Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Riding Surfaces

Aside from the occasional patch of cobblestones already mentioned, we rode on quite a variety of surfaces on our way from Vienna to Budapest.

By and large, we followed the Eurovelo 6 route from Vienna to Budapest.  Along this stretch it is a mixture of bike path and roads that roughly follow the Danube River.  Here's a taste of the route:

Straightforward bike paths, with lanes for each direction.

Smaller bike paths, with no stripe.

Chipseal, on bike paths,

which the kid didn't like, but gamely put up with.

Small country roads,

and a just a few miles on larger roads (not pictured because I was too busy dodging traffic and the inevitable bad pavement along the edge...)

One patch of small country road was under construction.  Chad saw the sign that said "Closed to bikes" and something about a bridge (in German), but we didn't want to take the obvious detour on the busy road, and several other bikes just blew past the closed sign, so we followed suit. Workers at the missing bridge waved us down a dirt track through some farmer's field, and we were back on our way.

There were several other sections along dirt tracks that were part of the official route.

And a few that we found along the way, like this back way into the Roman ruins at Carnuntum.

By and large, I liked the dirt sections -- they were usually lined with wildflowers,

and occasionally made you wonder where on earth you were going.  At one point, our well-signed route on the road appeared to dead-end in a cemetary, until we saw the faint dirt track heading off along the side.

It was especially entertaining seeing how much speed (or not) one could get on the dirt with the not-so-nimble rental bikes.

By and large, the route was well signed...except where it wasn't.  As these things often go, the signage was missing where you really needed it going in and out of bigger towns.  Fortunately, I had a decent set of offline maps on Triposo app on my phone to supplement the route book we were given at the start of the ride.  The offline maps were integrated with the phone's GPS to put a reassuring little purple dot where we were (fortunately usually right where I thought we were).  It was, however, always nice to see signs like the one below, indicating that we were back on track.
I quite like the little bicycle crossing lights, even if they do sometimes route you on the wrong side of the road.

At one point, we came down a stretch of trail to find a new surface: water!

We wisely sat up at the picnic table above and had a snack while observing the various strategies people were using to get across.  Some chose to ride slowly so as not to splash their feet.  Some took their shoes off and walked the bike across.  The rest of us took the fun option:  hit the water with a fair amount of speed with feet raised way up in the air to keep them out of the splash zone.

We headed down to join the fun.

Chad demonstrated the fun option!

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