Travel on two wheels

Night Rider

DAY 1: GRAZ – MARIBOR (RUŠE)

I’VE ALREADY had to push the bike through snow, ride in the dark and take a train. But I was hosted by a very nice Slovenian. 4/2/15

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I take off on a Wednesday. It’s around zero degrees, cloudy and dry. Vera, my flat mate, takes the obligatory before-shot. It’s twelve o’clock. I’m off to a late start, which means I have to be quick to reach Maribor before dawn.

Near Leibnitz, Michael and I take a selfie, He awaited me on the side of the Mur cycle path. Otherwise, the path along the river seems abandoned. Apart from a few dog walkers, I’m the only one. The way is mostly snow-free.

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I cross the Slovenian border at Spielfeld, leaving the Mur, Styria and Austria behind me. “I feel Slovenia”, it says on an ad. The language on the signs starts to fade from German to Slovenian. Daylight fades too.

If you look like a living construction site, drivers give you more space. Hopefully.

My physical condition could be better. I didn’t train at all for this tour and now I realize it. My leg muscles cramp a couple of times on the uphill sections. The magnesium tablets stayed home. I just have to pedal carefully.

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Maribor. It’s 6 in the evening and completely dark. I used my orange high-visibility west, a headlamp and an extra backlight for the last kilometers. If you look like a living construction site, drivers give you more space. Hopefully.

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My host Nejc awaits me in Ruše, a village 15 km outside Maribor. I arrive by train. It’s dark and I don’t want to risk anything. “Alter, du bist verrueckt”–“Dude, you’re crazy”, he tells me in perfect German. He’s immediately got my sympathies.

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We spend the evening having his Granny’s delicious fungus soup and apfelstrudel, juggling and Nejc even redesigns my blog logo with an analogue tag machine.

Because of massive snow forecasts, I decide to go on to Ljubljana instead of Zagreb, in order to get to the coast as soon as possible.

It’s Wednesday. The first day of my trip is over. It went okay. But I definitely need to get in shape.

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