Mike on a Bike Along the Danube

“The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it.” ~ Doug Bradbury

In cycling there’s freedom, freedom most human beings crave for. I cannot think of anything nicer than being at one with nature and watch the world go by bit by bit. Just myself and my thoughts, taking it all in, the scenery, the smells, the struggles and the joy of hitting my targets.

Ever since I can remember I have wanted to go on a long distance ride on a bike. I have done this on a motorbike across the UK and down to southern France. Having been inspired (not influenced) by a number of long distance cyclists, I feel it is time I lose a bit of weight, get on my bike and go for it. The Route of the Danube or Eurovelo 6 is a ride which takes you across some of the most beautiful parts of Europe and into lesser known countries. It is a relatively easy route which for a first long tour, I think would be just great.

The plan is to set off on May 12th 2016 and fly to Germany. There I will ride to Passau which is where the river Danube starts. When living in Bulgaria I spent a lot of time by the Danube and on several occasions came across cyclists following its banks. The route will take me from Germany into Austria and then onto Hungary and then into Serbia. From Belgrade I will head to Sofia (Bulgaria), this bit I will do by train. My aim is to be in Sofia by June 1st. From Sofia I will once again head North West and hook up onto the Danube and head east to the Black Sea.

Key Cities Screenshot 2015-08-03 13.21.55

Passau (Germany)
Linz (Austria)
Viena (Austria)
Bratislava (Slovakia)
Budapest (Hungary)
Novi Sad (Serbia)
Belgrade (Serbia)
Vidin (Bulgaria)
Lom (Bulgaria)
Ruse (Bulgaria)
Silistra (Bulgaria)

Back to UK

I am currently debating on how to do this. Yes, there’s the option of flying back from Romania or Bulgaria but the idea would be to time it so I can meet up with Cathy and Katja back in the UK so I may do the return trip as a mixture of trains and riding up to Paris and then catch the Eurotunnel, this final leg of the journey I haven’t planned too much yet.

Training and Equipment

Sheltering from the rain!

I am quite comfortable cycling approx 100 km a day, I can do this now without too many problems (providing I don’t have too many punctures!). However, this trip is a different story altogether as I will need to cycle day in day out. Unfortunately the weather here is too hot to even contemplate cycling so I shall have to content myself with the bike in the gym; we are very fortunate to have a full gym on site! I will start cycling an average of 75km 5 days one 1 day off, this is pretty much the pattern I am hoping to follow.

From Passau to Budapest, there are numerous campsites at regular intervals so that’s not too bad, once you enter Serbia, it seems to be that campsites become less and less so I shall have to do a mixture of cheap hostels and camping whenever I can. When we were in England I picked up a nice Giant (brand) bike along with some panniers. I still need to get some further kit but that can wait until early next year and then start doing some fully laden rides (tent, clothes, cooking equipment etc etc) just to replicate what every day riding will be like. As far as equipment is concerned, it probably works out to be an additional 15 kg on top of the weight of the bike. My program and target is to lose 10 kg (which I really need to) before setting off, this will help a bit towards the extra weight on the bike!

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