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Dear Mercian

Last spring I had a work trip to Vienna, so flew to Munich, assembled the bike, trained to Passau and started riding along the Danube route. It was pretty early season but warm with strong headwinds. A lot of debris and closed paths from the prior winter, so there were a lot of short ferry rides across to the unblocked side. Great food along the way (wild garlic everything that time of year), but I underestimated the distance to Vienna and my propensity for getting lost, and ended up riding nearly 160 km the last day so as to make Vienna in time for work. Afterward, I kept going east, staying in Bratislava one night with a cyclist I met en route; then continuing on to Gyor in Hungary, which is a beautiful and friendly city. Took the train from Gyor to Vienna and then to Munich, where I put the bike back in the box and flew home.

Bike is running well at just over 8 years and ~16k miles. Feb 2019: I just replaced the belt drive with the centertrack sprocket/cog/belt, nice system with better clearance than the first generation CDC I had for the first two belts and cogs. Thanks Marc! The Alfine 8 speed IGH is hanging in there, thanks to Aaron’s magic. I discovered Marathon “supreme” tires from Schwalbe, not nearly as bombproof as the old Marathons, because they seem to be glass and metal magnets; but they ride so much more nicely. And the 40c version still fits in the frame! They might be light enough to take on my next trip. Unfortunately it might be too much trouble to take the bike to Addis Ababa next month.

Attached are a few photos. Hope you are all well, and thanks again with your help getting and keeping me on the road –

Best,
Mike
Takoma Park, MD

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