On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

To Szekszárd

By Stuart Lowe on

I needed new brake pads and Patrik told me about a bike shop in Dunaújváros but it didn't open until about 10 am. I passed some time in the local McD making use of their wifi to download offline language packs for Croatia, Bulgaria and Turkey for Google Translate.

I arrived at the bike shop which was already busy and obtained new brake pads that were definitely fancier than the normal cheapo pads I buy. Outside the shop I installed them and the bike shop were kind enough to let me wash my hands and use their stand pump to get my tyres back up to pressure.

Leaving Dunaújváros I had to, once again, go through sections where bicycles weren't allowed but no alternative was given (or it was closed due to being dug up). Patrick had shown me a route using Street View last night and I recognised enough of the local factories and roads to find my way to the M8 motorway bridge that has bike lane on the side of it.

photo
Outskirts of Dunaújváros

landscape
Bike lane next to the M8

photo
Flowers

Back across the Danube I had some nice riding on the EV6 through small villages and sections that were separate from the traffic. At Harta the EV6 does an entirely needless detour that seems to have no real purpose or give any better views. At Dunapataj I had to head back to the Danube to find a ferry to cross to Paks.

At the ferry I could see big dark clouds building to the west. I hadn't had any real rain since Munich and the relentless heat had been getting to me so I was looking forward to it. I put on my waterproof jacket which raised a smile from a guy on a motorbike who had just driven from Spain. On disembarking the ferry I met my first stumbling block which was highway 6. It had a "no bikes" sign. There was no other road. Yesterday afternoon Patrik told me that, in general, the "no bikes" rule applied to highways with numbers under 10. As I couldn't fly, I ignored the sign in order to get to the next minor road. I wasn't at all happy breaking the rules but Hungary seemed to make it needlessly difficult at times.

In Paks I found a huge Tesco where I was able to use the facilities, buy food, and buy another USB battery pack to go with the one I got in Fenny Stratford. Leaving Paks, with the rain still not quite happening, I found a really good bike lane that was separate to the road. To the west, lightning was striking the ground but still no rain. A little after 1 pm the bike lane emerged from some woods and I found myself passing under electricity pylons of many different styles. Probably not the best place to be during a lightning storm.

landscape
Excellent bike lane

landscape
Pylons

At the little settlement of Csámpa all bike paths stopped and I was once again presented with a "no bikes" sign on highway 6. Not being able to fly the next few miles and no footpath available, I had to find another way. I back-tracked to the only alternative - a set of forest and farm tracks. These were awful. The first section was mostly soft sand which I've found is almost impossible to steer on with a heavy, loaded, bike.

portrait
The worst track

The going was tough. To make matters worse I found myself with explosive liquid bowel movements and had to make use of leaves to clean myself. Eventually the track got better and turned into a road but it still seemed really tiring. I arrived in Szekszárd having done 72 miles.

A week or so before I'd arranged to stay with a cyclist in Szekszárd but he had contacted me to say he'd won a holiday so wouldn't be around. He told me there wasn't a campsite nearby. Online I found a place that described itself as a "hostel" but when I got there it seemed to be a kind of boarding school and they clearly didn't take guests. In the end, through exhaustion, I gave in an forked out for a hotel room. That used up an entire day's budget but at least I could get a shower and a good night's sleep. They also, slightly grudgingly, let me take my bike up to the room.