GBI Europe 2023_Bratislava (SK) – Munich (D)_ 629k _ 4600m

This year 2023, the European tour of the Global Biking Initiative started in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava and took us across Austria. We visited Vienna, explored the Danube area as well as many other interesting and challenging parts of the Alpine Republic.

We continued through southern Germany and finally ended up in the Bavarian capital of Munich in Germany.

Period from 11 to 17th June 2023

We cycle for charity!

As Usual I was excited and looking for collection of memories. I love traveling and it really doesn\’t matter either I travelled by feet, by train, by car, by airplane or my favorite means \”by bicycle.\”

I travelled by night by from Magdeburg to Bratislava and it was another exciting trip. Not so happy that I paid for a front seat and the co-driver of the bus used my seat as his bed and I nearly had no seat at all. But it is all part of what makes travelling so exciting.

I arrived in Slovakia and was impressed; I could tell the difference. I will share this story in my other travelling articles.

I was a little bit anxious about what to expect in terms of experience compared to the previous years but as usual I can handle anything. When people started arriving, I noticed the number was increasing more than last year but, the majority were new commers.

Common question,

Is GBI expensive? My honest answer is YES. GBI was affordable before the covid 19.

Is GBI worth it? My other Honest answer is YEEES. In GBI we ride for Charity. We raise funds for the people in need.

Someone once asked me that why wouldn\’t I donate the money I spend on GBI instead? My honest answer is that, at Global Biking Initiative I kill many birds with one stone. I have travelled places which would have costed so much if I had to do a private trip. I believe some places I would have never been there if it wasn\’t GBI. I have met a lot of amazing people in the GBI who I wouldn\’t have known nor ever met; I have raised funds for the people in need beyond what I have spent at the GBI. Before the Covid 19, we socialized more, and I have learned a lot from different cultures which I probably would not have learned even if I would had paid that money to a school. It was from the GBI I met People from Arab Countries and Russians which changed my whole thinking about them. I had always feared them. There is so much I cannot explain about this event, and it is not just riding a bike. I can ride my bike alone and anywhere, but GBI is unique on its own.

If you are antisocial, GBI is not your event but again, I have seen people especially the Germans who used to be a bit distant or reserved but now they are open and friendly. My point is that GBI changes people to the best of themselves, it changes the giver and the receiver.

Last frequently asked question is;

Does GBI pay you? The honest answer is NO. Not even a promise. The answer to the other question is YES, I pay like everyone else, either I am sponsored or not, I do not get a discount from GBI. So, you understand I am not influenced by opportunities. It is just the truth.

Day 1: Bratislava (SK) to Stockerau (AT)
After welcoming and a short tour briefing, the tour director Michael Leuenberger officially started the tour at the GBI tour hotel in Bratislava.

It was rainy day and I hardly heard about what was briefed, I was distracted by picking up bananas, filling bottles with water and also making sure my bike was well fixed. In the past events, I have always had my bike checked but this year, I sent my bike to the starting point via GBI logistics, and I received it on the day of the fist ride. This was a bit stressfully because normally I should be having breakfast instead of worrying about my bike.

We first head to the city center of the Slovakian capital before we later reached the Danube river. Not far behind Bratislava we crossed the border to Austria. Until we reached Vienna we were following the nice, but heavily frequented Danube Cycle Path.

A short detour to the Prater and downtown Vienna was a must before we continued cycling along the Danube, but I didn\’t not go to Vienna.

My ride on Strava: GBI Europe 2023_Day 1
Route character: flat _103km _200m only

Day 2: Stockerau (AT) to Herzogenburg (AT)
On this day the route was very short, but we were cycling within a great scenery. We first stayed north of the Danube and cycled comfortably westwards on flat terrain.

At Altenwörth we crossed the Danube river and followed it for a short while on the Danube Cycle Path. Afterwards we turned into the Traisen valley, a well-known wine region in the Mostviertel.

The last part of the day we cycled along the Traisen river towards our stage destination in Herzogenburg.
Here is my ride on Strava _GBI DAY2
Route character: flat (Track 1), hilly (Track 2)

Day 3: Herzogenburg (AT) to Steyr (AT)
This stage was the longest of the tour. We followed the Traisen river to St. Pölten, the provincial capital of Lower Austria, before we reached the Danube river again.

The very impressive Melk Abbey, overlooking the Danube was worth a short photo stop. We follow the river for 25 kilometers to the city of Ybbs, where we turned away from the Danube and had to cycle continuously, but only slightly cycled uphill for the next 55 km.

After some ups and downs we reached the city of Steyr in the Enns Valley.

Later, we did one last climb of about 50 meters height up to the GBI camp. This last climb broke me. it was so tough, and I pushed myself so hard. Due to the length of the route, there was no separate track, the weak and strong rode same route.

I decided the next day was my rest day. I was done, haha.

Here is my ride on strava : GBI Day3
Route character: hilly and I felt it.

Day 4: Steyr (AT) to St. Georgen (AT)
Today I am not riding ( I was talking in my head) but I have a friend of mine who was born and lives in the city near our destination of today. I miss her so much and I want her to be inspired and probably be proud of me. After all, I had done the worst rides than this. I was not going to make her double me and all my rides i had ever done.

I geared up quickly, I sent her live location on my WhatsApp, and I confirmed to my team. I am ready.

The Alps were (at least) in sight. Whenever we are cycling along a river there was some time to relax. But I didn\’t rejoice too long as the next hill was certainly waiting behind the next river bend. (I don\’t have a gamin, but GBI provides flyers, you can see what is coming before you get there.

The terrain was significantly bumpier than in the past few days but I am not giving up (I told myself). After an exhausting stage we reached Seewalchen on the north shore of Lake Attersee. The lac where my friend was waiting for me. I first asked for a beer, I was already tired. My phone ran and it was her. Is that you? I looked left, right, straight and center. so excited. She was seated by the lake across and has spotted us. I must admit. The Ghanaian group can\’t hide. Not only that our group is friendly, but our jerseys are colorful, and we are all over. Yes, It\’s me. She approached and we had to catch up from where we left it. I had to come clean. Judith, I rode today because of you and thank you.

Pizzas and drinks please, we had a long stop. GBIANS jumped in the lake for swimming while others are busy taking photos. This place is so beautiful and best for relaxing but for us. We aren\’t here to relax but to enjoy.

As soon as we left the lake the route got more challenging again with a tough climb which separated men from boys. I had had enough pizza and drinks. I could not keep up. I watched my team fad away. Everyone was just trying to survive, one, two, one, two and I stopped. Took pictures of the views and smiled at myself, who sent me?

In the road, no GBI support car, could even get to me unless I went back to the lake which I wouldn\’t be happy to do.

I looked back and saw many others stepping down and walking the hill, I knew we were in this together.

There was a happy ending waiting for me at the top, a long downhill before we reached our destination at Sankt Georgen was just a recovery. 
Here is my ride on strava : GBIDay 4 _94km _1500m
Route character: very hilly (Track 1), mountainous (Track 2)

Day 5: St. Georgen (AT) to Inzell (D)
I gave myself a rest. I went back to the lake (ate some breakfast, visited some art boutiques) and took train to Salzburg ( The City of its own stories ) I did not do much here, just eating and shopping (bicycle parts) and took a taxi to Inzell.

It did not make sense to me why the driver asked to see my visa before he could allow me to enter his taxi but I was not surprised either. I could make sense because I am black, and Africa is too far away but I don\’t think Arab countries are closer either. I guess he was doing his job or maybe he was a double agent. officer on duty. hahaha.

Day 6: Inzell (D) to Bad Aibling (D)
From Inzell, I was supposed to ride and in fact I was dressed but I had work to get done and It needed attention which I could not give while sweating on the bike. I decided to take care of that and would join the ride on the way.

I had an amazing support Team from GBI, my bike was fixed on their Van and when we arrived at the nutrition point, I was supposed to join my team but it started raining. It was great that i already had my bike in the car and my place. I could feel for everyone else who was desperately calling for help to be picked up.

Fortunately, my boss; I should say my Team was already with us as they were expecting me to join them. They rather join the Van and we drove to the destination.

Day 7: Bad Aibling (D) to Munich/Unterföhring (D)
The last day had still some climbs in the first part, I decided to take it easy. I know my people. They have recovered already so today they would be firing. My goal was to finish the ride and arrive before the main group ride together to the desitination.

Later the climbs went more or less a little bit down. We pedaled through nice forests and rural area, before we reached Munich from the east.  Our tour finished at a sports area in Unterföring very close to Munich and located at the river Isar.

I was able to join my team and the main group ride in a closed peloton and with music for the last few kilometers.
Here was my final ride on strava 70kms GBI2023 Day 7
Route character: flat (Track 1), hilly (Track 2)

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