Win, a friend of the family, lives in Vienna and was more than willing to put me up while I was visiting the city. I’d been before, but this was my first time alone. The previous visit had been just before I was about to graduate uni and ended up with some impressive sunburn as I fell asleep at a swimming pool just outside the city. With that in mind, I was quite glad to see it was generally overcast.
He had been out of town to play bike polo and so wasn’t due in until late in the evening.
After a few days of riding the dull flats of Austria, being up in the small mountains of southern Bohemia was rather lovely. There were forests and an abundance of deer too. It didn’t involve long climbs, but enough to keep the tedium away. The area I was riding through had plenty of small towns built on the rivers, reflecting beautifully. The area felt poorer than Austria, with houses looking more dilapidated and several towns where the market was little more than a guy standing in a car
My 34th country was Austria and just across the border I was greeted by a bike route sign taking me north, down the Salzach, avoiding the main road by going up and down through forest roads. That was great, until I decided to see how well I could corner. It turned out the answer was not very well. It had recently rained which meant the mud on the road mixed with some leaves. I’m generally a cautious descender, but this corner I took a bit too fast and so it wasn’t too surprising as
The wonderful saddle that I’ve been riding on, my Manta, is made by Jon Catling up in Skye. One of his partners, is a guy called Martin from Comfort Line who offer a high-end service for those looking to find a saddle that works for them. They offer a wide variety of saddles, and one of those is the Relax IQ – their name for the Manta. As I was in the region, that was the next destination on my list, and it was only a one-day ride from where I had stayed in Liechtenstein.
It was baking
Just over the border from France I found myself in Freiburg, the entrance to the Black Forest. To me, there are two distinctive things. The colour of the buildings, from the local stone, and the small open-air sewers that are visible on most streets. I also learnt that it is the German centre of renewable energy, with even more solar panels on show than in other places. Apparently as a way of making money, you can lease out your roof space to a company who will pay for installation and then pay