Loire v Danube

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
JayZed
Posts: 22
Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 1:35pm

Loire v Danube

Postby JayZed » 27 Apr 2015, 1:19pm

If you had eight or nine days in May, would you cycle along the Loire from Digoin to St Nazaire, or along the Danube from Regensburg or Passau to Budapest? I am in the happy position of being able to do what I want, but I'm finding it difficult to choose. Loire would be easier (and cheaper) logistically, in terms of getting myself and my bike there, because I can do it all by train without boxing up the bike. But is the Danube going to be more interesting and/or spectacular? I've read a few reports of both routes and I'm leaning towards the latter despite the additional hassle and cost, but I'd welcome your informed opinions.

Also, if I were to choose the Danube route, how easy would it be for me to find a cardboard bike box in Budapest? I've read conflicting reports on this forum and other online sources about this, but none particularly recent.

neilob
Posts: 692
Joined: 31 Jan 2008, 3:58pm
Location: Notts/Lincs borders

Re: Loire v Danube

Postby neilob » 27 Apr 2015, 6:20pm

It's hard to be objective answering a question like this because personal choice plays a major role. I've done both the routes you are considering and found them a little tame because I was looking for a sense of adventure as well as achievement. Certainly riding across France and Germany/Austria will be a nice experience (assuming good weather!) but you will not be surprised at anything you see. It will be safe and predictable and if the culture of those countries interests you then either will provide fun in spades. For me, however, the Danube gets interesting beyond Budapest as you travel through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria and visit places like Mohacs, Vuckovar, Novi Sad, Belgrade, and the spectacular Danube Gorge. Don't believe what you may hear about Eastern Europe....it's a wonderful place. But I'm not helping answer your original question.......isn't it annoying when people go off topic!!
Using a car to take an adult on a three mile journey is the same as using an atomic bomb to kill a canary.

JayZed
Posts: 22
Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 1:35pm

Re: Loire v Danube

Postby JayZed » 27 Apr 2015, 6:51pm

neilob wrote:It's hard to be objective answering a question like this because personal choice plays a major role. I've done both the routes you are considering and found them a little tame because I was looking for a sense of adventure as well as achievement. Certainly riding across France and Germany/Austria will be a nice experience (assuming good weather!) but you will not be surprised at anything you see. It will be safe and predictable and if the culture of those countries interests you then either will provide fun in spades. For me, however, the Danube gets interesting beyond Budapest as you travel through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria and visit places like Mohacs, Vuckovar, Novi Sad, Belgrade, and the spectacular Danube Gorge. Don't believe what you may hear about Eastern Europe....it's a wonderful place. But I'm not helping answer your original question.......isn't it annoying when people go off topic!!


On the contrary, neilob, going off-topic is thoroughly encouraged, and I am now really quite tempted by your suggestion. I wouldn't have time to get all the way to Romania and Bulgaria, but Vienna to Belgrade looks quite doable in the time I have available. How is the terrain past Budapest? Can you still stick mostly to off-road cycle paths by the river, or are you spending more time on roads? And how easy is it to camp (either in camp sites or wild camping) in Hungary/Serbia?

neilob
Posts: 692
Joined: 31 Jan 2008, 3:58pm
Location: Notts/Lincs borders

Re: Loire v Danube

Postby neilob » 27 Apr 2015, 7:14pm

Beyond Budapest is a mix of very decent riverside tracks and quiet roads. I have the Bikeline guide (although it's a little old) and I also have Garmin routes following EV6. Inevitably you will see some traffic in places but (in my experience) not too much apart from entering Novi Sad and Belgrade. I'm afraid I don't have a clue about wild camping because we stayed in hotels. Best get someone else to comment on that......I don't remember seeing a lot of campsites though. We are going back again this year, flying to Belgrade and following the Danube all the way up to Moldova and Ukraine on the right (south) bank. Last year we did the left bank. Happy to talk to you if the idea gets legs but I'd feel really guilty if you didn't enjoy it!
Using a car to take an adult on a three mile journey is the same as using an atomic bomb to kill a canary.

JayZed
Posts: 22
Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 1:35pm

Re: Loire v Danube

Postby JayZed » 28 Apr 2015, 11:58pm

I'm seriously tempted, but now that I've actually figured out the distance from Vienna to Belgrade I've concluded that I don't have time to do that this time around. I want to spend a bit of time sightseeing in Vienna and Budapest, which won't leave me enough time to get to Belgrade. So it'll be Passau to Budapest (or maybe a bit beyond) this time around, and I'll keep Serbia and Romania on the list for next time. Getting excited about the trip now that I've made my decision.

My only worry now is being able to get hold of a cardboard bike box in Budapest for the flight back, but I'm sure I'll figure something out. I've noted the addresses of a couple of bike shops there, but if anyone has any suggestions then please let me know.

MartinBrice
Posts: 454
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

Re: Loire v Danube

Postby MartinBrice » 29 Apr 2015, 9:52am

You don't need a bike box, you could either buy some clear plastic sheeting from a diy store and wrap the bike in that, as per airline instructions, or go to a supermarket a nick a load of cardboard boxes then dismantle the bike and wrap it in clingfilm to hold it all together, then cut the carboard up and shape it around the bike and hold it together with gaffer or parcel tape and then more clingfilm and more tape.
I flew back from vienna with clear plastic sheeting bought from a diy place, designed to be plastic dustsheets to cover furniture when you were painting the room, it was fine. And i flew back from chile with the bike in the cardboard from half a dozen cardboard boxes from a supermarket, plus lots of tape and clingfilm to hold it together.
Airline rules talk about a bike being in a box, but at check-in they just want to check the bike in. Just make sure it looks ok-ish.
Finally, it is odd that when i use a plastic sheet they sometimes want the air out of the tyres, but when it is in a cardboard wrapping they never ever ask that question.

JayZed
Posts: 22
Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 1:35pm

Re: Loire v Danube

Postby JayZed » 29 Apr 2015, 1:28pm

Thanks Martin, I'll go down that route if I can't find a box (although BA does state that they require "a recognised bicycle bag or box"). Now I just need to find a DIY store in Budapest!

Hobbs1951
Posts: 480
Joined: 15 Apr 2014, 10:48am

Loire for me everytime.

Postby Hobbs1951 » 1 May 2015, 8:44am

JayZed wrote:If you had eight or nine days in May, would you cycle along the Loire from Digoin to St Nazaire, or along the Danube from Regensburg or Passau to Budapest? I am in the happy position of being able to do what I want, but I'm finding it difficult to choose. Loire would be easier (and cheaper) logistically, in terms of getting myself and my bike there, because I can do it all by train without boxing up the bike. But is the Danube going to be more interesting and/or spectacular? I've read a few reports of both routes and I'm leaning towards the latter despite the additional hassle and cost, but I'd welcome your informed opinions.


I've ridden the Loire valley many times, and never tire of the pleasant countryside and the history (and the climate). Part of the pleasure of the Loire is it's proximity to the UK and therefore I'm not spending precious holiday time travelling long distances (departure lounges - yuk, etc) to where I want to ride.

I've often travelled to the Loire via ferry to Cherbourg, this adds an extra dimension to my tour as a ride down the Cotentin Peninsula is also very pleasant: you can also easily take in the Normandy beaches in this, as May 4th is the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2 in Europe.

Jon.

albal1
Posts: 156
Joined: 2 Feb 2011, 4:09pm

Re: Loire v Danube

Postby albal1 » 3 May 2015, 9:21pm

I rode EV6 last year & trying to rack my brain for informative info; Passua was very busy along the DAnube with day riders who hop off their luxury floating hotel. I did enjoy Austria, so much spent a few days in Vienna wondering around. Camped in Krems, and Grein. Through Wachau wine region. Once you exit Austria, Slovakia is a different animal. I camped at Lake Piesky just a few miles north of Bratislava, & to think our roads are in a state! be careful should you ride to here.
Once back on the Danube trail it is wonderful, peaceful riding with plenty of eateries cheap too. Last Hungary, got lost a few times as the signage was poor.
The food in Hungary was the best of all the trip. Fabulous. Lots of cyclists commuting in the capital , without helmets most of them! should be easy to find a bike shop for a box.

Enjoy the trip, I did.