… and an adventure it was! We are now piloting the beautiful, brand spanking new TWIKE TW1009. When Wolfgang and Christina gave it to us last night, it had only 22km on the clock. Now it is nearly midnight again and we have added about 270km to that. After packing everything we thought we needed into TW1009 this morning, we left the Oekotel in Salzburg around 9:45am, got an Autobahn-Vignette from a petrol station, and went straight onto the West-Autobahn towards Vienna.
From earlier travels I knew that an ideal speed for a TWIKE on a motorway is about 70-75km/h. At that speed lorry drivers realise early enough that you are slower, can overtake quickly enough and don’t get stuck behind you. After about 2 hours of sometimes horrifically steep passages (for a motorway) and 126km, we arrived at our first charging stop in Linz. The charging infrastructure here in Austria seems to be great. Beforehand I had printed out a list of stations that we might want to use, so we just typed the most convenient one into the satnav and found it straight away. It stood right outside an electricity company, had four plugs, and I had no idea how to use it. So I went in to ask… twice… easy once you know it: bank card in, bank card out, choose plug, plug in, press start, done (and no money taken from the card either).
Two hours and ten minutes later we were fully charged, had explained the TWIKE to most of the company’s employees, had a walk, bought drinks and a map of Austria, and had discovered that we might just make it to the meeting in Eichgraben in one go. So off we went, back onto the West-Autobahn. And, of course, only 30km before the point where we had planned to leave the motorway we were stopped by the friendly Austrian police who wanted to see our paperwork. After they had convinced themselves that we were allowed to do what we were doing, they wished us a good journey and we carried on to our chosen exit near St. Pölten. Now on normal roads, we finally started pedalling to get used to it for the coming days. The plan is to pedal all 1500km of the tour. With only 15km left to go to the meeting we realised that we MIGHT not have enough charge to make the very last bit. We therefore stopped at a small roadside cafe and ordered a couple of drinks and electricity for ten minutes. After recharging ourselves and TW1009 we carried on and arrived at the Hotel in Eichgraben after 140km (since Linz) at exactly 17:15. After checking in, we went straight to the meeting where we had only missed some of the welcoming speeches.
We are quite pleased with ourselves that we managed Day 0 so well and are very much looking forward to tomorrow, when the WAVE 2013 starts in earnest. We have got start number 1, so we’ll be the very first vehicle to start this year’s WAVE!!!