Monday, June 30, 2008

Roaming Romania

Day 30 Szned to Timisoara Romania

The ride out of camp and though Szned was not the relaxed ride Jim and I had on Sunday. Monday morning was BUSY. However the four of us got though town and were on the road. Our path took us down this canal to where we took a ferry. We missed the ferry by 2 minutes, and wound up waiting a good 45 minutes for it to come back across and pick us up. It was an old style cable ferry of the type I remember crossing the Mcleod river on when I was a kid 50 years ago. Once across the ferry we were on a little used back road almost all the way to the boarder. Even though the road was rough in places it was nice having almost no cars. I think I only saw 4 or 5 cars in 40 kms. We are travelling though open wheat and corn fields. There are a few sunflower fields which put on a very pretty show with their big yellow flowers.

At the boarder into Romania we had to show our passports. This was the first time we had to show passports since we landed in Paris. Even so these were not the armed soviet type guards of old war era, but pleasent young men who smiled and stamped our passports. Once inside Romania the housing changed. There are abandon communal farms. Homes look poor and have not seen paint since construction. Stucco is falling a way. The main street is paved and side streets are dirt. Goats are tethered in front yards and barefoot children play in the dusty side streets. Ditched are lined with litter. Jim commented that this feels like rural Mexico.

By time we got to lunch at the 65km mark it was 34 C. Yesterday's tail wind was in our face and the best you could do was about 23-25 km/hr. The road was paved but had an extremely sharp shoulder of up to 8 inches. This caused a could of crashes when people rode off it. Berenice would up with heat exhaustion and had to be sagged in. We stopped at a road side pub and got cold drinks. I had a cold 0.5l beer for $1.00. I sure went down easy. By the time we got to the 100 km mark I was bonked and Jim took over the pull and pulled the four of us in to Timisoara. Thanks Jim! At the out skirts Duncan was waiting for us and guided us into town.

The hotel is in an older soviet tourist hotel. It has been redecorated but to say it is 5 star is a stretch. The big plus is that it has in room Internet service that is very good. This is something we have not yet had. It is also in right downtown off the main square.

The four of us headed off to find phone cards and beer. We found the beer but no phone cards. We were all set to sit down in the park to drink the beer when the police showed up and made us put the beer away. NO DRINKING in public. In Romania less than 12 hours and already busted by the police. Latter we went out and had Chinese food. The lemon chicken was fabulous.

Carl and Rita on the tandem had a nasty crash and I understand Carl is pretty cut up from the gravel. So sorry I hope it isn't too serious.

And so ended my first day in Romania and a day of 128 kms in 30+ c weather.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for the great comments

Tomorrow is a rest day


PS. News from Don ---- He is very stiff and sore. It turns out that his right hand is broken as well, as his left collar bone. He decided not to case it as both hands would have been out of action.

Talent show.

Day 29 Kerskenet to Szned

We rode out of camp after the majority of riders had left. I guess I should clarify the "we" thing as I see I have been using it quite a bit. The "we" is Jim from Las Vegas, Jureg from Switzerland , and Joco from South Africa. We were riding along at about 28 kms and passing other riders, soon there was a huge pelaton behind me. I was feeling pretty good and was riding strong. However the road was not as good as yesterday as there was lots of pot holes and pavement patches. At about the 30 k mark we could see Fred about 0.5 km in front of us. Suddenly the race is on! Everyone is doing 30-38 km/hr which was way too fast for the road conditions. Maureen, Glen and I weren't going to be caught up in this kind of foolishness and we continued on at 28 km/hr. Glen and Maureen stopped and I continued on by myself. It was really nice and quiet just sailing along a deserted country road.

At lunch Al wanted to race me and I told him I wasn't interested. However continued in my face until I finally had to tell him to F... O.. Jim, Joco and Al wanted to go but I wasn't going. So I turned my back and they finally left. I just don't understand what some people don't get about the word no. I left about 5 minutes later by myself. It was perfect. Nice and quiet with good roads, no cars (well very few) and good weather.

I got into camp #2 right after Fred. Later Jim and I rode into town, which was very quaint and of course being Sunday very quiet. We met a lady from Calgary UofC who was teaching English at the university of Szned on some sort of exchange program. As we passed her she called out "Paris to Istanbul Wow!" and I knew she was from Calgary. What a coincidence. We stopped and bought some after noon treats and headed back to camp. I sit down on a bench and open up my treats and Al comes right over and helps him self. Don was right!

After supper there was a talent show which was put on by the riders. Jos was MC and was wearing a green garbage bag tied with orange survey ribbon. He was hilarious. There must have been 12 or more acts. There was songs, ballads, poetry, skits, lectures, you name it. The whole affair was side splitting funny. Some people are so creative.

The camp has a building which houses handicap people in it and as I crawled into my tent I realized that I pointed the tent door directly at the light over the door to their building. Error! And so ended a 110 km day in Hungry.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments.


An easy 100 kms

Day 28 Budapest to Kerskemet

We left the hotel at 7:00 for group ride though the streets of Budapest. I was in the first group following Olivia. He is real easy to follow. These group rides are really great they take all the worry of navigating in these large cities out of the ride. For the first 10 km I was really stiff and every bump went right through me. However after I warmed up I felt much better. The group ride was a total of 24 km, and took us to the edge of the city.

For the most part Budapest looks very prosperous. There are a lot of new homes and people are busy repainting and fixing things up. Every house has fancy wrought iron fences.

After the group ride it was only 31 km down to lunch. We passed though a number of small farming towns all of which looked very prosperous. The roads were excellent and we had a favourable tail wind. I think the high point was seeing a stork nest with two baby storks in this one small town. I believe that this is suppose to bring the town good luck, and it must have as the town seemed very prosperous.

After lunch we set off at a good pace and within about 10k or so we caught the tandem. They received the water pistol as I went by. They joined the line and we sailed down what was probably the best riding conditions we have seen so far. We pulled into this small pub and had a Pepsi. I think the owner was surprised to see all these riders walking in. We really must be quite a sight in our bright jerseys, riding shorts, and clomping around in bike shoes.

The road was so good and the wind so favourable we covered the 100 kms and we in camp by 12:20 PM. I was pleased that I was the 2nd one into camp. I was worried the being injured I would have a tough time keeping up. I found a good spot for my tent under a tree. Jim's compass put the sun in the northern sky and twenty minutes later it was in the full sun and had to move it. I lay down and had a 2.5 hour nap. Then I cleaned my bike and oiled the chain. Curt and I rode over to a near by grocery store and got some treats. They sell this pata in these little containers here which is really delicious and is really cheap. A 2 oz container is about $0.30. So we sat around eating until supper, which was a grilled pork chop,with salad, and rice.

On a disturbing note a sectional rider joined us today and he brought a ghetto blaster, which he played so loud at supper that you couldn't talk.

The camp ground is beside this water park which had a really loud band playing so maybe he felt he had to compete. The water park closed and shut off the music so we will not be kept awake. Also in the camp is this interesting looking bus. It is called a hotelbus. Half the bus is converted to berths and it has a galley. The front half is seats. There are about 20 passengers plus a tour guide and a driver. I walked over and got a tour of it from the tour guide. The price for taking a tour on the hotelbus is about 65 euros/day or about $100/day.

So I am going to thank you for visiting my blog and thank you for leaving me a comment.

Cruising on down the road.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Back to 80%

Day 27 Budapest Rest Day

We figured out the phone system last night but by the time we did I had missed the appointed call time window. Well we thought we had it turns out that the phone card wroked but the hotel socked us with a huge bill. ARGH! We wandered out on the street looking for supper and found some East Indian food.

This morning I feel like maybe 80%. My shoulder is still a little stiff and I have to watch how much weight I put on my right elbow, but it looks like I am going to be fine. Glen gave me some of his magic ointment which he claims can fix any thing from cancer to rusted car parts. Perfect!
Jim and I took a two and half city bus tour and saw all sorts of sights and heard about the history of the city. The city has been occupied by just about everybody during its long history starting with the Romans and ending with the Soviets. Every group has left their mark on the city in the form on the architecture and the monuments they constructed. The castle at the top of the hill on the Buda side of the river was under siege 17 times. The Pest side is the flat flood plain side. The two sides were united in the 1700s under somebody’s rule. Sorry it is all kind of a blur with names I have never heard and which probably are un-spell-able any way. The city has a lot of Paris influence in the architecture an was designed to look like Paris (well at least the older sections). After the bus tour we took a boat tour up the Danube which recapped a lot of the bus tour but provided a much different perspective on the city. Then we hit the grand bazaar which was really a huge farmers market. Hundreds of fresh vegetable sellers and meat markets selling every cut of meat and sausage imaginable. Sorry for no pictures I ran out of time on the computer. I'll get you some on the nest posting. Promise!

I was glad to get back to the hotel to wash the city grim off. We had been going steady for 7 hours and the car and bus exhaust was giving me a head ache.

We have three ride days before our next rest day so I hope to post the next entrees then. So in the mean time, thanks for visiting with me and thanks for your great comments just keep them coming.



Day 26, Esztergom to Budapest, 55km

I crawled out of the wet tent, stiff and sore but alive. There was a terrible lightning strom around 1:00 am. It started with a huge wind and then came the lightning and thunder and then the rain it lasted for about an hour. This same storm hit the big socccer game and dreched a 100,000 fans.

Thankfully we have only a short day today. The first part of the ride is 15 km hill climb which is billed has having a 1000 meters of climb. Somehow I think that number is inflated. However it was pretty steep. Jim had his first flat about half way up. It always amazes me how the tiniest piece of metal can find a cyclist's tires. Thousands of square feet and the tire magically finds something a millameter in diameter. The ride was though a steamy rain forest canopy. It sure helped keeping us cool. From the summit down was easy pedalling but put all my weight onto my sore shoulders. Every rut was a jolt. Thank fully the lunch was at the 35 km mark.

At lunch we were held for a 24 km group ride into Budapest. Duncan, the tour leader and Olivia, the tour mechanic had ridden into the city and back to make sure of the route. I lay down in the sun and had a nap for about an hour. This sure helped my shoulder. When they got back we headed into Budapest. Duncan described the route as a "bit dodgie" and he wasn't kidding. The route was tourtous down side streets, bike paths, alleys, and even a train station, which drew more than a few stares. We arrived on the opposite side of the river from the hotel with just the bridge to cross. Unfortunately we went down the wrong side of the bridge. The path just ended. There we were facing 8 lanes of screaming traffic. Duncan spotted a break in traffic and darted across. I amde it to the center island. However there I was with noway across. Duncan leaps out infront of the traffic with his hands in the air and stops traffic and I darted across. However there were still several riders trapped on the center island. Duncan is waving his hands but traffic isn't stopping. One lane would stop but the others wouldn't. Mike said Terry we have to help so we jumped out into traffic waving our hands, amongst a tremendous screaching of tires. The traped riders shot to saftey. I think I am going to take up something safe like base jumping with out a parachute. Once there all that was left was to head down to the hotel 2 km in the crazy traffic. I never head the horns or squealling tires all I heard was the pounding of the adrenalin in my head. My shoulder had stopped hurting. This is probably the scariest cycling moment I have ever encountered.

They say that Budapest is the Paris of the east. I believe it. It has the same look and feel. It is in much rougher shape. The roads are poor condition and everything is covered in graffiti. However in credit to the people of Budapest there is no garbage like in Mexico.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I get to recover.

All and all an exciting 58 km.

Thanks for visiting and thanks for your comments


Halfway Point

Day 25, Gyor to Esztergom, Hungary, 108 km

It seems like it rains every night so that we get the fun of packing up wet tents. The good part of this is that it cools down from the 30+ C we have been having during the day. Breakfast has been set 30 minutes early because of the heat of the day. I think that this has encouraged the early risers, as people were walking around at 4:30 Am. The four of us left camp this morning and took a couple of wrong turns riding several kilometres out of our way. Jurg found a woman, whose son was studying German and he was able to give us directions. It was a good thing we had Jurg with us. The roads turned from bad to worse. The pavement ran out and turned to a dirt track. However as we were seeing people coming from the other direction we knew we were on the right road. Joco found some marijuana growing wild beside the road. But we decided that it was more likely its cousin hemp which does grow wild throughout Europe.

We passed though a number of small towns but there were no coffee spots. The small towns are really just groupings of farm houses, so there are no services. As a result we got to lunch which was at the 65 k mark, by 10:30. After lunch we set off though the town where lunch was along this extremely busy road. I reached down to get my water bottle out and just as I did this I hit a rock which pitched the bike into a curb. I knew I was going down so I grabbed the brakes hard and fought to regain control but there was no saving it because I couldn’t go to the left where the traffic was. So I ploughed into the curb spilling me into the grass. I hit with my right knee and elbow. I sat on the curb for a long time just trying to collect myself. Trying all the parts making sure everything still worked. After what seemed like half an hour I got up (Jim says it was only 5 minutes). Surly is one tough bike and was unhurt by my carelessness. Sorry buddy. I should treat you better. Getting back on was a real tough job as every thing hurt like hell.

I guess I should explain that when we went to Gyor we had left the Danube River valley and entered a side valley. To get back to the Danube we had to climb out of the side valley before we could re-enter the Danube Valley. The hills are easily 1000 feet high and to get from one valley to the next you sometime have to cross a lot of hills. The climb for the day had been set at 1500 meters. We had 45 kms to go it was 34C and there was a huge climb in front of us. About 2 k up the road we turned off the busy road and started the 10 k climb. The road wasn’t pavement the way we think of pavement. That is one continuous piece of asphalt, but more like pieces of asphalt one beside each other. If you took one wheelbarrow of asphalt at a time so it was more like cobbles. Every bump and rut jarred up though the handle bars to my aching shoulders. But I put my head down and Surly into low gear and ground up the hill. The summit was beautiful. Wineries spread out below us and the whole Danube river valley. The road down was steep and riding the brakes put all my weigh on to my shoulders. At the bottom of the hill there was about 10 k of extremely busy road so I got behind Fred and he drafted me in, while Jim rode shotgun behind me. Thanks guys!

At camp I lay on my ground sheet in the sun for about an hour, before setting my tent up and then just crawled in and slept for two hours.

There was huge electric storm around 1:00Am. The wind came up and then the lightning and finally the cloud burst. I understand that the same storm hit the big soccer match drenching 100,000 spectators.

A really tough day.

Thanks for visiting and thank you for your comments.



Day 24 Bratslavia to Gyor Hungry
We ate breakfast in the boatel restarunt and the food was excellent. This place was just great. I loved it .
I knew it was going to be a hot one so I made sure that I had my water pistol loaded. In the parking lot a managed to get a lot of riders before they even got out of the parking lot. We crossed the Danube on the same bridge we had ridden in on. There was some construction on one side of the road and I rode on the inside of them and then at the very end there was a horizontal barrier arcoss the rode which was completely invisible. I nearly hit it. Then later I learned that one of the French Canadians had in fact hit it. It was her second fall in two days. OCH! We passed on to the bike path which was wide and beautifully paved. There was a line of maybe 20 riders. Picking a good spot I quickly passed them all and made sure to give them all a taste of the water pistol. As I rode off I could hear the screams of my victums. I caught up to the tandum and got behind it as did a number of other riders. We cruised for maybe 30 kms along this big reservoir at speeds of 30-40Km. We were at lunch by 10:20, which was at the 55km mark and had averaged 27 km/hr. Wow!
After lunch four of us headed out and crossed into Hungry. At the boarder all that was there were the empty booths and guard houses. No armed guards no pass port checks, here we are in Eastern Europe home of the former "Evil Empire" and nobody is even going to look at our passport. Kind of a let down in a way. Twenty years and a lot has changed. There is new construction every where. Homes look freshly painted. There are huge shopping malls everywhere filled with consumer goods. Even a lot of the old former soviet apartment buildings have satellite dishes attached to every balcony. It kind of looks like a boom.
When we arrived in camp there were only to other riders in, which was kind of surprising as we had some trouble finding the camp and stopped to change our money. Camp was not so pretty. The showers looked really bad and the whole camp was in a general state of disrepair. It was a nice enough spot just a little beat up that’s all.
Maybe we’re getting use to the riding as today’s 88 kms were pretty easy, and it was a fun day.
Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your great comments.

Into Slovenia

Day 23 Vienna to Bratislava
This morning I hung around to wait for a bike shop to open. I still needed to get my tire issue resolved. The bike shop opened at 8:30 AM. There were quite a few people headed for the bike shop so we all rode down together. On the way back we loss Jim, Curt and Clare. So I rode back but no luck. They had gone into a grocery store to buy some snacks. We are finally on the way with 8 k ridden and have gone no where.
We head down the cycle path but took the branch along the river rather than the one along the top of the levee and missed the turn off. The low branch took us though the nude bathing section of the river. Not surprising 99.9% of people look better dressed. Unfortunately we did not see any of the 0.1% of the population.
Finally back on track we have a rain shower bearing down on us and I have relied on Jim’s internet weather forecast and have no rain coat with me. However by putting it in high gear we rode away from the main rain clouds and escaped with only a minor sprinkle.
Lunch stop was right at the Slovenia boarder. No armed guards, no passport control just a bill board welcoming us to Slovenia. However we are only going to be in Slovenia for 24 hours.
Out of lunch with only 5 kms to go, then with less than 1 km to go I hit this metal bar in the road which was off set by about 3 inches and got 2 flats at once. Talk about snake bitten. So I put on my new tire and changed both tubes. Unbelievable!
The hotel tonight is an old river boat which is now a hotel. It is very quaint. I walked into town and saw the Herd Castle which is the famous Bratislava landmark. The old town is very quaint old world. However from the top of the hill by the castle you can look across at the other side of the river and see mile upon mile of soviet style apartment blocks. I walked around the town and found a bike shop and got a second tire for the equivalent of $12.00 cdn. Hopefully this will solve my tire problems.
Supper is in a traditional Slovenia restaurant. Henry, the owner of Tour de Afrque, is from Bratislava and this is his favourite restaurant. I had the pork which was really good,
The only internet/phone center in town was closed. Although, I didn’t try the south side of the river.
An easy day of only 78 km, even with getting lost and extra trips to the bike shop.
Thanks for visiting my blog, and thanks for your comments.
Ride On

Stolen Wallets

Day 22 Vienna Rest Day
Stolen Wallets
With all the chores out of the way sight seeing was in order. Jim decided to go to Sunday mass in one of the cathedrals to here the choir and the organs. I was off to do the blogs at the internet café and with that done I met Don and we headed down town to see some of the famos Vienna sights. We jumped on thwe metro which stopped right by the hotel and were downtown in a few minutes. The Euro Cup was in town and the main downtown was just crazy. As it was Sunday all the shops were closed. However there were thousands of people wandering around. Don and I did the same looking at all the buildings, and snapping pictures. We found a grocery store, and bought some snacks. Don was feeling pretty beat up so we headed back to the hotel. At the hotel Don realized that his wallet was missing. So we went back to the grocery store but no luck someone had picked his pocket on the metro. Don and I went to the metro office to see if it had been turned in. No luck. Back at the hotel started cancelling his credit cards and bank cards. Someone had already tried to charge 650 euros against his card but it had been refused by Visa. As Don had no money I bought Don some supper.
Don made his final reservations for his flights. Then low and behold his wallet showed up at the metro station but with our the cash and his visa. However all the other cards were there. I lent Don some money for his flight home and said good night as his flight was at 6:00 AM .
Later we learned that Jos had his wallet stolen as well. He went and made a police report as he knew where it was stolen.
Thank you for visiting my blog and thanks for all your great comments.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Day 22 A rest day in Vienna

Ok I have been caught out. I have been mentioning other rides and tours that I have done and I have not mentioned Cycle Canada. This is a major over sight on my part and I would like to appolagize for this gross over sight on my part. My very first cycle adventure was with Cycle Canada on the Vancouver to Calgary trip. It hooked me on bicycle tours. In addition I meet my very good friend Curt on that trip and he is with me here today. There are alot of riders here proudly wearing there Cycle Canada jerseys and everyone of them braggs about their experience with Cycle Canada.

Today Don and I are off to see Vienna. One day to see a thousand sights. Oh well.

I´ll fill you in later with a few more details of the sights and a few pictures.

All my love to the loyal readers.

Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you for the great comments


Disaster Strikes

Day 21, June 21, Emmersdorf to Vienna, 122km

Disaster! Third Biker Down

We camped in a small town right on the Danube River, so are watching lots of river traffic. We woke up to another damp morning with showers around us. Since it was a relatively long day, we got up before 6:00 and were on the road before 7:00. The scenery was postcard through the river valley and thousand year old terraced vineyards. For some 30 km we rode through small cobble stone villages every 5 km with quaint restaurants and wine tasting. Since we were in a hurry, we didn’t stop.

Before we got 30 km down the road my front tire was flat. I pumped it up and we rode on into town. While the group had coffee I fixed my tire. As I am inflating the tire the tube blew with about 30 psig in it. So I put the my second tube in it and away we go. Then about 30 k further down the road my rear tire goes flat. I must be cursed. Luckily Jim found the hole in the tube and we managed to patch it.

At about 80 km Jim, Don, and I decided to swing into a McDonalds for a quick snack. While turning onto a bike path from a bridge, Don didn’t see a section of pipe sticking up six inches above the ground and managed to hook it with his peddle. He took a hard crash to the ground and lay stunned for several minutes. Jim and I got him up and we walked to a service station where Jim asked the attendant for help. This Austrian gentleman let Jim use his cell phone to contact Shanty, our tour leader, and then called for an ambulance. In several minutes we had the police and ambulance there. They were great. So helpful! After we gave them a report they took Don off to the hospital. Shanty had Jim lock up Don’s bike and it was picked up by the van several hours later.

Don got right into the hospital and was told that he had a broken collar bone. They put him in a collar and told him there would be no biking for a month. Don rejoined us at the hotel and is making arrangements to fly back to Calgary. He was the life of the party and will be missed. I feel really badly as I got Don into this party in the first place.

This makes three bikers down and three broken bones. The Tour d’Afrique staff said this is unprecedented. Although the path has no cars it is full of hidden dangers. You just can’t be careful enough.

Jim and I took Don out for a fair well supper, at this little Gasthouse just around the corner from our hotel. It was excellent.

I go to put my new tires on back at the hotel and when I get one out of the package I see that it is not the correct size indicated on the package. So I am short a tire. ARGH!
Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you for the comments.

Tomorrow a rest day.


A Visit to a Concentration Camp

Day 20 Linz to Emmersdorf 115 kms

Out of camp this morning with Don, Jim and Joco about mid pack. We weren’t in any hurray as we were planning on visiting the Mauthausen concentration camp which was just 20 kms down the road. At Mauthausen 125,000 people died. Most of them were Soviets Pows and Poles. However there were lots of other groups represented. We walked though the gas chamber and the crematorium. To say that it was a little grisly was an understatement. There was an English tour for school kids going on and I kind of listened in. The Nazi’s did a lot of experimentation at this camp on the prisoners. They feed them wood and sausages made from saw dust. The camp is set on top of this hill which has a magnificent view of the valley. If this were part of humaities history so be it but this sort of stuff continues today. I didn’t stay for the 45 minute film.

Back on the pedals and lunch at the 65 km mark. Just before lunch my front tire blew with huge bang. I will change my tires in Vienna. After lunch the 4 of us smoked on down the path to the campsite. It was just perfect 30C , blue sky and a get tail wind. Most of path way has no cars; some of it is shared with cars on some back alleys and lanes. The path is generally pavement but abut 20 percent is either gravel or cobble stones. However there are a lot of obstacles on the path way and vigilance is required constantly. As we are beside the Danube constantly we can see the beauty of the river and all the cruise ships and other river traffic.

We rolled into camp and only two others were there first. Young Al came over to offer his hand and say “no hard feelings” Perfect I was glad to accept it. Later Jim and Joco and I walked into town and found a place to buy COLD beer for 0.59 euro for a 500 ml can. Almost all the beer and drinks are sold un-refrigerated, so cold is areal treat. They had Corona’s for 1.99 euro for a six pack! But warm and you can´t find ice here!
Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you for your comments.

Even though the camp is beside a very busy road I will sleep well.

Night, night

Hello Austria

Day 19 Passau to Linz

It was cold and damp this morning with a heavy mist hanging over the river. A lot of people followed me out of camp this morning. Too many, but I figured who cares if they are all behind me. As we crossed the boarder into Austria we stopped for the maditory pictures at the boarder which is now just a sign post on the road. We stopped at the 30 k mark for coffee and strudel which was really excellent. At the coffee stop Young Al and Phil caught us and joined the group. Now there are way too many riders in a big pack. As we caught up with Maurren and Glen on this corner young Al pulled the same stunt he did yesterday with Curt. He came up on me and then cut into me. Although we wound up in this big sand pile that was beside the road no one was injured. He clearly needs to learn the rules of the road, and he is going all the way to Peking. At lunch I complained to Duncan who is a real straight shooter.

After lunch I made sure that I was out first and went hard. There was no way I was riding with that many people. The pelaton was breathing down my neck but after about 20 k the only guy with me was Joco, who is a really strong rider and muscles his bike around. About 10 k from camp we went through this quick left and then right at around 30 km/hr when Joco’s crank arm on the right side snapped off right where the pedal screws into the crank. He skidded for 50-60 feet with one foot on the ground, but didn’t go down. What a save! He rode the last few kilometres into town to get a new crank arm with only one pedal.

Camp was about 4 k on the other side of town on this very pretty little lake. I rode on out and was the first in. The trip computer puts the ride at 105 kms.

And so ends the first day in Austria.


Broken Bones and to Much Carelessness

Day 18 Satubling to Passua

I think people are getting up earlier and earlier. People were up at 5:00 am. These are only 100 km days! Breakfast isn’t until 7:30. What are they doing for 2.5 hours?

I had to wear my new gear today. There is really nothing like a new jersey. At breakfast Curt was really mad because there were no Muscili, just corn flakes. He banged the pots and made a big scene. I think a lot of other people felt the frustration Curt was feeling. The quote of the day really happened at last night. At breakfast Rita starts laughing and tells us the story that someone said; “The more Stu says the more Jim starts to make sense.” We couldn’t figure out if it was an insult or not and if so who was being insulted.

I left the campground with Jim, Don, Joco and Jurg. We were moving fast and I put the Surly out front and stayed there all the way to lunch. Jim came up to race me a few times. After lunch we rode with the tandem down some gravel roads at speeds over 30kms. It was more than a little scary, but fun. Our group arrived with only Fred in first.

At camp we found out that Neil had an accident with a farm trailer. He has suffered a broken hip and is in stable but critical condition. We also learned that Curt had a spill today. Young Al had cut him off and knocked him down. Curt escaped uninjured. Only his mirror was out of alignment. Jos and a car went at it. The car suffered a large dent in the fender but Jos was totally uninjured.

Jim and I walked into town looking for a call center or internet but no luck. I’ll try in Linz tomorrow. I stopped in a grocery store on the way back from town and picked up a big bag of rolled oats for Curt.

Supper was purple cabbage, Spetzal, and pork loin. It was excellent. So I yelled out “great supper John” to our cook. He is so much maligned. His equipment just isn’t set up very well. On the topic of food I see that breakfast is Muscili and bananas. I guess Curt got his wish.

Too many accidents people really need to be more careful.

And so ends an eventful 99.0 km day.


Easy Does It

Day 17, June 17, Regensburg to Straublin, 51 km

Easy Day

This was a very easy day after a rest day. Set the alarm for 7:30 which is 70 minutes later than ususal and as usual Jim and I were the last in for breakfast. We left the hotel late and even Stu had left. We went across the bridge to a bike shop and picked up a book that we had spotted andt decided we needed. Jim, Don and I set off looking for bakeries but there were none to be found. We were the first three to arrive into camp. Lunch wasn’t even ste up yet. The staff has a good campground staked out and Straublin is another medieval town to visit. To our surprise, the largest bike store I have ever visited, 100,000 square feet, was next to the campsite. I bought a new helmet, arm warmers, leg warmers, a pair of new gloves, and a great Pearl Izmi jersey. It is really bright orange and blue with bike demons on it.

Back at camp we started throwning the old helmut around. Duncan, the tour leader came over and asked to have the old helmut as a spare. Great Idea! I was happy to hang it in the van as a spare. I rode that helmut over a lot of miles.

Jim and I walked into town. It is very beautiful and is home to this huge beer fest which over one million people come for. We looked for a call center, or internet but no luck.

We were able to find good deals on cheap Bavarian beer and one Euro bottles of German wine. So we stayed up late (9:45) talking with some of the riders. They are a really interesting group of very creative and talented people. I feel lucky to be associated with them

It turned out to be an enjoyable day.

A body at rest

Day 16 Regenburg – Rest Day

What a neat place Regensburg is. It is a medieval city. The hotel we are staying was built in 1300. It is totally modern in side. You don’t have to throw your chamber pot contents out the window in the morning.

I got up early and did my blog on the only internet connection in the hotel, which is in the lobby. The hotel have wireless internet for an exorbitant fee but it doesn’t work because the walls are too thick and are made of stone.

Jos got a large crew of riders organized for a walking tour of the city. He had rounded up an English guide and for 4 euros each we were off. The tour was supposed to be 45 minutes but we asked so many questions it turned out to be 1.5 hours. The city was founded by wealthy Italian traders, who were using the Danube as a trade route. They built a bridge across the river which further increased trade. By the 1300’s it was a huge trading center. However it’s importance fell off by the 1500’s and as a result the old buildings were never replaced and the city was preserved. It is a really interesting place with a maze of little 6 foot wide alleys.

It was a great place to have a rest day.