This was a pleasant ride, it wasn’t particularly long, and the path was easy to follow without any maps.
On the way out of Hollabrunn I came across loads of sunflower fields and pretty scenery in general. The clear skies were beautiful, but it was a very warm day, so I took every opportunity to coast through the shady parts.
I had lunch at the 30km mark in a town named Stockerau and as I was about to leave, another female solo cycle tourer showed up, and she spoke English! Claire is from Wales and she has been doing some amazing stuff on her bike. She started with a 600ish mile (at least 1000km) ride to Prague in a week and after Vienna she’ll be going to the coast of Croatia for a yoga festival. It was 36 degrees, so we sat under the umbrella and chatted about anything and everything, just buying time to avoid the heat.
We left and rode the next 30km together, except when I removed my bike from the rack I had my first flat tyre. I managed to fix it quickly, and we were off. Reaching the Danube River was lovely, as it was cool and amazing to gaze at. By now my tyre was flat again so I replaced the tube entirely and we chilled out in the shade while Claire had some lunch. We traded so many stories and motivations for why we were here. Two totally different paths, but we still ended up just sitting on some grass, doing what we wanted.
Since Claire was camping along the way, she knew heaps of tricks. For instance, these hand pumps aren’t just decorations, they’re a source of ice cold water. In Germany you can’t drink from them, but in Austria it’s proudly one of their free attractions, they’re everywhere.
The last leg into town was guided by signposts, but once we were in central Vienna, I was feeling so hungry that I couldn’t navigate us by memory anymore. Luckily Claire had data on her phone and we could use Google Maps. We checked into the hostel and had to use a ramp to get our stuff up the stairs. I then realised that her loaded bike was significantly heavier than I imagined, I couldn’t even lift her bikes by the handlebars. I was impressed and amazed that she could get up the hills along the way, with a commendable speed too. We were both exhausted from the warm day and just had dinner while trying to rehydrate as much as possible. I really enjoyed having a friend to ride with and I was looking forward to exploring the city tomorrow too.