Sunday, November 15, 2009

A scenic bike ride through the center of Vienna

For another time Filigree from the Lovely Bicycle! blog is in town. She's a real expert when it comes to, well, lovely bicycles. And as I'm keen on getting such a bike I asked her for advice. Of course I know many bike brands but am kind of lost in the big field and only very few of them are actually available in bike shops in Vienna. Her immediate answer was that I should check out Retrovelo bikes.

Filigree found out that the Citybiker in Vienna is a dealer for Retrovelo, so we asked them for a test ride which they gladly offered. However, as they only had the male models in stock, I was the only one who ended up on a white 7-speed Retrovelo Paul (more about it next time). Filigree test rode the Globe Haul instead (a Mixte made of Specialized components, have a look at it here) whose rear rack can carry up to 50kg! But more about the bikes another time, this post is devoted to our scenic ride through the center of Vienna:

Our first destination was the Schmerling square beside the Parliament where we had an extensive look at the bikes. When we shot some pictures at the Parliament, we were suddenly surrounded by a bunch of Chinese tourists. Well, they weren't really interested in us, but certainly in the Retrovelo bike. A girl asked for the brand and the price, the guys surrounded the bike (and hence us) to take some pictures and videos. Amazing how much attention one gets with such a bike! Filigree wrote a whole post about this funny encounter, see "Cycling the Parliament".

Filigree cycling at the Schmerling squareThe two of us surrounded by Chinese tourists at the Parliament

We changed the side of the Ring road and started cycling along the Ring bike path and passed by many lovely buildings in the 1st district (the natural and art history museum, the opera etc.). I quite like the Ring bike path in fall, cause the alley is all yellow at this time of the year. The bike path itself is on the sidewalk which often leads to confusions among tourists but also residents. Some of the bits are rather small, especially beside subway stations and tram stops where cautious cycling is necessary. In other places the path is very wide and clear, and it's possible to overtake or even cycle beside each other. Generally, the Ring bike path is great for recreational rides in the historical center, but not so well-designed for “normal” everyday cycling when safe fast connections are preferable.

Cycling along the Ring bike path in the city center

We hit the Danube canal at the Urania and continued cycling on the combined foot and bike path along the canal. That's a very relaxing, however not fast, stretch. There are some night clubs (especially in the summer) and many people go jogging or for a walk there. If you're interested in urban art you should definitely have a look at the graffitis near Schwedenplatz – there are many huge ones which keep changing regularly.

Later on Filigree had the idea to ride to the Augarten. Unfortunately I missed the right street (shame on me) and we ended up on a long cobbled street. Nothing I particularly fancy riding on, but on the other hand it was a good for testing the bikes. After some time in the 20th district, we started our way back through the 9th district along Alserbachstraße und Liechtensteinstraße (both have bike lanes in the door zone), until we hit the Ring bike path again and then changed to the so-called “2er Linie”.

All in all we have been on a long and lovely ride through the center of Vienna which took us about 2 hours (including a lot of photo shooting, of course). Thanks for all the fun on a gray Saturday morning, Filigree :).

If you still haven't seen enough pictures, have a look at our flickr sites (Filigree's and mine). Of course I really enjoyed riding the Retrovelo, but I shall tell you more about the bike itself in the next post. So stay tuned for more stories – here and on Filigree's bike blog.


Unknown said...

So enjoyed coming along with you for your 2 hour ride via your lots and lots of photos. Nice!

Adrienne Johnson said...

Isn't it funny how everyone is meeting everyone else? There has to be some power in that, some kind of international bike power that makes things better. Don't you think?

MDI said...

Sounds like you both had lots of fun. Did Retrovelo float over the bumps in the road as the manufacturer says? I bet those Fat Franks are awesome. Do tell us more about how riding this bike felt!

anna said...

@ RidingPretty: Hope you get a good impression of how much fun it was.

@ Adrienne: Yeah, that's so cool. I should cross the big pond on day too, to meet all of you Americans :). Or what about more of you coming of over to Europe?

@ MDI: The Fat Frank were really a special experience. I absolutely loved them :). More about it next time though...

Velouria said...

Great time and awesome photos : )

spiderleggreen said...

Those Retrovelo's do get peoples attention. Those red lane markings are what we sorely need here. Nice to see Wien.

Dottie said...

You two look like you're having so much fun. I love how the internet brings all of use bike-loving girls together.

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