Cycling around Europe with Ērenpreiss
A look back in history
When it comes to cycling, Latvia is probably not one of those places that come to mind first... But in the 1920s the number of bicycles in Riga was growing faster than its population. And all because of Gustavs Ērenpreiss. G.Ērenpreiss bicycle factory was founded by the talented Latvian craftsman and soon became the largest manufacturer in the Baltic States. These bicycles were ridden by the top Latvian cyclists of the time, like Arvīds Immermanis and Andrejs Apsītis who participated at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. The golden era came to an end during the World War II, when the factory was taken over by the Soviet regime and set to producing mopeds. Almost 70 years later his great-grandnephew Toms Ērenpreiss proved that the spirit of cycling is still going strong in the Baltics by restoring the famous family brand in 2005. The first bicycle collection was introduced in 2012, applying the knowledge and skills gathered in Toms’ experience in bicycle restoration, and now these beauties are rolling in the streets of Riga and beyond. Besides quality and great design, each of these bicycles has its own name: Gustavs (in honour of Gustavs Ērenpreiss); Greta (in honour of the favourite actress of G. Ērenpreiss); Tom (named after the current owner) etc. And Toms Ērenpreiss knows more than just bicycle-making – he also can give an advice of the most pleasant cities for cycling.
Tom Ērenpreiss has listed three destinations that boast cycling infrastructure so great that cycling can even replace public transport. Locals in these cities can easily adapt a suitable outfit to any weather conditions and do that without prejudice. For example, Danes are well known for their love of cycling, and cities all around the world are now looking at ways to copy this phenomenon. They even don't think about what kind of weather is surrounding them during the day, cycling is just so deeply rooted. As Tom points out, there’s more rain and cold winds in cities like Copenhagen and London than in the capital of Latvia. Let's see what the most interesting cycling cities are.
This city is perfect for discovering by bike. There is an extensive cycle path network to be explored by anyone who loves two-wheeled transport. Rental here is very convenient with Citybikes. You’re really spoilt for choice here – where to start, where to head first, what route to take – the possibilities are endless. Try this helpful and handy guide.
Copenhagen is literally built for cyclists. You'll find more bikes than cars in this city, and people here live and breathe cycling culture. No matter the weather and no matter where they’re going – Copenhageners go by bike! Everyone has a bicycle, everybody rides a bicycle, and if you’re planning to visit this city there is certainly no better way of getting around than breezing down the streets like a local.
Photo taken from flickr.com.
The cycling network of London has changed quite a bit over the last few years. If you don’t want to head straight into the busy traffic of the city, you can see its hidden gems at your own rhythm taking the leisure cycle routes. The easiest way to get yourself a bike is finding the nearest Santander Cycles station! Nicknamed Boris bikes, after Boris Johnson who was Mayor of London at the time when they were introduced to the city, Santander Cycles are a great way to explore the capital, with pick-up and drop-off docking stations at 700 locations, with more than 10 000 bikes altogether.
Photo taken from travellikealocal.com.
Written specially for airBalticBlog by Eugenia Krupenkina.