Cycling the Parliament

Our ride around Vienna this weekend yielded such a rich harvest of photos, that I've decided to split it into several posts. Hope you enjoy!

What you see here is the Austrian Parliament building. The entrance is up on a big winding hill, and we decided that what better way to test the Retrovelo's gearing and brakes than to cycle up and down it.

After briefly considering whether this was "allowed", we decided that such a trifling thing hardly mattered, and went for it. Anna went for it, that is - while I photographed her.

I mean, that hill looks like it was made for cycling, doesn't it?

Upon making it back down, Anna reported that the brakes on the Retrovelo worked just fine, which was a much-needed piece of information for the remainder of our trip. Going uphill was a bit of a challenge, but she did that with flying colours as well.

This heroic feat did not go unnoticed: We were immediately surrounded by a group of Chinese tourists, who were interested in the Retrovelo (for the record, I was riding a Specialized Globe, but they were not nearly as taken by it).

It was not clear what exactly about the bike appealed to the tourists: More than anything, they seemed to be interested in the headlight, but we could not understand each other as they spoke neither German nor English. We posed graciously for many, many photos, and finally parted ways.

Such was the beginning of our adventure. Stay tuned for more. And for the record - cycling with Anna is great fun. Visit her on Cycling Is Good For You!


  1. Perhaps they were industrial spies looking for the next great leap forward for Flying Pigeon brand. I imagine that the Retrovelo was closer to what they could relate to from back home.

    As always, a very interesting post. Now I'll go see Anna's perspective.

  2. That did occur to me afterward : )
    Though how can one possibly hope to improve the legendary Flying Pigeon!

  3. You look great, we (cats + myself) love the new green hat.

    They were wondering if you are bringing those Napa leather cycling gloves with buttons home.

    I was so excited about your Retrovelo tryout that I went ahead and browsed their website and also the US importer's site + blog. I learned that Schwalbe introduced their Fat Frank tyres for Retrovelo and named them after their designer--Frank Patitz. Also, Retrovelo is playing with all sorts of modern gadgets, for example the Swiss bottom bracket shifting mechanism (in addition to a rear hub) that switches from high to low with a tap from your heel. They also have a bike with the Alfine group (with disc brakes) and one with a Rohloff 14-speed hub.

  4. What fun you two must be having! I'm looking forward to the rest of the story. Oh yikes, brakes...where could this story be leading??! :o

  5. That was such a fun ride, thanks a lot!

  6. I've just checked out Anna's blog with the pics of your test bike. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the tyres. They look like Fat Franks ?? Easier or harder to pedal along with than thinner tyres?

    It sounds like you had a fun morning!

  7. I am jealous! How can I get my picture taken with you? (ChipSeal slips into a pleasant daydream...)

  8. I think that the combination of the dark tires with the white frame on the Retrovelo is really sharp.

    Got to love the statues all over the frieze and the roofline- so Neo-classic... The proportion of the windows to the columns to the wall is really odd- like they were shoehorned in with an odd blank space above- sorry architecture on the brain....

    It looks cold there- perhaps just grey. It was 60 today here in Cambridge.

  9. cycler - out of the 9 days I have been here so far, 7.5 have been overcast like this! I have loads to say regarding Vienna's Historicist architecture, but will save it for when we meet for coffee lest I bore everyone to death! I am so happy that you understand this stuff though!

    Carinthia - Yes, those are black Fat Franks. Anna says they were at least as fast as her mountain bike tires, and handled better on cobblestones.

    MDI - I vaguely remember now reading about the Fat Frank tires having been made for Retrovelo. Interesting that they have gotten so popular. Don't worry, I will not be buying the 35Eur gloves, I promise.

    ChipSeal - become a Chinese tourist? : )


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