At breakfast Marco told us that the swelling and pain of previous days in his knee had not alleviated and Renato, one of the two cycling-doctors, could only confirm the diagnosis: a bursitis. He was forced to catch the first train to Vienna, giving up to his last track of the tour, in fact he already scheduled to come back home from the Austrian capital the day after.
The remaining 19 RWU riders said hi to Marco who went away pedalling by using only the healthy leg, while we prepared to face a day of riding in the rain and cold.
As long as we were loading the bikes, we saw Gigi B. and Claudio holding their jackets speeding from the breakfast room. In fact, they have had some troubles with their alarm thus, they started the day already shortness of breath.
At the start there were some minutes of hesitation, as usual, regarding the type of clothing to wear, but in the end we decided to wear our airy equipment.
Today we opted for a day of absolute discipline, after what happened yesterday when we lose a couple of cyclists in the rain and cold. Therefore, the pacing, at a moderate rate, was given by Paolo and Daniele, while Massimo and Dino closed the group like a double broom.
After not even a kilometre from the start, the track led us to a blind alley for repairs, precisely in the place at which the bike path get separated from the road access. Thus we were forced to rearrangement the track immediately. The unexpected setback, at the start already, caused just a little anxiety within the group for the probability that the track will turn out into a day full of unexpected events, since we had to meet some friends along the way and in addition we had to join an event with Vienna’ Mobility Agency scheduled at 2.00 pm.
After the rearrangement of the track , we finally went into the bike path that runs along the Danube. It welcomed us with heavy rain that forced us – without any doubts – to get dressed with water-resistant clothes.
Massimo punched a hole even today, and with the hat-trick – recorded during the previous days -led unrivalled our personal ranking.
After 40 km, we stopped in Tulln to drink a hot espresso in a bar where the bartender will not be remembered for his creativity among his talents. In the meanwhile, many of us went back and forth from the mechanic, just like a procession that reminded the line for the general practitioner. Ivan fixed the pedals’ joints, Adriano and Roberto adjusted their brakes, Toni changed the brake pads, Massimo bought run-flat tires and a number of spare inert tubes that superstitiously he did not share with the group, finally Renato bought new lights and some other equipment that I do not remember.
In the meantime, Hanna and Nick joined us, for riding the last 40 km that separated us from Vienna. Hanna rode an electric bike hooked up with a children trailer where her little child Mila was resting: a beautiful little girl who has not yet turned four months. Mila slept (as she will do for the whole track) while her mother pedalling, enjoying her comfortable warm journey.
Without any doubts, Mila is definitely the youngest participant of RWU and we believe that her record can hardly be defeated in the future.
We kept pedalling unanimously in an unremitting rain that this time decided to join us without hesitation, but on the way out something surprised us: a fallen tree that crossed the roadway. Despite Paolo shouted: “BRAKE !!!” at the same time he was touched his brakes, Augusto, that was right behind, could not avoid touching him and falling on the side.
He flew with a somersault, and unexpectedly with high-agility he get up immediately on his feet, exclaiming “I’m a stuntman”. Hanna immediately got him the nickname of “Flying Augusto”.
We arrived by riding several bike paths that run along the smaller branches of the Danube into the heart of the city, almost without crossing any road travelled by car and we reached Vienna’s Mobility Agency where we received a warm welcome.
Here we had the time to take refreshment (hot coffee and würstel sandwiches). In addition, Martin Blum, the head of Vienna’ mobility agency, presented us the agency’s activities that promote generally sustainable mobility, and in particularly cycling and pedestrian mobility.
Martin, in fact, leads a group of 10 people who have not the responsibility to develop infrastructures (e.g. the creation of new bike paths) or specific policies, but “only” to facilitate the cultural transition towards a more sustainable mobility.
At the end of the event we passed by the mechanic to pick up Paolo’ bike that had broken the junctions and after that we finally get back to the hotel for a few hours of rest and upkeep of our bike.
At dinner we said goodbye to Augusto, Gabriele, Marco, Ugo and Tiziana who will come back home. A bit of regret characterized always this moment: when those who have shared pieces of adventure on the pedals come back home. After all, this is exactly the spirit of RWU, the ever-changing bicycles caravan. And in fact, we take the opportunity to welcome the tandem of Alberto LG and Corina, who will joined us to Katowice.