Start: Poysdorf, Czech Republic
End: Vienna, Austria
Elevation Gain: 1916ft
Elevation Loss: 1993ft
Reading Material: A History of the Jews – Paul Johnson; Attempting Normal – Marc Maron
Audio Material: Sound Opinions, Planet Money (lots of “is Economics a science?” discussion after the Reinhart/Rogoff Excel error)
Arrived in Vienna a bit ahead of schedule. This last section follows EuroVelo Route 9 into Wien, a section I might repeat in reverse when heading to Brno and then Poland.
The last ~20km was spent tackling the sprawl of Northeast Vienna. Pretty much a straightshot, but the drab cityscape goes on for a long time before the Vienna you remember from covers of philosophy textbooks appears. All sources indicated that Vienna would be a bike-friendly town. And, indeed, there are dedicated bike lanes on many roads. However, they also end unexpectedly with poor signage and occasional misplaced curbs.
One positive aspect of this bike lane confusion is that I had my first opportunity of the trip to exchange the universally understood bicycle/motorist salute: the raised middle finger. Like Prague, Boston and many other elder cities, Vienna is built along a river. However, unlike those other cities, the main bridges over the Danube River do not have bike or pedestrian lanes. I was following what I thought was a bicycle lane over the 4-lane wide Gürtelbrücke bridge. The lane ended and I was forced onto the roadway. Two hundred meters or so later, a sidewalk appeared but with constant traffic, a fully loaded bicycle and high curb to navigate, I deemed it safer to continue pedaling with traffic over the bridge. A woman two lanes over leaned her head out of the passenger window and yelled at me. She was a good 10 car lengths ahead by the time I flipped the bird but luckily I was acknowledged with the reply. I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to be welcomed to Vienna after two weeks of bicycling from Berlin.