There is something about a list with a number alongside that is SO compelling–100 top colleges, 25 top attractions, 15 fool proof ways to excite a man. They just shout “READ ME”, don’t they? So, I figured why not?
Drum roll, please.
The Ten Top Reasons for biking with VBT, not necessarily in order of importance–just in the order that my somewhat addled brain extracts them.
1. Fantastic guides!
I’ve taken three VBT trips; each one has had delightful local guides, who do everything in their power to make sure we have an amazing experience. They are entertaining, knowledgeable and SKILLED!
Flat tire? No problem…one of them will fix it for you. Andi DID demonstrate how to change a tire so that we would know what to do back home. I was quite happy that should the need arise, all I had to do was wait until whichever one was “sweeping” (riding at the back of the group to make sure we were all okay) to catch up and rescue me. But thanks anyway, Andi. I hope I never have to put my new knowledge to the test
I’m posting this photo of Hana, seriously studying for her law exam (no, not during our trip…she emailed it to us later) because it shows her dog, Candy, helping her concentrate. Candy is a Maltese, just like Lilly, my sister Sue’s dog.
2. Wonderful New Friends
On every trip, we have managed to meet interesting, fun people. Some, like Victoria from our Slovenia trip, continue the friendship even after the biking trip is a distant memory.
We hope that will be true for this trip also. Mike would have really enjoyed talking with Peter because they have so much in common: an interest in meteorites, ancient coins, research, writing, photography. Mike is not a biker–but maybe there will be other opportunities for them to meet in the future.
The Midwestern Ladies have already appeared in previous posts, but I have to mention them again. They were beyond fantastic biking companions! We made them “honorary biker chicks” a title that is definitely not easy to come by.
3. Van stops, exactly when you need them
How great is it not to have to worry about getting your belongings from town to town? It also helps to know that riding the van is always an option if you get too tired, or too wet.
4. Breath-taking scenery
It is true that the scenery in this area is amazing regardless of how you travel across it, but there is something special about being able to stop whenever you want, to savor the beauty and to take a photo or two.
5. Alternate Modes of Transportation
Much as I enjoy biking, it is nice to give your hindquarters a little break. On this trip, we traveled by train and by boat. The ride down the Danube offered a different view of the little town of Passau, where the waters of the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube converge, each one a different color.
6. Exploration Options
We always had sufficient free time to explore the little towns and villages; to pursue whatever interests we might have, whether it be using the zip line at a playground, listening to a concert in the local church, shopping, trying out the local delicacies, or doing all of the above.
7. Mind Expansion!
You always absorb interesting facts about the countries you visit, and you might even REMEMBER some of what you learned!
Unfortunately, my camera didn’t have a wide enough angle to capture the three different colors of the water coming from the three different rivers that converge at Passau. That image only resides in the space between my ears. Instead, I offer this description.
8. Dining in Unusual Places
We probably wouldn’t have found this restaurant in a cellar in Cesky Krumlov. (Or was it a cave?). Getting there was part of the experience. The taller members of the group had to stay scrunched over as we descended the winding, steep steps. There wasn’t a lot of headroom! But the dinner was SO worth it!
9. Pre and Post Trip Extensions
The trips always start and end in great locations, so if you have the time (and many of us did), you can opt for the pre and/or post trips. I’ve already posted about Prague, and if I get the energy, will also share Vienna highlights—but here is one photo from each place.
Sally (Biker Chick who had other travel plans this year) had perfect timing. She emailed us the night before our last day in Vienna, suggesting that we visit the Hundertwasser Museum. It is always wise to take Sally’s (and Marilyn’s) recommendations.
Not only did we spend a morning in the museum, but we also found Hundertwasser’s village.
I particularly enjoyed Hundertwasser’s philosophical statements. Two of my favorites:
“If we do not honor our past, we lose our future. If we destroy our roots, we cannot grow”.
“A dead person is entitled to reincarnation in the form of, for example, a tree that grows on top of him and through him. The result would be a sacred forest of living dead. A garden of the happy dead.”
He asked to be buried without a coffin, to encourage decomposition.
10. Renewing Old Friendships
I know, I already talked about NEW friendships–but being with the other Biker Chicks deserves its very own reason number. Wouldn’t you agree?
For this trip, what was especially special was spending time with the “other” Karen, a college friend that I hadn’t seen in more than 4 decades!
We are all home now, doing laundry, readjusting to time zones, and having to cook our own meals.
Maybe there will be a quiz over the coming days? You never know…
7 thoughts on “Top Ten Reasons for Biking with VBT”
Shelley, THANK you for all of your wonderful posts!
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Welcome home !! Glad all went well, and I agree with everything on your list about VBT.
I hope you don’t post that list about 15 ways to excite men. I’m too old. And tired. And Hub doesn’t need more encouragement. 🙂
You always make me laugh. Given MY age, the only excitement I generate these days is in the kitchen. I’d have to come up with 15 recipes!
And that’s MORE excitement we can do without given our aging expanding waistlines 🙂
I’m sold! What a fantastic way to see another country. I’m not sure if I could get my husband, who regularly bikes 50-60 miles a day, to join me. He might get frustrated with the pace. It appears that it wouldn’t be a problem going solo or with a girlfriend, and the pace sounds just perfect to me.
VBT rates the rides according to difficulty, and we had chosen an easy ride. Still, even the easy rides offer variations for the more enthusiastic cyclist. The two from Colorado were always way ahead of the pack, and always did the optional routes.
BUT, having said that, you are right. We always have had more women on our bike trips and women tend to be inclusive. the solo riders get welcomed into the “pack”. At least that has been my experience. Our next ride will likely be in 2016. I’ll let you know.
Biking in Upstate NY trails off around mid-November, and right now is somewhere between impossible and suicidal. I’ve never taken any (organized) long rides, and seldom any with others to lead or follow. My biking dream, I suppose, would be a couple weeks in rural Ireland; until I win the lottery, it’ll have to be trails along the Mohawk, and only when weather permits.
But thank you for the spirited descriptions of your journey. You have my admiration, and more than a little bit of envy.