The ‘Grey Nomad’ Pedals To Austria

When Anna suggested a European jaunt to Vienna in August she thought about amazing cake, enormous history, wide vistas of a beautiful city etc. and I immediately thought I could ride my bike there! In fairness one of my favourite films is ‘The Third Man’ set in post war Vienna with Orson Welles and I note there is a walking tour of the famous images in the city from that 1949 classic. From Vienna we’re planning to get the train to Prague for an overnight stay and then later another train day trip to Bratislava. This will be my first visit to Slovakia. (They must be excited, I know).

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It’s only about 900 miles from York. And my plan was hatched via maps being perused and another spreadsheet being created (with the daily mileages, elevations to be climbed and camping stops identified). It’ll take me 17 days of around 60 plus miles a day with a couple of rest days thrown in. This is quite a light schedule for me and I may change the route.

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The route is from Zeebrugge (and Belgium) into Luxembourg. This small country does have some rugged hills and after those undulations I’ll be in South Germany. Last year I spent a long time here but further east and well south beneath Munich. I must admit it wasn’t inspiring and in someways for all that Germany is ‘switched on’ and ‘happening’, albeit industrial, then what I saw wasn’t. However this is a different part of the south and one route has a stop at my favourite record store in Stuttgart which would be a highlight before finding the Danube and trundling into Vienna. Germany has some interesting laws, the most worthy being the prohibition of trucks on the roads on Sunday. In fact our 24/7 retail life hasn’t afflicted the Teutons yet. Power to their elbows.

My mission, as I trundle through their land, is to get one person to smile back.

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Our Summer has been pants and apart from one freak day it’s been fleeces and umbrellas even into July. I hope I haven’t missed the European heat wave. I am looking forward to something sizzling.

As I set off I’ve amassed nearly 2,000 miles year to date and much of that has been dragging myself up and down the Yorkshire Wolds. I should be in reasonable nick. I post the following snap: I once did a presentation of my expedition across the USA and someone, only half in jest, commented that they never saw a picture of me riding a bike!

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Grey Nomad? This phrase apparently is quite common for over 55 independent Australian travellers but it came to my attention from a millennial who’s blog I read about a ride down the east coast of Australia. She was put out that whilst singing along to a bearded pal playing a guitar at an early hour of the morning on a campsite; an elderly  male clambered out of his tent to tell the player to stick the said instrument up a place where the sun wouldn’t shine the next day. I feel I was that man. She named him and others as ‘Grey Nomads’ for this outrage. I shall wear the badge with honour.

The first day sees me depart Acaster Malbis and cycle to the ferry in Hull. (Memo to self: do not be rude about Hull as Steve will be unhappy).

 

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