EUROBIKE 2014 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY PART II

BIKING TO THE EUROBIKE SHOW

                   YOU NEVER RIDE ALONE WHEN THERE’S A BIKE SHOW IN TOWN

EUROBIKE was a super event, for everything bike.  Even how to clean them.

AUTOMATIC BIKE WASHER  15,000 EURO ($19,685.00)

AUTOMATIC BIKE WASHER 15,000 EURO ($19,685.00)

i want to buy an electric tandem bike for touring with Natasa.  I think we could really cover some territory , with a little help.

I WANT A TANDEM AND WHAT A GREAT WAY TO TRY IT OUT!

I WANT AN ELECTRIC TANDEM AND WHAT A GREAT WAY TO TRY IT OUT! Thanks Meghan.

EuroBike is packed full of bike enthusiast.    NUTCASE HELMETS, had a couple of their helmet artist paint full size “ART” near their booth.  They were going auction off the paintings to raise money for WORLD BICYCLE RELIEF, you too can make a donation today!

NUTCASE HELMETS ARTIST WALL

ARTIST SANDRA RAMIREZ WITH MEGHAN, (notice Meghan is wearing a helmet with Sandra’s design)

BAMBOO BIKE

BAMBOO BIKE, (parked out front)

SIDEWAYS PEDAL BIKE

SIDEWAYS PEDAL BIKE

I sent Natasa post cards (everyday), so I had to ride to town to the post office.  The bike is the best for “discovering” what’s going on.  I came across the farmers market, I bought a salmon sandwich, figs, fruit cobbler and blueberries, brought my lunch to Eurobike.

I LOVE FARMERS MARKETS AND STRAWBERRIES

I LOVE FARMERS MARKETS AND STRAWBERRIES

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                 MARKET SQUARE ART SCULPTURES

LOVE THE GERMAN BREAD

                                                       SEEDED GERMAN BREADS

ACROSS FROM ZEPPLIN MUSEUM

ZEPPELIN PLAY GROUND ART, ACROSS FROM ZEPPELIN MUSEUM         

If pedaling wasn’t enough?  You can now use hand cranks and your arm power too.

TANDEM ARM POWER

THEY MAKE A SINGLE TOO, I SAW SOMEONE OUT TEST “DRIVING” ONE.

ELECTRIC CAR RACE BY PEDALING

ELECTRIC CAR RACE BY PEDALING (she won)

I came to look at electric bikes, so here’s a few of them:

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THIS IS THE DIAVELO ELECTRIC BIKE (video) CALLED, AFTER 5.  COMING TO AMERICA IN 2014.     IMG_1083                           WHAT A GREAT WAY TO ENJOY THE GOLDEN AGE OF RETIREMENT.  

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PROTANIUM BIKES WERE QUITE EYE CATCHING. I LIKE THE LOOKS, BUT IF YOU HAVE A “FAST” E-BIKE, SOME FRONT OR FULL SHOCKS CAN REALLY SMOOTH OUT THE RIDE, ESPECIALLY OVER SPEED BUMPS!  THEY HAVE A SHAFT DRIVE VERSION (video) TOO

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I’M GETTING OLDER AND THE STEP THROUGH DESIGN IS VERY APPEALING.  ESPECIALLY IF YOUR RUNNING A LOT OF ERRANDS AND ARE GETTING OFF AND ON A LOT.(or wearing a dress).

LEARN MORE ABOUT E-BIKES WITH THESE LINKS:

ELECTRICBIKE.COM TOP 10 THINGS ABOUT E-BIKES: KITS, MID-DRIVES, LIGHTEST, MOST EXPESNSIVE, UTILITARIAN, FASTEST, HOME GARAGE AND ILLEGAL

PETE’S ELECTRICBIKEREPORT.COM REVIEWS THE LATEST IN E-BIKE TECHNOLOGY AND YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR HIS NEWSLETTER.

ELECTRIC-BIKES.COM HOW TO BUY AN E-BIKE AND OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

FLYKYL SMART WHEEL STAND ALONE E-WHEEL KIT, WORKS WITH SMART PHONE

 PETE’S ELECTRICBIKEREPORT.COM E-BIKE PHOTO GALLERY FROM EUROBIKE 2014

I went to some travel seminars and they are making tours that include E-Bike charging stations along the way, to keep you coming back!

ELECTRIC BIKE CHARGING STATION

E BIKE CHARGING STATION IN FRIEDRICHSHAIN

They had bins and bins of bike related publications.

ALL THE ELECTRIC BIKE MAGAZINES ARE GONE

THE E-BIKE MAGAZINES WERE POPULAR, THE BINS WERE EMPTY!

BACK TO EUROBIKE

WOODEN BIKE

 EVERYONE WHO HAS A BIKE THEY WANT PEOPLE TO SEE, THEY BRING IT TO EUROBIKE.

I reached the saturation point, I couldn’t look at anymore bike stuff, interesting or not. I was done.  I rode my bike to EuroBike and sold my last day ticket.  It was the public day and it was PACKED, glad I wasn’t going in.  I rIde next door to the Zeppelin Airport.

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I PAID 3 EURO ($4) FOR A CUP OF COFFEE SO I COULD SIT AND WATCH THE ZEPPELIN LAND AND TAKE OFF, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  OF COURSE THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY WIFI (free or paid)?

I had been planning another adventure to Crete, Greece.  I was going to visit Vincent, the French cyclist I rode with in Greece.  He’s working on a farm.  But after nearly 17 months and 19 countries, I’m done.  EuroBike, Germany is my last country for awhile.  I keep thinking the blog will end, but no.  I’ve got more stories about our adventures in Skofja Loka and were going to Croatia next month, it’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive, we set a 3 hour limit to how far were willing to drive for a little vacation.

EUROBIKE PHOTOS ARE HERE

 

Thanks for Reading and Commenting (for those that have something to say)

JEFF

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EUROBIKE 2014 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY PART I

Europe is E-Bike crazy right now, so I decided that EuroBike would be a good place to see the latest in E-Bike technology.   I tried to find a local ride by asking around the bike shops, no luck.  The train was all day but the bus for $27 to Munich then $15 to Friedrichshafen, seemed like the best option.

WHY AM I SO CRAZY ABOUT ELECTRIC BIKES?

A recent study on the environment impact of e-bikes vs other forms of transportation found that e-bikes are about:

  • 18 times more energy efficient than an SUV
  • 13 times more energy efficient than a sedan
  • 6 times more energy efficient than rail transit
  • and, of about equal impact to the environment as a conventional bicycle.

FROM E-BIKES WIKIPEDIA

I took the night bus and arrived in Munich about 7am.  I didn’t have a map to my “SMART STAY HOSTEL”.  I asked the Kebab guy, (the only shop open) for the wifi password, NO!  Some of the buses had wifi, so as the buses arrived I would stand next to them, I finally got connected and my got directions to my hostel. It was only a 1.5 mile walk. I’ve never been to Munich (photo tour)  so I came a day early, to have a look around.  I needed to buy my ticket to Friedrichshafen where EuroBike is being hosted.  I spent nearly the whole day buying bus tickets and walking around, aimlessly.  I went to rent a bike, when I finally found the location, I was told they had gone out of business.  Maybe they should remove their advertisements from the hostel?

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LOCAL STREET ART

I had to visit 3 different ticket sellers at 2 different locations to get all the bus tickets I needed.  In some ways Germany is not very easy to navigate.  Something that was super cool were the luxury buses, (once you got a ticket), they were super nice.

LONG DISTANCE BUSES HAD BIKE RACKS

THE LONG DISTANCE BUSES WERE ALL ABLE TO CARRY BICYCLES TOO.

I didn’t have a room for the first night.  So the tourist office hooked me up an apartment at the campground.  I had emailed the campground the week before, but I never got a response.  The room (with bathroom down the hall) was $80 and I had to pay to use the WIFI.  The more I attempted to use the internet the more I realized there’s “a lock” on it in Germany.  I got free WIFI in nearly every country I visited.  Now I’m in Europe’s economic powerhouse-Germany and you must pay to play!

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READY TO ROLL OUT OF THE CAMPGROUND

This time I rented a bike at the bus station, when I arrived.  Missing basket, broken lights and a squeaky chain, Oh how I miss not having my own bike.

BIKE PATH AROUND FRIEDREICHSHAFEN

THE APPLE TREES LINED THE BIKE PATH TO EUROBIKEI

I finally get there and what do I see?

ZEPPLINS FLYING AROUND, 200 EURO FOR 1/2 HOUR RIDE ($265)

EUROBIKE IS NEXT TO THE ZEPPLIN “AIRPORT”

You can ride in a Zeppelin for 200 euro ($265) for 1/2 hour, You can save 5 euro it’s only 395 euro for an hour.  i actually thought about it for a minute? Whens the next time you’ll be able to ride in a Zeppelin,  I may have to come back and give it a try, maybe when I retire.

My friend, Meghan from Portland works for NUTCASE BIKE HELMETS and she got me a one-day pass, that also allowed me to buy 3 more days.

MEGHAN AND ME

THANKS MEGHAN

NOW FOR THE BIKE PHOTO SHOW AND THE AMAZING NEW STUFF FOR BIKES

ITALIAN ELECTRIC BIKE

ITALIAN DESIGNED ELECTRIC BIKE (I WANT IT)

CAMPING, ON THE MOON?

READY TO GO ANYWHERE

EUROBIKE FASHION SHOW The fashion show was amazing. Sample Videos: #1,   #2,   #3   I thought it was a top event at EuroBike.  The lead dancer in the 2nd video is great!

BIKE UMBRELLA

BIKE UMBRELLA

THERE WAS SOME BIKE HISTORY ON DISPLAYIN 1979  145 KMPH (90.1 MPH)

 

IMG_0997The test area for the electric bikes was packed.  No one was wearing a helmet (I was), we were “testing” electric bikes, watch out.  There was probably 50-75 bikes on the track at once.  The Stromer Electric Bike was the 2014 EuroBike Gold Medal Winner. I had to try it, super fast! and fun!

STROMMER 45kmph (27.9 mph) Range !50km 93 miles) 6000 EURO ($7874)

STROMMER 45kmph (27.9 mph) Range !50km 93 miles) 6000 EURO ($7874)

I went over and tried the Raleigh Electric Bike, nearly the same specs, but 1/2 the price.  I liked that it wasn’t all business, there was lots of activities going on.  There was a organization from Amsterdam, that recycles the frames from abandoned bicycles.

AMERSTERDAM ROETZ RE-FINISHED BIKE

THIS IS ONE THEIR RECYCLED BIKES MADE NEW (WITH BEER PACK)

I went to 3 days of EuroBike, it was alot.  I’ve got some more photos and stories. So yep, Part II is where I will wrap up the rest of EuroBike.  I will post the photo links in the next blog post.

UNTIL THEN

JEFF

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BIKING THE CZECH REPUBLIC PART ll

i stopped by several different tourist offices, to try and figure out how to get on the Prague-Vienna bike path.  She said you need to take bike route 12.  We ride out of town and see a bike sign 12A and start following it.

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WE ARE SO LOST, ROUTE 12A IS NOT ROUTE 12

The routes are well marked, but you need to know the difference between 12a and 12.  We rode until we were finally convinced that we were following the wrong route 12.

 

NEW RIVER FRONT BIKE PATH

CZECH IS STILL ACTIVELY BUILDING NEW BIKE ROUTES, LIKE THIS ONE ALONG THE RIVER.  THAT’S NATASA AND SARA ON THEIR BIKES

We thankfully bought a bike map at the tourist office and tested our navigation skills.  There are so many options, your never really totally lost.

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EVEN OUR RE-ROUTE WAS BEAUTIFUL AND NEARLY CAR-FREE

WE FINALLY REACHED THE PRAGUE-VIENNA (PRAHA-WIEN) BIKE ROUTE

YEP

I WAS SO HAPPY

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I KISSED THE SIGN,

We probably road 45km, at the end of the day we saw a sign to Prague 19km.  I was hoping Natasa wouldn’t see the sign, but she did and was dead tired.  She wanted a hotel, no camping.  I asked the local policeman where there was a hotel, he drew me a map.  Were in a really non-tourist town of  Jílové u Prahy (photos google street map). The next day we ride to Sedlčan (photos google street map).  The weather is looking grim, we opt for a train ride to Tabor.

TRAIN INSTEAD OF RAIN

NICE SUNNY PHOTO. RAIN?

OUR BIKES ARE GOING ON THAT? YES

OUR BIKES ARE GOING ON THAT? YES

The train that picked us up looked like a big bus. It was the cabin and engine all in one.  We had to change trains, while waiting under the shelter it started pouring rain, I was glad to be taking the train.  Were in TABOR (photo tour) the sister city to our home of Skofja Loka.  Czech’s largest chocolate museum is in Tabor, OK we’ll go.

MAKING CHOCOLATE CANDIES

OUR CHOCOLATE “TEACHER” WAS SUPER HELPFUL AND HAD ENOUGH ENGLISH TO HAVE SOME GOOD LAUGHS TOGETHER.

MAKING CHOCOLATE CANDIES

THERE WERE MANY COLOR OPTIONS AVAILABLE

ALL OF ARE CHOCOLATE CREATIONS

OUR FINISHED PRODUCT

TABOR CASTLE VIEW

THE CASTLE TOWER VIEW OF TABOR

i love taking photos of art and this one was pretty special.

LOCAL ART

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THE BAROQUE STYLE BUILDINGS WERE BEAUTIFUL IN TABOR

We’re happy to be back on the road and the biking here is some of the best I’ve ever done.

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THE ROAD SPLIT THE LAKE

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RIDING THROUGH THESE VILLAGES IS REALLY SPECIAL AND AGAIN NEARLY CAR FREE!

This is mainly a bike touring route, but lots of cyclist enjoy the low traffic backroads.

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MOST OF THE ROADS WERE IN GREAT CONDITION, THIS ONE WAS BRAND NEW.

CROSSES IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

ONE OF THE MANY RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS, IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

Were following the Prague-Vienna bike route, but we missed a sign and end up on another bike route.

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GETTING “LOST” AGAIN TURNS OUT TO TAKE US DOWN THE NICEST ROUTE OF THE ENTIRE CZECH BIKE TOUR

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ANDREJA, TA SLIKA JE SAMO ZATE

 

This is the last night where we could camp.  We’ve been carrying our tents, sleeping bags and pads, but haven’t used them yet.  I wanted to camp, but the vote was 2-1.

 

LAKE SIDE CABIN

THIS WAS OUR LAKE SIDE CABIN, IT’S REALLY COZY

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The State Chateau of Hluboká

 

Were in the town of Hluboka, it has a CASTLE (photos).  Were here and were going to visit it.  What an amazing place.  We weren’t allowed to take photos inside.  The place was amazing, the intricate carvings in every room were flawless.  The carvings around a mirror took 3 people 17 months, it was absolutely perfect.  There were so many photo opportunities, but no.  I look at the souvenir photo book, not the pictures I would have chosen, I don’t buy it.  Now I wish I had taken some clandestin photos.  Here’s a link to some INTERIOR CASTLE PHOTOS

AWESOME BIKE PATHS

THIS IS A PHOTO OF THE TYPICAL CZECH BIKE PATH

i love taking pictures of pedestrian bridges and CESKE BUDEJOVICE, didn’t disappoint.

BIKE/PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE

I HAVE SOME MORE BRIDGE PHOTOS IN MY PHOTO ALBUM

It’s our last day on the bike, were almost back to Cesky Krumlov.

OUR LAST BIKE PATH WAS UPHILL AND GRAVEL

IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THE LAST 3 OR 4 KM OF THE BIKE PATH IS GRAVEL. IT’S STILL BEAUTIFUL WITH NO CARS.

ARE WE THERE YET?

BUT, THIS UPHILL PART OF THE RIDE WASN’T VERY POPULAR WITH ANYONE

Were back at the Havana Hostel and our host is recommending the The 2 Marys Restaurant.  Holy Shit, REAL Czech food is awesomely healthy.  Read the history of Czech food.

BEST CZECH MEAL EVER! (PHEASANT)

PHEASANT, CABBAGE SALAD, HAM, CHEESE/VEG CASSEROLE                                BEST MEAL EVER!

We stop at a market on our drive back and there’s some touring cyclist from Czech.

CZECH BIKE TOURER WITH FLAG AND CZ STICKER ON CUP

SHE PROUDLY POSES WHILE FLYING THE CZECH FLAG AND HAS A CAR CZ STICKER ON HER COFFEE MUG. LOVE IT.

We decide to take the whole day to drive back.  We stop in Linz, Austria and buy this cute garden sculpture for our garden.

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Then to IKEA, for some shopping.  Some parts of Europe are just like America and IKEA is just that.  We must pass through 12 or more tunnels and there are these signs inside.

TUNNEL ESCAPE SIGNS

WHICH WAY SHOULD I GO?

All and all It was a another successful tour, got lost a few times but no injury accidents.  Were home safe and sound in Skofja Loka.  I’m working on a story about life in Skofja Loka.  They have been remodeling the whole town, laying new cobblestone.  I’ve got lots of fun pictures.

 WHAT’S NEXT?: EUROBIKE, GERMANY

UNTIL NEXT TIME                                                                                                                         JEFF

CZECH PHOTOS
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BIKING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC PART I

I’ve been super busy, we just got back from our Czech bike tour then I left for the Euro-Bike Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany. I wanted to see the latest in E-Bike technology.  I think the future in transportation is going to be the combination of a bicycle with electric assist.  There was talk of changing the expo name to The E-Bike Show.  E-bikes dominated, the show, both in number of booths and the test area was packed too. I’ll post some photos from the bike show, after this story.

I thought Czech was some of the best available bike touring I’ve done to date. I didn’t look at this map before we left, here’s the opencyclemap.org, a free to access  bicycle map, mostly for Europe.  I was shocked when I saw the multiple route options that I could explore the Czech Republic with a  bicycle.  Many of the routes were signed and there were good bike maps available at most tourist offices.

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CZECH COMPETES WELL WITH THE NETHERLANDS FOR BIKING OPPORTUNITIES

 

 

We wanted to take the train to be car-free, but no, that was a 14 hour adventure with 3 train changes.  It’s only a 5 hour drive, that saves almost 2 days of travel and vacation time.

INTERESTING BUILDING PHOTGHRAPED FROM CAR

NATASA WANTED TO DRIVE, SO I GET TO TAKE PHOTOS

We drive to   CESKY KRUMLOV (photos). to start our bicycle tour.

We stay at the HAVANA HOSTEL, in Cesky Krumlov it was clean, cheap, very friendly and informative.

HOSTEL LIFE, I-PHONE FROM BED

OUR BAGS BLOW-UP AT THE HOSTEL

 

IT WAS NICE "CAR-FREE" VILLAGE

IT WAS A NICE “CAR-FREE” VILLAGE TO WALK AROUND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The town was super cool, with the river s-ing it’s way through town, full of rafters, it was quite entertaining.  It seems every town has a tower to climb and Cesky Krumlov had one too.

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WE VISIT THE TOWER FIRST, TO GET A BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE CITIES LAYOUT.

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A SELFIE SHOT BY SOMEONE ELSE

We spend the day visiting museums and galleries.

BIRD FOOT CANDLE HOLDER

WILDLIFE CANDLE HOLDER

TOLIET AND CHAIR IN ONE! FOR #2

WHEN YOU GOTTA GO AND YOU DON’T WANT TO GO ANYWHERE

RARE SWORD WITH GUN (just in case they survivie the sword)

A RARE SWORD WITH A GUN (just in case they survive the gun)

HUNTING WAS VERY POPULAR

HUNTING WAS A HUGE SPORT, BACK IN THE DAY. MANY CASTLES ARE DECORATED WITH ELK & DEER ANTLERS

YEP!

IT’S NOT RAINING, YET

The tourist office can’t tell me where the bike trail starts, so I head out on my own to find it.  I always find something interesting when I’m exploring on my own.  I finally find the start of the bike trail.

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SIGNS ON A BAR DOOR-NO RUSSIANS

NO GUNS, DRUGS, TIES OR RUSSIA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

it starts raining and that includes the forecast, but Prague is dry.  Our original plan was to ride from Cesky Krumlov to Prague, but after we evaluated the weather situation, we flipped the ride around.  We now plan to take the train to Prague and bike back to Cesky Krumlov, where the car is parked.

We start off by getting on the wrong train going the wrong way.  We can get upset, but what’s the point?  We just sit back and enjoy the ride. by now it’s pouring rain outside and a train ride is much better than a bike ride, in the rain.  In Prague we meet a German couple at the train station and they follow us into the Old Town Square of Prague (photos).

PRAGUE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

THE FAMOUS PRAGUE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

Prague is packed with tourist and biking is nearly impossible.  Except when you go out at 6:30 in the morning.

DANCING BUILDING, PRAGUE

THE FAMOUS DANCING BUILDING OF PRAGUE

SUPER NARROW BIKE LANE, STILL BETTER THAN RIDING ON COBBLESTONE

THE WORLD’S NARROWEST BIKE LANE, (NOTICE NO ONES UP YET).

6AM BIKE RIDES CAN YIELD INTERESTING FINDS

GIANT SCULPTURE: OF CRAWLING BABIES

After riding both sides of the Vltava river(photos) Natasa wants to go back to the hostel, I opt for a tour of the PRAGUE PALACE (photos).  At that hour of the morning, no one was around, except the Palace guards, who told me to get off my bike (3x’s).  I ‘m a little lost, but I accidently bump into the hostel were staying at, thank goodness.  I did pass a farmers market on the way back.  I grab Natasa and Sara and we head back to the farmers market.

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THE MIXED BERRY BASKETS WERE AWESOME!

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PAUL’S FRENCH BAKERY, MMMMM

YES

WELL, I DON’T HAVE ANY

Our good friend Stanley from Royan, France was in Prague at the same time we were.  We went on a hike around VYSEHRADSKE SADY (photos).

I THINK NATASA IS ATTRACTED TO STANLEY

NATASA WAS REALLY ATTRACTED TO STANLEY

No trip would be complete without a visit from the Famous Rev. Phil with BIKE SMUT.   He’s having a showing Prague, while were in town.  We reserved him a bed in our hostel room.

VEGETARIAN BUFFET WITH REV. PHIL AND STANLEY

VEGETARIAN BUFFET DINNER WITH REV. PHIL AND STANLEY

SAYING OUR GOODBYES TO REV. PHIL AND PRAGUE

We’re finally starting our Czech Republic bike tour.  We’ve got our bikes packed up and were heading out of Prague, IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!

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THE BIKE PATH IS AWESOME, BUT IT’S THE WRONG ONE.

This story will be continued with BIKING THE CZECH REPUBLIC PART II

Thanks for reading and comments are almost always welcome.                                             PHOTOS: JEFF’S PHOTOS ARE HERE

JEFF

DON’T FORGET TO RIDE YOUR BIKE WHILE YOU CAN OR GET AN E-BIKE AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

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JEFFS BUS TOUR–THE GREAT ART CAPER

I was window shopping in October 2013 in Shkodra, Albania.  I came across an artist who’s style I really liked

LOCAL ARTIST WHO IS PAINTING MY PICTURE

SHKODRA, ALBANIA

LOCAL ARTIST WHO IS PAINTING MY PICTURE

Montenegro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really loved the bike vibe of Shkodra and wanted to capture it.  So I sat on a park bench taking photos of people biking.  I captured the image I wanted.

 

 

SHKODER BICYCLING IMAGE So I took this photo to the artist and he agreed to paint this scene.  I had be-friended the owner of the Hostel where I was staying and asked him to pay the artist the other half and ship me the painting.  It was going to take a week and I had already been here a week.  Months went by, I heard nothing. I called Tonin (hostel owner) and he then  sent me a photo of the painting, but not the painting. It’s been 10 months and still no painting.  I’ve begged him to return the artwork to the artist, he says he will, but it never arrives.  I finally tell Tonin I’m going to call the police, I got his attention then, but still no painting.  It’s been 3 months since the artist agreed to take back the painting, so by the time Tonin finally decides that I’m not going to give up about getting the painting, he takes it back to the artist.  The artist now refuses to accept it, holy shit, I was so close. Tonin informs me of the situation and says the painting is at the Hostel.  So I make plans to go to Albania and retrieve MY painting.  I promise Natasa that if I don’t get the painting, I will let it go. I plan to sleep on the bus to Dubrovnik, Croatia, rent a car there and drive to Albania, get painting and drive back and catch next bus back to Slovenia.

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WAITING ALONE IN ZAGREB, CROATIA BUS DEPOT (free WiFi)

The bus stops for food and the bathroom.  I’m half asleep but can’t beleive what I’m looking at.

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ANIMALS STUFFED AND DRESSED.

No one sits in the seats above the engine, maybe not a comfortable  seat, but one great bed.  The bus is 45 mins late to Dubrovnik.  I grab the shuttle to the airport (that’s where the rental car is).  I’m on the road for my 4 hour journey to Albania.  With in 15 minutes the traffic is diverted to another road.

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CARS LINED UP AT MONTENEGRO BORDER CROSSING

 

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WAITING ISN’T ALL BAD

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WAITING ISN’T THAT FUN, FOR EVERYONE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a small border crossing, so they only have 2 people checking passports.  So I’m losing time, I was hoping to be in Shkodra by noon.  I had seen this ferry last time through here, it cuts 30km off your trip.  I load the car on and hope to save some time.                   IMG_0639 It didn’t help that much, I finally arrive about 4pm to the Hostel.  To my surprise, the painting is nowhere to be found.  I emailed Tonin 3 days before and told him I would be here Sunday to get it, but no painting.  The hostel host speaks no English, none.  But he get’s I’m pissed, I kick the wicker table and put my foot through it.  Now, I’ve got Tonin on the phone and he says the painting will be there in 2 hours,  I’m so pissed.  I leave the Hostel and go looking for some Policemen.  It doesn’t take long.  They take me back to police headquarters to file a complaint against Tonin.  There’s a guy at the police station telling me I’ve been conned and should forget about it and go home.  It’s over,only after I leave, without the painting. I drive the head detective to a Restaurant, where the owner speaks English and Albanian.  We get the whole convoluted story told.  I give the detective Tonin’s phone number and he calls him.  Within a 1/2 hour the painting was brought to our table by Tonin’s dad.  In turn Tonin’s dad wants to have me arrested for damaging his table.  Everyone looked at him and asked him to leave.  The detective didn’t want me to take his photo, getting my painting. I eat my dinner at the San Francisco restaurant.  By this time the sun  is down but it’s still somewhat light out.  I’ve got a 3-4 hour drive back to Dubrovnik, crossing 3 countries. I had to show my passport 14 times on this trip. I return the car back to the airport and take the shuttle bus to the bus station.  It’s 2 am now, no bus till 7 am. IMG_0647 I opt to sleep on the bus platform (I’m not alone) The lights were bright but I laid my head in the shadow.  I actually slept some.  IMG_0660I got my bench seat bed again, I didn’t do one tourist thing, this trip was strictly business.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

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Thanks for reading Jeffsbustour

Jeff

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HUNGARY IS A BICYCLIST PARADISE PART 2

 

                                        VIEW FROM OUR CAMPSITE IN VESZPREM  IMG_0435I’m leaving Veszprem a little confused at what we saw?  We were there for a Sunday-Monday visit.  Some museums were closed both days?   We still saw a lot of interesting stuff, plus  It’s a beautiful city.

On the way to Veszprem we missed the bike path turn off,  so we took the main road, later meeting up with the bike path. Were riding back using the whole bike path back to the lake, which for me, was some of the nicest bike path I’ve ever ridden!  WOW!

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THE BIKE PATH WAS PAVED AND THE ROAD? GRAVEL WITH NO CARS.

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THE BIKE PATH WAS TRULY AMAZING but TOO SHORT

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CAN YOU PRONOUNCE THE CITIES NAME? (19 letters)

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ROMANTIC CAMPING

We were able to get tables and chairs at almost every campground.  Having a chair and table to cook on was great.

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CAMPING IN GRANDMAS YARD

WE COULD ONLY GET A TABLE, NO CHAIRS.

TINA-cleaning our last nights chairs. Super Hero

TINA-cleaning our last nights chairs. Super Hero

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TEXTING AND BREAKFAST

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LOTS OF THE RESTAURANTS GAVE A 10 percent DISCOUNT TO BIKERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i hadn’t swam as much as I would have liked.  It rained some and was cool. Finally we  stayed again at a lakeside campground.  It’s day 5 and I’m finally going swimming, I’m 3 meters from the water and I step on a bee and get stung, that hurt.  Then we got a campground with a pool.  I swam for about 10 minutes….

STANDING ROOM ONLY………………..THEN 25 KIDS FROM FRANCE SHOWED UP, STANDING ROOM ONLY

WE MADE IT! (& still laughing)

WE MADE IT AND ARE STILL LAUGHING TOGETHER

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We have a day off in KESZTHELY.  Sara and Tina want to lay on the beach, Natasa & I are going to HEVIZ, where the largest mineral bath in Europe is.  Were on the bikes again, but no gear, we can fly.

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THE BIKE PATHS ARE AWESOME AND AMAZING. TO THE MINERAL “LAKE”

A HOUSE ALONG THE BIKE PATH TO OUR CAMPGROUND

Natasa and I went to the KItch Museum in Keszthely.  There’s more PHOTOS

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IV’E HEARD OF GIVING, BUT TAKING.

All in all it was a great trip, it was their first bike tour, everyone did great.  So great, were going to Prague in 10 days,  Thanks for reading and hopefully you’re encouraged to try bike touring as a means of travel. It really is the best.                                                                           DON’T FORGET TO RIDE YOUR BIKE ANY CHANCE YOU CAN, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE.

JEFF

HUNGARY PHOTOS HERE                                                                                                                   MORE HUNGARY PHOTOS  

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HUNGARY IS A BICYCLISTS PARADISE, PART I

It’s summer vacation time and Natasa has 2 weeks off. I suggest biking in Hungary?, she says OK.  Weeks of planning and Budapest and Lake Balaton here we come. Natasa’s daughter Sara her friend Tina, Natasa and me, that’s 3 girls and me, I’ll survive, I must.

READY, STEADY, GO (Billy Idol)

READY, STEADY, GO (Billy Idol)

I DROVE (the whole trip) YET I WAS STILL ABLE TO TAKE THIS PHOTO OF THIS COOL OVERPASS

Budapest has been putting bike lanes “everywhere”, they currently have 200 km of bike lanes. They say Budapest is 13th Most Bike Friendly City in the World, let’s find out.

I read about Ecseri, Europe’s largest antique flea market that’s in Budapest, a must visit. After spending time In Kadikoy, Istanbul’s open market, they are  great for a local cultural experience. We ride our bikes, mostly on bike lanes, for an hour and end up way out of town. No market anywhere? I spent nearly the whole day looking for this market, nothing. I was told it closed 6 months ago, then the tourist office gave me the same directions to it WTF! I was obsessed at finding it, I split from the group to go looking for it, nothing. I’m already coming back to Budapest.  IMG_0252THIS IS THE MAP TO THE MARKET, WHERE WE RODE TO AND THEN THE ADDRESS THAT THE TOURIST OFFICE GAVE ME. IT HAD US GOING AROUND THE BLOCK, THE WHOLE THING IS A MYSTERY. The next day we rode a huge circle around Budapest, hitting all the tourist attractions. ST. STEPHENS CHURCH, was first on the list. IMG_0258I THOUGHT THE OUTSIDE STONE AND MARBLE WORK WERE THE NICEST PART OF THE CHURCH

The PARLIMENT BUILDING, was the most prominent building along the river. IMG_0262                                                       GUARDED BY ONE GUY?

I read everywhere that I had to ride around MARGARET ISLAND,it was just OK. A nice ride but not worth a picture, not one. I saw a post card with a picture of the  FISHERMEN’S BASTION,  it looked like a must visit, at the top of the Buda side of town, in the CASTLE DISTRICT. IMG_0273[1]                      THIS IS THE MATTHIAS CHURCH, (check out the roof). I took some photos for some tourist then I asked them to take our photo. IMG_0266[1]                                                   OUR FIRST GROUP PHOTO 

We had an apartment with a full kitchen, so we headed to the FARMERS MARKET. I read a Paris-Budapest comparison, they said the food was cheap in Budapest, and they’re right. It’s hardly worth cooking. Hungarians spend 1/3 of their income on food, Americans?      6-10%.  Americans spend the least portion of their money on food compared to the rest of the world, yet 1 in 7 people get food aid. 

IMG_0256INTERESTING PIZZA TOPPINGS, HEATED IN THAT CLAY OVEN (hehind Natasa) The Danube River separated Buda from Pest, that’s where the name Budapest came from, the combing of the two parts of town. There are 14 BRIDGES IN BUDAPEST IMG_0240                                               THIS IS AT ONE END OF THE CHAIN BRIDGE

The CHAIN BRIDGE was the first bridge across the Danube River.   IMG_0294[1]               IT’S AN INTERESTING DESIGN, IT LOOKS LIKE A GIANT BICYCLE CHAIN.

Natasa likes to walk, so a walking we will go, to see what we’ll see?  America has several  major sports, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey and minor leagues of all these sports too.  So when I saw this sign, I was reminded that there are other things going on in the world besides America. IMG_0282[1]       SHOWING ALL MY FAVORITE SPORTS? I RECOGNIZE GOLF & TENNIS, THAT’S IT.

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My feet were hurting me, so we opted for a bicycle taxi tour.  I had tried to find the Art Nouveau apartment blocks earlier on our tour bike, but no.  He took us there and more. IMG_0286[1]

U.S. EMBASSY ENTRANCE IMG_0290[1]                                                 PHOTO WITH RONALD REAGAN,

We had 3 days in Budapest, not enough, but enough to know we’re coming back.  It’s only a   4 1/2 hour drive from Skofja Loka.  We biked and ate and ate and biked.  Time to head to Lake Balaton and do some real bike touring (with gear). Natasa has just 2 weeks off and sometimes it’s hard to get into vacation mode.IMG_0309[1]                                 BUT I’M DOING MY BEST TO HELP, LAKESIDE (pretty easy)

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THEY WELCOMED AMERICANS, BUT I JUST HAPPEN TO BE THE ONLY ONE, SO FAR, THIS YEAR

We’ve got 10 days to tour around Lake Balaton, by bicycle.  We added some side trips, away from the lake.  The area is famous for wine and hot springs, good combo!  Hungary has over 400 hot springs and the largest one in Europe, which we plan to visit at the end of our trip.

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IT LOOKS LIKE IT MIGHT RAIN, BUT IT’S NOT REALLY COLD (NATASA?)

I’m wearing my Portland Bike Jersey, within the first 10 minutes of the trip, we meet a couple from Portland.  They are riding with their folks,, who were from Seattle.  I’m so excited when I see another touring cyclist, I try to high 5 him.  He just looks at me, like what am I trying to do?  The more we ride, I get it now,  you would be high 5-ing all day.  There were families, boy scout type groups, young gen x,y & z, and older, everyone was  touring, it was so cool.  We finally camped with some bike touring people on the 6th day.  I couldn’t figure where they were all camping?  When I bike toured the Mediterranean, there were so few cycling tourist that you rode and camped when met someone. Carolyn, Tyler, Vincent we all had great times.

WERE IN WINE COUNTRY

WERE IN WINE COUNTRY

THE STONE HOUSES WERE AWESOME.

THE STONE HOUSES WERE AWESOME.

EVERYONE HAD A FENCE YARD, SOME WERE PRETTY AWESOME

EVERYONE HAD A FENCED YARD, SOME WERE PRETTY AWESOME

Check out these houses with a traditional  “GREEN”roof.

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LOOKS LIKE A WIG OR SOMETHING? A STAR WARS HELMET?

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THEIR PUTTING ON A NEW “GREEN” ROOF.

THEY DON'T LAST FOREVER!

THEY DON’T LAST FOREVER!

We avoided the BIG campgrounds, instead opted for Grandmas renting out their yards.  We got ALL our laundry done for $2.  Camping cost about 5 or 6 Euro per person.

CAMPING NEXT TO THE ZOO IN VESZPREM

CAMPING NEXT TO THE ZOO IN VESZPREM, with POOL.

Sara and Tina wanted to go to the Zoo so we went out for lunch and bike toured around VESZPREM 

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THE PORTIONS ARE HUGE HERE, WE USED THE LEFTOVERS FOR DINNER FOR EVERYONE, 6 MEALS FROM 2.  HUNGARY RANKS #8 ON THE WORLD OVERWEIGHT SCALE. (I know why.)

I LIKE PICTURES OF SIGNS AND BEAUTIFUL WOMEN.

I LIKE PICTURES OF SIGNS AND BEAUTIFUL WOMEN.

OUR FIRST "SELFIE" PHOTO, TAKEN AT A CHURCH GARDEN IN VESZPREM

OUR FIRST “SELFIE” PHOTO, TAKEN AT A CHURCH GARDEN IN VESZPREM.

LEAVING VESZPREM

LEAVING VESZPREM

Not before making a stop at the local art gallery to check out the “BIKE” art. (more art photos)IMG_0445[3]

 

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I heard that 20% of working adults in Hungary wanted to leave in the next year to find work. Hence the painting.

I thought I could make this one post, no way.  It’s going to be 2 parts.

Thanks for  reading, Jeff

MORE HUNGARY PHOTOS HERE

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"EVERY PEDAL STRIKES A BLOW FOR FREEDOM"

“EVERY PEDAL STRIKES A BLOW FOR FREEDOM”