The day dawned! Bleak, blustery and rain. I had not ridden for a day or two and was having withdrawal symptoms. So I set out, calling in to the bike shop in Passau to improve wet weather gear : long trousers and shoe covers. I was otherwise well protected from the waist up.
The day turned out to be reminiscent of my Irish adventures last year, in terms of the weather. For today it alternated between cold biting rain then bright bursts of sunshine! Appropriately clothed I was almost sweating at times. During the day I guess there were about 10 other adults riding the same trail, a couple of Spanish guys and a high proportion of “older” people – some I venture older than I. It was all rather fun, in a masochistic way. There were some mitigating circumstances against the scudding clouds and rain. The profile was flat and the prevailing breeze was a modest tail wind.
The cycle path which is well developed on both sides of the river follows the old tow road for the barges. About two or three times one must crisscross the river by ferry.
Today, literally 4 days before I reach the end of my cycle trip in Vienna, I had a back tyre puncture. It was a snake bite pincher puncture. In retrospect I can recall the sharp rut over which I rode. But what was surprising was that it took several kilometres of further riding before it suddenly became obvious. I was by then riding a leafy moist track in the forest by the Danube. I swore and blasphemed and bugger me if almost instantly the sun came out and around the bend I rode up to a riverside cafe in the middle of nowhere. Surprisingly the tyre which is as new as the bike, slipped off the rim easily and I had it all sorted within 15 minutes.
God smiled on me that day, for the roadside cafe was also one of the many ferry points. There was a large shed and a jovial weather beaten ferryman! When he saw my predicament, he offered to pump up the tyre. I wheeled the cycle into his shed and he turned on a large portable air compressor. When I realized that the hose had no pressure gauge and that he was simply going to judge the pressure by “feel”, I diplomatically did my best to indicate a mild degree of apprehension, lest he over inflate it. When he understood, he laughed as much as to say “look mate, this is the Danube Cycle Path hundreds of blokes ride past every day in summer this is not the first time I’ve pumped up a bike tyre!” I still asked him nicely “not so hard”!
At the next sizable town called Aschach, there was an enticing bakery and would you believe, right next door a bike shop. As god is my witness, it had an air hose for cyclists to check their pressures! These series of fortuitous finds after an isolated puncture and taking the lord’s name in vain, can only mean one thing – there is a God or now that I think it through, perhaps I really mean there is NO god?
I had a coffee and almond croissant then meandered into the cycle shop to buy a replacement tube. The attentive young man in overalls (on my fetish scale overalls are just a smidgen below Lederhosen), sized up my wheel rims and then helped me check the pressure in my tyres. The need for this was that whilst the hose had a reassuring pressure gauge, I could not seem to get an accurate reading! The young man laughed and explained that the gauge was “kaput”! Like the ferryman he simply pumped it up as “much as he could”! Again he relied on “feel”. Given his youthful overalls, I did not once question his technique, indeed asked him to check the front tyre and seriously contemplated buying a dozen replacement tubes!
By about 3 pm the sky cleared yet again and the sun burst forth. By this time Linz was less than 10 km away. Readers may recall that I had cycled to Linz from Prague a week or so before, so I decided to ride through and here I am at Steyregg.
The consequence is that I have ridden about 110 km in total today, the longest of any day despite the fluctuating weather! Started out at about 9.30 am and arrived at Steyregg about 4.30 pm.
It’s early to bed!
The dinning room at the Pension Virus. It will well and truely wake you up at breakfast!
Wet weather gear and 110 km’
Two ferry rides
This small rock in the middle of the Danube has some sort of place in the story of the Nibelungen, the basis for the Wagner opera cycle. “Der Ring des Nibelungen”.
The path was basically flat and excellent Tarmac following or utilizing the old tow road,