It’s been very interesting following your journey, Walter, and your thoughts. Perhaps you can send a condensed piece for the Gazette, with the highlights of the journey and a couple of photographs. 500 or 600 words would be about right.
This was the contents of an e-mail sent to me by Roger Alma, editor of the ‘Gazette’ the magazine of the Tricycle Association.
The places I visited over the month were London, Paris, the Black Forrest, Salzburg, Munchen, Ravensburg, Passau, and finally Wien.
I travelled with my folding bike, using it mostly to get around the cities I visited, or on occasion to go outside the city to see some attraction nearby, I only covered 763K over the whole time I was away.
My quarters were in the main Backpackers or Youth Hostel establishments, and have to add that the standard of such establishments is top end, even backpackers, demand it these days, no more given a cleaning job to do before leaving the YH. Although most include breakfast, I also carried my camp stove for I still like to rustle up meals for myself, and of course tea, I do get withdrawal symptoms (headaches) if I miss out on my daily fix.
If you have never been to Europe on a cycling trip, the first thing that grabs you is the extensive cycle free paths there are all over Europe and throughout every city, and none to of this “Share with Care” crap, these are proper cycle free roads, pedestrians have their own (pavements) and motorists their own (roads) supper safe.
At the risk of teaching granny to suck eggs. We of a certain age will remember the days of the big CTC – Café to Café (sorry cycle touring club) ride-outs on Sundays, so will know that bicycles are only efficient when they get up a bit of speed, momentum. We were taught to pedal at a cadence of around 70rpm (around 10mph) and use our gears to maintain that cadence. Therefore, cycle only paths are essential if we are to get people using bikes to commute and out of their cars, put in the infrastructure and people will use it, you see it all over Europe. Sadly the ones making such decisions on our behalf, the last time they were on a bike it had stabilizers.
What did I learn from the trip? If I were doing it over (a big city tour rather than a cycling holiday) I would not take my bike, there are bikes for hire in every city, mostly they are e-bikes at 10 cents a minute, and you can cover a lot of ground for a euro. For the young the e-scooters seem to be their chosen means of transport, they certainly cover the ground on them. Both are picked up and dropped off anywhere.
Cities are big and noisy places and I had to escape out and into the countryside from time to time, again the cycle paths (narrow tarmac roads, mostly running alongside the main roads).
What were the highlights, (apart that is from the friendliness I found all over, especially in YH/backpackers hostels)? Without a doubt the Black Forrest, then I have always been known as a hill climber rather than a sprinter.
The Black Forrest is of course the source of the River Danube, and why I originally decided to go there. Arriving on April Fools Day, as I climbed higher into the mountains I hit the snow line, and arriving in Salzburg a few days later, I again ran into snow may be best to leave later in the season, however, the temperature soon rose rapidly over the month of April, and I believe I only had three days of rain after leaving Salzburg.
What next, well I would wish to go back and revisit some of these places as a one-off trip, Salzburg to travel around the lakes that surround the city.
Passau, just so much to do there, you can cycle for mile after mile along the banks of the Inn (one of the three rivers that come together at this point), all of course on traffic-free cycle paths.
At many of the backpackers you can sign up for a free guided tour of the city, and don’t worry about language, on all tours you will be given earphones to wear that translate for you, anyway, the Germans speak better English than I will ever achieve.
As ever stay safe.