The Argus Bike Festival weekend on the Rathausplatz in early April represents the “official” opening of the bicycle season in Vienna.
You don’t have to be a bike fiend to appreciate the event (though it helps), as the show elements provide entertaining displays of two-wheeled dexterity that almost anyone can enjoy.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the twists, turns, spins and skills of the riders, as they launch themselves off ramps and thumb their youthful noses at Mother Gravity:
It’s not all about the adrenaline though.
The festival celebrates and reflects the full diversity of cycling in Vienna. From young families driven by environmental concerns about motorised vehicles to road race pros, BMXers and everything in between – all contributing to a positive, friendly atmosphere.
Particular highlights of the 2016 event were the bike tricks performed on the School2rock ramps, the BMX trials (think of an obstacle course for cyclists), the Masters of Dirt pumptrack and the pursuit races around the Red Bull Fuxjagd track:
There’s plenty of information to gather about cycle paths and bike matters, reflecting Vienna’s strong environmental character. And the event features a host of cycling-related exhibitors, with the best of bike-related technology, gear, fashion and even tourism, with bike-friendly destinations exhibiting from as far away as Taiwan.
It was pretty packed with cycling enthusiasts when I was there on the Sunday morning – from young kids riding in their parents’ bike-mounted child transporters to senior cyclists wearing the latest Tour de France gear (who also had a stand at the festival).
Photographers in particular will love the photo opportunities. The historic surrounds make a great backdrop for action shots of the BMXers and others in full flight (I mean that literally). Like this one I took at the 2007 Vienna Air King dirt contest. This biennial event returns to the Bike Festival in 2017. Spectacular:
All in all the festival is not strictly intended as a tourist attraction. But if you are passing, pop in and marvel at the two-wheeled skills on show.
Bike Festival visitor info
Check the official website for the full programme and timings. Unlike most Vienna events, it’s not swimming in food stands, but there were several places to grab a snack, with a strong street food feel – crepes, burgers and waffles, for example.
How to get there:
Subway: Take the U2 line to Rathaus.
Trams: Lines 1, D or 71 to Rathausplatz / Burgtheater or line 2 to Stadiongasse / Parlament.
Address: Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna