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Vienna to Budapest: The peloton leader has his say

Dear Readers of the Pedalling Prescotts’ blog

You may be slightly perplexed by the arrival of the peloton in the latest blog. This shadowy group is largely unexplained by our otherwise excellent correspondents. One thing we, the peloton, have learned on our week long sojourn with the correspondents is that the blog is a fairly selective tale of their adventures. Much more could have been said but perhaps you would have given up with boredom by now.

The peloton was a distinguished group of relations:

Katie’s dad Roger – he of the guide book, the Baroque churches and your present correspondent

Katie’s step-mother Sue equipped with a Garmin so that she knew instantly when we had reached the 30 mile daily limit and time to stop

Her daughter Sophie, fitter (and ‘bossier’ by her own admission) than anyone else in the party and

Katie’s Uncle Stephen wearing his ‘Special’ Boston cap at all times except when in bed when he snored – as I can vouch for.

We drove to Vienna, hired bikes and joined the team. The pace to Budapest was leisurely, the drinking was excessive, and the regimen of eating from breakfast to coffee break to lunch to dinner was scrupulously maintained. The NZ team claimed that their frugal and teetotal regimen had been temporarily interrupted and would be resumed after Budapest. We shall see!

Now for OUR adventure!

From Budapest we arranged to return with our bikes to Vienna by train having bid our farewells to the NZ team – easier said than done when each bike had heavy panniers attached. Sue had already had a preliminary experience of biking by train on the day when she opted out of a 60 mile stage. She had survived by using her innate skill of chatting to strangers who then lifted her bike on and off the trains.

We managed to get our bikes on to the goods coach in Budapest without too much difficulty. Vienna was a sterner problem. It has a number of stations, none of which is in the centre of town. We arrived at Vienna Meidling – not the final destination of the train – and watched as people got off the train only to discover that our tickets named Meidling as our final destination. Immediate panic as we struggled to get the bikes off the train with station guards shouting at us as the train was otherwise ready to go. Anyway we made it and found ourselves in a by now somewhat deserted suburban station with a Metro attached. It was 10.30 at night and raining and we had about 5 miles to go to get to our hotel.

Dear Readers, I have to confess at this point that my previously infallible sense of direction deserted me and I led the peloton off into the night in the wrong direction for a couple of miles. After several false attempts on cycle paths which ended in factory backyards, we came across a sign to Budapest – and guessed that something was very wrong. A friendly passer-by kindly directed us back towards Vienna and we soon rediscovered Meidling station by a rather shorter route.

By now it was 11.30 and a further executive decision was made at this point that rather than attempting to brave the rain swept streets of Vienna, we should use the Metro instead. You may have attempted escalators with a pram or perhaps even an unladen bike. We can vouch for the fact that an escalator with a laden bike is highly dangerous and not to be attempted lightly. We had 2 changes to make en route. The rest of the world looked on as these mad Brits struggled over each obstacle to get to their destination. We reached the very last stair. The lift was out of order. The last effort was too much for one of our number and said person (Sue) collapsed under her bike on the moving stair and ended up ascending the stair feet first shouting for the escalator to be stopped – to be rescued by Uncle Stephen at the top. Fortunately only injured pride, a bit of bruising and a buckled back wheel resulted.

We collapsed into bed at 12.50am.

Never again will I mock those who go in the wrong direction!


5 Responses to “Vienna to Budapest: The peloton leader has his say”

  1. I’m more than happy to admit I’m the bossiest member of the peloton but on the night in question, the one who looked at the map and suggested the opposite direction, only to be informed that “of course it’s not that way”. Almost an hour later we were back at exactly the same place we started, just wetter and more tired than when we departed! An awesome (and often hilarious) trip!

    Posted by Sophie | September 27, 2014, 10:05 am
  2. I presume Uncle Stephen remained sitting on the fence (or the saddle) when the subject of which way cropped up.

    Posted by Fraser | October 6, 2014, 10:29 pm

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