2004 - Slovenia, Croatia

One Tandem, one racing bike and three friends

Austria - Slovenia - Croatia - Slovenia - Italia - Swiss - Lichtenstein - Austria

3:00 am, waking up and starting the young day. We packed the rest of our luggage and turn on. With a little Opel Corsa we drove to our starting point near Innsbruck (Austria). In fully anticipation the two bikes and the tents were to reassemble, isolates mats and luggage bags were mounted. Already on the first downhill, Stefan had 3 flat tires, one of them at stand. The matter of them was the high temperature by braking. The racing went on via valley of the Inn (Inntal) and the „Zillertal”. At noon, we decided to attack the „Gerlospass”. This pass had an acclivity of 12 %, with the heavy luggage it wasn’t easy to climb the mountain by bike. Stefan had many difficulties, he drove such “medium” mountains for the first time. But he drove with full strength and arrived the pass summit at 1628 m (5341 feet).

The downhill from the pass was very fast. We saw the “Krimmler Waterfalls” and very dark clouds in the sky. We had to leave the mountain quickly. It started to rain and Stefan had with a loud bang his forth flat tire in two days. Fortunately, there was a hotel. Quickly we checked in and a few minutes later, it rained stronger and thunderstorms very heavy and loud.

The next day began with sun and a clear sky; we cycled down the street along the creek. The destination of the day was the foot of the high mountain called the “Großklockner” near “Zell am See”. The “Großglockner” is a little glacier. In the evening we planted our tents, writing dairy and I cooking a strong noodle soup on camping stove. For bathing, we avail a cold mountain stream.

On next day we stood up at 7:00 am and cycled after the breakfast. The “Großglockner” had a acclivity of 12 % on a length of 23 km (14,29 mile). On the way of the summit, you meet cyclist and tourists.  Most of them were happy to see us and cheered for us. Some people filmed us on our way to the summit. The way was hard and long, but it made fun. On the summit you have an wonderful few over the glacier 2504 m (8215,49 feet).

The street down to “Heiligenblut” is a joy, carefully cycling without an flat tire. On the next day we drove with perfect sun shine near the “Velden am Wörthersee”. We had to clean our bike clothes urgently. After the cleaning brake, we moved on to Slovenia. The hills were not so high as in the Alps, but very hilly. The camping place was inhabited from hundreds of midges, but we had to camp here. Rain was coming.

We arrived the Adriatic Sea. The weather was good and we arrived the border in the morning. We asked some people about the way. They commended us a way through the woods, with very bad streets (gravel streets) with acclivity of ca. 20 % and no signs. The streets were too bad for the racing bike. Later, we stood on a crossroad, without signs. A Croatian lumberjack helped us and showed us the way to the sea. As we arrived, we could see a busy touristy life, contrary of the still and beautiful hills of Croatian. A camping place was quickly found. Our tent neighbor was a Saxon, like us. On the camping place a strong wind went, there had already been tents destroyed. The next day was a day of rest. Swimming in the sea, cloth washing and relax. To this point we drive 808 km (502 miles) and 8 days are passed away.

In the morning we bought very much bread and cakes for today and next day. After our purchase, the following clients had a small assortmentJ. In drizzle we crossed the bridge to island of Krk. The small island wasn’t beautiful, but short to cycle. With a ferry we arrived the island of Cres, a wonderful and nice island with a few villages. From Cres you have an beautiful panoramic view.

With the next ferry we left Cres. I changed precautionary the tire from the tandem. A couple from Germany helped us. We told them about our journey and they gave us 80 Kuna and diverse fruits. Along the Istrien peninsula is very hilly too. Then we drove to Italy.

The lowlands of Po was monotone. Flat Streets and nothing as fields and grassland. In Verona, a famous city, we camped in an old castle ruin. In the evening we went in the city and eat a good Italian pizza.

Next destination was the “Gardasea”, 3 hours bathing and shopping afterwards. We bought as much as we needed. On Friday we had to buy more then 30 liter of water, closing shops on the weekend. The journey went on to the Lago di Como, a sea near the Alps. On the nord beach we camped 2 days and relaxed before we crossed the border to Switzerland. Rebecca washed our clothes, Stefan went shopping and I planned the route for the next days. In the afternoon we went swimming and we built “Drip castle”.

Today we stood up at 6:00 am to drive to Switzerland. In Tirano we put up our bikes and get on the Bernina-Express. This was a special railroad with gear drive. The railroad drove along the alpine mountains, glaciers and valleys. The highest point of the route is 2300 m (7550 feet). After 5 hours through wonderful countryside, we arrived Chur (Swiss). On the “Heidi-alp”, near Chur, we found a place to build up our tents.

Always downstream the Rhine, we, the 3 globetrotter, cycled, crossing the princedom Lichtenstein to Austria. The last high pass on our tour is the “Arlbergpass”, but this was no problem for us. But short in front of the pass, the chain from the tandem cracked. After a short reparation, we could continue. On the downhill, it began to rain. But we must leave the mountain before the evening. We camped in this night on a flat grassland behind a wooden house.

The next day begins with a clear sky and sunshine. The last kilometers we cycled and arrived at our starting point. Rebecca, Stefan and I cycled in 18 days 1900 km (1180 miles), 200 km (124 miles) Bernina Express, 100 km by ferry (62 miles), 2 alp crosses and visit 6 countries.

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    Hi. I'm Daniel John. I'm on a bycicle tour from September to November 2008 through the United States, New Zealand and Australia. Join me.

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