Converter Peter Weiss Recumbent Bike
In last issue we took you with us from Mulhbach to Passau.
However, we did not include our little excursion over into the Czech Republic.
If you remember, after I completed my ride into Passau, we rented a couple of
rooms in a hotel and spent a couple more days taking day trips in the
One of those trips was into Czech. I think this was
Dolores' second trip into Czech and my fourth or fifth. It was Nolan's
first. The weather was both rainy and sunshiny. We found the people
to be friendly, and the country interesting. Since this is a biking
magazine and we did no biking in Czech, this will just be a short diversion to
share a few pictures with you before getting into our Passau to Vienna ride.
Driving across the border, we made an immediate stop at the
crossing to get Czech currency, which, at the time of this writing is
1 Czech koruna = 0.0399329 U.S. dollars.
The roads reminded me of the ones back where I was raised in
Arkansas, narrow, winding, and in need of repair.
As you drive just across the border, there are signs that warn you to
not get off the road. I assumed there might still be some unexploded ordinance
still along the border between Czech and Germany. We soon found a place to
eat that was just out of this world. If you get the chance to eat at
Albatros Hotel in the ancient town of Prachatice in southern part of the Sumava
mountains near the border crossing into Austria and Germany you will not regret
doing so. The hotel is
near biking routes that are connected to Bavarian and Austrian paths. If
you do stop there,
order the seafood salad. You just won't believe it.
Vodnanska 1321, 38301
Phone and FAX 388311400
As all good things must, our time on this trip came to a close.
Upon arriving back home, I was met with two inches of water in my office where
Nolan had left the water hose in the window well of our basement. The
water had all those days to saturate double carpets on my office floor.
Dolores had a great idea. We took her rug shampooer and
spent all day moving furniture and sucking up water. The next day, after
sucking up water for a while, I just told her that it was futile and the carpets
would have to come up. I wanted to cut them up strip by strip, but she
didn't want to destroy them. She still had the idea of placing them in the
sun and using them again.
I finally convinced her that the carpets would always stink and
they were too heavy to tote up the stairs. So, out came the carpet knives.
Need I say that we had to cut them into strips just to be able to carry them up
The following Monday, I went to the local bike store and had
them to check what was causing the bobbing up and down on Tweety's back tire.
After I had the bags off, it was easy enough to see that the tire was about to
blowout. I asked if they had tires to replace all three and was told they
would have to order them and they would not be in till Thursday. I told
the fellow that I was going on a bike ride from Passau to Vienna that Friday and
had to be assured the tires would be mounted and ready to ride Thursday. I
was assured they would.
I called Peter to see if he had tires. He was not in.
I had to make the decision; so, it was, we ordered the tires. I checked
back the next day to double check. They would definitely be in and mounted
on Thursday. Wednesday, I checked and was again assured the tires would be
in and mounted on Thursday.
Tuesday evening we decided to go out to the Schnitzel Factory for
dinner. This is our favorite place to eat and have been eating there off and
on since about 1991. They had just recently moved into a different
building which has a small bowling ally. Nolan went into the bowling ally
to play. He soon came back with a red mark on the side of his head.
He said he had been hit by a bowling ball.
I went into the ally to check things out and felt it was too
easy for an ADHD fellow like him to get hurt. So, I told him to come back
to the dinning area with me. When I arrived back at the table alone,
Dolores said, "I thought I heard you tell him to come back to the dinning room."
I replied that I had. Soon, Nolan came to the table and hugged my arm, and
said, "Now I've hurt this," as he presented me with his crooked left pinky finger.
It was obvious it had been broken.
So it was, change the order to go and away we went to the
emergency room. There we waited till 2100 to see an orthopedic surgeon.
He put on a splint. We had waited so long in the waiting room that the
finger had swollen to the point the bone would not stay in place and would have
to have two pins. We were scheduled for an operation on Thursday morning.
I checked on the tires again. I was told, "I told you,
Thursday." I said that I knew he had but was just double checking. I
was again assured with out a doubt the tires would be in and mounted Thursday.
We arrived at 0615 for Nolan's 0630 operation. The doctor
was tied up. Then the two nurses available to administer the medication for the
operation got called to an emergency C-section. Finally at about 10 or
1030 Nolan was operated on. It took about 40 minutes for the operation and
then we had to wait till he could pee and walk before we could take him home.
I have to tell you, these young army doctors in the emergency room and in the
operating room have went out of their way to give us the best treatment
On the way back from the hospital, I stopped at the bike shop
and was told the tires would not be in as I had been assured, several times.
I told them to forget the order, I had to have tires mounted that day. I
called Peter; he said he had only two and if he ordered the other that day it
would not arrive before 1500 the next day. We agreed that he would mount
the two he had and leave the best old one on till I came back off my trip.
When I arrived, Peter showed me a somewhat larger tire he wanted
to put on the back. I agreed and was well satisfied with his work. But,
then, again, when have I not ever been satisfied with Peter's work. I just wish
his shop was not a 120 mile round trip from my house.
8 July 2005: Day One
The doctor had given us some bandages and tape to change Nolan's
dressing and scheduled Nolan to see him a couple of days following our return
home. So, it was that we were up at 0445 and on the road by 0530 on July
8, 2005 for our Passau to Vienna bike trip.
Dolores had initially reserved an apartment for us in Windorf
and wanted me to ride as far as I could then camp. Then ride then camp
till I had completed my ride and she would pick me up. I told her it made
no since for me to pay for a place to sleep then camp out. So, we decided
on one night in Windorf and made arrangements for the other nights as we went.
We arrived in Windorf at 0830 and got gas at the only ESSO station which is
located the next town up river.
9 July 2005: Day 2
By 0950 Dolores and Nolan had dropped me off just outside Passau
near the little town of Erlau. Stopping the trike on the bike trail just
across the busy highway, I got off to rummage through my day box. Then the
smell; dog crap; I looked down and saw where a footprint had disturbed this huge
pile of dog residue. Looking at my shoe sole told the tail. I was
livid. I would have delighted in seeing that irresponsible lowlife dog owner,
having his/her nose rubbed in the mess. It used to be folks were
very conscious about taking a plastic bag and picking up after their dogs.
This is less and less the case these days.
Near Oberzell, the bike trail ran out and it was the highway all
the way into Jochenstein. Going uphill, I stayed in the higher gears and
was amazed at the speed at which I was able to ascend. I rounded a bend;
up ahead was a fellow struggling on a road bike. As I saw the distance
close, I increased the power; around another bend, more hill; I was on his
fender; more power and I was passing him at 14 miles per hour. Boy, did
this feel great. I could pass someone on two wheels while going uphill.
From my recon, I was sure that I would pick up the bike path at
a little restaurant and rest stop at the top of the hill, in Jochenstein.
I stopped at the rest place and tried to remember where I needed to pick
up the trail. Here I met a bearded fellow who had never seen a trike like
Tweety. I allowed him sit on her and was rewarded with him taking a movie of us
with his digital camcorder. I noticed the biker I had passed pulling into the
I saw a path that led to the bike trail. Here, I picked up
what had once been two paved strips the width of tractor tires for a farmer's
road. The middle had since been filled with un-sealed asphalt and was just
better than gravel. Here, again, I passed a couple with whom I had
unintentionally been playing catch up tag all day.
Shortly, I had unknowingly crossed into Austria. A BMW
passed me at a relatively good clip, leaving its dust to settle on and around
Tweety and me. With this limited experience, I concluded that cars on bike
trails in Austria were not nearly as bike conscious as in Germany.
However, this is likely not the case. I did not experience such an attitude later
in my trip. I started seeing notices of bike ferries marked on the trail.
It was inevitable that I would have to cross somewhere, so I took the first
crossing which put me off in the little village of Schlogen.
Of course, I used this as an opportunity to sell 'Bent Miles.
Talking about a captured audience, every adult to include the ferry operator
received a business card. I started to feel the same old feeling I used to
get when I sold insurance; Heads down, hand out to take card, with the
understanding, "Gotta get out of here before he sells me something I don't want."
Gotcha; 'Bent Miles is freeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!
Because I would have to pick Tweety and bags up and carry her
across the stern of the ferry, I waited till last to get off. Some folks
went down the trail, others went to the local restaurant right near the ferry.
One family waited near the ferry to make sure I didn't sell them anything.
Down I plopped and off I sped. Then I stopped. Am I
going the right way? Wasn't the river on my left as I was coming. It
is still on my left; that means I'm going right back the same direction.
Ooops; forgot that I had crossed over once before; so the river this time had
been on my right. Once I had convinced myself I was right, who was
to argue with me, I was off. looking for Ottensheim, the town where we had a
couple of rooms in the Swartz Adler Hotel.
At about 1330 I stopped on the trail adjacent to two restaurants
where I took several swigs from my water bottle and ate an apple and brochen.
Not finding a wastebasket, I deposited the core in my fruit bag, waved bye to
the family who had been watching me and my strange steed as they rested in the
Soon I saw the writing on the pavement, so to speak. It
indicated that the next town, Aschach, was 10 km up the trail. I pedaled
and I pedaled. I kept seeing the one or two km increments telling me the
distance to this, seemingly, fictitious town. Did it really exist?
Would I ever get there?? Finally! But, it was still allusive. It was
one of those towns where you think you have arrived, but find out that it is
still down the path a ways.
By the time I did arrive in Aschach, I was hungry again and had
a second lunch of peanuts and food bar. I called Dolores and she was still in
Germany. Just prior to getting onto the bike trail, Dolores and I had
exchanged our Germany phone cards with Austrian phone cards that we had picked
up while on our recon trip. I suppose the only reason it worked was
because one of us was in Austria and the other in Germany. Otherwise we
would have to have used the international code and it would have cost us about
twice as much per call. So, for just a few Euro, you can get the cards and 20 E
of phone credits. Believe me; it is worth every cent.
I was still about 28 km out of Ottensheim. I told her to
take her time. If I arrived before she, I'd arrange to have the clerk give her a
key and she and Nolan could come on up and join me.
At about 1600 Dolores called me. I told her I was about
five minutes from the hotel. I was going to have to cross the river once
again to get into Ottensheim. Arriving near my crossing I noticed traffic
lights and gates. Asking other bikers along the way, I found out that I had to
go through these gates and that I'd likely be sharing the loch and dam crossing
Verbal instructions from one lady had me going left at the end
of the loch and taking the first right. I was hesitant; the first right
just didn't look correct. A fellow passing by on a bike caring a bike tire
in one hand, told me that I had to take the second right. The road by now
had gotten worse and of course my speed had dropped accordingly.
After a few more directions, I soon arrived at the hotel where I
saw Dolores parked just across the street.
July 10 2005: Day 3
I awoke at about 0300 hours wishing the
next-door neighbor would get out of the shower and let me get back to sleep.
I dozed; at 0330, I woke again ready to pound on the wall and tell them to
stop running the darn water. Then I realized that the shower I was
hearing was the downpour of rain on the roof of the connecting hallway
between our part of the hotel and the newer section. Some of my
windows opened right onto the connecting roof.
I got up at 0600; it was
still raining. We had breakfast at 0730; it was still raining. I
became concerned that I might not be able to ride. By 0830 it had
stopped raining and I was once again on the bike trail. Going up the
street, I made the right toward the bike trail that I had scouted on our way
to Chinese dinner the night before. But, just where was the entrance.
I watched an older couple as they negotiated the turn and followed them onto
the trail. They stopped; it appeared they were either making repairs
or adjustments. I bid them good day and was on my way.
I hoped the trail
was going to get better. It was black asphalt and severely potted.
Just a few yards up, I had to get off and carry my trike through a barrier.
Entering a bike trail along the side of a highway, I felt the rain starting
to drizzle again. A lady and man passed me as I was crossing a lighted
intersection. I fell in behind them. A few miles later they went
left and up over a bridge. I went straight.
Dolores called and
wanted to know if I wanted her to pick me up. I said no. I
pedaled on. By now the rain was getting so hard I put my camera under
my raincoat. Passing several homemade works of art, with wooden figures on
bikes, I just had to take it out for more pictures. The rain just kept
Dolores called again; again, I declined a pickup. The
route up to Linz was interesting. However past Linz, it soon became
monotonous. Couple this with steady rain and you get a less than
pleasing bike ride.
Dolores called again and insisted that I get in out of the rain. She
suckered me into meeting her for lunch in a small village of Mitterkirchen.
Being in the laid back position that is indicative of a recumbent,
encourages rain to enter at the neck and spread out all the way down. By now
my camera had stopped working and I was soaked. I knew that
once I got stopped and into dry clothes, the day's ride would be over.
Dolores called me again and told me where she was parked. I pedaled;
it rained. By this time I had my mind set on a nice warm, dry, truck
with a dry change of clothes. I pedaled; I got wetter, and wetter, and
wetter. Dolores called again and said she had moved. I was
infuriated, she had not move closer; she had mover further away.
back to Mitterkirchen. By the time we married up she had already eaten but
was willing that I stop at a restaurant and have a warm meal. I
declined. We headed on to the small town of Grein where we had two
rooms awaiting our arrival.
After receiving our keys and taking a
shower, we took Nolan to Vienna where we quite accidentally found a great
city park for him to play with his new golf clubs and balls. It was
not long before a Turkish boy, some what older than Nolan, was discarding
his soccer ball in favor of Nolan's golf clubs. Then along came a
younger boy, either friend or brother, and his father. I'm sure Nolan
will remember this young fellow for the rest of his life. It was so
disappointing to not have a camera with which to record this wonderful event
on my little friend's life.
The next morning at breakfast we met a couple
of nice ladies, one German the other American, who were riding to Vienna. I
told Dolores that if it was going to continue to rain, I might as well pack
it in. We decided that we would go on into Garmisch a day early and
hope that Germany was having better weather. Besides, without a camera, I
might as well not ride.
Will I get to ride in Garmisch? To be continued; stay tuned for an