River Danube Tour Day 1: Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Trains, Trains, Auomobiles, Trains, Trains

As I know from doing this kidda thing for the last decade, getting to an awesome place with a bike is probably the most challenging bit.  Riding the route you have planned is the reward for all the effort.

We set off this morning at 0510 and got the train from Sowerby Bridge at 0545 to Manchester Airport.  As we had a big box we bypassed the massive queue and Ryan Air Checkin and was told to go straight to the front, bonus!  Our plane was delayed by about 30 mins, but we had a nice breakfast in the airport so no worries.  We landed at about 1500 local time.

When we landed in Stuttgart we then had to get a taxi from the airport to the train station.  As we had the Bromptons we did not need to wait for the train that I had booked with cycle carriage.  We could jump on any train we liked!!  This would have saved us ab out five hours, but we missed a stopped and had to do a  bit of back tracking, so in the end we only saved a couple of hours, still a bonus.

As the train was getting closer to our destination in Triberg the scenery suddenly changed.  If you have not been to this neck of the woods, sorry forest, Black Forest.  You need to get here quick, it is beautiful and amazing!

Our total journey consisted of:  Taxi, train, plane, taxi, train, train, train, train and taxi.  But it was sure worth it.  We got to our hotel and it is a rite old traditional building.  We got here quite late 2100 so they did some quick and easy bites for us, a couple of G&T’s and an apple strudel with vanilla sauce.  Feeling proper sorted.

Just time now for a shower, as we have been given a free ticket from the hotel to walk up to the highest waterfall in Germany.  So that is the plan for tomorrow morning before we set off on the route.

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.

 

 

 

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 Ep2

Commuting

After the high winds and freezing temperatures of last week we had a bit of a mixture of weather this week as you can see from the pictures.

My Surly commuter bike needed some work and was not rideable because of the amount of salt that had gone down on the roads.  It had stiffened up the cables and it was not changing gear.  I do try to give the bikes a swill down after a commute but it is sometimes a bit difficult.  The bolt on the Rohloff cable guide had snapped so that is with keep pedalling in Manchester getting some TLC.  If you are after a really nice bike for touring, commuting, adventure and messing about in the mud and snow these guys have a good selection and sound advice.

As the Surly was not playing out I had to use the carbon Tarmac and when it was snowing I thought it might be a bit of trouble, but it just rode as normal.  Whilst or the cars were slipping and sliding around my 23mm slicks just rode straight on by without a single worrying moment.  Just makes you think that people pay thousands of pounds on 4×4 cars just to have the same snow capability of a £500 bicycle.  Strange World!got a

Project Bike

I have a Cannodale CADDX that had got a bit scruffy from riding back from Spain and a few Coast 2 Coast rides so it got a new paint job and it is coming on.  Purple frame.  SOMA Sparrow bars and Brooks saddle.  It is going look really good when complete.  The bars came this week.  £34 off eBay.

Coast to Coast

I have arranged for forty two students to ride the coast to coast from Morecambe to Bridlington.  They are carrying their own gear and cooling their own food.  They are raising money for their school.  Last year and the year before they rasied over 10k each ride.  That is a massive amount of money for a bike ride to raise but we would love to do better this year.  If you would like to donate please click on this link.  https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/NHGSC2C3.

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!

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/.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Confidence Course – 30/09/2017

Description:  Cycling is an activity that can improve you physical and mental health, save the planet and improve our towns and cities.  Plus it is just so much fun. More and more people are taking up cycling for many different reasons and now you want to become part of that community.

Who is the course for:  People that own a bike and want to try riding on the road but feel a bit intimidated by the cars.  People that have cycled in the past but feel that the roads have become more congested and require some practice to get the feel for it again.  Parents that want to take up an activity with their children but don’t have the confidence to ride on the road.  There are many reasons why you feel the roads are too intimidating, whatever they are we can help.

Format:  Meet at Craggies and discuss the needs, requirements and objectives of the group.  Assessment of bike and riding skills away from the traffic.  Group will move to various locations and practice riding and signalling skills on different types of road.  The main objective is you leave the morning feeling that you can ride on the road feeling confident, in control and safe.  We will be moving you and your bike to specific and planned locations using a van so there are only five places available on this course.

Where:  Craggies Deli and Farmshop, Country Business Park, New Rd, Cragg, Cragg Vale, Hebden Bridge HX7 5TT.

When:  Saturday 30th September meeting at 1000 – 1200.

Cost: £30 per person

Booking:  e-mail djugroop@gmail.com or call 07702785923

Note:  Please make sure your bike has been checked by a mechanic before attending the course.  If your bike is deemed unfit for road use you will not be able to participate in the course and could be charged for £15 for taking a place.