It’s called the Trikke. Go ahead and pronounce it “trike,” rhyming with bike, because it really is a three-wheeled wonder that’s as fun to ride as a trike when you’re three. It’s the funkiest way to see downtown Budapest, whether you’re new in town or been here awhile.
I fall into the latter category, as you know, so I was eager to cruise around downtown on something safer than a bike (because you can stick to the sidewalks), greener than a car, and faster than my feet. I met András Mihály of Trikke Tours Budapest at the opening of eXbox, the indoor extreme sports center I wrote about recently, and couldn’t wait to take to the streets with an electric Trikke.
We began at András’s headquarters on Régiposta utca, the street off Váci utca famous as home to Hungary’s first-ever McDonald’s (1988, for you trivia buffs). We drove out to Március 15. tér for some practice on a flat surface, and soon I was up to speed and slaloming in and out of the lampposts like a skier – an electro-powered one.
We rolled down the Duna Corso promenade, tooled around Vörösmarty tér, scaring a few tourists but rewarding them with Trikke brochures, and whizz down to Szabadság tér to fly by the US embassy, take a few spins in front of Parliament, and then dropped by Szent István tér and the Basilica. Though I say we were whizzing around the city, I think it was all in my mind – I don’t think we even got close to the Trikke’s maximum speed of 25 km/h. Still, we were going fast enough to create a breeze for ourselves in the 30+ heat, another bonus of this amazing vehicle.
András tells me you can go anywhere with a Trikke in Budapest, and he does. In fact, his daughter accompanied us on our tour, riding on his back and occasionally giggling with glee. He and his colleague take groups on tours of up to 4 hours, which include every corner of the city from the Castle District to the Citadella, up Andrássy út (the Trikke can be used in bike lanes) to Heroes’ Square and the City Park, or even a spin around Margaret Island. I only got a small taste of the highlights of downtown on my one-hour tour, but it was worth it to see the old sights from a new perspective. A fun one.
Tours are €50 per hour, per person – kids are free, and kids 5-12 can ride with an adult on a Trikke. Group discounts are available, and so are corporate team-building events. See www.carvingvehicles.hu for more information and to book a Trikke tour.