Angels on the Danube Road in Hungary

I said there'd be no more blogs for a while, as Hungarian gets learned, but after two fabulous days, in terms both of weather/cycling and encounters, the temptation is too strong.

Today's pictures illustrate how setting off on a big cycling journey alone doesn't mean cycling alone. And also how similar we cyclists in Europe (almost exclusively blokes, of course) are in our choice of bikes and gear.

Ortlieb waterproof panniers, very solid steeds, often Rohloff hubs, luggage front and back, handlebar bags or similar, and of course Lycra… All adds up, with four of us pictured outside our lodgings last night, to a formidable amount of Stuff.

Sepp (in red) and Horst (in blue and hat) are retired railway supervisors who once ran much of the train traffic in and out of Munich, and they're on their way from Vienna to the Black Sea.

Ingo (in blue, hatless) is a mechanic from North-West Germany, and after breaking up with a girlfriend and shutting down all his jobs, is 2500 km into a year-long trip across Asia through Tibet (he hopes) to Beijing.

And if that wasn't enough Serious Cycling Encounter for One Day, hardly had we gone our separate ways this morning than I run into (well, pass on the road) Stephane from Canada, all in black, who's just on his way BACK from having cycled all the way to Beijing from Portugal.

He's been on the road for two years, has met a Hungarian girl in Pecs he intends to marry, with a view in due course to settling in Hungary for good.

But before that, he's got the small matter now of cycling across Russia to the Bering Straits and over to native Canada before things freeze over there after the summer.

On a pilgrimage, as this is, one meets angels. And perhaps sometimes is oneself an unwitting angel to others.

Thanks Sepp, Ingo, Horst and Stephane for conversations and connections which inspired. Good luck on your journeys.

Oh yes, and one final thought before probably stopping blogging again for a while, Raven rocks. 1800 miles and the only maintenance has been oiling and adjusting the chain, slowly tightening the brake cables as the shoes wear in, and not even pumping the tyres.

Not a single puncture or flattening tyre. Pretty much maintenance free. Now THAT'S a bike.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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