Saturday, 20 July 2013

A Glorious Little Bikepacking Adventure To Austria & Back Along The Isar

Last week some friends joined me in Munich for their first bikepacking adventure. They left tired, full of BBQ and beer and exhausted from fab 3 days from Munich across the the Baravrian Alps, a dart into Austria overnight beforea 2 day loop back home again with some more wild camping an 900m climb in 29 degree heat (followed by a spectacular 900m descent), a couple of crashes, a mountain top dinner at the Hutte at the summit of Brauneck, topped of by a huge grin on all of our faces and a celebratory beer and BBQ supper with friends upon our return.

That's more than enough words, we had an amazing time, some tough moments and went through some incredible scenery. We also took a lot of photos, so I'll let them do the talking. Here's our bikepacking photo diary:

There's nothing like a kit mountain and a good amount of faffing to prepare yourself for an epic ride
Ready to go, all smiles and optimism. And why not?
Wending our merry way through Perlacher Forest 
Grace's answer to the question "How wide can you grin?"

What's that, a frown, what ever can the matter be? There looks to be a giant beer,
half a roast chicken and a large bowl of chips in front of me, surely this is lunchtime nirvana?!

Ah yes - The food goes in my mouth, that's better!
As if German cycling wasn't already great enough, the beer garden we stopped at for lunch
had a bike service station with tools, a track pump and shelter at the entrance. Awesomeness.
Our first good look at the hills ahead for a while. Some nervous looks starting to appear......
The farmer is a genius. Getting a free lift home up the hill
The hills are getting closer and closer.......
Arriving at Tegernsee, a great gateway to the Alps, and still full of optimism :-)
Stunning sky a fitting reward for reaching the big hills
Paul still smiling (for the camera at least) as the gradient gets tougher
Grace trying to see if the earlier grin really was the biggest possible
No, with so much fun had already, an even bigger smile was possible after all!
Filling our water from an alpine stream.........
......and then being very proud of ourselves for doing so.
What else do you find in the mountains? Mountain goats of course!
Adding some comedy to the early evening by crashing (no harm done, just a small dent in Paul's pride)
Aachen pass climbed, off road, and that there's the Austrian border we just crossed!
His'n'Hers Santa Cruz Highballs rested up for the evening
Dinner is served (to 4 very hungry riders!)
View from the bivvi. Night night all.
Paul went exploring at bedtime and found the Isar......
Camp slowly waking up in the morning....... 
...... and me waking up more slowly than some of the others!
Morning ladies! 
Paul not looking so enthusiastic about another 12hrs in the saddle again on day 2
The previous evenings exploring was repeated for a morning wash in the Isar, and well worth the effort it was too 
And we're off..... slowly! It got pretty hot, pretty quickly and just kept going up.  
Uh-Oh! Time to test the German I've learned. 5mins later I found myself explaining the same
diversion, backwards, in German, to a couple of confused German MTBers coming the other
 way and unable to fathom the diversion. I hope my German was good enough and they're not
 still out there somewhere! (Umleitung = Diversion in English of course) 
What has Grace stopped to take a picture of? 
WOW! Now THAT is an Alpine scene straight off a postcard 
From alpine vista to beautiful lakeside shot 
Four Santa Cruz bikes all dressed up and ready to roll on
We came from those hills in the background just a few hours before, and a stunning morning it was too
Yes, it's fuzzy and wonky, but this shot took us a very, very long time to get, honest 
Not just any tunnel, but a tunnel, through an Alp, just for cyclists. More Bavarian awesomeness
More water stops (view from the bladder, of course)
Yes, it's a urinal, but it's the world's best urinal
The ball is on a string and you have to try and score a goal! Now, I'm no football fan, but that is fab.
All smiles at the foot of the biggest climb of the day. We were soon looking a little more serious 
We were also soon all walking 
And then we walked some more, it doesn't look it but this was seriously steep
It was also seriously hot as the temperature continued to ride through the afternoon
Paul was not amused by how quickly riding turned to a slow trudge up a stupidly steep track..... he put hi head in a stream to cool off. It didn't cheer him up it seems! 
I seem to be having a little more fun here, at lest for the instant of the photo. Paul and Karen (behind) perhaps less so 
Proof Paul & Karen rode some of the climb 
Although it seems Paul wasn't 100% enjoying it it still! 
I rode that bit at least - tackling what must be a particularly tricky cattle gird ;-) 
I rode some more too.......
.......and then I (stupidly) rode this bit. This hurt. A lot.

It was even steeper than it looks. Fab views though. 
We all enjoyed freewheeling down the only 20m of downhill of the afternoon,
Steep and never ending were recurring themes...... 
We possibly took a few too many pictures on the climb, but
1) The views were simply stunning
and, more importantly
2) We were bloody knackered and it was boiling hot!
Just one rest on the way up and boy did we smile when we stopped in some shade 
Not that some were looking for an excuse to stop, but suddenly this
become the most photogeneic cow in the whole alps...... 
.......and here he is from behind, better view of the bell apparently......
.......and here he is again, wondering why we're taking so many photos probably......
....and then we were off again, ut not before one more. Just in case, like. 
What? It still goes up? Damn it!
Just stopping to admire the view, no resting going on here guv' 
Sadly, not the top. I was happy for 10seconds until I looked around the corner.
Very happy to be riding my mountain bike on top of an actual mountain!

On the same trail, but more unhappy to still be riding, rather than happy to be at the top!
Simply stunning view from the top, straight off a postcard
We had lunch down there a few hours earlier!
The descent was looking a lot more appealing than the climb
900m containing a lot of this. What a hoot! Weeeeeee............

Karen shredding the gnar
For very happy riders once we reached the valley floor
Our brakes were a little less happy about the 900m of descending!
Strike a pose ladies, you made it down alive
Resting on the riverbank while the ladies "forage" for water for overnight
And that's a wrap, camp set up in the woods for the end of day 2
We fell to sleep pretty pronto and before we knew it, it was morning...... 
.......and then we were off........
..........but not before we'd had a nice cup of tea
Day 3 was a lovely tour home along the banks of the Isar
The highlight was seeing a Floßfahrt setting off with BBQ, beer, band and lots of cheering 
The blue and white construction on the left? That's the toilet!
All done and time for a quick petrol station refuel before we get home for beer, BBQ and a good shower!
So, there you go. The perfect way to spend a long weekend in Bavaria. Bring on the next adventure!


  1. I'll get a weekend penciled in for next year!

    1. You'll need more than a weekend to even scratch the surface of all the amazing riding around here! It'd be great to get out there for another mini-adventure, you're welcome any time Josh, you'd love it here :-)

  2. Looks amazing. Can I come next time?

    1. Hello Anonymous, perhaps, the more the merrier, but I'd need to know who you were to invite you! :-P