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Preamble

We decided 2012 to cycle the so-called Danube bikeway from Neustadt/ Danube to Vienna. I had some days off, so the time should be enough.

Equipment

I had equipped my Magic LX with a Rohloff and disc brakes. The suspended fork got a home brewed lowrider. The handlebar had a bag, the lowrider carried two ALDI-panniers (which weren't not water-resistant, quod vide cheap panniers). The rear panniers were from Ideale, they also were low priced, but absolute water-resistant

I also ha a cheapo-monowheel trailer. It cost 25€ causing in a damaged thread. Of course, this piece of scrap was not useable in this form. The thread was re-cutted, but the hitch was  disastrous. 

I designed my own hitch. It was hard to release, but absolutely stable and free of clearance at all situations. The included bag was quite honestly only suit to keep some stuff in it, not a bit of water-resistant. I designed a side support for our tent, which was packed as a flat disc (popup-tent) 

 

 Monikas BIKEmanufaktur Magic stayed in original condition. Monika needed nothing, wanted nothing and insisted on her "lounge" saddle. She bought a set of panniers at Lidl. Endowed was still too expensive! See also here: cheap panniers.

Navigation 

Our orientation was given by signs and from Passau by the widely known Bikeline guide. The back and forth scrolling was nerving. Nevertheless, the informations were ok and the descriptions useful. A little GPS tracker also was on board.

Miscellaneous

We had decided to camp on this tour. Monika baught a 2-seconds-tent, which erects itself and only needs 6 tent pegs to secure it. It works great, but the get it small again is a challenge.

Erecting it in heavy rain is fantastic fast, but about packing it in heavy rain ,nobody talked about before.

Here a little video about erecting it! 

 

 

Day 01: Neustadt/Danube - Straubing (June 01.2012)

done: 86 km 

June 01.2012 we started 11:30 a.m. at home, Neustadt/Danube. Instead of the EV6 route, passing Eining, Weltenburg, Kelheim and Regensburg, we took the Abens valley bikeway and the Laaber valley bikeway. AYt Straubing, we will meet again the EV6 route. Except some hundred meters of gravel tracks, all were paved road or paved bikeways 

We arrived at Straubing at 7:00 p.m. and the tent was erected fast laughing

It was a successful day, the trailer works fine and has a good road handling. Sadly, we had no stove, so we used the warm water from the tap to prepare a soup.

We weren'T the only cyclists on the campground. So every tree was occupied by bicycles, which were locked on the trees.

 

Our tent was roomy and comfortable. At this point, we didn't notice, that the entry is a little bit awkward, because in heavy rain, all will become wet, if go go in or out.

To keep the underpart clean, we used a light tarp (on later tours, we used first aid sheets). The tarp was folded, dirty side inside on transport.

 

Day 02: Straubing - Passau (June 02.2012)

 

done: 102 km

At 8:00 we startet with a selfmade breakfast a la dishwater coffee with cookies. So far, so bad! The whole day is snafu without a good breakfast. But never mind, perhaps later...

First we crossed the Danube to the left side and cycled across the Gaeuboden area, always following the Danube, heading Deggendorf. Most time on gravel tracks. No fun! Who had this stupid idea, building bikeways of gravel? I have little sympathy for those solutions. But anytime, the gravel ended.

Then we found a butcher's shop on a farm. Yay! They had Leberkaese. So we bought a Leberkaes-Semmel, a kind of special Bavarian meat loaf in a roll. 

We saw the Danube rarely, only pump statins and dams. It became better at Metten, indeed, there were roads around, but we were able to adumbrate Deggendorf. In a cafe, we made a break. Not bad and we continued invigorated.

At Osterhofen, crossed the Danube to the right side. 

Sandbach appeared and we felt hungry and we took "lunch" at 3:30 p.m.! Thanks Goodness, the innkeeper did the cooking with fresh food, no instant scrap.

We continued, now again on the right side of the Danube. 

Suddenly, I heard quite clearly "ZAP!" On the rear (new) wheel, a spoke was cracked. The wheel was new and especially laced  for me...

Interestingly, we had to change on the right side, only for crossing the Danube to the left side after passing the historic center. At the left side, called Anger, we used a tunnel and then, always left hand, there was a campground signposted. We followed the signs, a long an steep slope uphill, only to roll down at the other side... Finally we arrived at 6.00 p.m. at the campground "Ilzstadt", a campground made for canoeists. 

A plain campground at a beautiful location.

I spent the evening with replacing my spoke. Thanks Goodness, I had some spare spokes in my panniers.

 

 

Day 03: Passau - Fall/Edramsberg (June 03.2012) 

done: 84 km

At the campground, there were swans. Swans are nice birds, but when they breed, they are a little bit bearish...

...and that swan shite under the naked sole or between the toes isn't funny, everybody can understand, to whom it happened!

At 8:30 a.m. we started and followed the left side of the Danube. First, we looked for a gas station, to fill up my rear tire to the needed pressure (6bar/87psi). With my little pump are 3bar possible, but not more... 

The most time we followed the street or a separate bikeway to Jochenstein. Anyplace we took a breakfast and ordered Bavarian Weisswurst (Bavarian veal sausage) with a wheat beer.

At Au, the bikeway and the road ends and we moved by a longitudinal ferry through the Schloegener loop. At the end, we continued on the left side. 

Rain showers escorted us the whole day. At Obermuehl, we took lunch. While that, we decided to change to the right side and camp at Fall, because on our map, the campground of Fall looked better than the one at Ottensheim on the left side. 

At 5:00 p.m. we arrived at the campground. The campground was an empty meadow in front of a restaurant. Ok... we are here now, let's do it!

When the tent was erected, the rain stopped.

 

 

Then we needed a shower, Monika first. 

There she comes and said nothing...! I went to the shower too...

...but what I saw was incredible surprised The shower was a glass door with a rusty metal frame, like they were common in the sixties for shop-doors. The room was 90cm wide (<3ft) and 150cm long (<5ft). Rear a shower bath 90cm x 90 cm. In that laid a nonskid inlay. I don't like such inlays at home. But in a shower, which is frequented by a lot of different people? It only was useable with flip-flops.

And it was not allowed to stay the door open, because it may have happened, that the inlay escapes. This inlay was definitely alive! ok, the rest of the shower wasn't...

...let me say so: If there there is anywhere in the internet a list of the 100 most horrendous showers of the world, you would have no need to scroll down to find it... tongue-out I understood, why Monika didn't say a word, she was lost for words!

But you think, this cannot been outreached? Think again!

The restrooms were a complete class below the shower!

After all this findings, we went for dinner in the restaurant sealed It was no bad, but also no good food.

In the night, there was a thunderstorm... 

 

 Day 04: Fall - Willersbach (June 04.2012)

 

 

done: 94 km

We cycled using the barrage to the other side. At Ottensheim we took a breakfast. It was god, but the weather showery again.

Linz was passed on the left side and at Mauthausen, we took lunch at the box-inn (Mc Donalds). 

The next hydro station, we changed to the right side and were a longer time far away from the Danube. Finally we came back to the Danube, a wonderful scenery called Strudengau (swirl area).  

At 6 p.m. we arrived Willersbach campground. Exactly at the entrance of the campground, I heard a "ZAP!"

..the next spoke... D.MN.D!yell

Oh, did I tell you? It was raining...

...but the tent was erected fast wink

We took diner in the restaurant vis-à-vis. There also were our showers. Clean showers! We enjoyed the dinner and I had no need for a wheel repair in the evening... 

 

Day 05: Willersbach - Tulln (June 05.2012)

done: 85 km (+ ca. 35 km ship)

Breakfast was in the reasaurant, then I repaired the rear wheel. We decided to use a ship from Melk to Krems, because the rain was annoying. 

Sop we cycled tio Melk and bought round-trip tickets, because they were only 5% more expensive than a one-way ticket. 

 

On the stern, ther were all the bicycles of the guests. Obviously, we were not the only ones, who prefered th ship today. 

On this occasion, we were able to admire the Austrian Navy at its annual major maneuver... wink  

Sorry Austrians, this side blow was on the tip of my tongue!

At Duernstein was a stop, like the one at Spitz. The ships are used like a bus, hop on, hop off. We took lunch on the ship, the costs are not more, than onshore 

Onshore again, we cycled on paved towpaths alng the Danube. We were rested and wanted reach Tulln today.

En route, we made a little break. There, we saw an Aesculapian snake. Interestimg., I didn't know, that they live in this zones. 

Passing Zwentendorf, Austria nuclear hulk, or better, the never started nuclear plant! A completed, ready to start nuclear plant, but by referendum never used! Nuclear elements never were implemented, so a lot of peole from abroad nuclear plant staffs are making exercises here, because they can see parts of the plant here, which never can be walked-on in their own plants. 

Monika handled the tent. Pleasant case... bux a tent, which your wife wants and give her the responsibility for it. 

 

 

Day 06: Tulln, Recreation Day (June 06.2012)

done: 12 + 10 km 

We had no need to cycle to Vienna, because we knew the route and I lived one year at Vienna. Instead, we made a recreation day. Mornings I made some errands and in the afternoon we made a Tulln "sightseeing".  

Our bicycles were parked under trees, where we had the chance to lock them on the trees. 

 

 

Day 07: Tulln - Melk (June 07.2012)

done: 50 km (+ ca. 35 km Schiff)

Started early, because we didn't know, at what time the ship at Krems will depart. We were very fast on our way, when I heard quite clearly a well known sound: "ZAP!"... the next spoke... Gosh darn it!

So, reparation beside the bikeway. Slowly, but steady, I began bristling with anger! For what, I let built a new rear wheel, when one spoke after the other cracks on tour?

Finally we arrived Krems and noticed, that we have enought time until the ship we depart. So, we spent time with watching the fuss of the tourists of arriving and departing ships.

Then, our ship arrived. It was a real first class vessel, our bicycles were parked in the ballroom, which was covered with a protective carpet. 

Sometimes, the sun took a look, wether it's still raining! wink  

When we arrived at Melk, I had a complete wrong inspiration and we hopped of the ship at Emmersdorf, exactly the wrong side of the Danube for the place, we wanted to go. D.MN.D!

Ultimately it only were 5.5 km, but the bridge was a long slope up. We had to cross the hill, on which the monastery Melk is placed. And they placed it on the highest hump, they had found. From there, it was a steep slope down into the historical town, with loaded bicycles no fun. Oh well, we knew, where the campground is and found it at once. The campground was part of the restaurant, which is at the pier. 

Arrived there, we erected our tent and then we took a dinner at the restaurant.

On the campground, we met two guys from London. They were on the way, cycling to the Black Sea. Then they wanted to decide, what then...

I told them, you only can do such things, when you are young, but he answered me in a typical English way: "No, it doesn't matter, how old you are, only sit on your bicycle and start!"

That, I never have forgotten: If you want to do something, accept it or forget it! 

 

Day 08: Melk - Au (June 08.2012)

done: 75 km

We started late, around 11. Partly it was dry. After a while of cycling, Monika stopped suddenly.

What she wanted here? I wanted to continue cycling, but Monika insisted on a break! 

No wonder, there was a cherry tree! It was lightened to protect it of too much fruits. Finally full we continued. But sadly not for long, then I heard a horrendous, but well known noise: "ZAP! 

Did I tell you, that rear wheel was new? Okay... the next wheel, I will make by myself, because it is impossible to make it more bad than the one I have!

Ok, same procedure as last time: dismount the wheel, remove mantle/tube/rim tape, replace spoke and reverse. THe spoke always cracked at the end of the thread, so the nipple also has to be replaced. 

Then we continued. We agreed to leave the official track and followed the Danube instead. 15km pure nature, no cyclists, cards or houses. Barriers were avoided sparkish. Clearly we weren't the first, who made that. 

  

Then, 2km later, a thunderstorm hit us. One side the edge of a wood, other side the Danube, a really bad combination in the thunderstorm. And that to me, who is afraid of thunderstorms. Monika laughed at me and said, we should go into a raised bilnd, then we wouldn't get wet. surprised

At a brave moment, I took my bicycle and cycled with peak speed + X heading Wallsee. There, we found a house with a projecting roof. There we took shelter.

The thunderstorm partly was directly above us, thunder and lightning were one! One lightning hits not far away and we were a little bit dazzled. 

But after a while the thunderstorm was over. The wind was still high and the rain wasn't trivial. 

I didn't want know, what she is thinking in that moment!

Finally, the rain and wind declined. We wanted to continue a little bit, because we saw a nice campground on the outward journey. So let's go!

At 8:45 p.m. we arrived there. At 9, our tent was pitched and we took a shower. Indeed, we also had no chance to dry our stuff there. We had since Willersdorf, 4 days ago, no dry piece of clothing in our panniers. How nice it could have been, when our pannier would have been waterproof.  

 

Day 09: Au - Passau (June 09.2012)

done: 34 km (+ ca. 80 km ship)

All stuff is dripping. We made breakfast and hold a powwow. It was Saturday and I had to be back at work on Monday. The rain wouldn't release the rnext days. It would had been possible to cycle by bicycle to Passau until Sunday afternoon, but for what? To get more rain on the back. We decided to make a cut: Cycling to Linz and there taking a ship to Passau...

Also at Linz: rain! Enough already! At the ship, we were served good, there were nearly no guests on board. 

Passau, the weather there looks better than ist was.

After 6 hours, we arrived and left the ship, cycled to the campground... and the campground was flooded! But they allowed to use the playground to pitch our tent. We were glad to come home the next day.

 

 

Day 10: Homeward Journey (June 10.2012)

Next morning, I called a friend of mine, who picked us up in the afternoon.

 

 

Upshot

We never made a tour like that. In face of the nerving rain, we had fun! Finally this tour leaded in the thoughts, how it would be to cycle from Vienna to Budapest. But that'S another story.

I noticed that:

  • Our trailer is superfluous. The reasons are simple: It's a problem to use staircases and it cannot been carried at the same time as the bicycle and must been decoupled.
  • That 4 spokes are cracking is annoying. Thanks Goodness, I had 10 spare spokes on board. After our tour, I replaced the spokes by so-called post spokes, which are thicker, but not so hard. In that configuration, the wheel made more than 5000km, until the rim got cracks. 
  • The tent is amazing, but the pack size is nonorthodox. It's hard to transport it without trailer. For the next tour, I made an aluminium drum for it on the rear rack.
  • Panniers should be waterproof. I have nothing further to add to it. 
  • I used to much tension belts to secure the stuff. It'S better to use quick connectors.
  • A tiny pump safe weight, but it needs a long time to fill a tire with it. Meanwhile, I use CO-cartouches. It only needs seconde to fill a tire.