A great biking day especially with a gale force wind pushing me along, poor old boys coming the other day were walking their bikes. I did the 90 miles at an average speed of 15mph. Not bad for a loaded up touring bike ridden by a 66 year old 🙂
Today makes it that I have now cycled 2,622 miles since leaving Cambridge 77 days ago. I’ve now completed about 87% of The Danube having ridden 2,472km of it in 24 cycling days.
Today was on good roads with heavy traffic in only a few places, puzzlements today are:
Why when a big truck is passing me does it seem there is always another truck coming in the opposite direction.
Why do Romainians cross the road diagonally without looking.
Why do kids think it is great to rush across the road to say hello and try and give me a high five. Making me swerve.
Why does the character of the horse follow it’s owner.
Why don’t shops (magazins) sell chocolate, nuts etc or small bakery items.
Why do they go just outside the village limit to dump all their detrious especially plastic bottles.
At least the dogs were fewer and friendlier today maybe that is due to the huge number of horse & carts today.
The weather gradually warmed up during the day but it sure is noticeably colder than a week ago. No sign of The Danube at all today except at the start and when I turned into the Sucidava Hotel which is right on the waterfront in the port. (By the way if 90 miles is too much for you there seemed to be a modern hotel at 60 miles in Bechet).
The 23rd day of biking The Danube started with a bit of a disaster when I thought it would be a cool idea to pressure wash the derailleur to remove all the sand etc. With the first blast of water the top jockey sprocket flew across the yard 🙁 we found the sprocket, two washers & insert but no bolt 🙁 What to do? we went on a search for a back yard garage, eventually finding the guy who fits car radios in old bangers. An M5 bolt from a radio kit did the job and was chopped down with an angle grinder.
Due to the scarcity of hotels it was always going to be a long haul to Calafat, especially if religiously following The Danube rather than doing a short cut on the incredibly busy DN56A, I eventually ended up doing 90 miles and barely getting here in the light due to head winds in a couple of places. Fortunately in the middle of the day I had tail winds and fine weather so was able to do 20mph+ The villages on the way today are really poor, the shops don’t even sell chocolate bars 🙁 and the horse & carts are used for real work not show. The roads were mainly good although occasionally it disappears to a sandy track for no reason. The worst part by a long way is the section before the new bridge at Calafat, narrow, bad edgins & huge artics desperate to get to Uncle Bulgaria.
I made it to the antediluvian Panoramic Hotel in Calafat feeling totally wrecked, I tried searching the town for eateries but couldn’t find anything so back for dinner.
Here is the mega Strava for the day and some pictures with the horizons probably not horizontal.
After yesterdays superb cycling day, I woke up this morning to very low cloud & drizzle plus totally lacking energy. I would have stayed, but the internet was diabolical cutting in and out all the time.
I set off into the wet, thankful for my Aldi cycling trousers as the temperature had plummeted to 12 degrees or so. I crawled up the 500ft climb from Eselnita then dropping down into Orsova, pleased that I hadn’t stayed there. Leaving Orsova you meet the E70 & really heavy, heavy traffic 🙁 the road is narrow with many viaducts & bridges all of which narrow the road even more (for some reason they all have a steep narrow ramp to get behind the barrier – more dangerous than it’s worth) the two tunnels are mercifully short. All in all as bad as yesterday was good. The traffic lessens dramatically after The Iron Gates as the trucks are obviously going to Serbia.
By the time Severin was reached I was soaked and worn out. The good news is that I managed to get a 4G Vodafone SIM for less than £10 with 1.5GB of data astonishly no ID or paperwork required. France take note!
Good sounds were coming out of the Cafe/Hotel Clipa so I called it a day after less than 30 miles, pleased to be out of the rain and to play with 4G for the first time, Although the hotel has good WiFi too. Tonight I had a 90 minute legs sport massage by the local football coach the first masseur who just wanted to talk. At £8 a bit of a bargain.
Rain is forecast for tomorrow if it’s heavy I will just stay here for another day.
If you are thinking of cycling The Danube then just do this section!! Basically today can be summed up in one word WOW, stunning scenery, great empty roads & morning coffee for 60p.
I’m so pleased at choosing to cycle on the Romanian left bank rather than the Serbian right bank which looked awful with it’s endless tunnels, viaducts etc. For anyone debating which side to bike on, it’s a no brainer there is plenty of accomodation, although non of it is listed on booking.com or tripadvisor the road is only broken up, due to landslides, in a few parts, which is good as it obviously keeps the traffic down. Also it’s mainly flat except for a couple of biggish hills, see My Strava data for where they are!
Worst feature of the day was the packs of marauding dogs, usually they just barked but sometimes all you could see were white teeth 🙁 I’ve certainly learnt to sprint now, which is OK until the road surface suddenly changes to potholes 🙁 🙁 Afterwards I found a big stick which I kept lodged in my handlebars (see the pic).