikros race. Later comes, however, tenfold Slovak bikros champion, Mišo Tomčo. His dialogue describes the development of bikros in Košice in which he’s been an important figure for almost twenty years now: “A lot of kids come here from this neighbourhood, cross country cyclists also. Yet everyone is welcome. The bikros in this city somehow connects us all. We also organize a race once a year, and Slovak championship took place here few times as well,” Mišo says and the contagious smile doesn’t leave his face as he shows us an incredible ride full of jumps over the mounds, seemingly violating the laws of gravity.
Freestyle cycling / Dirt Park Drábová / Martin Boršč
Just a few metres behind KVP blocks. Wooden boards are being glazed for the new stand, clay needs to dry after recent raining and everything appears to indicate the coming-soon freestyle race. Right next to pump tracks, the story of how the civic association Enjoy the Ride has evolved is being delivered by one of its co-founders, Maťo Boršč.
Thanks to the association, he and other volunteers have been able to work on the Dirt Park construction on the KVP premises since 2012. “Because of the grants we’ve obtained, we could build a foam rubber pool, gazebo and other parts of the Dirt Park. Freestyle ride was acknowledged as an official Olympic sport last year and, thus, we’d like to open a school to train kids here. We want to make a mark and leave something after us. For that, we must show parents that this kind of sport is as dangerous as any other. It’s some sort of gymnastics. Gymnastic on a bike. That’s why one needs to practice a hundred times on foam before trying out for real,” Maťo explains. The association is planning to broaden its grounds on an adjacent meadow, now separated by a fence. A lot of effort and energy is required so they are constantly in need of a helping hand.
Fixies / Jaro Matej
When considering cyclo-types in Košice, this one definitely stands out from the crowd shawled inside its mystery nature. Fixie bike comes in a different manner than you’re normally used to, teaches to anticipate possible outcomes and prevents from hitting brakes. Stop pedalling and fixie will kick you up. Imagine it at high speed or when the traffic lights turn red. This makes such urban style cycling so adrenaline-driven. Jaro Matej’s contact was given to us through recommendation as ‘the oldest fix biker of Košice’.
Him, the unofficial Dutch Bikes group and us – late evening/night cycling along the abandoned Štúrova street, rusty crane, red flashlights and thin rubber tires adding to the authentic fix experience. While the girls and boys are racing with each other the photographer captures them from all angles the post-officer kind of bike allows him to. “Fixie is not a bike with advantages, rather the opposite. You have to do everything with your feet, speed up, slow down, skid. Frontal brake is only a matter of safety,” Jaro points out. “All depends on the fixed gear one applies, sets. Typical routes for fix cycling in Košice are at Podhradová, Moyzesova street, along Mlynský náhon, to Barca, Terasa. The ideal way is to bike on a Friday evening with not many cars around.”
Join any bike community you want. Book your room with us. The Invisible Hotel guests get introduced to anyone representing the city, cyclists included. You’ll also get a discount when renting a bike in Košice so let it all get to you. We’re all wheels.
Special credits for the article production go to Bicycle Garage and Tomáš Holub.