Biking by the Danube

One river, one bike, four countries. Just decided to go, book a train ticket and leave. Here i am... on the road again!

DAY 1 – It starts in Passau

Passau – Schlogen
The cycling begins in Passau, where the Inn coming from south throu the alps, and the Ilz descending from the Bavarian forest perish into the danube river.
A huge monastery reigns over this old Roman city.
On the other side of the road of the station there is an info point where i get my map, so that i can study a little bit the route before i jump into it.
It's long but easy.
I am excited, but first i need to eat something, can't start this with noo food on my stomach.
I sit at a table order beer (of course) and the chef's special course. Soon an elder man joins me at my table.
He does not speak a word in English, but we understand each other. Or we pretend we do.
He is a nice man, traveling solo just  like me. We are going in opposite directions he is going west following the Danube, i will go East through Linz, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.

Gotta say goodbay to my newly met friend. Is time to hit the road.

I am excited, i have no clue if i am going to like it, if i am going to feel ok... and it feels so good at this moment.
Leaving everything behind, just me, a tent and my bike.
The first leg will be short: 40Km from Passau to Schlogen where i spotted a camping on the map.
The nature around me is so rich and peaceful, i can smell all different fragrances with open lungs and hear all different sorts of birds singing.
I'm so out of shape, my legs need to work a bid harder than what i expected, but is something i am looking forward to.

I arrive at Schlogen with the sun still high in the sky, running downhill after the last climb of the day.
Schlogen is not even a town, there is only this camping which is also a hotel and a restaurant. The bend of the river is a good spot for a little pier full of small motorcrafts.
The water doesn't look at its best, but i want to get rid of the heat from my skin, so once my tent is up, i head down to the pier and jump into the water. It is refreshing.
I wait for the sunset and enjoy the colors. I feel so fine, so calm, so free. This is a feeling i wouldn't exchange with anything else.

My tent is set on a nice natural terrace overlooking the pier, and i am sharing my spot with many other cyclists, and a bunch of 50 italian kids, biking with their pastor. It is a catholic class.

I am not a big fan of religions, but these kids seem to be very nice. They are singing songs to Jesus as i fall asleep under the black sky. I don't care. I am loving it here.

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DAY 2 – The road is hot!

Schlogen – Linz
I get back on track from where i left it, running downhill until the south bank of the river.
The mountains offer good company and their shades are good friends.
It's early and fresh. At 10:00 the sun is beaming. At 11 the heat is unbearable... A group of swans had to find repair in the shades of the woods where a branch of the river made its way.

Today i am going to cycle a bit more than yesterday, i am planning to go around 60Km or more, but is so hot i already feel like passing out.
I ride as much as i can, diving in water as soon as i find the opportunity. At 12 i must stop: i haven't eaten anything and the hot wind is killing me. My head is pulsating.
There is one word you are going to learn here: "BEERGARTEN". Yes it's exactly that, nice gardens full of cold beer to drink! A raddler even better. Make em two!
The territory is marked with signs pointing into their direction just as any other city would do for castles and churches.

I stop several times on the way to buy water. I did not expect it to be so expensive over here. 1 little bottle 2,40€... it's insane!

The heat is consuming me, i assume i will stop in Linz.
My choice is well rewarded. Linz is amazing! On the northern bank of the river there are several beaches where young guys go to splash into the water. I'd like to stop and jump on those lianas too, but i need to find my camping first and i'm still far.
I leave the laughter of those swimming kids, to meet a good old noise that was part of my childhood: rolling skates.
Linz is equipped with everything for outside activities: beach volley, soccer, hokey, basketball fields... and a nice little skate park with the grunge aspect you would expect from any New York corner. I love that noise. The rolling, the sudden silence and the hard stomp of the board hitting the ground after an holly. I was never good at it. I tried, but with no luck.

I get to the camping with my last few forces. I am afraid the sun might have given me a heat stroke, so i head directly to the toilette for an ice cold shower.
Refreshed i bike back downtown for 3 more raddlers and some local food.
The city is all different now. Parks are empty and colored lights lit the banks both south and north of the Danube.
It's a spectacular view.

DAY 3 – 110Km

Linz – Mathausen – Grein – Ybbs – Melk
I'm awake at 6:00.
Clouds keep the temperature at an ideal condition for biking.
As i did in the past two days, i just pack my stuff and jump on the bike.
Fruit, muesli bars, peanuts and waters is all i need for the day.
Riding east from the northern back i could see gigantic industries stealing the landscape to the woods and the their chimneys vomiting dense clouds of who knows what in the sky.

From far a see a goofy figure waiting for me on the side of the road.
He's all packed with his bike, everything brand new.
"Can i ride with you all the way to Budapest?" he asks.
God... that sounds to me like "can we be forever friends" in this very moment.
"Sure..." that is all i can say to him.

It's a kid i met last night brushing my teeth.
He was hanging in the toilet telling everyone his story: a 19 years old kid who wants to reach the black sea by bike.
I admire him, really. That's brave and is also a beautiful story and a pretty impressive adventure he planned.
But i must say i am traveling solo for a reason. I am not in the mood. I am seldom a social animal, less than ever this time.
"in two is better than alone" He keeps saying as we cycle through the forest.
He is biking right next to me causing a traffic problem of which he doesn't care less. The cycling path is not so wide, and there are bikers riding in both directions. He is standing in the middle of the lane with his big bike and all his packs. "how cool is it to have someone to go with" he insists.
I hate to ruin his enthusiasm, but i need to loose him. So i do.
He is stopping with me at the store, but he is all concerned about the bikes:
"wait... are you sure? Maybe is better.....are you leaving your bike here? but, but...".
I enter the store, he follows. I take what i need and get out, in a few minutes i am ready to go again.
"Wait, no stress... we have time".
God, i don't want this, "wait" is a word i hate. But i try to look patient. After a few minutes he is still drinking some weird "cappuccino" he just bought, and didn't pack a thing. This is it, i am leaving: "hey, i go, you're gonna ketch up with me, okay?". He tries to stop me, but i let him notice we gotta take advantage of the early hours to avoid the heat and i really want to go.

As soon as i gain a little advantage on him i cross the first bridge i meet toward the south bank in Mathausen, where a heavy sensation is filling my lungs. It is atrocious to think what this city meant in history. Here is a massive concentration camp, and it must be the grey sky, but i really feel the darkness of its past.

Luckly i am soon into the nature again. What an amaizing diversion i found!
Around me only endless lands and corn fields. A big green snake hides quickly as i ride by.
Today the wheels are running smoothly, it feels so good! I want to go 100Kms, that means Melk.
I can do it quickly at this pace, the sky is cloudy and the street doesn't show many climbs.
Soon though the clouds become thicker and i can see thunder flashing.
It starts raining heavily. Luckly there is a gallery on the path. I stop there to rest and let the little storm go away.

It's pourning now. Two couples of canadian bikers join me in the gallery. Thay are headed to Melk too.
After 15 minutes is all over and i am back on my bike.
My ass starts hurting, my buttcheeks are begging me please to stop. I can't i must reach Melk.
I ride through Ybbs. A ferry takes me back on the north bank. This things take cars, passengers and bicycles to the other site... yet i don't hear no sound, no motor, no effort. These platform take advantage of the power of the streaming river to cross it. All they need to do is point the hulls so that the current pushes them into the right direction. Two strong wires prevent the floating platform to row away with the flow. I might be totally wrong but i think this is how it works.

I lose my way several times, but i finally make it to Melk.
I am riding directly into the camping again, no reception... yes i am sneaking in.
After a quick cold shower, i am on a terrace facing the sunset on the river, where groups of tourists embark on their shiny cruises. This people, mostly elderly, are all smily and excited to start their adventures on those floating hotels. I recognize the american accent in many of them.

I think  i am eating too fast, but this big meal of pork (of course) is so dealicious and i am too fucking hungry to slow down.

All the Kilometers done and the pork on my belly are telling me to rest.
I tiy to rad one of my books, but i am falling asleep. I think i'll just pass out.

DAY 4 – Not the wind!

Melk – Mautern – Tulln
There is only one big enemy i cannot stand when cycling.
I am pretty good in challenging my mind, and make my body push further. But there is one that sometimes really makes me angry and gives me the feeling i want to give up.
It's not the hot sun, it's not the pouring rain, is not being alone. Is an enemy that you cannot see but you can definitely feel. It is the wind blowing in your face. No matter how hard you bike, it is going to slow you down or stop you in no time. And it' frustrating.
When you are on the saddle climbing a mountain, you see your enemy, you see where the effort is going to end, and after it you know that is going to be a reward, a nice and fast downhill. Against the wind there is no goal, no victory, nothing to cheer for. Its only your legs burning and your bike moving slowmotion.
Sometimes the trees on the sides of the road work as shields and give me a break, and at least the clouds offer good repair against the sun that burnt my arms in the past few days.

On the way to Tulln i came accross the nice little town of St. lorenz where a bakery is forcing me to stop and enjoy they delicious croissants and one americano.
Is also good for some rest and i can buy some creme to relieve some pain the saddle is giving to my but.

The land around here is so rich, the path unfolds between trees of apricots, apples, peers and grapes. I heard they make an excellent wine in this area. I know the italian wine coming from Sud Tirolo, but never tried the Viennese one.

I am not going to steal any of this fruit... maybe just an apple... it is not ripe yet, but tastes so good!

My back tire is giving me trouble. I'm almost there to reach Tulln, but i need to stop. The tube is flat again. Need to fix it.
I am so used to it i got superfast.
Finally Tulln. This time i am staying in a hostel. It was a very tiring day, plus i need some decent sleep and i am the onlyone in a six-bed dorm room. Sounds perfect to me.
I hunt for pizza... i have enough of pork. You can have pork in many different dishes and forms, but this time i need to disintossicate.
I go for a nice pizza place near the center. I am so hungry i am eating one big Hawaii pizza and since i want more, i am getting also a diavola.
At night i cannot sleep. I feel the pizza sitting heavily in my stomach. An i am seating as if i am still biking. God i had too much.
I think i am going to see dragons soon, but is already 4 am and i still need to catch sleep.....

DAY 5 – Wien!

Tulln – Wien

DAY 6 – Sudden Stop in Bratislava

Wien – Bratislava
Having some health problems so i must interrupt my tour a few kilometers short to my final destination.

Bratislava is amaizing! I did not love Vienna, got a weird vibe from it, but i am loving Bratislava.
Had a nice dinner at an amazing resturant called the Green Buddah... very good indeed.

Booked a flight quickly for the day after, with Ryanair was rather cheap, only 40€ but the bike had to pay more than myself (50€). However 90€ is still a good price. 
Packed my bike into a box i got at a sport store in Vienna.

Hi, I am Mike, and you must've stumbled upon my travel journal unconsciously, maybe looking for something interesting and well written. If that is so, you are in the wrong place. These pages are useless, lack of proper grammar, but they also have some flaws. Enjoy!
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