The Orient Express Cycling Tour: A Look Back
The Orient Express Cycling Tour was created in 2005 and was the second ride in TDA Global Cycling’s schedule, joining the legendary Tour d’Afrique that began in 2003. The route was based on the iconic Orient Express railway experience, beginning in Paris and finishing in Istanbul. The tour has been completed 10 times, with the 11th running scheduled for 2021, and the route has remained largely the same since the first ride although the accommodations have changed from a mix of camping and hotels to, starting in 2019, only hotels.
Over the past 15 years, there have been many blogs written about this incredible cycling adventure, both by our field staff and by the riders who pedalled the route. Here are 5 great pieces that we think you might enjoy!
In 2013, the weather was sunny, hot and humid. The night before the riders of the Orient Express Cycling Tour arrived in Vienna, they decided to hold a talent night to see what hidden gifts were lurking in the group. Riders and staff enjoyed a bike bell orchestra, a German sing along, a high school poem about fleas, tall Scottish tales, an education on the delights of Vegemite and a catchy tour theme song. The night ended with an enthusiastic rendition of a melody from the Sound of Music (‘So long, farewell…) by the tour staff.
The Orient Express Cycling Tour passes through 8 countries on its route from Paris to Istanbul. Each one has its own unique highlights and attractions but in 2011 the field staff concentrated on the second nation the trip pedalled through, Germany. From the Black Forest, known for its delicious cakes, hams, and as the land of the cuckoo clock, to Ulm, the town where Albert Einstein was born and home to the Ulm Munster, the tallest church in the world, Germany certainly contains some unique treasures.
One of the continuing attractions of the Orient Express Cycling Tour route is that it allows the riders to experience the different culture of Eastern Europe. Pedalling through rural Romania and Bulgaria exposes cyclists to a different mindset. Every now and again you may get to overtake a horse-drawn cart or have a truck driver hand you a fresh loaf of bread, just to welcome you to their country. ‘Free range’ takes on a different meaning as not only chickens roam everywhere and anywhere, but also dogs, cats, turkeys, pigs, cows and sheep.
The Danube Cycleway is a 1,357 km dedicated bicycle path that runs along the banks of the Danube River which the Orient Express Cycling Tour uses off and on the way to Budapest. Occasionally isolated entirely from vehicular traffic, it offers gorgeous views, trailside cafes, bike repair stations and winds through interesting towns and villages. This blog identified 5 reasons to pedal this amazing trail, from arts & culture to food & beverages and historical hotspots and cultural institutions.
The name Transylvania brings forth images of a mythical realm of ghosts and ghouls to many minds. Forests shrouded in perpetual darkness, teeming with werewolves, ancient castles ruled by the bloodsucking undead, putrid dungeons holding captive unlucky victims, and of course their draconic leader, Dracula. Riders on the Orient Express Cycling Tour will have a chance to take a look for the infamous Count themselves!
It was in 1889 that the original Orient Express train completed the Paris to Istanbul route for the first time. Our cycling version of the Orient...