PRAGUE TO BUDAPEST RIDE
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Cycling between two capital cities in one day: slightly blighted by the planned 70km day turning into a 100km hack on busy main roads due to having to backtrack to Vienna to avoid a flooded cycle track.
What did you think of your group leader?
Anna was lovely and very helpful to me when it came to odering the correct food for my dietary restrictions. Her inexperience organising a cycle trip did frustrate and annoy others. There was no safety briefing; we were often dangerously bunched up in groups on busy main roads. There were no plans or intention to supply water given we started the trip during a heatwave which is basic negligance - on our insistence the bus driver agreed to carry and sell bottled water to us. Twice I was concerned and upset to be left behind with no map and no directions - Anna couldn't be contacted to ask her to wait as her phone was switched off. She had no way of organising fast and slow cyclists. On other trips faster cyclists are usually sent ahead to wait at a designated point whilst the guide remains with the slower cyclist to ensure they know the route. Each day's cycling felt like a race to get to the night's destination - I did not dare to stop to take photos for fear of being lost a long way behind. We had to constantly remind her of the need to organise an occassional break - after all we were on holiday not a cycling boot camp. Anna appeared not to receive any back-up from the company she was sub-contracted from. She was clearly untrained and often got lost. She also should have been informed in advance of road closeures folllowing the Danube floods.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take ear plugs for the noisy hotels, bug repellant for the mosquitoes and keep your fingers crossed that your guide is better trained. Be vigilant of the busy roads in Hungary as they are very potholed and the motorists are intolerant and unforgiving to cyclists. The hotels were very clean, though at times very basic (my matress at the Grand Hotel Cerny Orel comprised of seats cushions squashed together - very uncomfortable). Food, beer and wine was very good and pleasingly inexpensive in the Czech Republic and generally a very good standard in all four countries.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The rolling countryside through the Czech Republic is beautiful and lovely to cycle. Some of the cycle ways can be very linear and the scenery repetitive. Plan an extra day in Budapest - its an amazing city.