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.

Broken in Bavaria

By Stuart Lowe on

At breakfast I had an interesting conversation with Ashley from Tennessee about cultural differences and similarities. With a late start I headed out of Munich only stopping to buy some cheese and German bread in the market. This morning was threatening rain and I was heading towards black clouds. Thankfully they seemed to be going in the same direction. As I was leaving the suburbs I had a sudden moment of confusion when my GPS said to go "right on M25". Thankfully it was just a small road and not the London orbital motorway!

Out of the suburbs I had bike tracks through forest. They were well signed for local towns and these ones were even better by listing bigger places as much as 28km away. That is much more useful for the long distance cyclist. The riding was pleasant and my knees were able to cope with the gentle hills. For five minutes I had a little rain shower but after that I was able to put my waterproofs away.

By 3pm I had reached Haag and I rewarded myself with an icecream. I hit the pleasant Inn valley and was surprised how big the Inn river was.

Inn river

Following the Inn Trail I caught up with Michel and Connie - a German couple spending three days on the Inn trail. I accompanied them to Mulhdorf where I saw the covered arcades mentioned by Stevens.



Trinkwasser - drinking water for cyclists

Flat tree

At Muldorf I said goodbye to Michel and Connie and joined the trail again as I had another 10 miles to Altötting. About half way there I took my phone out for a picture and found the screen had mysteriously cracked. Disaster! It would no longer respond. I was stranded without communication.

Arriving in Altötting I pushed past the closed shops selling crucifixes and assorted paraphernalia - just as Stevens had.

I slumped down in the main square utterly dejected. There were people around but I didn't know if they spoke English. I walked to the train station but the trains were only once an hour to Mulhdorf. What could I do? I found a pay phone and called one of the three numbers I can remember. I'm not sure what help I was expecting from my sister but €2 wasn't enough time to say much. I tried the police station but they seemed closed. Eventually I saw a sign welcoming ebikes so I went into the little guesthouse. The waitress/owner was in traditional Austrian costume and busy with customer orders. She didn't speak English other than to tell me to wait a moment. Ten minutes later a young man emerged from the kitchen with enough English to establish that I wanted a "zimmer" for the night. At this point, a man at the bar who had been watching proceedings helped out with considerably more English. He was Franz - an Austrian who worked at a hydro plant on the river. He listened to my story about my trip and my broken phone and said he would take me to a local shop in Neuoettling in the morning to see if it could be fixed. After calming down my panic he recommended some things on the menu to deal with my hunger.

Fountain in Altötting

I'd massively overspent my daily budget and the resolution would have to wait until morning. My confidence incompleting the trip unaided by the internet and without my copy of the book and places I needed to visit was shaken. This could be the end.

Main square in Altötting