Touring - Suggested Routes - Europe?
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Last minute my friend invited me on his business trip to Europe next month - I pay airfare, company's providing accomodations. I've never toured before so I'm total n00b at this, and as its last minute, I have no idea what to search for in the forum. Please be kind!
So far, its shaping up like this:
6 Days in Vienna
5 Days in London
5 Days in Amsterdam
I'd like to bike around while I'm there, should I try and bring my own with me or rent? Will airlines between Vienna/London/Amsterdam accomodate a bicycle without putting it in a bike bag/box? Can/should I forgo the luggage and/or backpack and just travel with panniers alone? Are there any good internet sites where I can lookup bike routes (like self guided tours or maybe even group ride cue sheets)? I was thinking of doing something like Vienna to Budapest (~200 miles) but then I would have to figure out how to get a rental bike back to Vienna and where to put stuff I left in Vienna while I was touring ...
This feels very complicated...
Call up the airlines, at those major cities they should be able to sell you a box at a nominal fee.
I wouldn't send it under a plane without a box unless you like bent wheels.
That said, touring in the netherlands is really awesome because the people are very friendly to bike tourists and there is a large network of bike paths crosscrossing the country.
/There's also no hills, whihc can be a good or bad thing
05-12-06, 02:30 PM
I've been to all three cities, and you're gonna love 'em. However, they are big, big urban centers. With the exception of Amsterdam, I didn't find them particularly bicycle friendly. I am an avid cyclist but if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't take a bike. Too many complications with your itinerary. I would rent a bike in Amsterdam and do some cycling in the Netherlands. Or perhaps rent a bike and do the "Greenway" between Vienna and Prague. You could go "out and back" and return your rental bike to the place where you started: http://www.pragueviennagreenways.org/
Special info for cyclists here: http://www.pragueviennagreenways.org/cycle.html
Also, in Amsterdam, watch out for your bike or any rented bike (Keep it in a hotel room).
They get stolen a lot. Outside fo teh city you should be fine
05-12-06, 04:56 PM
If you like biking and love your bicycle, I would suggest bringing your own machine.
I am not fond of the combination of big cities + bicycles, so if it were my trip, I would use the three cities as bases for going to nearby bike-friendly attractions. For example, in Amsterdam, I might sightsee for a couple of days on foot or by tram, leaving my bicycle in the hotel room or storage, and then head out by train with my bike to someplace special, like Texel Island or Utrecht.
I think with the number of days in each city, that the idea of renting might be a good one. Vienna-Budapest is along the Danube river... you can travel along a fairly well organized route parallel to the river, and jump on a boat if you get tired...or take the boat/train back to you starting point.
Me...I'm planning on the first, (german) section of the Danube route from the source in Donauschingen to at least Passau, this summer after attending a symposium in Munich. I'll be bringing my own bike for this, but probably shipping it first via post to friends. I've taken it a couple times boxed on the airlines but the airline charges now appear to be as much as the shipping.
Many years ago I biked from Amsterdam to to Groningen which was a very pleasant couple of days. (and Utrecht and Harlaam are both wonderful!) In both the Netherlands and Austria you can always use the trains as backup. I agree with the other posters that Amersterdam will be the most friendly toward bikers and easiest to negotiate.
Avoid bringing luggage or backpack....how are you going to use those on a bike? -- or buy panniers when you get there and ship the backpack home.
The biggest distraction in all three cities, to my mind, are the art museums...they can cut substantially into biking time....and really shouldn't be missed.
05-13-06, 07:15 AM
If the part Passau-Bratislava on the Damube is indeed very pleasant, well especially untill Vienna. For the part Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest, it is not so true... From Vienna 'till Bratislava it is still along the Danube, but it is not incredibly scenic, monotonous even. Then well you do cross a few hungar town which are not bad, but the cycle way is far from easy to follow, follows the national at time, not really the most beautifull part to cycle europe I think...
If you want to cycle, the Netherlands are a cyclist utopia, and you'll find detailed maps made for cyclist on cycling roads anywhere in the Netherlands or Austria, allowing you to make your own mind on the raod you want to cycle, depending on the time you got. The LF1 along the north sea is really nice and easy, but there are many other long or shorter cycle roads you could follow there. However if it is a bike for the city you are after, you hardly need a bicycle, as most of those have bicycle you can hire just for a short while, take it anywhere in the city and leave it anywhere else, just with the help of tyuour credit card, and that is a nearly free service... Much better as you will never get it stolen!
For the plane, I find it easier to just arrive with a totaly unpacked bicycle, just giving it like that. Many planes have a special container for bikes, and even if they don't they will take a much greater care of an unpacked bicycle then of a box! I just turn the steering wheel and that's it. Heard many other cyclist doing that, never had bad report.
Thanks everyone for the tips! I think with the complicated travel route and the short stays I'll probably be best off renting bikes in each city ... its expensive but wrorthwhile considering the hassle of transporting my own bike. Plus I'd hate to have my own stolen...
I think the deal breaker is that there are no direct flights to Passau. If there was one, I'd fly my bike there, travel to Vienna and then ship it back to the US at the end of my stay there. I'd rent a bike in Amsterdam ... but renting in all the cities seems to be the best option at this point - I can still travel with luggage and rent a bike with a saddlebag for day trips.
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