One thing that we hoped this blog might do is give other people who do the Black to Black ride some tips on how to accomplish the fantastic trek. We know that we gave the blog address to other cyclists en route and that some had dreamed of the trip but were worried about path conditions, general safety, wild dogs, etc. Hopefully our blog encourages you all to get all the way to the Black Sea!
We definitely learned a lot and would be happy to give our advice and suggestions to anyone interested. Sometimes our lessons were through trial by fire like when Ezra fretted over whether his bike box would actually fit through the cargo doors of a very small plane between Brussels and Stuttgart.
If you do happen to be going on a cycling tour along the Danube (or anywhere else for that matter) and have come across this blog, please feel free to contact us (via comment) if you want to know anything about our trip. Need advise on how to disassemble and reassemble a bicycle? We learned decent techniques. Where do you get bike box once your done? It’s not an insurmountable task. How do you get the bike to Bucharest from Constanta and then to the airport? Maybe this photo will help give you an idea.
And for those of you worried about road conditions, they’re not all like this post-Budapest:
With the thighs of Hot Bond and the mind of Megahead, the duo could usually push Tarantino at a much quicker velocity than me and Joni. On flats, they could easily maintain a speed of close to 30 km/h while I could only do 25 km/h on my very best days.
We managed to account for the difference in speed by choosing towns 20 to 50 kilometers away where we would meet to ensure there was no major problems on the road. I would often ride with my telephone softly playing music (Black to Black playlist to come) and just enjoy the solitude.
Every now and then, the tides turned and I would take the lead. After the bedlam leaving Belgrade, we hit cornfields with strong tailwinds. Maybe it was the packet of instant-mix coffee that I dissolved in my mouth in the morning, but my legs were feeling it that day. Overtaking Tom and Woody after they had been ahead of me a good twenty minutes or more made my pride surge. For the next hour or more, I became Megahead! Their inability to keep up with my highest gear ratio on full speed made me braggadacious.
Their true kryptonite though: single track off-road trails. Here’s a very short video of their technique on such a gauntlet:
The bright morning light shined through the balcony windows, waking us up bright and early. We yanked our tight black cycling shorts up our legs, Tom baring all his glory in denying to wear athletic shorts over the top. “Hot Bond” was born, a cycling super hero by day and a beer garden connoisseur by night.
Elastics still digging their first imprints into our thighs, our friendly hostess climbed the trophy hunting stairs with a serving tray full of tea, coffee, meats, cheeses and rolls for our first fueling before taking on the river. We ate with the bright sunlight shining over us in the absolutely fabulous room, laughing with anticipation to get on the road.
The road felt great as we coasted down our first hill, the air incredibly chilly. Our first bit of steady ground came and Woody was yelling at Tom to stop. Some clinking and clambering he heard. Self-trained mechanical skills kicked in and he got the screw driver out to make some adjustments to the rear derailer. Like I said earlier, only the slightest set backs. We rode on through the centre of Donaueschingen, up to the palace aside the headwaters of the Donaus!
The bikes needed a carrying down the stairs to the sunken spring: a turquoise emerald pool with bubbles floating up from the sands and vegetation below. A neoclassical statue of curvy goddesses and a baby looked over the spring. The signage: “Bis zum Meere 2840 Kilometer” and “Uber dem Meere 678 Meter.” No problemo! We climbed those stairs and started to make it all disappear.