Austria, 2023

The not so blue Danube

We had an inauspicious beginning for our Passau to Vienna bike ride. When we picked up our e-bikes to start the trip, Barbara had a tumble right outside the bicycle shop. Bruised, and a little bloody, but OK, she went back inside and bought the only helmet they had, a used one.

The bicycle vendor emphasized how important it was to NOT lose the key. We rode the first leg of our trip, checked into our hotel and I discovered I lost my key somewhere along the way. No key, can’t take the battery off the e-bike and charge it. So I called the shop and they agreed to bring me another bike the next morning, and pick up the key-less one, for free.

As we checked in, the desk clerk mentioned a large wedding in the hotel that evening (Saturday). It started at 5 and was a huge group. The live band played pretty good covers of a lot of pop and rock and roll…..until 2AM…..right above our room.

The next morning we faced one of our longest rides with a late start, not getting the bike swap until noon. When we walked out to meet the truck, it started raining. With 62 kilometers to go, the first leg was blessedly downhill, about 8 kilometers distance, with a vertical drop of 300 meters. (Going down was a lot easier than going up the day before.)

The new bike only had about a half charge so my range was just barely enough to make the next location, and that by conserving power. (Read-unassisted pedaling.)

But the best part of travel is often the unplanned and unexpected. We had a beautiful ride along the Danube; rainy off and on, but cool, not hot. About halfway we stopped for some lunch, and there was a free e-bike charging station next to the restaurant, along the bike path seen here, letting me add some charge to my battery while consuming good Bavarian beer. We even discovered a trash can there that sings “Hallelujah” when you put trash in it.

For a sampling of the ride, see my new gallery, “The Bike Path”at

Passau, Germany, 2023

Beginning The Bike Path

I start any new adventure with some excitement, some trepidation, some apprehension, but that’s what makes it an adventure–the unknown. What surprises, pleasant and otherwise, await? Am I up to this, whatever “this” is? I don’t mean to overstate; I avoid risky behavior (mostly). It’s more concern about how I manage the differences I encounter, and how long I can avoid being a jerk about something, something often ultimately unimportant.

Barbara and I wanted to do a trip with some physically active components, and signed up for a self-guided multi-day bicycle ride from Passau to Vienna. In the above photo we were just leaving Passau at the beginning of our trip, and my apprehension was about how little riding we do at home and could we handle this distance–a question about both endurance and our buns’ ability to sit on a bike seat all day for several days. It’s awkward, at a minimum, to get in the middle of something and have to bail. Turned out to be easy, especially with E-bikes, and a great navigation program, furnished by the travel company.

Another concern was that I had stopped almost immediately at the beginning to make photographs of something interesting. There was something interesting, of course, the whole way, cycling on great bike paths, well-marked, along the Danube, and through fields and farmland, and picturesque villages and towns. It was all so pretty; our daily distance was short enough to amble along and enjoy the ride, but it was necessary for me to exert much discipline in not stopping every five minutes to shoot. We would never have made it to the next hotel before dark.

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