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AAM Consulting on a mission to promote commuting by bicycle

June 12, 2024
AAM Consulting on a mission to promote commuting by bicycle

Our colleague in Hungary, Zoltán Ruttkay did a week long cycling challenge to promote commuting by bike and to achieve a world record. Let's hear from him: 

My goal was the same as last year: to promote commuting by bicycle and achieve a world record. However my journey and experience was very different. Last year I started from Vaals, the Netherlands rode across the Alps and arrived to Romania. This year I started in beautiful Sofia from one of AAM's offices, rode across the mountains of the Balkans reaching Skopje, Tirana, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Vienna, Bratislava to arrive to my home city Budapest and to another of AAM's offices. 

You can check my rides at my Strava cyclist profile or for example my longest but not hardest day of the week: Zágráb-Bécs - Tökéletes nap. Majdnem. Zagreb-Vienna - Perfect day. Almost.

So why was it very different? Not because my journey was 300 kms shorter, or because I climbed 5000 meters more of elevation.  

On the one hand it was so much more stressful and difficult, because the driving culture in the southern countries of my journey, most notably in Albania were not compatible with riding your bicycle. The majority of the drivers didn't respect that someone not in a car uses the opposite lane and they overtook like I wasn't there. From these experiences I learned that safety on the roads should come first. The positive health effects and positive externalities of cycling to work can occur only when the roads are safe and only after that can we promote cycling (to work) in a responsible way. Therefore I started to hold a free cycling course in Budapest and asked drivers in the Evening News to respect people in more fragile vehicles and never overtake when someone comes from the opposite lane because of the enhanced risks of serious and fatal accidents. Also, when going in the same direction to overtake them by keeping a safe distance of 1,5 meters. 

You who are reading this probably already know how do drive safely among cyclists, or how to ride safely. Than please help to catalyse the process and spread the way of safe, micromobility oriented transport culture. 

On the other hand even though I had more than a dozen of setbacks (my rim was deformed, my camera broke, my front derailleur broke, I had to avoid 100 kilometres in the mountains, I was stung by a wasp to which I am allergic, etc.)  due which I needed to reset myself again and again; I could finish my journey to achieve a world record because for mainly 2 reasons. First, I had messages to convey - cycle to work and drive safely - this was my mission. Second, I arrived to my hometown Budapest where I knew that my family, friends would wait for me. I was very happy that György Balló and Péter Kun, my friends and colleaguaes from AAM Consulting  were also in front of the Hungarian Parliament waiting for me. These gave me huge boost and mental strength needed to overcome all the difficulties. 

So once again please help to spread the culture of safety on the roads and a micromobility friendly approach so that there won't be a need for mental strength to cycle the work!


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