Saturday, 12 November 2011

One last ride before the winter arrives

At this time of the year Hungarians apparently often look at the weather forecasts for Moscow: two weeks after snow hits Moscow the winter starts here. So when I saw that Moscow had had its first snow and that its temperature was around 0 deg,  I decided that last Sunday needed to be a day spent on a bicycle.

The 'Danube Bend' in Google Earth (looking west)
So on a beautiful, mild, sunny morning I set off and cycled up over the Pilis Hills to Esztergom. This had been the very first long bicycle ride my made last year, and had not repeated this trip since, so as I pedalled up to the pass I found myself reflecting on how it all now seemed so familiar and then it had seemed so different.

The five-mile descent from the top of the hills down to Esztergom was wonderful, and I then spent a little time sitting on a bench in the November sunshine eating my sandwiches and looking at the river. Then along the cycle path, pausing along the way to pick up and examine a very strange looking fruit, hundreds of which were lying along one stretch of the river bank.

An Osage Orange
 The next day I would discover that it is something called an Osage Orange, and that is very common in the central United States, and, it would seem, a 100 m stretch of the Danube.

I then took a small road inland, into the Duna-Ipoly National Park, and climbed for six or seven miles slowly up into the middle of the hills again, but this time on a narrow tarmac road closed to vehicles. This meant that the road surface was in good condition which made a big difference when I was able to start descending.

For about 15 miles I only saw four or five bicycles and a handful of walkers, and was able to enjoy some beautiful rides through tunnels of yellow and golden trees, and the occasional glorious view over the valleys running down to the river.
Duna-Ipoly National Park towards the river in the north

Perfect cycling country
By now the sun was starting to disappear, and I was keen to get back to Budapest before darkness came, so after the well-earned swoop down through the hills to the river I followed the river bank back into the city. 70 miles, the longest ride I did in 2010, and my legs and bum could confirm that.


  1. That fall weather looks so nice. I'm not too excited for the onset of winter back in the states either, although this year I'm hoping to get at least a little more riding in, thanks to a recent folding bike purchase. I've had weather catch up with me out on a ride before, and while I won't go out in bad weather, with the folder, I'll be better protected against the unexpected - at least I'll be able to get on a bus with my bike if I have to!

  2. Yes, it's a sad time of year as the possibilities to get out into open country on the bike get fewer and fewer.

    Enjoy the folding bike!

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