For many years Gerald Mueller has been going on fantastic rides and then sharing them in club newsletters. Check out his latest ride:
“The whole idea surrounding this trip wasn’t another excuse for a bike tour, but rather a celebration for
Dave Bell who turned 60 this past February. Dave wanted to cycle through some countries he had never visited, so with some thorough checking of a map of Europe, he came up with a great idea.
The only downfall on any trip is time restrains, so we had to put the best route together to fit into a two week time slot. It was no problem seeking out cyclist who wanted to come along, but we knew in advance that we would be limiting the trip to four riders.
In the past, former WCC members Dave Bell and Dave Lee and myself have arranged road and mountain bike trips usually in Switzerland and surrounding countries. With another rider to welcome aboard, Dave Dewaal filled in the request.
David D introduced us to a cool bike trip planning website www.biketoaster.com . We could calibrate the type of roads, hills etc., and it would lay out a recommended route. At the same time, it listed altitude gains and distance, so we could keep modifying our route so we could stay in selected towns and cities along the way. Once your route was selected, we just downloaded it to our Garmin’s.
We also used printed off sections of maps I had acquired, and while being analog, paper cannot be beat in this digital age.
For each city we stayed in, we had a list of cheap, but high rated hotels form booking.com. Some of these hotels were listed on our Garmin’s, so we just followed the computer to the hotel.
In the course of 12 ½ days of riding, we rode 1,626km, climbed 12,232m, and burned off umpteen calories, entering seven countries. The countries we visited were Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia.
The further East we were, the cheaper things became. The hotels and food were always excellent, and the unheard of beers were always welcome at day’s end. Sometimes at our lunch stop as well.
Now that the trip is finished, it is impossible to list a favorite country we visited. It is easy to express our view on what country had the smoothest roads. For most of the route, the roads were pretty good, but there were times when we wondered how our bikes held together. Go big in tires. There was not one flat tire, broken rack, frame or axle, considering the weight of our loaded up bikes and the speed we were travelling is a miracle.
We only had four days where there was some rain involved, otherwise perfect weather. We may have had grunted up the long climbs, cursed the sections of terrible road surfaces, but at the end of the day, nothing puts a smile on your face like bike touring.”