VBT Slovenia, Austria, Italy

Riding through the Julian Alps.

In a dozen trips overseas, this was the first time my wife and I went on an international bicycle trip.  Yes, we have been avid cyclists for 20 years, but it took some cycling friends to urge us to see a part of Europe a different way.

We selected the 10 day, easy tour.  This is one half day in Ljubljana, Slovenia, five and half days of cycling and one day, on the back end, in Salzburg, Austria.

We elected to add a few more days in Salzburg.

The riding was mostly flat or slightly downhill, with mileages from 10 to 30 miles each day.  The few steep climbs were all optional.

Now the trip.

We got into Ljubljana the afternoon of the first day.  It is a lovely, small city, designed to be seen on foot.   Our half day was fine for us, particularly since we were planning to spend more time in Salzburg.  An extra day here, would not be wasted, however.




The next day, we drove two hours, had our lunch break, got our bicycles and took an introductory ride.   

We opted for road bikes.  Nice Fuji’s with standard double gearing.  (This latter was a challenge for me on the optional climbs as my bicycle is compact gearing with a 32 tooth gear on the cassette.)

The options were a 3k climb to a scenic few, then back to the start for a 16k (I think) ride to the first hotel.  

The following photos are from various days rides.  As you can see, the scenery just kept coming and coming.   This had to be one of the prettiest ride tours I have every been on.  Yes, I know this was my first one overseas, but I  have been on many in the US.

 Most of the riding was on trails closed to traffic.  The few trails open to cars and the few roads we travelled were not heavily travelled.

Another nice feature was that VBT put all the rides on Ride With GPS.  You download the app through their link, then download the rides to your phone, so you do not use data on the trip.  After some configuration issues, each complete ride with maps and commentary,  activated at every turn and view point.  Really nice.

We also road through several small quaint villages, which added a nice change from the mountains, rivers and fields. We lucked out, with no rain on any ride days.

With the European Union,  all borders are open, but we took some photos at the crossings anyway.





VBT always had a snack stop and either lunch or a recommended place to eat.  

Food stops were frequent along the bicycle trail, if not from VBT van, from local sources.


At many points you could, for any reason, opt out of more riding and take the van back.  Of course,  all step climbs were optional.



We really enjoyed Lake Bled.  Unfortunately, we got there on weekend and riding around it was crowded and slow.

The only so, so day of riding was the last day, around Lake Worthersee in Austria. However, we stayed in nice spa hotel overlooking the lake.


Dinner on Lake Worthersee, Velden, Austria


Our final stop was Salzburg, Austria, where we toured for a few days in dry and wet weather.  My only advice here is get a good guide book from the internet.  The VBT books did not cover this city well.

The Fortress is a must see. There is a funicular you can ride up.
Salzburg from the fortress.

Also noteworthy,  Mozart’s home,  Modern Museum (there is also a lift to get up to it),  residence of archbishop,  walking tours and more.




Raccoon River Bicycle Trail

Not too far from Des Moines, Iowa is the Raccoon River Bicycle Trail,  79 miles of paved bicycle trail, through multiple landscapes.

Our group went there summer of 2017 and stayed at the Hotel Patee.

For our taste the hotel was kind of kitchy.  All the rooms have themes.  Many people in the group really liked the idea, however.

Food is a bit of a problem.  Breakfast at the hotel was less than stellar, the one lunch was fine and dinner was a mixed bag.  Unfortunately, there are not too many places to eat in Perry, other than fast food.

The riding, however, was quite nice, if you like bike trails that go on forever, with little to no foot traffic.   The terrain and views do change every couple of miles and you do run in to several towns where there are places to eat.

On day one, we all took an out and back ride, on the trail,  west from the hotel.

On day two, we all took a longer out and back ride, heading south then west.

Out view and back views are similar but different.

The High Trestle Trail, is close by, but you will need to ferry bikes there as the only paved road all the way through is the highway.  There are plans to connect the two, however.

All in all it was a nice getaway.










Cycling Niagara Falls, Well, Not Really The Falls Itself

The road trip of the summer of 2017 involved a northern route from KC through Canada, to Niagara Falls, upstate NY then down to Long Island, NY .  Family and friends were along the route.

Part of the plan was to ride along the Niagara River.

The ride we took was good, however, we missed one important item.

There is good riding on the Canadian side and the New York side, and I the entire loop is only 40 miles.  However, you must carry your passport with you as you will be leaving and entering the two countries.  The route is approximate, but is about 45 miles, with the only real altitude gain on the bridges.

We forgot our passports, so we did an out and back on the Canadian side.


You cannot ride on the multi use path in the falls area, on either side, so you do need to get on the local roads to get to and from your hotel.

We rode down on the bicycle trail, part of which is hidden from the road,  most of which is parallel to the road, but constantly insight of the the Niagara River.

We rode back on the road, which was nice as we had a tail wind and no stop lights.





Erie Canal and Genesee River Way To Lake Ontario

It has been a summer of riding in different places or repeat remote starts.  Aside from the Erie Canal,  I will post on Niagara Falls (actually the river trail as riding over the falls itself is not encouraged) and the Racoon River Valley Trail in Perry, Iowa (near Des Moines)

Back to Rochester NY:

Yes, it was a cloudy, damp and cool day in upstate NY, but I needed explore another part of the Erie Canal Bike Trail, anyway.

My brother-in-law and his family live in Brighton,  a suburb of Rochester.  Although I have ridden the trail before there were still sections I had not explored by bicycle.

I started this ride at the Canal Park Lock 33, Edgewood Road, Brighton.
There is parking and an outhouse here.

It is also a lock along canal.

It was about 40 miles, all paved, all the way to Lake Ontario.  There was a deli, ice cream palor and outside sitting area on the lake.

The ride went along the canal and through unpopulated and well populated areas.

Took the Erie Canal Barge path west to the Genesee River Trail north.  This photo part of the Genesse Trail.

Both trail sections are fully paved and mostly flat.

Once you turn north towards Lake Ontario, you will be in some populated areas from time time.

At the lake there is a deli and and ice cream palor, as well as this view.






A Sunday Afternoon Ride

Family obligations meant no riding on Saturday May 20, but they ended late Sunday morning.

We generally ride in the am, but this was THAT kind of day, blue sky without clouds, temperatures in the 60s and 70s, not too much wind.

The kids were gone, the grand kids with them. It was quiet.

How could we not get on our bicycles.

The route hardly mattered, the day was that good.
We rode through the uncrowded streets of suburban Kansas and Missouri, outside of Kansas City.
We rode through the woods in Swope Park and on Blue River Road.
We rode through the suburb of Martin City, stopped for a coffee, and rode home.

It was one of those rides that meant nothing, but meant everything.

Sometimes that just happens.


Where Paved Roads Invented For Bicycles?

The Good Roads Movement  (Wikipedia) occurred in the United States between the late 1870s and the 1920s. Advocates for improved roads led by bicyclists turned local agitation into a national political movement.

Outside cities, roads were dirt or gravel; mud in the winter and dust in the summer. Early organizers cited Europe where road construction and maintenance was supported by national and local governments. In its early years, the main goal of the movement was education for road building in rural areas between cities and to help rural populations gain the social and economic benefits enjoyed by cities where citizens benefited from railroads, trolleys and paved streets. Even more than traditional vehicles, the newly invented bicycles could benefit from good country roads.

Different But Similar

Susan and I spend about half the riding season in the greater Kansas City area and the other half on Long Island, NY.

There are significant differences.
The KC area has less traffic (even in most parts of KC itself), more hills and country riding not to far away.

Long Island has many rides (or parts) along the shoreline and delis and bagel shops for breaks in the ride.

Many of the areas we ride in are similar, however.  Look at the photos below and see if you tell which are KC area and which are LI.  Answers are a scroll down from the last photo.

    sunset drive kc 1…










2…brookville ny











blue river road mo









4…prairie village ks










great neck ny










6…pine barrens LI









Scroll down for answers




























1 Sunset Road, KC, MO
2 Wheatley Road, LI, NY
3 Blue River Road,  KC, MO
4 Delmar Rd. Prairie Village, KS
5 Somewhere in Great Neck, LI, NY
6. North Street, Pine Barrens, Manorville, LI NY




When Is A Sweep More Than A Sweep

Obviously, when there is a broom on the back of the bike. 
I couldn’t resist.

There is a back story to this, however.  Some of the riders were off to clean off a section
of road that has had broken glass on it for quite a awhile.


Mishigas II

To recap,   my mother-in-law had a pet phrase to deal with people’s behavior that was strange to her:  “Everyone has their own mishigas (craziness).”

Cyclists are no exception.

  • A cycling buddy who tends to round up a 46 mile ride to 50 miles by going out for another 4 miles.
  • Another cycling friend who will ride his cyclometer to a mileage ending in 5 or 0 for every ride.
  • The attack and die person, who dashes up hills ahead of everyone else, only to lose steam and get passed further up the hill.
  • The EMT guy we knew who kept one water bottle filled the bandages and ointments among other supplies.
  • A new cycling friend who owns multiple bicycles and color coordinates his cycling outfit to match the his bicycle or each ride.
  • The rider (me) who rode an older, heavier bike early last season, then switched to the newer lighter bike to be faster for a brief week.

Glad to see we are a normal as everyone else.