There it was, standing as a mighty big wall in front of us. Yes, we’re talking about the Alps, the mighty mountains which create the natural border between Mid and Southern-Europe. After more than 2 weeks and 1200 kilometers of cycling through Germany, it was time for a new adventure. We had no idea what to expect, the only thing we know, we had to climb a lot with the bikes and we hoped to see still some left-over snow from winter.
Cycling through a painting
From the moment we saw the Alps, it was still a 140 kilometer of cycling which included crossing the German border. We planned to do this ride in one day because Bad Mitterndorf in Austria would be the first longer stop during our bike expedition. Our plan was to do some voluntary work which we found on the online platform ‘’HelpX’’. This platform allows travelers to get food and accommodation for some work around the host’s houses like gardening or babysitting.
That morning we left early to have as much time as possible to cycle the 140 kilometers. We were in luck that a long part of our planned route was part of the Salzkammergut-weg. This cycling path is one of the most scenic routes of Austria and you’ll stop by beautiful lakes with crystal clear water and mountains which just fell of a painting. The weather was very good and the sun was shining, we were really enjoying our ride until…. Our friend Google Maps showed us a very nice route over a mountain, which was actually was a ‘’closed’’mountain bike route. After a few hours of pushing our bikes through meters of snow, the snow became higher and higher. Since the night was falling we decided to descend quickly and cycle via the highway-pass over the mountains. That night we arrived very late but, were warmly welcomed with some nice food and beer. Later we heard, that all mountain bikes routes were still closed due to lots of snow barricading the top of the mountain. After all, it was a special experience and the dogs had tons of fun playing in the snow, they were kind of disappointed to go back.
Crossing the Border
We stayed around two weeks at the Family in Bad Mitterndorf, after we finished painting the balcony and helping in the house, it was time to move on. We planned our route to the border of Slovenia and we had to cycle one high mountain pass. We cycled up the mountain and we saw some signs that the pass was closed because of the snow. As the stubborn Dutch that we are, we couldn’t believe that a big road like this was still closed because of the snow. Because it was already 25 Celsius and the sun was shining we decided to ignore the signs and cycle to the top of the mountain. This decision was one of the dumbest we made during our trip and after 2 hours of cycling up the mountain, we came to a crossing where we saw the snow and it was really impossible to cycle trough. So we had to turn back around on a mountain for the second time in Austria and had to make a 70 kilometer detour.
The next day we tried a different pass, called the Loibl Pass, which was open and it was a very scenic route to end our time in Austria. On top, we arrived at the tunnel which also served as the border between Austria & Slovenia. After a short ride through the tunnel, we arrived in Slovenia and it started very well, with a very nice descend towards the first city.
TIP: Always listen to the Locals!
Slovenia is one of the most scenic countries we’ve ever been, the green fields contrasting with the snowy mountains and crystal clear blue waters is really a magnificent scenery to watch. The country is very clean, a lot of outdoors activities and architecture to admire.
We’ve cycled a few days through Slovenia and of course, we couldn't miss out the famous Lake of Bled, but we’ve also been to an unknown place called Lake Kreda. This extremely blue lake is hidden in one of Slovenia's many national parks.
Lake Kreda is a man-made lake in the Radovna Valley in northwestern Slovenia. The lake got its name from the chalk (Slovene: kreda) that was mined in the area until 1985. The digging also created a basin, which gradually filled with water and the lake appeared. The mining ceased because it was unprofitable and due to conservation concerns (the area is within Triglav National Park), but the lake remained and is now occasionally used as a recreation site.
Today, the lake and its surrounding wetlands are an important habitat for amphibians, such as the common frog and the common toad in the Radovna Valley.
Traveling by E-Bike
The E-Bikes are still holding their ground, the batteries have on average usage of 1 on 1. Which means they use about 1% of battery with a distance of 1-kilometer cycling. Although this is the average usage on which we cycle, they were having a very tough time in the mountains. The steep mountain passes were draining the batteries quickly when going up, but luckily when going down there was no usage of the battery. We've also done some several longer distances in Austria & Slovenia which varied from 100 kilometers up to 160 kilometers a day. When we did these longer distances, the batteries were switched around 100 kilometers of distance.
After 6 weeks on the road with an E-Bike, we can say that they can be used very well in Western-Europe and a part of the Balkans. But it is advised when traveling with an E-bike to bring an extra battery pack in case you run out of juice in the middle of a mountain pass. Almost everywhere in Europe, electricity is relatively easy to obtain, even when traveling low-budget like us and we didn't have any problem with charging on the road so far.
We're writing down some tips we found useful when traveling with the E-bikes down in a separate blog post, which will be online soon!
Interested in our daily statistics?
Austria and Slovenia were despite we've cycled through pretty quickly, really amazing countries with lots of outdoor activities and nature to enjoy. Both are very scenic countries and easy to cycle with a good cycling network. Over 11000 meters have been climbed, so you can really train your legs up there.
The coming weeks we are cycling through the Adriatic Coast and the Balkans, the temperatures are getting warmer and warmer and we've even taken our first dive in the sea. Next week a new story about our first adventures in the Balkans!