We went cycling on our sixth day in Vienna. Great city for cycling. Very flat. Twenty percent of locals cycle to work daily. A good system of bike paths where cyclists have right of way over pedestrians and are separated from cars. They also have right of way over cars at intersections without lights. Visitors can hire bikes from stations that are scattered around the city. Then when you are finished riding, you just park the bike at one of those stations wherever you happen to be – provided you can find one.
We collected ours from a station just around from Cafe Central where we had coffee beforehand. Heavy bikes, no gears, pedal and back wheel only brakes, no mirrors – which I missed once we were on the road. No requirement for bike helmets – makes life easier but if they were available easily and cheaply I don’t it would be an impediment for people. We saw local cyclists wearing helmets which are voluntary here. What makes cycling attractive here are all the bike paths that make the cycling safe.
Then we made our way to the Ringstrasse – a local man told Eleanor and I quite sharply not to ride in the mall as the boys up ahead were doing. Once on the Ringstrasse we were off and away. An easy ride along a clearly marked the bike path. Past all the monuments and buildings we have been looking at. Lots of people around – both pedestrians and cyclists. All respectful of our space. We rode to the canal which is where we turned off. Then a lovely ride along the canal. Lovely sunny day. Riding along a path that was marked with an English word – fairness – that meant we were to,share this path with pedestrians and dogs. Both were about, but not in large numbers. There were more cyclists. The canal was lovely. Tree-lined, green water, fast running current. People sitting along the bank. would have made for a nice photo, as would the sight of the four of us riding along single file – but we didn’t stop to take snaps except this one by Joe of the exotic waste recycling plant referred to in the Lonely Planet Guide. A bit of a landmark.
Then we turned back as we wanted to go to the Prater. After a little bit of messing around we found signs directing us to that destination. Still along a marked bike path. We overshot the main boulevard – trying to avoid the fun park I think, but eventually, after nice hot chips and roesti from a potato stand, we found it. A beautiful broad path cutting right through lovely tree studded lawns on either side. Lots of people in the park and on the boulevard. Walking alone and in family groups, others cycling. Quite a scene. A fellow on a strange three wheel device maneuvering himself along. Another in a wheel chair with special levers enabling him to race along quickly.
We parted company here. We’d been riding for over two hours. Joe and Eleanor had to race off to join a Third Man tour. Patrick and I continued down the boulevard, turning off at the tram stop. We left the park then and continued out into the streets along a new bike path following the tram route. I was looking forward to finding a bike station – why didn’t they give us a map of where they were?! Keen eyed Patrick saw one quite soon and we were able to park our bikes and catch the tram to Pertschy Pensione. A very satisfying day.