Austria Cycling Trip

October 1 - 19, 2002

Tauern Radweg, Krimml to Passau

Donau Radweg, Passau to Vienna

route map

For 25 years I have wanted to do a cycling trip in Europe. In 2002, at the age of 57, I decided I better stop procrastinating and do it before it was too late.

I have done a lot of trips where I went to a destination and did a series of day trips, returning to my starting point each day. I had done two previous trips where I carried my gear and stayed somewhere new each night. Each was only 3 days. The second was when I was 35 and took my bike to Victoria, B.C., where my parents were living at the time, and did a lot of day trips to various Gulf Islands. Then I did a 3-night trip to Seattle and return, cycling 90 miles, 35 miles, and 70 miles each of the days.

Tauern guideI keep myself in pretty good shape through cycling, but in recent years my daily rides seldom exceeded 50 km. For this trip I set myself a goal of cycling 50 km per day, six days a week, but I was not sure if that was reasonable. While a single day of 50 km was not formidable, to do it 6 days in a row was. I was pleasantly surprised that I got stronger as the days progressed and had no trouble with days of 70, 80 and 90 km. Still, I am glad that my goal was set at 50 because I often had to go further to find suitable accommodation, and then I used my bike to see the sights and find a restaurant for dinner.

I researched various locations in Europe, mostly through the internet and the web site Trento Bike Pages. I considered Britain, France and Holland before settling on Austria. I do not like having to compete with cars and trucks, and Austria has a good network of cycle paths. The German word for cycle path is "radweg". I also do not like climbing, and the radwegs usually follow the rivers, so there are not a lot of hills. The Tauern Radweg may be the ultimate because most of it is in the Alps, with magnificent scenery, but the climbs are manageable (though I pushed my bike up a lot of them). The Donau (Danube) Radweg has virtually no hills, and much of it is also very scenic.

Danube guideIn planning for my trip I found it very helpful to read stories that others had published on the web. It is only fair that I add my own experience to aid others. I have kept the text separate from the photos so people can print the text and take it along on their trip.

I strongly recommend buying cycling guides. I used the Schubert & Franzke guide for the Tauern and the Bikeline guide for the Danube. Both are available in English. I actually preferred the S&F guide even though the maps are to a lesser scale, partly because you do not have to change the pages so frequently. Also, the text is usually on the opposing page where the Bikeline text was sometimes a couple of turns away.

Read about my trip along the Tauern Radweg

Read about my trip along the Donau Radweg

See my photographs

Watch Maarten Heilbron's video of his trip along the Danube.

© 2003, Kenneth R. Brown