With the E-Bike Cycle Tourists within sight of the finish line after 16 months and 27,500kms of the European leg of their ongoing long distance e-bike adventure, it has been a time of mixed emotions.
On the one hand as we have pedalled our Haibike xDuro Trekking e-bikes the long way from Ulm to Friedrichshafen in Germany via Vienna in Austria along EuroVelo 6 to attend the Eurobike trade show, we have wanted time to stand still so we could savour every final moment of what, after all, has been the trip of a lifetime.
But on the other hand we can’t wait to return to Australia to see family, friends and our newly born grandson for the first time and to start planning the next leg of our e-bike adventure on home soil in Australia.
So what have we done?
Given that EuroVelo 6 through Germany and Austria is one of the most popular cycling routes in the world, that the cycling for the vast majority of the journey along the banks of the Danube River is on flat, near perfect cycle paths, that the scenery is breathtaking, that there are ample campgrounds for nightly stops and, importantly, that we are badly in need of a long rest after 16 months of non-stop cycling, we have done the e-bike equivalent of sit back and enjoy the journey in cruise mode.
As such we have ditched ‘Eco’ mode on our Haibikes for the cycling ease of ‘Tour’, ‘Sport’ and at times ‘Turbo’ modes, with the result that the kilometres have literally flown by.
This, we must admit, wasn’t our intent, but after trying to maximise the kilometres we cycle every day for so long, it has proven to be a habit that is hard to break.
But with wear and tear injuries starting to rear their ugly head after pushing our bodies for so long – yes, even though we are cycling Haibike e-bikes there is still a huge physical price to pay when you cycle an average of 75kms per day every day for 16 months while towing cycle trailers with up to 40kg of equipment – it has been fantastic to be able to forget about conserving the electrical charge in our Bosch e-bike batteries and to “just go for it”.
The result of our enthusiasm to take it easy means that we are currently only 3 days of e-biking away from Friedrichshafen – seven full days ahead of schedule before Eurobike is due to start on August 31.
But not to worry, the plan now is to set up camp somewhere near Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance and to do day rides through until August 30 to try to reach our goal of 28,000 kilometres before we fly back to Australia after Eurobike on September 5.
After e-biking so many kilometres throughout mainland Europe, the UK and Ireland what has been our opinion of the EuroVelo 6 cycle route along the mighty Danube River?
That’s simple. It has no equal.
It is quite simply a world class cycling route that every keen cycle tourist should experience for themselves.
As mentioned above, the scenery along the way is stunning, the cycle track for the vast majority of the distance is literally a cyclists’ super highway, the majority of the cycling is on flat ground along the Danube River valley and there are many, many beautiful villages along the way to explore on foot or by bike.
Also, with the help of readily available GPS maps for your smartphone or, as is our preference, with old fashioned paper maps, the route is super easy to navigate.
The result – especially during the European summer school holiday period – is a constant stream in both directions of cycle tourists.
What has been especially heart-warming for us to see has been the huge number of family groups out cycle touring together.
We have seen three generations of families, families with young babies no more than a few months old being towed in cycle trailers, fathers enjoying quality time with sons and daughters, mothers with sons and daughters, groups of teenagers cycling together and even a group of Syrian refugees in Germany getting to know their new country by the best means possible – a bicycle.
How good is that!!
Unfortunately at this time of the year the popularity of the route, for us at least, has had a few downsides.
At the top of the list have been the extremely crowded tent sections as some of the campgrounds we have stayed at.
Suffice to say we have never heard so much snoring, passing of wind and unwanted conversations in our lives.
But overall it has been a small price to pay, with our Danube experience being nothing short of a fantastic conclusion to what has, after all, been an amazing journey on our Haibike xDuro Trekking e-bikes through 13 countries over the past 16 months.