The Forest to the Sea

The impossible cycle route

School’s out, summer is here, everything is booked and we’re under the three week countdown. I’ve been exploring the Vienna cycle paths with some frustration at the numerous one way streets and lethal tram ways and feel very ready and very fit and healthy. Whether or not the bikes will hold is another question. The Danube paths around Vienna are dotted with cobbles! The very word sends shivers down my spine. Cobbles brings to mind a very vivid image of the tandem rocking up and down and us being covered the a rain of silver spokes. I have a feeling cobbles could be one of our biggest enemies, second only to the almighty wind that Woody mentioned in a previous post. I’ve been praying. Every day I’ve cycled on the Danube I’ve had the wind at my back going east. Let’s hope it stays like that because going back really is like cycling through butter with a trailer of bricks dragging behind.

Our choice of route has become particularly apt to me in the last few weeks. It turns out that Austria (my home at the moment) is busy with numerous projects and cooperatives betweens the areas affected financially and environmentally by Europe’s second biggest river. At the end of this post I’ve put a link to a description of the current initiatives. It makes interesting reading and I hope to use this blog to mix in some stories of life along the Danube, the people we meet and how the river affects their lives.

One particular comment made me laugh (and shiver with fearful premonition). Unfortunately it’s not on the newspaper’s website but the gist went like this – through future projects and cooperation with the countries linked to the Danube river, they hope to make it possible in the future to cycle all the way to the Black Sea from Vienna! Personally, I’m hoping it’s already possible. The route certainly veers away from Central Europeans well signed and well maintained cycle paths but I guess we won’t be able to judge the state of our route (or the amount of cobbles) until we’re truddling along it with the vague hope of proving that comment wrong and making it all the way to the Black Sea.

Tom

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