Friday, July 31, 2015

Bike hire in Salzburg

If you are looking for a hire bike in Salzburg, then check out "a velo rent-a-bike" on the Mozartplatz near to the Salzburg-Info. Prices range from 12€ a half day to 55€ for a week. The company offers MTBs, road bikes, recumbents, e-bikes, children's bicycles, trailers, helmets, bags and rainwear for hire. The website given on their flyer: www.a-velo.at does not work for me. Maybe the telephone number does: +43 (0) 676 4355950.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

How do bike years compare to people years?

We went by Brompton to Lorsch to a rally about the line of the new high speed railway line from Frankfurt to Mannheim. The plan is to run the line east and parallel to the A67 autobahn through a forest. In addition Deutsche Bahn plans to run goods (freight) trains along the line overnight. Many locals object to this project because of the damage to the local woods which are an important leisure area and because of fears about health problems due to noise pollution. There is a serious suggestion to submerge much of the route in a tunnel. We understand these fears, but also support any move to move goods transport away from roads to rail.
While we there we met various friends who are members of the ADFC (German Cycling Club), chatted to the odd soul on the stands, enjoyed Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) and listened to an excellent local amateur big band. It was a fairly typical summer afternoon in Lorsch. We set off for home and in the Viernheim Woods Judith got a stick caught in the chain tensioner. The chain left the pulley cogs and the drive train jammed. We had no choice but to turn the bike over, loosen the chain tensioner and get oily. We had almost finished when two of our ADFC friends appeared and enjoyed a little Schadenfreude. One of our famous Bromptons was giving us problems. We pointed out that the bikes were twenty years old. Then came the question, "How old is that in people years?". This we couldn't answer, but it struck us that if the Bromptons were cars, and both are about twenty years old, they would more than likely be sitting on a scrap heap rather than being ridden about.
 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Danube Cycle Way: Hire bikes for a one way trip between Passau and Vienna

There is a second shop in Passau in addition to Fahrradklinik offering one way hire bikes for the trip down the Danube as far as Vienna: Bikehaus. This organisation will pick up bikes from hotels and B&Bs along the route. Prices are much the same as those from Fahrradklinik: One Day: 13€, One Week 70€. Pickup prices are slighly higher than Fahrradklinik at 35€ per bike, but the company will pick up their bikes from any hotel or B&B en route between Passau and Vienna whereas Fahrradklinik uses one hotel near Vienna. The bicycles have only 8 gear Shimano hub gears rather than the fourteen speed Rohloffs offered by Fahrradklinik. The hire base is in part of the Hauptbahnhof (railway station) in Passau. Opening hours in season are surprisingly long for Germany: 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm every day of the week including public holidays! The company also offers a repair service and sells spare parts, tyres, maps, panniers, clothing and drinks.

Bikehaus
Bahnhofstraße 29
94032 Passau
T:  +49 (0) 851 - 966 25 70
Mobile: +49 (0) 151 - 1283 4224
E-Mail:  info@bikehaus.de

Friday, July 17, 2015

Cycle Tours in and around Mannheim

For those of you who read German, we have contributed to the Mannheimer Morgen's "Rauf aufs Rad" a guide to seventeen tours in the Heidelberg-Ludwigshafen-Mannheim metropolitan area. This all came about by accident, as we went to a meeting of the ADFC with the MM to see if we could pick up some tips on publishing and suddenly found ourselves responsible for three tours. We wrote up the tours in the telegraph style preferred by various bicycle touring guidebooks and these were translated into something more similar to the language of Goethe by the MM. The book is available from all good bookshops in the metropolitan area. The definition of a good bookshop is one that sells our books.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Interesting free German Cycling Magazine

If you read or teach German it would  be worthwhile checking out "Fahrrad News" available free as a digital download from http://tinyurl.com/pkel28w, from App Store: http://tinyurl.com/myx2vhh or from Google play: http://tinyurl.com/m37fozy.

Surprisingly, the magazine is as good as any of those costing five or six Euros with a good mixture of reviews, travel tips and news of new products. The only giveaway is that about 90% of the cyclists shown in photographs and advertisements are wearing helmets.

I picked up a printed copy at one of those big shed bike shops on the edge of Mannheim where oddly enough there is a parking area for hundred cars or so, but only bike racks for about twenty bikes.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Things don't always improve

We travelled to Zell on a DB (German Railways) EuroCity train. These trains along with the InterCity trains are the fastest trains in Germany that take bikes. We were on the train for six hours or so and I noticed that DB has replaced the tough grey heavy paper towels formerly used in the toilets/restrooms with much lighter, thinner, smaller, whiter, more absorbent ones. These may well be pleasanter to use and may be do not block the WC vacuum systems when oafs throw them in the WC rather than in the bin provided. However they are nothing like as useful to clean one's bike. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Changing trains with a bike in Austria or the tri-international incident on Schwarzach-St Veit station

We took the EC train from Mannheim to Klagenfurt on our way to Zell am See. I had booked the tickets three months before to obtain two of the contingent of the cheap Eurospezial tickets. My pleasure at obtaining these blinded me to the fact that we had but three minutes to change trains in Schwarzach-St Veit. We arrived in Schwarzach, left the train, looked up the platform and saw the IC that we should take to Zell am See. We pushed the bikes along the platform, looked for a bike storage slot and saw a bike logo on the window. Unfortunately ÖBB (Austrian Railways) model their trains on the Eiger North Wall and there were three or maybe four steps into the train. I staggered up the stairs with each bike. We discovered there was only one hanging space for one bike. At this point a guard appeared and explained to me in what I felt was a rude tone that I should have gone farther along the train to hang up the bike(s). It was not clear whether there was one or a pair of hooks farther along the train. I was not gruntled and so expressed my displeasure with the design of Austrian railway carriages, his tone of voice and the lack of  signposting on the station to allow bewildered foreign cyclists find somewhere to pop their bikes. I have lived in the Fatherland for forty or so years and so can on occasion rattle off an acid phrase or four in German. The guard fell back somewhat surprised and left us. Judith squeezed her bike into a corner and my bike blocked the entrance to an out of order WC. The train climbed through territory that resembled the Canadian Pacific routes through the Rockies. We cycled it a few days later and it is well worth visiting. The guard was very helpful in Zell and helped us dismount. Probably he wanted to see the back of us.

Epilogue
When we arrived at our hotel, our friends were surprised to see us so soon. They had travelled down the day before from Germany on an Intercity train, but had changed along the way to a local train which had very easy access. It left Schwarzach 20 minutes later and stopped at more stations, but was a delight to load the bikes. If only we'd waited.

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