Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Discover your town!

Whenever I think about city-cycling I think about the German campaign Radlust which deals with the promotion of federal cycling traffic. The term "Radlust" could be translated to "the joy of cycling". The aim of the campaign was to -- literally speaking -- mobilize the unused potential of the bicycle in cities (nearly all households in Europe own at least one bicycle) by remembering their owners about the pleasure of movement:
>> If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. << (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Whenever I cycle on the weekend myself, try new bike routes or generally explore areas that I have never been to before by bicycle, I too feel this enthusiasm and pure joy of cycling. Last weekend was one of these occasions...

I put on my new stripy jersey dress, carried Paula up from the basement and set off for the unexpected. Also with me, a map printed from (useful Viennese-area route planner), sunglasses, a hat and some of my cameras.

panda with new dress

My first target was a café in Oberdöbling, a rather posh part of Vienna. I met up with some colleagues for an entertaining extended breakfast at the Wannenmacher bakery. The route was easy to remember, but 4 km more or less uphill. No bike racks at the café or nearby, but after some scrabbling around I found safe parking for my Retrovelo Paula.

Almost lunch, I reactivated Paula again. Goal: the Viennese zoo at Schönbrunn (I wrote about the place earlier, if you would like to have more background information). Start and end point were about 10 km away from each other, with a lot of steep up and downs along the way. Plus, the route suggested was not at all easy to find. I already missed the first turn.

Some of the streets were that wide...

big street in döbling, almost empty

...others were incredibly hard to find (for example very narrow foot path with exceptions for cyclists).

small path (cyclists and pedestrians only)

I had to look up the map regularly, but didn't get lost again. The route was strange though. Once it send me through a park (no cycling allowed), another time I drove through a restaurant (typical obscure traffic planning à la Vienna :))...

bike path

...and even ended up at a blind alley with a pedestrian underpass at the end.

how to continue?

Hard to believe, but I did make it to Schönbrunn alright :). Of course I exceeded the proposed 36 minutes of cycling time -- but no hurry, no problem. Even on such a lovely warm summer's day I found a nice bike rack for Paula inside the gardens. Had lunch at the Kaiserpavilion...

kaiserpavilion schönbrunn at the Rhinos and generally stayed inside cool places, like the aquarium and bird house (don't see the giraffes, they stink).


Warm weather makes tired, so after some more strolling around and photo shooting with Paula...

model pose (in front of tiergarten schönbrunn) was time to return home. There was still some 9 km to go. Along Mariahilfer Straße, and up and down the Gürtel bike path in the evening sun. A lovely way to let the day die out.

bike lane on outer mariahilferstraße

shadow waiting at red light

For all the photographic glory see my flickr album "from döbling to hietzing and back". Or even better: just go on your own discovery tour around town, and take part in the final round of the LGRAB summer games.


Hayley Hutchin said...

oh what a lovely day... i really love the color you chose for your Paula. it's so... NOT neutral!

Erik Sandblom said...

I love the warning for waitresses and waiters. Often traffic is not a matter of danger but a matter of courtesy. Can I borrow that picture for promoting cycling positively? :)

anna said...

@ Hayley: Thanks a lot. I'm pretty happy with the pigeon-blue myself, goes well with the asphalt :).

@ Erik: Sure, go ahead! Many of my pictures on flickr can be used if you give credit and link back.

Frits B said...

You're unkind to giraffes. Their stables smell (yes, breathtakingly) like horses' stables. Visit them regularly in winter and your head colds are over.

Anna said...


just found this blog yesterday - love it!!! Cannot believe Paula is pigeon blue! my Petra is pigeon blue as well! Had her completely refurbished in February (she is a 1989 Peugeot).

:-) Greetings from London, Anna.

Anonymous said...

Cute and entertaining post.

anna said...

Thanks a lot for all the comments.

@ Anna: Lovely Peugeot you got there. Your bell seems quite fancy too, but it's heard to tell from afar. Btw, good luck for your journey to Paris! I'll keep checking up :).

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