Cycling in winter...some hard challenges!!

 

After 2 nights staying in Linz I left there. It was great staying with Annett who is Auralia’s aunt and her family.
they were just great people.
I loaded my bike and hugged them and said goodbye to them. the street was still white and a bit cold but I was glad to be on the road again riding my bike and looking forward to go through new places and specially some mountains.
I had 15km to Linz and I should cross the city with a little map I had from the town. Anyway it took me 1 hour to cross the town and then I was on the road again heading south west. I was following the main road because the bicycle path was full of snow and hard to ride but luckily the road was not so busy and annoying.
I knew I would have 2 light days to Salzburg but still I didn’t have anyone in Salzburg to stay with.  So I decided to stay one night by a lake 90km from where I was and leave 65km for the next day to alzburg. It sounds quite easy and fine and also I didn’t want to push myself very hard this part of journey. I wanted to enjoy more from the mountain and Austria and Alps.  That’s why I didn’t make a big plan, just at most 80km a day for next few days should be just great. It could add one extra day bt I also could enjoy more which is already very important too.
I rode slowly and it was about 4pm which I arrived to the lake and I was looking for a place to camp. I was so glad to sleep by the lake in my tent and pitch the tent over snow. It was really exciting. I haven’t had such an experience and I was totally full of joy and excitement.
I just needed some water, so I stopped by a sandwich shop ( here they called Imbiss ). I asked the lady to fill up my bottle, it was so cold and she opened the window quickly and took the bottle and closed it the same fast. In a minute she returned and opened the window as much as her hand could go through and handed the bottle and I said thank you.
I put the bottle on my bike which a man opened the window wider and yelled “ it is cold out there..where are you going? Where are you come from ?” I replied “ Iran and I am going to find a place to camp for tonight.
he said do you like Austrian national drink? I want to offer you some!! I gladly accepted and he handed me a cup of Puche which is Austrian national drink. The he invited me to go inside and drink it inside which was already warm and nice to sit.
He came and we began to talk about my journey a bit and soon after he offered me a sandwich. I was not in hurry as I was almost on my destination, so I could easily sit there for hours and talk and be sure to find a place to camp.
a family of a father, daughter and brother came also and they sat next to my table. She also was surprised why I chose winter to cross the country?
they also ordered some hot drinks and when she returned with a tray of hot drinks, she put one also for me!! She smiled and said I am glad to offer you a hot drink too!! And it was beginning of a conversation.
after 15 min I said goodbye to those lovely people and I left there. I was ready to leave and find a spot to camp…she ran after me and said” this is fucking cold out there! How do you want to survive? My father has a place in their sport club for you with shower and everything!”
It was great also but in the other hand I was thinking it might be the only chance I have to camp on the snow and I shouldn’t miss it, but while I am traveling I learnt to accept whatever I receive. I believe we receive what we need and I don’t say no to anything!
I was walking after her father through a small street to get into the club and few min later I had a room with hot shower.
I took a shower first and started doing some work on my laptop but soon after I realized I want to be just alone doing nothing, I didn’t want even to touch my laptop, I needed a quiet place to be on my own. I want to keep quiet, silent and have just peace with me.
but a guy just came into the room, he was shocked and asked me what are you doing here? I told him an old man about 55 years told me I can stay here!! He asked his name but I had no idea!!! I didn’t know what was his name? anyway later I found out his name in Josef.
he left but I saw him calling from the window and after he was sure why I am there he left and I was alone with my peace.
next morning Josef came over to have a coffee together with his son and we had a little chat. Outside was already freezing and so cold, even colder than yesterday.
he told me wait, my daughter is bringing you some food!!! And in a few min she came over with a big plastic bag of food, medicine, soap, …even shaver!!
It was great to have such a lovely people around but in the other hand as I wrote before I believe that I receive what I need and receiving so much food meant I may need them !! while I usually don’t take extra food with me and always I provide food just on the last hour before I camp.
anyway I said goodbye and I left them to cycle around the lake. It was amazingly beautiful even though it was bloody cold out there and my fingers were freezing.
after of few km cycling I realized which it was so good to have a place to stay last night as there was not a wild place around the lake and all along the lake was actually full of private villas and hard to find a spot to camp there.
I cycled by the lake and every one hour I had to stop to warm up my hands. It was really cold.
I had just about 65km to Salzburg, a very easy day but I didn’t have anyone there to stay with, so I should pass over the city or stay before getting into the city.
first I decided to pass over the city but I spended so much time taking pictures, videos and enjoying the beauty and of course warming up, so I knew if I go through the city I may get stuck there and I cant get out before dark, so I decided to camp before the city, in the other hand my bike was almost broken nd the shaft which connects the crank to the frame was almost out of order and I knew it will break in the first hill.
so I was looking for a nice spot out in the nature to camp, a quiet place in the wild. I just needed to have some water and milk. But it was Sunday and all the shops were closed, also I was riding through a very tiny small road with not many villages and traffic, so of course there is not many shops too!! I was passing a village called Plainfeld which I saw a very beautiful spot for camping but stil I needed milk, so I passed by the hope I could find a shop in a few km, so I would return then to camp there.
I cycled a bit uphill to a village called Koppe but still no shops were there. I went through a skiing place to a restaurant and asked them if they could give me some milk? Gladly they did and I had milk, water and enough food, so I returned to the place and I walked over 15cm of snow which had left from last few days and I pitched my tent over the snow.
  it was beautiful and I was so happy to have this experience to have my tent over the snow in my cycling journey.
I had so much food, so I had my dinner, soup, milk tea and some cookies and I slept around 8:30pm.

There was a time I was feeling heavy, I felt the air is very heavy and something is wrong!!! I woke up and I turned on my head lamp. Oh my GOD!!!! My tent was bended about 25 degrees !!! and it is almost about to break down! There were no distance between the layer and the inner one as the amount of snow was pushing the cover inside.  I jumped from my sleeping bag, …hurry up Mohammad!!! Hey come on, hurry up.  I just put my feather jacket on and gloves also then quickly opened the tent and ran outside to clean the tent from the snow!!! My bike was almost under snow then and a heavy snow on my tent.
I cleaned it up but I was wet totally. I went inside into my sleeping bag to get a bit warm. I was quite nervous!! But what could I do then? I began to eat some snacks nervously and squeezed into my sleeping bag thinking!!! I set up alarm for next one hour, I knew there is no jock and I had to be always aware of amount of snow covering my tent. Since then every hour I woke up, put gloves and jacket on, wearing my cycling shows to get out cleaning up the tent. The only good thing was, I didn’t need any more to go out to toilet!! as always I was outside. This situation continued till 8 am and then snow slowed down, then I could sleep a bit with more peace.
I woke up around 10am to have breakfast, so I already knew that I am going to stay there that night, so I should use milk in a way to keep it for the next morning too.
during the day when the weather was calm and a bit warmer I went out to walk a bit, I was sure which I could dry up my shoes later.
There was almost 100-150 m from my tent to the road, so I decided to open a way for the next morning to go through , so if I would do that then next day I wont have my shoes wet which was very important.
It took me almost an hour to make the route wide enough to take the bike through also and I went inside the tent again.
early evening again snow started and soon after it got very hard snow. Since about 7pm I had to go out every hour to clean the tent. Next one was 8:30, 9:45, 11, 12:20, 1:45, 3, 4, 5:15, 6:30 and finally 8 was the last time I cleaned the tent and after that snow dropped a bit.
I was tired, nervous and a bit scared. If I would fall asleep, then I would definitely lose my tent and it was not easy every hour waking up, wearing cloths and going out to clean up the tent. I was really tired and the only thing I was dreaming was to get out of that situation.
There was no chance to cycle in that condition anymore. All night I was thinking if I should cycle to Innsbruck or take a train.  To cycle, road were white and freezing and icy, bicycle was broken down and I was tired and train was a bit expensive!! 50 EUR for 160km which is a lot.
but no way…even if the road was fine still bicycle was not fine enough to ride it over the mountain. So I got the final decision and I began to pack.
I was not in hurry because I knew there will be train every hour, so I took my time to pack and clean up all dishes and stuff patiently.
and then the hardest part started which was taking the bike out to the road. Actually road for me was like a heaven, even though it was icy but still better than staying in tent while everything is wet and temperature will be -16. It took me more than 15min to take the bike 100m to the main road and then gladly I began to cycle to the city.
I went directly to the train station and outside I began to clean up the snow from the bike as I knew after snow began to melt what a shit will leave under the bike and the staffs in trains tation wont be glad to see my bike making everywhere dirty.
The next train had no space for the bike, so I had to wait for 2 hours to get the first train with bicycle space and meanwhile I was just sitting on the ground in the train station.
finally the train arrived and I was loading my bike and bags into the train which I got a sms. I couldn’t answer because I was in hurry and I needed to care about all my bags.
I left them in the coach and went to my seat. Then I pull out my cell phone from my pocket and read the sms : “Hi Mohammad, I am shahriar an Iranian student living in Salzburg. I just saw your  post in couchsurfing panel for Salzburg. I have a warm place for you to stay when you are in Salzburg!!!” and I answered” thank you very much dear shahriar but I got your sms 10 min late. I am in train now leaving Salzburg !!”
I couldn’t took my eyes away from the window. Everywhere was so beautiful and I had hunger to see more and more…finally I was in Innsbruck and following the address Mirjam had given to me and I was there in the evening and of course the very first thing I did was taking a shower but of course after a nice coffee….

14 November 2012

 

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Released at October 28
After nearly 3 months I am on my back to Iran. last 2 years I didnt travel much because I should spend more time in Iran working on the Association to develop it. this year also I will spend few months in Iran in order to do more work for the Association. Of course is not that easy for me to stay in Iran long time but I have an important job to do though. 
I think I am almost done with Europe and my next leg of journey will be South America in 2018.