European Tour 2019 - Year of the Headwinds!

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
My wife Janet, and I (Robin) headed of to Europe for another cyclecamping tour this spring. Our last tour was documented in "European Tour 2017".

I hope to be able to post the full story of this year's trip in this thread, along with details of our kit and bikes.

European Tour 2019 – Year of the Headwinds!

Friday 3rd May – Day 0

Time for the off!

Bikes are sorted, kit checked and packed. We had ridden the bikes just once on a short shakedown ride to make sure they worked OK, but other than that had not been on a bike since last September – we will have to get fit as we go!

Everything loaded onto our little green Fiat Qubo, picked up younger daughter who was to drive the car home and off to Portmouth in plenty of time for the 20.15 ferry. Meal on board then off to our cabin for a good night's sleep.

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Seabreeze, our Hedgehog mascot on the ferry waiting for the off.

Saturday 4th May – Day 1

St Malo to La Chapelle aux Filzmeens

The ferry docked at 8.15am, and we soon cycled round to the small ferry to cross to Dinard. Weather was cold, grey and very windy – a rough crossing!

At Dinard we soon found the V2 which here is an old railway track and headed south in the cold, rain and wind. We soon got down to Taden where we joined the canalside trail along the Rance. Through Dinan along the canal/river, stopped at Evran for food shopping, a supermarket up the hill, then on to La Chapelle to a very smart campsite a couple of kilometres from the canal. Cold, and some rain all the way, but the campsite had a bar where we could sit inside for a while.

58km.

Sunday 5th May – Day 2

La Chapelle aux Filzmeens to Rennes

Very cold night with a hard frost, but dawned sunny. We were slow away due lack of practice, and the very low temperatures, but we were away by 10.30 alonge canal path over the Channel/Atlantic watershed to Rennes. We found a nice campsite in parkland, and a bar by a lake where we had a beer in slightly warmer weather.

55km, Total 113km.

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Seabreeze watching the rabbits play the pigeons at rugby next to the campsite.
Monday 6th May – Day 3

Rennes to Bourg du Comptes

Very cold with another hard frost, but clear skies. Up late again due to cold. As we will be on the road for much of the summer we really don't have anything in the way of cold weather gear, so these frosts are about the limit for the summer gear we have.

Away by 10.45, still cold and now cloudy. Followed roads back to the Ille canal, followed the towpath into Rennes, then the “Velo Express” route through town. Picked up the Vilaine towpath out of town, southwards on variable surfaces to Bourg du Comptes, a supermarket for food supplies, and a basic campsite. Weather finally brightening and a bit warmer.

40km, Total 153km

To be continued...….
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Tuesday 7th May – Day 4

Bourg du Comptes to Guemene Penfao

Back to the Vilaine towpath, a long way on variable surfaces, but weather gradually getting brighter and warmer. At Port de Besle we left the canal for the D151 to Guemene Penfao to the Super-U for two days of food, as the next day was to be a Bank Holiday in France. We got the tent up at the campsite and cooked dinner, but then it came onto rain again so we were early to bed.

54km, Total 207km

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Picnic lunch on the road.

Wednesday 8th May – Day 5

Guemene Penfao to Nort sur Edre

Big storm with gales and heavy rain overnight had cleared by 8am, but it was still pretty breezy. We were away by 10am in the bright but windy weather, south towards Blaine, with the strong winds on our front quarter. At Blaine we took the Nantes Brest canal, as it was more sheltered. Continued in the very windy weather, some sun, but also plenty of nasty rain squalls, on to Nort sur Edre where the campsite was 3km off our route. Pitched tent in a gale, and it remained stormy as we went to bed. Mileages are pretty low, as we have full loads, and are not yet cycling fit, especially in headwinds!

46km, Total 253km

Thursday 9th May – Day 6

Nort sur Edre to Oudons

An even more ferocious storm overnight, bikes blown over, branches down and debris everywhere! Grey skies and windy as followed roads back to the EV1 where it follows devious back lanes, then onto a cyclepath alongside the main road into Nantes. Through the centre of the city on a cyclepath down the middle of the main road, finally reaching the Loire and the end of stage 1 of our tour – the crossing of Brittany.

We now set off on Stage 2, the Loire a Velo. Out of the city along the North bank, stopping for a celebratory beer at a trailside caravan bar. A diversion uphill on roads away from the river for last 10kms to Camping de la Tour at Oudons

65km, Total 318km

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Reaching the Loire.

To be continued.....
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Friday 10th May – Day 7

Oudons to Challones

Still and calm in the morning, with solid grey cloud. Just as we set off the rain started. Followed the North bank, but out of sight of the river. Stopped for a pastry in Ancenis and crossed an old bridge to the South Bank. Cycled through woodlands then onto the embankment, in wind and rain. Found a Super U, and a campsite in Challones, then took a walk into town for a beer, still raining!

53km, Total 371km

Saturday 11th May – Day 8

Challones to Gennes

It rained all night, but had almost stopped by morning. Across the river again and follow the North Bank, good going, brighter weather and better scenery. A stretch of lanes away from the Loire, then back to river at St Mathurion where we crossed back to the South Bank. It was sunny now, and a bit up and down to Gennes. Cycled up a big hill to the Super U, then back down again to the campsite by the Loire. Fine warm and sunny for while so we did some washing, but the rain soon returned for the evening.

58km, Total 429km

Sunday 12th May – Day 9

Gennes to Montmoreau

A fine morning, but noisy due preparations for a Marathon going on along the river. We crossed the marathon course and went up the hill to a supermarket which was open Sunday mornings for lunch and dinner stuff then followed small roads above the river valley – a fair bit of traffic as the riverside road was closed for the race. Down to the river, crossing the course again and along into Saumur. The cyclepath was closed due roadworks, so we followed roads into town, and in trying to regain the correct route got mixed up in all sorts of road closures for the race. As we could make no progress for a while we got a beer and watched the runner pass by. Eventually we escaped to follow a nice trail, and minor roads along the river in fine sunshine. We found a nice campsite, and walked into town for another beer. First day with no rain at all, but due to the marathon we had not got very far!

33km, Total 462km

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Watching the runners in Saumur
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Monday 13th May – Day 10

Montmoreau to Landeias

A fine sunny morning, but breezy. Soon off along the river embankment, across a tributary, then countryside lanes to Savigny for a morning pastry. Back to the riverside and along the embankment again, into a very strong headwind. Picnic by the river in a gale! Very hard going against the howling gale so stop early for supermarket and campsite at Landeias. Once pitched we walked into the town to see the chateau and historical town centre.

44km, Total 506km

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Tuesday 14th May – Day 11

Landeias to Montlouis sur Loire

A fine and sunny morning, but again very windy. Back through town, then across the old bridge
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and upstream along the levee against the very strong wind. Followed the River Cher upstream for a while, stopped for pastries and bread for lunch, but still very tough going, across open fields now, sometimes down to less then 10 km/h against the gale. A bit more sheltered as we rode into Tours, parkland, golf courses, then seedy suburbs, and finally an attractive city centre. Out again along the Loire, and still the ferocious headwind blows. Finally stopped at Lidl for food, and the campsite in Montlouis, completely drained by the fight against the wind.

45km, Total 551km

Wednesday 15th May – Day 12

Montlouis to Chaumont sur Loire

Sunny but very windy again! Uphill through Montlouis, then the route seemed to try to top every surrounding hill, with a tour of watertowers, still against the strong wind. Back sown to the Loire at Lussault and along the river to Amboise, a nice town with fine chateau, and a good pastry shop.
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Uphill out of town again, more watertowers and headwinds! Back down to the river at Mosnes then uphill again at Rilly. Finally down to the river at Chaumont. We nipped across to Onzian for food at the supermarket, then back to a campsite by the river in Chaumont. Exhausted after fighting the headwind all day again.

46km, Total 597km

To be continued......
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Thursday 16th May – Day 13

Chaumont

After the trials of headwinds over the last few days, and with a forecast of very strong winds against us for today as well we decided to have our first rest day. Weather was fine (and windy!) so we got washing done and dried, and took a short ride across to Onzian for a beer and some food shopping.

7km, Total 604km
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Friday 17th May – Day 14

Chaumont to Beaugency

Dry but cloudy in the morning, the wind has dropped from a gale down to a stiff breeze, still against us – cannot understand how we are getting so many strong winds from the east, prevailing winds are supposed to be westerly here! Continued along the south bank, behind the levee to Blois, where we crossed the Loire, and up a huge hill to a supermarket for food supplies. Then down through the town centre and out along the north bank to Beaugency where we crossed the river to the campsite. Weather cloudy and a bit damp all day, and we suffered millions of tiny black flies.

59km, Total 663km

Saturday 18th May – Day 15

Beaugency to Chateauneuf sur Loire

Some rain overnight and drizzly in the morning, but no wind! Set off across the river back to Beaugency, then through the middle of a field archery festival in light rain. The rain soon stopped and at Meung sur Loire we crossed back to the south bank. Nice riding on good surfaces led us to Orleans, across one bridge, along the river promenade, then crossed back to the south bank to exit the city. Carried on with nice riding to a supermarket at Sandillon, then the last stretch to Chateauneuf and a nice campsite by the river. Cool and cloudy now.

63km, Total 726km

Sunday 19th May – Day 16

Chateauneuf to Briare

Dull and overcast in the morning. Nice riding on good surfaces led us to morning pastries at Sully. Very busy here with a huge historical pageant going – everything from Crusaders to WW2. Good riding on levees and country lanes led us to a huge canal bridge over the Loire – boats for the firat time for a long while. We followed the towpath across the bridge to Briare where we relaxed with a beer before finding the campsite. Mainly cloudy, but a bit sun breaking through.

66km, Total 792km
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Monday 20th May – Day 17

Briare to Pouilly sur Loire

Very dull cool morning again. Back to the town end of the Pont du Canal, then followed an old disused canal to Chatillon, where we cross the Loire via a bridge closed to all but cyclist due to roadworks. Follow the river for a bit, then discover two paralel canals, an old one that descended down to the Loire to allow boats to cross, and the 1883 Canal Lateral a la Loire that went across the Pont, this one had some boat traffic. Along this canal for a bit, then back to the river again to Belleville, past another nuclear power station. Easy cycling, but still dull and cool. Along near the river, then the canal again to St Satur. The historic town of Sancerre is up a huge hill so we didn't take that alternative! Found a rather odd supermarket for food shopping, then cross the Loire to camp at Pouilly. We are the only customers, but the facilities are fine.

62km, Total 854km
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Deserted campsite!

Tuesday 21st May – Day 18

Pouilly to Nevers

Bright sunny morning for a change, after overnight rain. Fast easy riding, mainly on levee roads with a good surface. Down to Givry, then into Nevers to visit Decathlon to get some Optimus (Coleman type) gas. Visited a huge supermarket for food supplies, then cycled through the centre of Nevers to the campsite by the river. It was an early finish, so we had time to walk into town for a beer. A bit of rain at 5pm, but otherwise a decent day.

48km, Total 902km

Wednesday 22nd May – Day 19

Nevers to Decize

A fine, warm and sunny day! After our customary good breakfast fry-up we followed the canal, nice and easy riding. Pastry and baguette at Fleur sur Loire, then on to Decize for the supermarket. As the next site seems to be a further 56km, we decide to stop early again, at a good campsite. As it was still sunny we were able to get washing done and dried, and still had time to visit a local bar.

39km, Total 941km
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Thursday 23rd May – Day 20

Decize to Pierrefitte sur Loire

Fine warm and sunny again. The Loire a Velo route takes a big diversion here, so we followed the D116/D15 directly along the valley to Gannay sur Loire. The roads here that the cycleroute avoids are very quiet by British standards, so no problem at all. From Gannay we cut back to the cycleroute to follow very quite country lane through the hills to Bourgon-Lancy. We ate our lunch by a lake, then visited the supermarket before following a good cyclepath along the route of an old railway line to Diou, then on to the canal towpath to a quiet campsite at Pierrefitte.

60km, Total 1001km

Friday 24th May – Day 21

Pierrefitte to Palinges

Fine sunny day again, even hot! Lovely canalside path to Digoin
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Then onwards to another Pont Canal across the quite small River Loire.
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This is the end of Stage 2 of the trip – the Loire a Velo. After pastries we set off on Stage 3 toward Basle. We followed the Canal du Centre, which is part of the Tour de Bourgogne a Velo eastwards. At Paray le Monial we stopped for shopping, then off along the canal again. The route then took diversions along devious back roads, so we just followed a quiet D road alongside the canal to Palinges. We felt in need of refreshment, but there was no bar in town, so we checked into the nice campsite, and had a cold beer at the bar there. Very nice site here, as well as the bar it also had very nice hot showers, which were very welcome in the warm weather.

55km, Total 1056km

Saturday 25th May – Day 22

Palinges to Chagny

Weather was being good to us at present, another fine warm day. The EV6 does not really exist in places here, the signposted route takes huge diversions stay on back roads, but as the roads generally are not at all busy by UK standards, and drivers much more considerate we just follow the D road alongside the Canal du Centre. It was easy riding and not much traffic apart from one stretch through Monceau les Mines. We reached the Atlantic/Med watershed at Ecuisse where had our picnic lunch on a stretch of greenway by a lake the feeds the canal. The afternoon was gently downhill, road, then greenway and canal towpath, but with a stiff headwind. We went into Chagny for the supermarket and to a very nice campsite, almost full with lots of Dutch caravans and motorhomes. As it was our 34th wedding anniversary we booked at table at the very smart restaurant for an evening meal.

68km, Total 1124km

Sunday 26th May – Day 23

Chagny to Verdun sur Doubs

Into town through a very big market, to the supermarket for supplies for later (open mornings only on Sundays here). Back to the canal towpath for a fast, very easy run into Chalons sur Saone. An easy route through Chalons, missing the main centre, and out the other side follwing the Saone upstream. Very strong headwind here so when we got to Verdun we stopped for a beer, after which we decided to camp at the site there. Still nice weather apart from the headwind!

62km, Total 1176km

Monday 27th May – Day 24

Verdun to Dole

It was a grey overcast morning, but we were away in good time after a substantial breakfast. It was roads to start with along the River Doubs, then back to the Saone riverbank trail. Pastries in Seurre, then a shorcut along the D976 to Pagny (7k along a quietish roads instead of 16k along the devious route). We then back on the Saone bank, through Losne, some rain, and millions of horrible little black flies. Turned alongside the Canal Rhone au Rhin on mainly good surfaces to Dole for the supermarket and campsite. Weather a bit brighter now, but clouds still threatening.

66km, Total 1242km

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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Tuesday 28th May – Day 25

Dole to Besancon

Rained all night, stopped for breakfast but we packed a sodden tent and cycled off in the rain. Nice riding, but terrible weather! Found shelter and ate our lunch during a torrential downpour. The route followed the River Doubs and he Rhone/Rhine canal, very pleasant with a good surface. At Besancon we followed the canal towpath through a 385m long tunnel underneath the huge hill with the citadel above us. The campsite was 5km beyond Besancon, near a large supermarket. Heavy rain showers still during the evening.

68km, Total 1310km
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Wednesday 29th May – Day 26

Besancon

Janet's birthday, so a rest day! Got washing done, cleaned and fettled the bikes, then in the afternoon took the tram into Besancon. Had a look at the sights, old town, citadel etc, and had a restaurant meal to celebrate the birthday. No rain today.

Thursday 30th May – Day 27

Cold but clear when we got up, and fine and sunny by the time we set off. A short distance alongside the main road to rejoin the EV6, then a lovely trail alongside the canal/river. After 10km I ground to a halt! My rear derailleur cable had snapped! Investigation revealed that it had had snapped off right inside the brifter, and there was no way we could free it, not that we had a replacement anyway. We had also discovered that it was yet another French bank holiday!
Internet investigation revealed that there was a Decathlon in Besancon, and it was open! I adjusted the stop so the rear was fixed in the middle of the cassette, which effectively gave me a 3-speed by using just the front changer, but this wasn't too bad on the flat canal-side trail. We cycled back to Besancon, then past it the way we had come, then up a huge hill out of the river valley to the Decathlon, 25km in the wrong direction!
Fortunately Decathlon, with two people, two pairs of pliers, and a special prooger tool were able to get the broken bit of cable out, and fit a new one – with no charge for the labour! I also bought a new pair of SPD shoes, as my old ones were so worn I was just walking on the metal of the cleats, which was somewhat slippy! We got lunch from a stall outside he shopping precinct, then rode the main road back into central Besancon where we stopped for a beer before taking the EV6 back the campsite we had left that morning. Fortunately it had remained sunny all day. Due to the surpise bank holiday we had no fresh food, so we found an “All you can eat” chinese buffet just up the road, which amazingly good food, and very good value.

52km, Total 1362km
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Friday 31st May – Day 28

Besancon to L'Isle sur le Doubs

After a good nights sleep we had a fine dry morning, tent dry for packing for a change. We followed the pleasant trail along the canal/river, slightly uphill, and with a headwind yet again. We had pastries at Baumes les Dames, and a picnic lunch soon after. The route mainly followed the canal/river, but threw in a few killer hills up the valley sides to keep us on our toes. We stopped at Clerval for a beer, then on to L'Isle sur le Doubs for the supermarket and campsite. Warm clear evening for a change.

65km, Total 1427km
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
The tale continues.....

Saturday 1st June – Day 29

L'isle sur le Doubs to Altkirch
Lovely riding along the River Doubs and the Rhone/Rhine canal. Fine sunshine and getting warm. Pastries at Bart, then we left the R. Doubs to just follow the canal, always slightly uphill, always with a headwind! Through Montbelliard, and on to the Med/North Sea watershed at an altitude of 421m. Downhill along the canal, faster, but still a stiff headwind. We stopped for a beer at Dannemarie, before leaving the canal, ascending a killer hill to Asbach, then back down into Altkirch for the supermarket before a final hill up to the campsite. It was 30c now so we had a cool beer before pitching on the very nice campsite, a good welcome, nice showers, and a fine sunny evening.

76km, Total 1503km
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Sunday 2nd June – Day 30

Altkirch to Huningue

Hot and sunny from th start. Downhill back into town, then all the way back to the canal, big ring stuff for a change! Onwards on easy fast canal-side trails through Mulhouse to the Rhine valley towards Basle. We stopped for a beer at the “Three Countries Bridge” to celebrate the end of Stage 3 of our tour. The nice small campsite was only a short distance from here, and it seemed to be a crossroads for cycle tourers heading in all directions, no other British though. It had been a very hot day again, well over 30c.

55km, Total 1558km
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Monday 3rd June – Day 31

Huningue to Waldshut

With a hot sunny morning everyone was up early and on their way. We crossed th Three Countries Bridge into Germany and followed that bank upstream for a short while before crossing into Switzerland. On our 2017 tour we had come the other way along the Rhine on the North bank, so planned on following the Swiss South bank this time. The plan was soon twarted by poor signposting and us losing the trail, so we crossed back to the german side and exited Basle via riverside trails and through suburbs. It was very hot, and after a lunch stop we could see a huge storm brewing. The storm was moving towards us from the west, but as it approached it kicked a strong tailwind for us, so we cycled as hard as we could and kept ahead of it for 30km to Waldshut. We stopped for a beer, but the storm never really caught us – probably the first time we have ever actually outrun a storm on our bikes! We found a supermarket for food supplies, and then the very smart campsite.

74km, Total 1632km

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Tuesday 4th June – Day 32

Waldshut to Wangen

Hot and sunny again. We decided the stick to the north bank, where we alternated with stretches in Germany and Switzerland. The advantage with this is that we could buy all our supplies in the German bits, much cheaper, and did not have to get any more Swiss Francs beyond the few coins we had brought with us. Over a section of high ground, then down a steep descent to Rheinfalls and a scenic picnic lunch. Used the station lift to get back up the huge steep hill to Schaffhausen (CH), then on forest trails across borders repeatedly to Stein am Rhein. This was last town in Switzerland so we had a beer to use our Swiss coinage before cycling back into Germany to the Lidl at Ohringen for supplies. From there it was a short ride to the campsite at Wangen, where we pitched on a grassy beach area. It was very hot all day, but we were camped on the shore of the Unter Bodensee – done with the Rhine already!

74km, Total 1706km

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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Wednesday 5th June – Day 33

Wangen to Orsingen

Hot and sunny again. Nice but fairly hilly alongside the Untersee, through small villages, and a nice shoreline to Radolzfell, a fair size town where we left the lake shore. Lost the cycleroute here, but managed to pick it up again just outside town as we headed inland. Very hilly, very hot, and very few shops! There was a supermarket just outside the “Camping and Ferienplatze” in Orsingen, and as it was so hot, and the site had a swimming pool, washing machine and restaurant/bar we decided to stop early. Had a leisurely afternoon, doing washing, lounging in the sun, followed by a nice meal in the restaurant.

35km, Total 1741km
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Thursday 6th June – Day 34

Orsingen to Tuttlingen

Cool and cloudy this morning. Bought lunch at the supermarket as we left, then headed off into the hills! Up, up, and more up! Stopped for lunch at a picnic area at 783m altitude. It was 13c, 20c colder than yesterday, but with the hills to contend with that was a good job.
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After lunch yet more uphill, until we topped out at 862m, by a small ski area.
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Next was a 70km/h downhill into Tuttlingen and the River Danube – end of Stage 4 of our trip.
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It came on to rain for while so we stopped for a beer in town. When the rain stopped we went to find the “Zeltplatze” - no proper campsite here, but a small hedged lawn in the corner of the town park, toilets and showers accessed by means of a key obtained from the swimming pool reception – once key deposit was returned it only cost 5euro for the night. I got supplies from a slightly scabby supermarket while Janet sorted the tent. Now overcast and cold, but dry. Very short distance today again, due this time to the huge hill!

33km, Total 1774km

Friday 7th June – Day 35

Tuttlingen to Sigmarinen

The day dawned bright and sunny and we soon packed away, returned the key to the swimming pool, and set off on Stage 5, down the Danube. Stopped at another supermarket on the edge of town to return recycling and buy pastries and lunch stuff. Lovely riding down the valley, off road, some tarmac, but mainly dirt/grit trails. Quite hilly. The Danube is small and fast flowing here, and the valley winds between limestone crags, best scenery of the trip so far.
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The lovely weather helped as well, fine and sunny, 28c. Stop for a beer at the top of a hill 4km before Sigmarinen, then a fast downhill straight to the campsite, complete with bar/restaurant, and a supermarket nearby, perfect with a pitch by the river. Everywhere pretty busy as it is now the local half term holiday.

58km, Total 1832km

Saturday 8th June – Day 36

Sigmarinen to Munderkingen

Sunny but cool start. Good trails and unusually a tailwind led to fast riding. Some hills but the fast bits outweighed those. Into Munderkingen feeling thirsty, but almost everywhere was shut, and the centre of town dug up with roadworks! Finally found a locals bar for a beer or two, then an Edeka supermarket for food supplies before making our way to the municipal campsite just outside town. It was a nice spot, unattended but OK toilets etc, and the only people staying were cycle tourers. During the evening someone came round to collect the princely sum of 7euros.

62km, Total 1894km
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Sunday 9th June – Day 37

Munderkingen to Leidhiem

Fine sunny morning, and with the sun on the tent forcing us out early we were away by 9am. The familiar headwind was back again today, so harder work. Good tarmac trails led us towards Ulm, but as it was a Sunday everything was closed. Through Ulm on a riverside cycletrail, lots of pedestrians and cyclists out enjoying the nice weather. Across the river and into a forest on a gravel trail that led us to Leidhiem. After a beer stop we cycled a further 3km to a big farm holiday campsite. Loads of people, mainly families camping, as it is half term holidays. Came on to a bit of rain after pitching, so as we had no fresh food we had Currywurst and chips, with a beer in the snack bar.

72km, Total 1966km.

Monday 10th June – Day 38

Leidhiem to Donauworth

Very wet overnight, and still raining in the morning so we were a bit late away, packing a very wet tent.
It rained as we cycled through the forest on unsurfaced trails, before emerging onto tarmac. Almost everything was closed as it was a bank holiday, but we found a bakery/cafe to buy pastries and ready made sandwiches for lunch – our food stocks are low on Mondays! Weather was better in the afternoon as we followed a tarmac trail alongside the B16 all the way to Donauworth. We camped at the Canoe Club, where we got beer from a vending machine. It was a very wet evening, so as we had no fresh food still we got a pizza in town. Very nice pitch by the river, but we did suffer mosquitoes!

66km, Total 2032km
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Tuesday 11th June – Day 39

Donauworth to Neuburg

Rained heavily all night, but it had stopped by morning. Mix of very hilly tarmac trails near the road, and flat gravel trails through the forest. Janet caught a stick in her front wheel which stopped her dead, and smashed one of the mounting struts of her front mudguard. We managed to bend everthing back into place so the wheel would go round, and did a bodge repair with zip ties and elastoplast! This actually lasted all the way home.
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There were lots of mosquitoes out after the rain, and as we were feeling pretty tired we stopped early at the Neuberg “Ruderclub”.

42km, Total 2074km

Wednesday 12th June – Day 40

Neuberg

As the Ruderclub was a really nice place to stay, and we were feeling tired we had a rest day, enabling us to get washing done and had a look around town. It was dull and cloudy, and very cool in the evening, which at lest kept the mosquitoes away.

Thursday 13th June – Day 41

Neuberg to Neustadt

Rain overnight, but it was fine by morning. Took an unsurfaced trail out of town. This led onto tarmac by the main road, so we took an alternative along the river into Ingoldistadt. Went off route to Decathlon to restock with gas – but they had sold out! We rode out town on a nice trail on the wrong side of the Donau, eventually rejoining the route on mixed trails to Neustadt. Choice of supermarkets, and a nice bar for a couple of beers in town, then on to the campsite, open and sunny but with superb facilities and very good showers. Hot sunny evening, but as the sun got low millions of mosquitoes came out.

59km, Total 2133km
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Friday 14th June – Day 42

Neustadt to Regensburg

After the night of the million mosquitoes the morning ws fine, sunny and mozzie-free. The route took a long-winded way, trying to stay on cycle paths where possible, but made progress onwards slow. 6km before Kelhiem we had a choice, climb a huge hill to avoid the narrow river gorge, or take a boat. We had met some New Zealanders coming the other way, and they had described the hilly stretch as “Mosquito hill”, as it was heavily wooded and sheltered, so the boat it was! The “Schiffe” gave us a very pleasant boat ride through a narrow gorge, between steep limestone cliffs. There was even time for a beer on board!
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After Kelhiem it was a mix of tarmac and grit surfaces all the way to Regensburg. We camped at the Canoe Club and visited a nearby supermarket for supplies. It was overcast and very humid by evening, which brought the mozzies out in force again.

59km, Total 2192km

Saturday 15th June – Day 43

Regensburg to Straubing

Hot and humid day. After breakfast we rode into Regensburg to the Decathlon to restock on gas – successfully this time. We soon found our way to the route again, fast and easy, with that rarest of luxuries, a tailwind. It was mainly tarmac off-road trails, but we had an issue near Worth as the trail was closed for resurfacing, and we missed the diversion somewhere. A few kilometers along the road soon had us back on track. It was very hot, so we went into Straubing for a cold beer, and stocked up at the nearby Rewe supermarket.
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It was then a few kilometers out to “Camping Stadt Straubing”, a good shower, application of mozzie “after-bite” (which we had bought at an Apotheke in Straubing), and application of more repellant.

59km, Total 2251km

Sunday 16th June – Day 44

Straubing to Vilshofen

Heavy rain overnight again, it had stopped by morning, but still cool and cloudy so packed the tent away very wet. A decent tarmac trail behind the floodbank to start with, then lots of devious diversions on variable surfaces. We ate lunch in a very fancy bus shelter (it even had wi-fi!) in a small town square. Next came a small ferry across the Donau.
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Then mainly good surfaces with a slight tailwind all the way to Vilshofen. Pitched at the camping at the Pleasure Boat Harbour, very nice and only 5euros! Walked across the bridge into town for a beer. There was a big festival of some sort going on, with loads of food stalls, but as we had perishables to eat at the campsite we couldn't partake.

81km, Total 2332km
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Swans and Cygnets on the campsite.
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Monday 17th June – Day 45

Vilshofen to Engelharzell (Austria)

Slight early morning mist burned off by 8am, leading to a warm and sunny day. Straight on to the cycleroute from the campsite, then a good surface along the North Bank all the way to Passau, then crossed over and through the city stuff, lots of cruise liners, and loads of cyclists, many in large guided groups.
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Soon crossed back to the North Bank and on to Obernzell for the supermarket and some beers. “International” ferry back to the south side, which was now Austria.
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First campsite looked a bit dismal (mainly permanent caravans) so we carried on to Engelharzel, where we camped by the outdoor pool, as all the conventional pitches were full.

50km, Total 2382km

Tuesday 18th June – Day 46

Engelharzell to Feldkirchen am Donau

Fine warm morning. Into Engelhartzell to stock up on lunch supplies, then took a ferry back to the North Bank. Fine scenic riding, into a stiff headwind led us to a “3 ferry option” point. We decided to take the ferry that took us a bit further along the more scenic North Bank, hopping past a section where the cliffs went straight down into the water.
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Another scenic 15km led us to another ferry – we ate our picnic lunch while the ferryman had his break, then we were ferried past another section of vertical cliffs. Carried on riding the North Bank until the valley opened out. Stopped in Feldkirchen for a cold beer, as it was now very hot, then the supermarket and on to the campsite where we had a fine sunny evening.

47km, Total 2429km

Wednesday 19th June – Day 47

Feldkirchen to Au an der Donau

Hot and sunny again. Found our way between a series of bathing lakes and back to the cycleway along the river. A good trail, got pastries and some lunch supplies just before Linz. The route followed the North Bank past Linz until it was closed due construction work for a new bridge. We lost the diversion somewhere in the roadworks, so exited the town on a busy road. We soon found the route again outside town, and followed good tarmac along the river. Across at a lock/barrage/hydro plant, and across farmland before regaining the South Bank in time for a ferry to Mauthausen on the North Bank. It was very hot so we stopped for a cold beer before finding the supermaket.
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Then it was just a few more km to a nice campsite at Au an der Donau, where they had an onsite bar for more cold beer!

59km, Total 2488km

Thursday 20th June – Day 48

Au an der Donau

A rest day. Washed clothes, very hot they dried quickly. Cleaned the bikes and lubed drivetrains. Beer and food at the site bar. Huge storm in the evening.
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Inner tube vending machine by the trail near the campsite.
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
The tour continues......

Friday 21st June – Day 49

Au to Emmersdorf

The rain had stopped by morning, and we were away by about 9am. Fast easy riding along the North Bank led to Grein where we stopped at the Hofer (Austrian Aldi) for pastries and lunch supplies. Next we took a ferry across to the South Bank, away from the main road and railway.
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Nice riding to Ybbs, then on to Polkarn for the supermarket for dinner supplies and a beer stop. Finally along the South Bank to a “Kraftwerk” (hydro power station and barrage) where we crossed back to the North side and into Emmersdorf for the campsite. Hot and sunny all day.

81km, Total 2569km

Saturday 22nd June – Day 50

Emmersdorf to Tulln

Across a big bridge to the South Bank, in the rain! Fast easy trails, but dismal wet weather all morning. Got snacks and lunch food at Mauten, then the weather improved a bit. Up to Mauten it was very scenic, afterwards flat bankside trails. On through Krems to Tulln. Diversions on the trail so took the road into town for the Hofer, then into the centre for a beer or 3 accompanied by live music – some sort of festival was on. Final couple of kilometres to the very busy campsite, with weather again dismal and overcast.

82km, Total 2651km

Sunday 23rd June – Day 51

Tulln to Vienna

Onto the cyclepath in the rain again, very heavy at times. Along the river, then alongside the railway to Vienna. Weather was terrible. The route avoided the city centre by following alongside the Neue Donau, but there were no shops, bars or restaurants! Getting hungry (and very wet!) so we crossed to the long island between the two parts of the Danube where the Donau Festival was going on. We found a found a food stall with undercover seating while the local fire service pumped floodwater away! We went on to the campsite in a brief break in the downpour. Because of the festival the tent field was fully booked, and all they could offer was a really scabby narrow area squeezed between the back of the faclities and the perimeter fence and scruffy undergrowth. We didn't have much choice, but this was the worst pitch of the trip so far by a wide margin, though the actual facilities were very smart. We ventured out to a nearby “Beach Bar” for some beers, and dinner in torrential rain.

41km, Total 2692km
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Monday 24th June – Day 52

Vienna to Bratislava (Slovakia)

The weather was better by morning. We had wanted to stay a couple of nights to visit Vienna, but with just the scabby pitch available to us we decided to move on. We packed away with stuff drying as we did so, leaving kit just a bit damp round the edges. We followed fast flood bank tarmac trail, then a diversion on rough track, round fields, and along busy roads until we crossed a huge bridge across to the South Bank. We had lunch at Hainburg, then it was uphill away from the river before descending down to the Slovak border.
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A rather rougher floodbank road led to Bratislava, where we crossed another huge bridge into the centre where we had a beer in the Old Town.
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The only campsite was outside of the city, so to finish we had a manic 10km dash on very busy chaotic roads to the campsite just beyond a huge Tesco Extra. The campsite was initially unprepossessing, with a derelict hotel and dire security warnings, but once established it was actually quite nice, with a very cheap outdoor bar/restaurant – but with only Slovak menu, and no English spoken! We went to the Tesco for supplies, which was a strange combination of the completely familiar and the utterly incomprehensible! It had remained fine and sunny all day, but stayed humid.

75km, Total 2667km
 
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RobinS

RobinS

Senior Member
Location
Norwich
Tuesday 25th June – Day 53

Bratislava

Today was to be a rest day to see the tourist sights of Bratislava, but first we had to plan the return home. Over the last days we had been feeling that we were a very long way from home, day 52 we were still “going” as it were. Bratislava had always been our primary target, and the original plan was to turn left, and join the Vienna to Prague greenway. I had a map of this route, 466km from Vienna to Prague, but I had recently looked at it more carefully and discovered that that 466km included no less than 5846m of ascent/descent. That's like crossing the Alps twice! Plan B was required.

It was a fine, hot, sunny morning, and we walked from the campsite to a nearby tram stop where we bought “all day” tickets. That tram took towards the centre, and one change got us to Bratislava station. Fortunately the ticket salesperson understood a reasonable amount of English, and we had soon purchased tickets and reservations for us and our bikes for the 12:10 train to Prague the following day.

That sorted we took the tram to the Old Town, where we looked around the sights, had a nice lunch in a tourist restaurant (quite pricey), and a couple of beers in a back street bar where it was really cheap just 1.50 euro for 0.5l. Later in the afternoon we returned to the campsite, where we had some even cheaper beers at the site bar.
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Wednesday 26th June – Day 54

Bratislava to Prague

It was very hot again, and we rode back into Bratislava, mainly on “cycle enabled” pavements, not marked as cycle routes, but roughly dropped kerbs, to avoid the manic traffic. We got to the station in time for a beer and a sandwich before making our way to the designated platform. It turned out that our train was actually the one from Budapest to Prague, but it was 45 minutes late into Bratislava. It was a “Euro Cities” train, and as it had vertical hanging bike racks we had to unload everything on embarkation. By the time we reached Prague the train was over 1.5 hours late, so by the time we had managed to find a stair-free way out of the station, and got some Czech crowns from an ATM it was well after 6pm. We didn't have a proper map for this stage, just a tourist brochure of the Elbe cycle route with some tiny sketch maps, so it was nerve wracking riding the mad roads and traffic of Prague until we managed to find the Eurovelo 7 which we followed out of the city. It was 10km to “River Camping”, a very nice small site where we soon pitched and went in search of food. The nearby restaurant had an event on so no food available, a snack bar had closed for the evening, so it was back to the site to eat our emergency Tuna and Pasta, washed down with a couple of beers from the reception fridge.

18km, Total 2785km

Thursday 27th June – Day 55

Prague to Melnik

It was hot and sunny, but less humid today, so we delayed departure to allow us to air our kit properly, and to do about the third repair to one of our chairs.
A fast easy cycleroute led us north alongside the River Vltava, then it was up huge hill, and across farmland on very potholed roads before a great, smooth, 3km downhill back to the river. After a couple of kilometers we bought some lunch supplies, then rode a section of technical singletrack before coming back onto roads. Next was a ferry across the Vltava – pedestrians and cycles only, powered only by the current.
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Onwards on good trail until a bridge was closed and we were diverted along a rough track. This led to a temporary free ferry that took us across the Elbe to Melnik.
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We found a supermarket to restock with food, went up a big hill to the old town centre for a couple of beers, then freewheeled back down to the campsite. It was a nice site with good facilities, excellent hot showers. It was still 29c at 7:30pm but very low humidity, so after a shower we felt dry for the first time for days.

54km, Total 2839km

Friday 28th June – Day 56

Melnik to Litomerice

Fine, dry, sunny morning. We found our way out of time and across the Elbe bridge to pick up the Elbe cycleroute, just following our sketch map. It was signed as “Route 2” here. It was a good smooth cyclepath to start, but after fighting easterly headwind threequarters of the way across Europe to Bratislava we now had a stiff North Westerly headwind to contend with. We had a road section, then back on cycletrails to Rodnice where we got pastries and lunch supplies. Crossed a bridge and on to Kresnice where we ate lunch, then a section of “MTB Trail”. Back on tarmac we had a beer stop at the bar of a wakeboarding centre – beer is very cheap in the Czech Republic.
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The last stretch led us easily to Litomerice and the Autocamp. After pitching our tent we ventured into town to get some more crowns, and had a beer in town.

51km, Total 2890km

If anyone has any question about the trip so far don't hesitate to ask....
 
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