Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Danube Bike Trip — Day 2

Hotel Donnauschlinge to Linz

The first part of the day was bicycling at its best. I left the hotel after another sumptuous breakfast and started south along the Donauradweg. It was cool and overcast but quiet and calm, perfect biking weather. By my calculations the day's run to Linz was going to be roughly 56 km, about 35 miles. Back in the day that would be a piece of cake for me. I used to do the 29-mile North Fork Loop in just a few hours. and it involves some big hills. These days I'm used to riding a bike with a big comfortable seat, and a motor, not to mention being 10 years older, so I worried that 35 miles might present a bit of a challenge. After a few minutes riding though I felt that all was right in the world. I was zipping along listening to the birdsong and going with the flow, literally, through some country that, while not as wild as Alaska, was agreeably rustic and quite beautiful. Heavy forest rims both shores of the Donau along here.

A very pleasant bike path

Smooth running
There are a bunch of us doing the same tour with Eurobike and we pass one another now and again, exchanging hellos and see ya' laters when we do.

Fellow travelers

View of Untermuhl, Austria

The 20 km from the Donauschlinge south to Aschach has got to be one of the nicest pieces of cycleway in the world. I enjoyed every second of it. At Aschach I crossed the river again to proceed along the north shore to just before Linz where I crossed it again. The Eurobike staff provide a guidebook and maps and make suggestions about which side is most scenic or easiest to travel. That means we often find ourselves on bridges, taking a ferry or crossing at one of several power projects that span the mighty Donau. The second part of this day's travel wasn't in the same class as those first 20 kms. The path traversed some farm country and a few long, straight stretches that were a bit of a slog. The last 10 km were predictably unpleasant as traffic intensified the closer we got to Linz.

A gravel forest road runs alongside the bikepath here

I had a good tail wind on these straight stretches and that really, really helps. The few riders I saw going the opposite way were fighting for every inch of forward motion with heads down and clothing slapping in the fresh breeze. No thanks. Been there, done that.

I had been noticing a smaller gravel road, a forest service road, paralleling the bike path. I decided to ride it for a while just for a change of scene.

Out of the wind — a good place for a rest
Just as I hopped on the bike after this break a few raindrops began to fall. I got back on the main bikepath and kicked the pace up a notch. The rest of the ride was boring and noisy — lots of vehicular traffic, all of it going fast.

The last few miles before Linz
I found my hotel, the Arcotel Nike-Linz, which is a ritzy high-rise in a lovely green area of Linz. I was tired from the trip, and my butt was sore but I thought I should check this city out, a city much loved by Mozart, and Hitler, but just as I was getting ready for my shower I heard the wind just howling outside. The rain which had held off all day was slashing down, blowing horizontally in a torrential downpour. I had unwittingly beat it to Linz by just 15 minutes.

I decided to stay in the hotel for the rest of the evening. I had traveled 56.6 km in 3 hr 49 minutes ride time, 7 hours door to door.

Audio equipment: iPhone 5, PanApp music player, Mighty-H Bluetooth headphones
Today's Playlist:
Beck : Morning Phase
Beethoven: Piano Trio, No. 1 Op. 1 No. 1
Massive Attack: Heligoland
The National: High Violet
Radiohead: In Rainbows
wind noise
traffic noise 

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