Let the Biking Begin

Fertorakos Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 23 › view all entries
On the outskirts of Fertorakos.

Checked out of the Marriott and took a taxi up to the Hotel Boltzmann north of the Ringstrasse where the tour group was meeting.  As I exited the taxi, I met Jeff and Carrie as they were walking out of the hotel.  Introduced ourselves and they mentioned that the rest of the group was inside waiting for the guides to arrive.  I entered the hotel and met the rest of the group:

Jeff and Carrie - couple from Dallas, TX

Steve - from the Oakland area

Chris and C.C. - father and son from Winston-Salem, NC

Myself

Our guides finally arrived and introduced themselves shortly after 12 noon.  We would be accompanied by Renata and Klara, both from the Czech Republic, for our 10 day trek.

And with that we loaded our bags in the trailer (another group was loading another trailer for a Vienna to Prague trip at the same time), and climbed in the van to begin our trip.  We would not ride directly from Vienna to Venice, but would instead take rides that were planned to avoid congestion and maximize scenery.

Prepping the bikes on Day 1. From the left - Renata (kneeling), Klara, Chris, C.C. and Jeff (in the foreground of the shot).
  So today we would take the van and drive out from Vienna (and Vienna and its suburbs are a very large metropolitan area by any standard) before beginning our first ride.  In fact we would drive for almost 2 hours and cross the border into Hungary before beginning our ride today.

RIDE - DAY 2, Fertorakos, Hungary to Lockenhaus, Austria (note day 1 of the tour was for inbound travel, so the cycling technically began on day 2.  Doing this to be consistent with all the supplementary material I have)

56.5 km (35.3 miles)

It was almost 3:00 PM before we started cycling today as even when we reached Fertorakos, everyone was checking out their bikes and performing some last minute fittings and adjustments.  We finally got started and immediately had a pretty good headwind blowing in our faces for the first portion of the ride.  Our first 14 km (I'm going to -  and probably already have done so - switch back and forth between Metric and Imperial distance units here so anyone reading this will have to bear with me) were through Hungary and we passed through our first grape-growing region and two small towns (Balf and Kophaza) in this section of the ride.

And the bikers are off led by Renata up in front.
  We eventually crossed the border back into Austria about 45 minutes into our ride.

Riding back into the Burgenland region of Austria (where we would spend the next two days) we were still fighting the headwind.  Terrain was mostly flat with some small hills thrown in to vary the terrain (and prep us for the larger climbs ahead).  We took the cycling relatively relaxed, stopping occassionally to take some pictures, regrouping after some of the longer climbs when the group became separated.

We met the van twice, once at the border crossing and again at about 36.5 km into the ride in Lutzmannsburg.  Refilled water bottles and were on our way again.  Except Klara was having problems with the van.  Jeff, Steve, and I had worked our way ahead of the pack a bit and all of a sudden Renata came charging forward with a full head of steam.  She was going to ride back (maybe 2-3 miles or so) and help Klara with the van (it was a Saturday afternoon and where we were there is not a gas station or service station on every corner like in the States).

Renata, Carrie, and myself at the border crossing back into Austria (looking back towards the Hugarian border station).
  We would be on our own to follow the map to Lockenhaus for the last 15 or so kilometers.  Six Americans who spoke very little if any German between them and here we were out in the Austrian countryside.  It was supposed to be easy as we were to take the road to the bike trail and then follow the trail to the castle.

Well we didn't get lost although we did stop to discuss the route a few times.  Asked for some assistance from some Austrian soldiers patrolling the border with full combat gear, including weapons (we were probably within a kilometer of the border in some cases).  Although a few more "casual" discussions were held on the correct route (the bike trail occassionally merged and crossed with some of the roads) we eventually made it to Lockenhaus at about 7 PM.

Observations:

  • Jeff and Carrie have participated in several sprint triathlons in Texas and are very capable cyclists.
    Looking towards the Gunser Gebirge Mountains/Hills. Lockenhaus (our evening destination) is just before these hills. Jeff and Steve in the foreground.
  • Steve was prepping for a long ride through the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and is a very capable cyclist (I wonder how that ride went for Steve).
  • Chris and C.C. were at a slight disadvantage because while fit they did not have the cycling background that the rest of us had.
  • Renata had some motor when she needed to use it to catch us after Klara called her that she was having problems with the van.
  • The towns/villages that we passed through today and throughout the trip were simply immaculate.
    I think this was in Lutzmannsburg when we met Klara in the van (and the location where the van broke down momentarily).
      Not sure if it was becuase it was spring, but everything was green and verdant everywhere you looked, both in the towns and in the countryside.
  • I had to make sure to ask for the no-gas water all trip in Europe, ordering just water would typically get you sparkling mineral water.

Additional commentary on day 2 can be founded in the next entry for Lockenhaus.

 

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On the outskirts of Fertorakos.
On the outskirts of Fertorakos.
Prepping the bikes on Day 1.  From…
Prepping the bikes on Day 1. Fro…
And the bikers are off led by Rena…
And the bikers are off led by Ren…
Renata, Carrie, and myself at the …
Renata, Carrie, and myself at the…
Looking towards the Gunser Gebirge…
Looking towards the Gunser Gebirg…
I think this was in Lutzmannsburg …
I think this was in Lutzmannsburg…
My trusty steed for the next 9 day…
My trusty steed for the next 9 da…
Hungarian countryside and the town…
Hungarian countryside and the tow…
An absolutely gorgeous day for bik…
An absolutely gorgeous day for bi…
Austrian Wind Turbine farm
Austrian Wind Turbine farm
Vineyards (more of these to come i…
Vineyards (more of these to come …
Entering an Austrian town with a s…
Entering an Austrian town with a …
Fertorakos
photo by: Kramerdude