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Day 1: Vienna Airport to Krems an der Donau. 105km

Updated: Jun 6

It's been a while eh?

After what seems like years, I'm finally off on another solo long ride home. This will be my longest. If everything goes to plan it should take me 16 days to ride 2000km home from Vienna. I'll be riding along the Danube, through the Black Forest and then long the Rhine to Rotterdam where I will get a ferry back to Harwich. From there it's just 240km to home.

Previous readers will know that all of my past long rides have regularly been plagued (punctuated?) by fuck ups and assorted challenges. Actually, I am convinced that most people reading on a regular basis do so to cheer themselves up - 'I may have messed up but at least I'm not some idiot lost in Belgium swearing at his Garmin'. That sort of thing. Well read on folks, you are going to be delighted from day one.

Today started with the most monumental fuck up of my adult life. I went to the wrong airport this morning. My flight was actually from Heathrow not Gatwick. I have no idea how I missed this on the ticket. I became the kind of person we all laugh at when we sit around with family Googlebox style watching those  '24 hours at the airport' type documentaries. The wrong airport. What an absolute dickhead.

So obviously I  missed the flight and had to travel back to Heathrow to get another one. £300 and a 7 hour wait later I got on a flight to Vienna. I should have arrived at 10am, built my bike up in a leisurely style and ridden 100km to my first Airbnb of the trip. I should have been able to do some sightseeing and ridden at a leisurely pace. But instead I landed at 7pm and spent over an hour rebuilding the bike and made the not so startlingly discovery I hadn't packed properly. And then the strap on my seat bag broke. I was tempted to to join it.

The Danube is a big fucking river. Eurovelo 6 runs the length of it. So as long as I keep it on my right I should be ok right? (I can see one of you now sitting at the breakfast table chuckling away to yourself thinking 'bet he fucks that up later')

Last night's ride can be split into sections:


It was surprisingly easy to get away from the airport on secluded bike paths and in no time I was speeding along the riverside through Vienna feeling bad that I wasn’t going to get to do any of my planned sightseeing. But as compensation I came across one of those community bike stands we sometimes get at train stations so I was able to properly pump up my tyres.


I had time to regret not going off route to restock with food and water as after 10pm everything in Austria shuts it seems. A begging mission into a hotel got me some water at least. I was passed by a train and it suddenly struck me that station platforms have vending machines. Sure enough at 37km I found one and proceed to ransack it for crap.


I hit the wide cycle path next to the Danube - the Donauradweg. This at least allowed me to go faster, to a limit. It was properly dark and my front light has an effective range of about 20m which I tested out several times when there were sudden turns in the to go around some unseen obstacles. But the faster speed I was riding at also burned through my vending machine picnic.


And then out of the darkness came a familiar sight: the golden arches of late night McDonald's. I can't say there's much enjoyment at eating it after midnight but it got me through to 80km.


Bored out of my mind and tired. Riding in a straight line in the dark is not much fun.


At 100km my overnight stop at Krems came into view - on the other side of the river. I now recalled Komoot warning me I might need to take a ferry at several points. But not at 2am I'm guessing. There was a bridge but in a cruel twist, I had to push my bike up 6 flights of stairs to get up to it. It was the most climbing I did all day.

It was nearly 3am by the time I had finished washing myself and my kit. Lying awake in bed I tried to focus on the positives. I had made it to Krems. I had ridden over 6 hours in the dark. I had found a solution to the broken bag issue. This had to be better than thinking of the time money and effort I'd wasted since I got up at 4am. I needed sleep

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Oh my word !!!! What an adventure you’re on 😎 ummmmm hoping that it will only get better 🤞 nothing like making the trip memorable! The wrong airport lol, that’s a good one 😂🤣😂

Replying to

Yeah. In years to come I will laugh about it. After the therapy.


May 28

Well hopefully you got most of the crap

Out of the way early on…. Chin up and enjoy now… the Danube is amazing to cycle along - even with my meagre 60kms - was a joy so enjoy the heat, sunshine and know anything you are doing is way better than sitting in front of a bloody laptop x


Well there you have it, f*** ups come in 3’s, but sounds like you’ve got a choice of which 3 fella 😂. Well done for dealing with all of that in one day. Keep Calm & Carry On 👍. Looking forward to the updates, hopefully today you will be able to look up and smile a bit more.

Replying to

There's plenty of time for more fuck ups

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