River Danube Tour Day 12. A big one.

Did not sleep in the city campsite last night, it was one the beautiful town, Grein, but it was right next to a busy road and trucks were going past all night. Also there was a Scout group cycling the route and their staff do not inform the kids how to behave in a campsite and how to respect the paying public so they were screaming and chatting until the early hours. That would not be going on a cyclebudda/NHGS coast to coast. Ours kids would of been perfect!

As we did not sleep we just got up and dismantled camp in about 10 mins. Up and out of there. The place is stunning though. We went to the bakery for breakfast, SPAR store for lunch stuff and the bike shop for oil. All before 0730!

The plan was to do a day and half worth of riding to make up the one day we are behind schedule, we nearly did it by 10km. So I will class that as having done it!!

We were expecting to be at a camp after 102km but the campsite was not there so we had to keep riding on. We did 120km, Rachaels first KM century and just 40km short of a century for the 100 miles too.

It has still been too crazy hot. 36-38 degrees.  As we were going through the hills there were vineyards and orchards everywhere. I have never seen so many different types of fruits been grown in such quantities. Even on the road side, you only need to travel 100m and you would of gone past several plum, apple and pear trees.

Because of the heat I think it is fair to say I am addicted to Coke, I can not go past a store or cafe without getting a bottle to quench my thirst and replace some sugar. If I have put on weight on on this tour. That will be the culprit!

Todays route was Grein, Melk, Krems and we are just 10km short of Tulln. Every town and village was just fairy tale. The buildings around here are very decorative. We got to a beautiful campsite in a sports complex/park type place. It is small and quiet. Perfect.

We made tea. Pasta, pesto, tinned veg and cheese, also perfect. I did have to go on a Coke hunt and not far from camp was a takeaway. Success! Now I have stopped going cold turkey. I need to get an addiction to cold water, it is cheaper!

Last night there were two storms from different directions they missed us again! Every night we have heard them in the distance but we have been lucky. Last night’s sounded vicious and close and I was sure we were going to get drenched. The thunder sounded nasty and each roar went in for ages. If it was right above us I think I would of been bricking it. But as I say, lucky again!

Vienna tomorrow! And also the border into Slovakia. Bratislava if not tomorrow, then defo the day after!

 

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River Danube Tour Day 10: Wow. Wow. Wow

Today after about 19km of riding time we left Germany.  If you read the last post I was not expecting the ride to be much different.  I could not have been so wrong!  As soon as we crossed the border we were given hills on each side covered with alpine trees and the beautiful natural smell of the pine.  The river was a pale blue and we kept on reminding ourselves of the little stream it started from in the Black Forest of Germany, not far from a little village called Triberg.

Now I know why a lot of people start the tour in Austria, the path is all tarmac, still away from traffic but the surface is stepped up.  In Germany it was like a canal path for a lot of it and it was harder going on the folding bikes.  When we got to Austria’s tarmac though we were flying, not even the electric bike brigade could come past us.

You may ask was it worth the trouble getting to Triberg by public transport to get to the proper source of the river, I will say damn was!  You can not experience the geography and the scale of what happens in the beautiful planet of ours until you see the effect of the surroundings as you ride along.

The Bromptons have come into their own since we got to Austria, we overtook the people on the campsite that left an hour before us which gave us a rite buzz.

I am so surprised by this trip.  It has everything to offer to people who appreciate nature.

We have seen herds of deer, bevy of swans and goats.  Today we had our tea at a traditional hangout, fischenof. We had freshly barbecued mackerel, chips and bread and it was lush. Washed down with some traditional ales and we were well happy.

The good news is Rachael is already talking about our next tour, so it can’t be that bad 🙂

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River Danube Tour Day 9: Auf Wiedersehen Germany

The Germans do like to get up early and this has been signified in the past when the church bells have rung out at 0700.  Rachael did not appreciate it this morning when I bellowed in her ear “Do you fancy some coffee?” as the church bells this morning rang out at 0600.  This got the camp into its usual frenzy of a race to see who can pack up and get off camp first.

We were probably the second group off camp but we backtracked a couple of k for a bought breakfast and coffee from a bakery as we were out of supplies.  The temp was back up to its normal 36-39 degrees but we still managed to get 87km done.

When we found a campsite 10km from Passau we had our usual beer before doing anything.  As we had our beer we saw that all the same people from the last camp had also decided that the extra 10km to Passau was way too much in this heat and also decided to call this their home for the night.

This campsite is really nice, not new, in fact very dated, but it does have an indoor pool and there will be fresh bread and buns available at 0730 in the morning.

Tomorrow after riding about 19km we will leave Germany behind and we will be crossing the border into Austria.  I am sure we will not notice a difference at first but it is a significant moment and one that is a good tick off point and motivator for the rest of the trip.

Rachael would also like you to know that we saw a super cute baby Shetland Pony.

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River Danube Tour Day 7: Messing about on the river

We got up out of our tower after a really nice sleep.  We woke up at about 0600 and went to pay a visit thinking we would be the first up, but these Germans are early risers and the shower block had quite a few people pottering about.  After fixing Rachaels tyre (it had a piece of glass stuck in it) we left the site at about 0900, a bit later than planned.  The temp was showing as 37 degrees on the Garmin in the shade it just felt like it was a blow torch on your back in the sun.

It was a struggle to get to the place where we get the little boat across to the other side.  The boat is the best way as the river as cut a vertical route through leaving no room for a bike path.  So you would have to detour to by-pass the gorge.

When we finally got to the place where we got the boat, we were struck by the complete beauty, there were people swimming and paddle boarding, but it was so quiet and not busy or tacky at all.  It was the perfect place to stay for the day, but we had to get the boat to get to our digs.  It was a bit of a challenge lifting the bikes in but people were there to help and other cycle tourers were taking their bikes as well so I did not feel I was causing any problems.  Just before the boat came a French couple that were also on bikes jumped into the river, I thought I am having some of that.  I wish we could have stopped there all day because as soon as you left the water the blow torch was on full blast.  The French guy told me that the water temp was 28 degrees!!  but it felt cool in contrast to the crazy temperature out of the water.

When we got off the ferry we went to a bike shop for some supplies and the guy behind the counter said their summer is normally 28 degrees.  That temp sounds a lot better hat 36 degrees.  He also said that it is not cooling down at all for the forseeable future.  It is making the riding really difficult and other tourers have said they are not getting the kilometres done that they were expecting to do each day!  I am happy that it is sunny, but a tad bit cooler and I would be happier.

We did end up doing just short of 60 km today and stopped in a beautiful town called Kelheim.  It really is nice.  We had some food at a greek place and now I feel stuffed.  I broke the diet today and had a pastry mid morning and an ice cream on a walk to the bike shop.  We are taking showers whenever we pass one or jumping in the river if a place allows.  I would sum up our progress today as “Just getting through it”.

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River Danube Tour Day 2: Finding the source of the great flow

Today we got up early and had breakfast as 0800.  The weather forecast is stating 32 degrees everyday whilst we are cycling but on the bikes the breeze makes it feel bearable.  We were on a bit of a mission to find cooking camping gas.  But we also wanted to go up and see the highest waterfall in Germany the entrance to the walk was literally just across the road, 4 metres away.  The waterfall walk once you go through the gates is about 30 mins.  We did not go up as far to see the 160m drop but we did see the seven cascades.  This was not through any other reason other than we did not know you had to go higher to see the big one! doh.

Once we got on the bikes straight away we were on a 1100m mountain climb and it felt good.  I love nothing better than getting in to an easy gear and pacing a way up a mountain full with luggage.  The bikes handled it superbly and I was so impressed at how easy it was even though in places they were advertising 20%.

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Once on the top it levelled out to nice meadows and beautiful tall trees.  The only thing you could hear at times were the cow bells.  It was just magical!

There has been some disputes over the years as to where the Danube actually starts and the villages of both places have come to a solution.  So there is the start of the highest stream which feeds into the Danube and they class it as the head water of the river.  We were there first as that is the highest point.  This area is called Bregquelle then after 40 odd km’s we came to Donaueschingen.  Here they have a Roman wall where they built a wall around the spring where the streams and river surfaces again, this is called the official start.

It has been one hell of an amazing day of cycle touring.  If you have not been to the Black Forest in Germany you need to get here.  I am having such a beautiful time, if it continues like this it will be a tour that will stay in the brain cells for many years.

 

River Danube Tour: Day 0

Tomorrow we set off on our tour of the River Danube.  As we are restricted on time we are doing half of the official 1800 mile long route.  So we are doing 900 miles from the Black Forest in Germany through Austria, Slovakia then finishing in Budapest the capital of Hungary.  The route goes through many beautiful villages and cities including Vienna.  You can see the official website for the route here:  https://www.danube-cycle-path.com/

An image of some of the gorges we will be navigating

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The plan:  We have our bikes and bags packed up in boxes and tomorrow we make our way to Manchester Airport.  From there we fly to Stuttgart and the get a train to Triburg.  Triburg is a very attractive village in the Black Forest about 12km from the start of the route.

We have about 500m of climbing to do before we reach the route.  As we are starting at the source in the mountains the route generally follows a downward slope, but as we will want to get to the top of some of the gorges for views and villages there are bound to be some hills which will keep me happy 🙂

We are camping along the route with a couple of hotels in the cities even though you could if you wanted to camp in the city as well.  I have also got in touch with some hosts on the cycle hospitality site WarmShowers.  I used these in American and Canada and the hosts were amazing.  If you are looking at doing some touring and want to try staying with a cycle hosts the website is: https://www.warmshowers.org/

We are doing the route on Bromptons.  I will have a rucksack that will sit on the back rack vertically and attached at the seat.  Images of this will follow once we get to Triburg and set up the bikes.  I got the idea to pack this way off another cycle touring site, ‘Path Less Pedaled’ www.pathlesspedaled.com/  It is a good site full of reviews and touring tips.  I have weighed the bags and the front bag is about 15kg the rucksack is 20kg and the bike is 13kg and I weigh about 75kg.  So a total weight of 123kg I will need to drag up the hills.  If you have seen my previous tours you will know that this is quite a lot less than what I have hauled in the past.  The fully loaded tandem with trailer plus 9 year old from Spain springs to mind 🙂

An image of a Brompton set up like ours will be is below.

brompton with bags

I have the Bromptons on a three-month hire as I wanted a long-term test to see if they were able to join the stable of bikes I have.  I can say we are both very impressed with the bikes and we will be getting some of our own.  As they are hire bikes they do not have the full touring spec that I will get on the ones we will buy.  The ones we will get will have the -12% gearing, dynamo lights and the touring P type bar with a raw finish.  Like the one below but with dynamo lights.

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So we are excited by the trip and we are getting the last of the bits together.  I will try and keep a daily blog update of the trip with images and hopefully some video (depends on wifi and data limits).  So our boxes and bags are nearly packed.

 

 

 

C2C3: 15th – 18th July

It is only a couple of weeks before forty five!! teenagers take on the coast to coast route.  They are doing the 170 mile Way of the Roses route.  As this is the third time of running this fund raising trip we have given it the name C2C3, (coast to coast III).

The students are carrying their own gear and cooking their own food using single burner stoves.  They are doing this to raise money for their school.  So far they have raised £8500 including gift aid.  They have a target of 10k, so they are not too far off.  Please promote their ride my sharing their donation link on Virgin Money Giving.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/NHGSC2C3

We really have a good time on the trip and the students learn a lot about being on the road, building resilience, being independent and staying safe.

They are setting off from Morecambe on the 15th July and completing in Bridlington on the 18th July.

Cycle Budda Life Ep3

Ryburn Valley High School Two Day Mini Tour

This month a school in Calderdale, Ryburn Valley High School required my assistance in leading a two day mountain bike tour.  The students were from Year 7 and Year 8 and are part of the Ryburn Adventure Tour Cycle Club that Mr Duffy has set up at the school.

The students set off from their school Friday afternoon and stopped at the Vandals Rugby Club House.  The rides were about 20 miles in length each day and included some very big hills.

The kids were amazing and supported each other through the whole event.  You can see the two routes here Day 1 / Day 2.  The weather was amazing for  the whole trip.  A few images below.

 

North Halifax Grammar School Coast to Coast Ride

We are in the third year of running our coast 2 coast school fund raising ride.  Each year so far we have raised over £10,000 for the school.  This year we are doing the Way of the Roses route which is 170 miles in length.  The students carry their own gear and cook their own food on single burner stoves.  If you would like to support their ride in the way of a donation please click on the link to the money giving website.  Please share the link with like minded souls.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/NHGSC2C3

Cycle Budda Life Ep1

Diary of a Lifestyle Cyclist and Tourer

I have several bikes in my shed, bedroom, cellar and conservatory.  All very different.  A carbon race bike that does not get much use.  A fatbike gets more use than the carbon bike.  A steel utility tourer with Rohloff hub and a cross bike in bits.

This morning I jumped on the steel steed and with all the snowy weather we have had recently a lot of salt has been put down on the roads.  When I jumped on it this morning I knew something was not right.  The Rohloff had spun around and the wheel was twisted.  How? I do not know, it was running fine the last time I got off it!  One thing for sure all the salt put down to combat the snow has not helped, even though I did give it a quick rinse before I put it away a few days ago.  I had to hot foot it back to the shed.  Choices, fatbike, no not this time, people might think I was riding it because of the snow and that had all gone.  Cross bike in pieces, Carbon bike, it will have to be even though I really did not want to.  I justified the decision with the fact carbon can’t rust as far as I am aware.  Now, the race bike had been serviced a few months ago and not been ridden since….. Chain Snap eh oh that is easy to fix.

My point…. I came across the saying the number of bikes you should own is n+1, with n being the current number of bikes you already have.

Now I love this.  I constantly look at bike websites and wish I had most of them.  I am not into slick race bikes anymore so I can give or take them.  But any sexy utility, tourer and everyday bike I am all over it!  But due to space I have been on a mission to find the perfect one bike!  Let me tell you I don’t think it can exist if only for the reason you need another bike to jump on to when your current one fails between your legs.  It is a bit like having an AA membership if you own a car.  You need a conveyor belt of bikes to go through in turn.  One you are riding, one in the workshop and two in ready in the shed waiting to go.  So if you are a lifestyle cyclist that needs a bike for commute, shopping and fun I will put a number on five bikes minimum.

Current Bike Project

The Cannondale cross bike that I have has been to battle with cycle touring and was showing the scars from a couple of coast to coasts and the excellent ride back from Spain on the Velodyssey route.  It was an amazing trip.  My partner her nine year old and myself all the way on the coastal route if you want to see beautiful things and jump in the sea then it is a must do tour.  You can see how we got on in previous posts.  Anyway the bike did an amazing job.  The only problem is that the paint work got a bit tatty.  So I have jazzed it up with a metallic purple powercoat which looks cool.

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It is also getting built up in a different style.  I am going for SOMA Sparrow bars.  MTB 1×11 shifting and Hydro disc brakes.  Brooks saddle.  It will look the bee’s knee’s when it is built up.  Some stuff is just starting to trickle through, so the tools are coming out.

So far the brakes and BB have come.  The handlebars should be here in the next week.  By the end of next week we should of seen some progress that I will share with you.

 

NHGS Cycle Fundrasier

Starting on the 15th July forty two teenage students are cycling the Way of the Roses route, coast to coast from Morecambe to Bridlington.  It is 170 miles over some tough hills in the Yorkshire Dales.  The really cool thing is they are carrying their own gear and cooking their own meals.  Being completely independent and showing grit and resilience.  It is the third time the school has done a coast to coast ride to raise money and the student manage to get about £10,000 each time the ride has run.  Please show your support to the students and donate on their Money Giving Page https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/NHGSC2C3 Please share this link with as many people as you can, the students will really appreciate it.

Eyewear

If you are in need of sport eyewear that has removable lens and can be made prescription please consider these specs from Sunwise.

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The profit, around £15 for each pair will go towards the C2C ride above.  Please contact:  Stewart Mitchell (Eyecare) LLP, 81 Godwin Street, Bradford, BD1 2SH, Call 01274 723362, http://sidneyfraser.co.uk/

Here to Help

I may be able to assist you in the following ways:

  1. You want to dust off your old bike and commute to work but want to build up some confidence.
  2. You would like a guided tour around Calderdale/Yorkshire.
  3. You want help setting up a local cycle club.
  4. You want to set up and host a cycle fund raising activities/event.

e-mail me at djugroop@gmail.com and we can talk about your cycling requirements.  No harm in asking to see what we can do!

Upcoming Rides, Tours and Fundraising

The next few cycling escapades in order of completion include:

April 3rd – April 5th:  I will be undertaking my Advanced Mountain Bike Leader Award.  I already hold the Multi Day Tour Leader Award which is suitable for long tours on the road.  Being able to confidently take groups off the tarmac and into some beautiful, peaceful countryside is the main advantage and incentive of holding the Advanced MTB Award.  Both awards have been led and organised by Cycling UK (CTC).   https://www.cyclinguk.org/courses-and-training.

training

May 26th 2018 – May 29th 2018:  Coast to Coast ride (Way of the Roses) with a small group of teenagers.  This will be about twenty young kids tackling the 170 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington.

July 15th 2018 – July 18th 2018:  Coast to Coast ride (Way of the Roses) with NHGS.  Forty one students will be riding to raise money for their school.  Please donate here  https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/NHGSC2C3.  For information on the route click this link:  http://wayoftheroses.info/route.

July 21st 2018 – July 23rd 2018:  I will be doing the 98 mile off road West Highland Way.  For this trip I will be travelling light and doing some proper bikepack bivvying 🙂  You can find information from the official site here.  https://www.westhighlandway.org/.

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July 28th 2018 – August 13th 2018:  Cycle tour of the first half of the river Danube.  Starting in the Black Forest of Germany and ending 1300km later in Budapest, Hungary.  This is the offical site for the route.  https://www.danube-cycle-path.com/.

dan

As I do the routes I will be blogging more frequently to inform you of the cycling to inspire ideas and trips of your own.