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Riding a bicycle in Krakow.

There are zealous cyclists who fervently advocate bicycling through Krakow as the best means of transport. But the city’s average resident considers biking to be a recreational activity and good exercise but hardly any viable alternative to a car and/or public transportation.

Pros and cons of cycling in Krakow.

No doubt a bike often offers considerable benefits in the city. Pedaling a bicycle in Krakow frequently turns out to be the quickest way to get from point A to point B in the congested city center at rush hour. It’s partly due to bikeways that crisscross the city. Plus bikers in Krakow can take advantage of many shortcuts inaccessible to motorists and routes closed to vehicular traffic. By the same token, local bicyclists usually feel free to venture into pedestrian zones. Also, unlike a car, it’s easy to park your bicycle downtown where parking spaces are preciously scarce.

At the same time, biking in Krakow has drawbacks, apart from obvious shortcomings such as exposure to the elements. It isn’t your model bike-friendly city. Many motorists don’t feel obliged to help cyclists in Krakow who are left to their own devices in navigating heavy traffic. Even cycle paths in Krakow aren’t completely safe and in the downtown some of them stay blocked by parked cars. Notoriously pot-holed roads, cracked tarmac, tramways, and cobblestone streets in the historic center make for a rough cycle ride. And keeping off busy streets bikers often need to negotiate their way among dog turds, broken glass, abandoned rubbish, and other obstacles. Plus standard protections aren’t enough to always prevent your bicycle from being stolen when you leave it unattended in the street.

Best short cycling trips from central Krakow.

From the Old Town to the Tyniec Abbey. Starting point Bernardynska street at the foot of the Wawel Royal Castle. The cycleway runs via Most Grunwaldzki bridge, alongside the southern Wisla riverbank, down Tyniecka street, alongside Wisla embankment, Widlakowa street, again Wisla embankment, past kayaking course, and down Promowa street. 
Time about 1h30 each way.

From Wawel to the Pilsudski Mound in Las Wolski forest. Starting point Wisla river embankment next to the Wawel Hill. Take the cycle path along the northern Wisla riverbank till its end by St. Norbert’s Convent, turn left at Kosciuszki street to lights and next up steep Sw. Bronisławy and Waszyngtona streets past Salwator cemetery, then beyond the Kosciuszko Mound and fortress a maze of meandering roads through the Las Wolski forest link the Krakow Zoo, the Bielany Monastery, and the Kopiec Pilsudskiego mound. 
Time about one hour each way. 

Bike rentals in Krakow.  

The city’s bike rentals usually close for winter so, in practice, one can readily rent a bike in Krakow in the period between late April and late October; as long as the weather permits. In the city center proper you may usually get a rental bicycle at the following addresses – 4 Sw. Anny street, 2 Grodzka street, 33a/12 Starowislna street, 24 Florianska street, and 9 Koletek street. Also downtown, in the Kazimierz area, a bicycle rental outfit operates at 5 Jozefa street. And there is one at 1 Na Bloniach street (entrance next to the tennis courts), close to the recreational areas of the Las Wolski forest and its environs. 

Self-service bicycle rental. 

Krakow can also boast an automated bike rental service with stands scattered around downtown. Registered users are supposed to take a bicycle from any of those stations and return the two-wheeler to another stand. Unfortunately, from October 13, 2016 the service is available on a monthly subscription only.  

Bike repair shops in Krakow.

Agasport at os. Dywizjonu 303, phone (+48) 126416803

Ando at 3 Madalinskiego street, phone (+48) 122690587

Art-Bike at 33A Starowislna street, phone (+48) 124220425

Biker Shop at 4 Czarnowiejska street, phone (+48) 124233262

Cyklo-centrum at 3 Wilenska street, phone (+48) 124187490

Cyklomaster at 10 Galczynskiego street, phone (+48) 126479233

iSport at 56 Zakopianska street, phone (+48) 122670394

Pogotowie rowerowe at 14 Kalwaryjska street, phone (+48) 122963350

Revor at 43 Kamienna street, phone (+48) 124153535

Secesja at 8 Wielicka street, phone (+48) 126562091

Tomar at 31 Klasztorna street, phone (+48) 124258430

Vario Bike at 4 Jozefinska street, phone (+48) 122961885.

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