The Plan

The Plan: Two months of unassisted cycling and camping through Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and wherever else our legs may take us.

The Route: Starting in Brussels and flying out of Berlin are the only given at this point. We plan to cycle parts of the Flanders Cycle Route, Rhine River and the Danube River. We will also be using the EuroVelo and regional cycling routes.

Accommodation: WarmShowers website (like couchsurfing for cyclists). We are also planning on staying at campsites, backyards of friendly locals or in the wilderness.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 48: Bratislava to Vienna: 80k

"I thought you said it was around 70km?" I asked Miles while looking at a sign listing Vienna at a distance of 38km. We had reached the outskirts of the Bratislava after a deliciously fancy breakfast at the hotel where we classily stuffed our pockets with Nutella and honey packets as well as the complimentary soaps and shampoos on our way out. Now it looked like our journey was being cut in half until a closer inspection of the sign showed an indignant cyclist's sarcastic comment and the accurate distance of 68km penned in with a sharpie.

Good that we learned early on the day to distrust the signs. We ended up ignoring most of them and sticking to the road once we realized the marked path was taking us on unnecessary side trips through "scenic" fields and villages. Then we hit what I fully believe to be the most boring and awful, terrible, no-good section of biking we have done this entire trip. The path went up on a berm with trees on either side, too low and a bit to far from the berm to provide any shade whatsoever, while also managing to block any sort of view that might have existed. Nothing but trees for miles and miles, with the path extending straight ahead into nothingness. It was mind numbingly boring and that's not the only thing that was going numb. The "paved" road, required for the Eurovelo status this awful path possesses, only barely qualified as such due to the fact that the rocky gravel was stuck down rather than loose. The effect was rather like riding a jackhammer for hours on end. 

All this probably influenced our excitement at arriving in Vienna, although the city doesn't need much help. As we neared the outskirts the area around the path opened up and it ran along the Danube again. The path itself filled with joggers, cyclists, and rollerbladers enjoying the evening sun, and the banks of the river filled with people sunning, swimming, and fishing. As we got closer to the city there were even waterski courses and lots of other water and land sports. The expansive access to and use of public riverside land and the energy that accompanied it warmed us to Vienna from the start. We were further impressed as we entered the heart of the city and joined commuting cyclists on the most amazing cosmopolitan bike infrastructure we have seen yet, superior even to Amsterdam. Major points earned on the bike-able city front and very inspiring to imagine the possibilities if other cities, ahem-New York, followed Vienna's example.

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