We were originally meant to cycle from Regensburg to Vienna, with all accommodation booked accordingly. But I couldn’t find a company to hire bikes with for the first stretch in Germany that did pick ups. And as it worked out, both Regensburg & Passau were worth spending some decent time in, and we could have spent long in both.
I’d taken Evie’s car seat purely for the cycle ride. But I hadn’t even thought about taxis, we are so used to finding our way around with public transport…. but not with quite so much luggage! Of course we wouldn’t have been able to use taxis without a car seat. And there were a couple of points at the beginning & end of the trip (after our experience in Munich) where a taxi ride was invaluable to reduce stress, and probably prevent a stupid overloaded injury!
Cycling with a baby over distance was a new experience. I’ve done plenty of cycle touring without a baby. And I’ve done a few short practice rides with Evie. But given her age, we had only had a month to do trial rides. So given that, it went pretty smoothly on the whole. There are a few bits I would change.
Picking up the bikes the day before was a definite good thing, as it took a couple of attempts to get the car seat as secure as I was happy with, and that needed time. I certainly wouldn’t have liked to cycle a long way and collect bikes on the same day.
I would have broken the first long day from Passau to Mühldorf, and spent a night around Schlogen. The ride was beautiful, too beautiful to rush. We had no opportunity to stop and swim and just enjoy as we were always aware of the time on this day. And Evie wasn’t used to it, so on this day there were, rightly so, some loud protestations from her in the second half of the day, when we just had to keep going.
The visit to Mauthausen was definitely worthwhile and took a minimum of 3 hrs to fully appreciate the enormity of what happened there. Again, if planning to travel on that day, it would have to be a shorter travel. And I wouldn’t have managed to push panniers and the Chariot up that hill!
Some days were relatively unspectacular scenery wise, and so you could have gone faster, further on those days.
On our trip from Melk to Krems, we loved the walk up to the old castle. But the vineyards were amazing to. In hindsight I wouldn’t have gone to Krems and I would have stayed either in Dürnstein or Stein, and done some wine tasting!! On the whole actually it was the tiny villages were the best.
With regards bike touring with a baby, Evie got more used to it by the third day. She slept when we cycled, we stopped when she woke and had a good 1-1&1/2 hrs of playtime. This seemed to fulfil her needs.
We chose not to camp, it took us long enough as it was to get going in the mornings. Never mind the extra gear to tow. The upsides were a definite comfy bed for us and cot for Evie, but it doesn’t make for a cheap holiday. Although it does guarantee dry and warmth at night. It only rained once for us but I definitely wouldn’t have fancied camping if we hadn’t been so lucky with the weather.
And the cycle path itself. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but this stretch was excellent tarmac the whole way, which meant it was smooth for Evie and easy cycling for us. It was also incredibly well signposted, although the book was still useful.
On the whole, I would tell anyone who loves cycling to do this trail. We saw lots of families at different stages touring. There are lots of playgrounds along the way and it couldn’t get any safer. The lesson I learned and would think more about another time is to really take on board your children’s needs and their tolerances… but then this can change so quickly, in just the two weeks we were on the go, Evie became interested in food and has almost learned to sit up, so predicting these things is difficult when you’ve never had the experience before!