A reflection on our cycling trip – Passau to Vienna

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!

Krems to Tulln – 43km and a little bit more

So today was not so interesting and started a bit of a pain.

We finished being students, leaving our university campus accommodation in Krems

Found a nice little park first

Tried to see a bit of Krems (but it was very busy, looked more like a fancy shopping street and we were now late morning already), before giving up on that and getting going.

Deciding to cross back onto the South side of the river, as it was meant to be nicer, turned into a bit of a mission and took us nearly an hour to actually get on the right path. By the signage to Tulln, we went from 41km to 38km to back to almost 42km. Plus getting lost (along with at least two other groups). Then add in a suggested pretty deviation through vineyards, which was a narrow dirt track unsuitable for towing a trailer. Suddenly it was almost midday before we actually rode in the correct direct down the south bank! Thankfully Evie slept through it all!!

I am continually impressed by the effort they take with their cycle paths. This one runs across a bridge next to a very main duel carriage way, yet felt totally safe.

We got views of the impressive looking Göttweig Abbey up on a hill, but decided against visiting this one, due to time…. and effort of the hill!

Once we actually got going the going was good. Making the most of Evie sleeping we flew through about 25km before she woke. The scenery was pretty but unchanging today

And we were glad of the warm sunshine without being roasted!

Stopping for a picnic lunch that had been sat in the bag for a couple of days (mmmm) and a nappy change we continued to enjoy the river view. I was desperate for a swim but this place wasn’t suitable, with steep sides and a faster current.

Round the corner was a nuclear power station, built but never commissioned. I liked the fact it had banks of solar panels in front of it!

And then in front of it…. an alpine hut! Where of course we had to stop for a drink, not quite ‘Apres’, but almost

And I was very glad to see that the bikes we are riding clearly are for women, as they label their toilets with them!

Just round the corner at Zwentendorf I saw just what I had been on the lookout for all day. A swimming beach!!! I couldn’t get in much quicker!

Sadly Evie was not so amused today so she didn’t do more than get her toes wet and was happier back in clothes!

Onwards to Tulln, the last few kilometres of which kept crossing under the electric cables

We managed a little wander around Tulln , which has a few nice buildings. There is a couple of buildings from Roman times, and I love the doorway of this top building

And I reckon the base of the church must be pretty old to

And he church is yet another with a very impressive vaulted roof

Then to finish, some generally nice, are some old, but not Roman old, buildings

And then, finally time for dinner. Evie is getting more excited by mealtimes by the day. Which means she is harder to control sitting on your knee…. good job she likes cucumber and everything comes with at least a slice of cucumber. This way she can join in the meal!

Gowbarrow – 13/05/18

For Evie’s second Wainwright we needed a small and local one, as we were still getting used to having a baby, I was still sore and Evie was still under 6 weeks old. So we set off up Gowbarrow. However, Tim decided that we should try a new route, so rather than going up the main path it turned instead into a bit of an adventure.

The path turned into a bit of a non path, so some heather bashing and a bit of scrambling were required to actually get to the cairn on top. But it was worth it. Another amazing day and stunning view looking down over Ullswater, not that Evie saw it as once again she was asleep at the top!

We then followed a real path, though not our normal one, to get back down…. glad it was dry as normally I think it would be a bog!

21/10/18

A regular walk of ours, it being close to home. But today was one of those cracking days with beautiful late afternoon light, autumnal colours…. and Evie awake at the top!

Didn’t want this day to end!

25 November 2018

A quick walk out with Evie’s buddy Oliver.

For once Evie was the one awake!

The adventure begins

As a nearly 40 year old first time mum to be, who has spent the last two decades ‘playing’ in the fells, spending my free time in the outdoor world, and travelling at every available opportunity, I was more than a little bit nervous about how having a baby might turn my world upside down. I felt very determined that I would somehow continue doing the things that I enjoy, whilst understanding that I would need to adapt how I went about these things…..

……. and then Evie was born in early April 2018. From an unusually long and cold winter, her arrival brought an unusually hot spring into summer. And with this amazing good weather, and my inability to stay indoors when the weather is good, the adventures of Evie began.

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Evie’s first outing at 3 days old – just through the village, but we could see Blencathra with snow still on the fells