River Danube Tour Day 15: Oh Rats!

If you have been following the blog you will of read that we have been sweltering in 36-41 degree heat the entire trip.  You will of also have read yesterday we got to our digs just before a beast of a storm came in at about 1730 and did not stop until about 0400.

When we woke it was still chucking it down with rain, the colour of the sky really makes the immediate environment look and feel completely different.  But we were actually looking forward to a cooler day even though it was grey.  After falling behind with my planned stages we knew we had a hard day of at least 100km to keep the dream alive of cycling in to Budapest tomorrow.  You know what we did 106km today.  It leaves about 75km to do tomorrow.

The guide book states that today would be a horrible ride.  Industrial scenery and a day when for about 50% of the time you are on a road where cars drive fast past you.  As we had read the guide we were not expecting the scenes we have ridden through previously and we knew this was a day of heads down and kick some ass.

BTW:  I have forgotten to mention how cheap everything is in Hungary.  Last night we had about five beers each, coffees, main and desserts each for 30 quid.  Today we had two coffees two small pizzas and a Danish to share for £2 and tonight we have had the most amazing meal in a beautiful restaurant.  Starters and mains each.  A desert to share, three beers each a coffee and Irish coffee for again 30 quid.  Our hotel room for the night is £39.

So this morning we got to the bikes that were in an unused part of the hotel.  Rachaels bike had a flat so I had to fix that before we moved.  When we set off I realised that my GPX files for the route were missing from my device so I had to do some manual navigating all morning until we got to the next stage that was available in my Garmin.

We were riding up the road and Rachael saw this creature bounding up in front of us.  As we had seen such amazing animals we slowed down to take a look.  It was a big rat, and it was not even bothered that we were only a foot or so away from it.  I thought about taking a picture, but the thing would have attacked.  We went past a squashed snake too.

What was annoying about this morning was the fact they are still organising the route in these parts and it was deviating all over the shop.  I could see our target location and it never seemed to get closer as we were zig zagging across fields and other off-road places.  Now if we did not have the deadline I would have much prefered the route it put us on, but we had kilometres we needed to eat so I was getting frustrated by the lack of progress.

The Bromptons have been really good.  We again caught up and passed another couple that were on a big three month tour.  They were on traditional touring bikes made by Condor, but they were slipping and sliding as we went past with our small wheels.  Now I just want to make it clear! I am not saying Bromptons are the perfect touring bike, they are just a bike like any other. Every bike as negatives and positives, there are always going to be concessions and compromises to make with any bike when tackling a long tour over different surfaces.  I love all bikes, and I think these little small wheeled chariots are a funky fun bit of kit.

When we got half way through the day I had the GPX files on my Garmin and the route was just a straight road, we made up all the time we had lost in the morning and we were at our destination town by 1630.  As I were keeping the Km numbers secret from Rachael because we had previously discussed she feels better when kept in the dark.  We had a plan that when I said we were stopping for a beer, she would then know that we were only 2km away.  As we were riding on roads I left the beer stop until we were actually at our destination and that was welcome news to Rachael as she thought we had another two hours to ride.

The road we were riding on was very busy and very fast.  Now as you may know I hate cars!  I hate them for the environmental aspect, I hate them for the arrogance.  But one of my biggest things is the noise!!!  When you have been cycling in complete peace and quiet and you have to come up against the noise again, it just winds me up.  If I was to walk down the street with a music player with the same noise I would be arrested, but for some reason it is allowed to come from these things that can also kill you.  How strange is society!!!

Anyway.  The sun started to come out and the town that we ended up in is amazingly beautiful!

I am so chuffed with the progress, grit and attitude that has got us to this stage.  We have booked a top class hotel to celabrate in tomorrow night in Budapest.  Fingers crossed the last day will be as sweet and trouble free as all the others.

River Danube Tour Day 12b (no number 13): Oh Deary deary me what a head wind

Today we left our campsite after a lovely sleep.  It was very quiet but if you read the blog for yesterday that I wrote this morning you will know we narrowly avoided a vicious storm again.

Today we rode from 10k just before Tulln, went through Vienna and we are now in a town called Orth.  We are having to stop in a guest house at 75 euros for bed and breakfast as camping from Vienna all the way to Budapest does not exist really.  Looking at the guide there are a few camping places but they all exist within one or two stages, so we might hit one of them if we are lucky.

The wind is blowing from the east and it is a heavy head wind.  As it is blowing hot air at us it is a double whammy.  It was 40 degrees again today.  It is crazy hot!

Tomorrow the wind is blowing from the west so we should have a tail wind, but our day will be short as they are predicting a lot of storms tomorrow with the change in wind direction.  On the plus side the temp for the next couple of days looks a bit cooler.  The storms are meant to come in the afternoon so we are going to get a move on straight after breakfast.

This morning as we were riding along we saw the corn fields shake like in the UFO films when aliens are charging through the farmland after a crash landing.  Then out came two deer full belt straight across the road in front of us.  They continued on in full view a round a trimmed field before daring into another field of head high corn.  It was a lovely sight.

Vienna looks an interesting city, we could just pass through though.  If it was cooler or we had more time in the itinerary I might have had the energy for a bit of sight-seeing.  But if you don’t know your way around or you have not spent enough time somewhere to get your bearings it all becomes a bit stressful and the urge to get back on the road takes over.  But my uncle was correct, there is graffiti art everyway!  every part of stone, concreate and glass was covered when we travelled through one area of the city.

We did 86.6km today and it was enough.  We are just about 30km from Bratislava the capital of Slovakia so we will be defo crossing the border tomorrow and hopefully doing another 40-50km when over the border.

We are going to get some pizza and bring it back to our room as we think it must be the only air-conditioned bedroom in the whole of Germany and Austria.  Supermarkets and banks tend to be a good place to waste some time!

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River Danube Tour Day 8: Feeling the chill at 30 degrees

This morning we made Regenburg and it is a really nice town/city.  We got up at 0800 and had breakfast.  When we were loading the bikes we could tell there was a different feeling in the air.  There were clouds and it was cooler than normal at that time.  When on the bikes we noticed that it was not really changing as the day progressed.  We required less stops and I only had one cola today.  The temp still reached 30 but there was a cooler breeze and it made a massive difference to our attitude and kilometres completed.

We stopped just briefly all day to rest the bum for lunch we saw a picnic table and made boiled egg buttys.

It makes so much difference being a little bit cooler, we felt like we could have ridden all day.  The only problem we face at the moment because of the heat is we have fallen a day behind.  I am hoping if the cooler temp continues we may be able to make this up.

We ended up in a city campsite in Straubing at it is lovely, so quiet and peaceful even though the centre is only a km away.

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River Danube Tour Day 6: Thunder Road

After a bit too much beer last night I was surprised to be getting up the earliest we have done so far.  This was mainly because you could hear all the zips of the other tourers opening as they were all trying to set off in the relative coolness of the morning (28 degrees).

The route today had three massive climbs but they came in the afternoon when the temp was back up to the norm of 34.  At the top of each climb the sweat was just dripping from our heads.  I did my usual coping mechanism of litres and litres of coke every time we pass a shop.

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As we had breakfast really early and we were off camp at about 0815 I did start to feel peckish at about 1100 so we stopped for pastries with the coffee I had prepared at breakfast and kept warm in our flasks.  On one of the coke stops at about 1200 we decided to have lunch in the restaurant instead of stopping a bit further down the road to eat peanut butter and jam sarnies.  It was a really nice resturant, we got a salad from the buffet and a plate of fries to share.

I knew our end target for the day so checked on google for campsites in the area, one that stood out was a really nice site by a lake and it had a variety of glamping pods and what they call bike towers.  Just by chance Booking.com was showing one biking tower available for 54 euros a night so I pressed buy!  This gave us the incentive to keep the pedals moving.

When we got to about 22km to go though we had a break and not long after you could hear the thunder.  It was a very big storm as the thunder was quite long.  We could see the grey clouds approaching and we thought there could be a good chance we would miss it if we just kept going.  In the end we were lucky, we only felt a few drops of rain  but as we progressed with the ride we could see the places we were travelling through were not as lucky.

When we got to the site we checked in and it is in a really nice place, it has bars and restaurants, crazy golf, tennis, table tennis and boat hire for the lake.  As we had food and now gas we made our own tea and went for a little walk.  The bike tower is cool.  We have a table and benches underneath, a double bed and they have provided all the bedding.  It has electricity so I can charge the GPS etc.  Tomorrows route is split into two stages we do 45km then a 5km ferry ride then another 37km.  A long day but nothing like the 95km we had to do today.

 

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!