Last year, when we were returning from vacation in Croatia at the beginning of July, the kids fell in love with the Hungarian thermal baths. So it was no surprise when five days came up at the end of summer 2022 that we could spend on a cycling trip, the goal was clear. All we had to do was pick the right aqua park and the road to get there. In the end, we decided on a thermal spa in Lipót near the Slovakian border, and since we’d already explored the area around our home, we took the train for the first stretch of the journey and started in Hodonín. We had over 200 kilometres / 125 miles to cover in five days and the kids had a big challenge ahead of them. They had ridden recumbent bikes before, but each time it was rather short trip, not a multi-day tour.
In the end, everything went more than well. The kids enjoy recumbent bikes and camping too, so it was no problem to move 50 to 60 km / 30 to 38 miles each day. But with all the stops for pee, snacks and playgrounds, it took us longer than we originally imagined to cover that distance each day. My rough plan, which called for daily swimming, had to be modified to reserve at least the last day for some fun in the water.
Last year the kids were 11 and 7 years old and Julie rode a folding AZUB Origami recumbent, which had only shortened cranks and a slightly modified front boom so that it could be inserted into the frame as much as possible. Janek then rode a discontinued AZUB ECO 16 and both Eliska and I rode AZUB Mini. I pulled a Burley Nomad cargo trailer behind me so the kids wouldn’t have to carry any panniers. We chose our route mainly on bike paths and side roads to avoid traffic. However, this occasionally took us onto trails that were hard to walk, let alone ride our bikes. At one point, therefore, we had to fight our way through the green jungle. It wasn’t pleasant, but a little adventure is never a bad thing. Anyway, I planned the route mainly along the rivers so that there were no big hills. In Austria, however, there were several climbs that were impossible to avoid, and as proud parents, we watched our children bravely and most importantly, successfully tackle the steep hills, all of which they eventually made it up, even if they were gravel.
On Sunday, the last day of our journey, we had to figure out how to get home.
When I had prepared the itinerary, I had counted on cycling to the nearest train station on the Slovak side of the border. But that would have significantly shortened the children’s fun in the aqua park, which we did not want. So I started to look for train options directly from Hungary and found a fairly decent connection, which, although it required three changes with one transfer from the train station to another one in Bratislava, seemed quite OK. However, I found a funny snag in the English written conditions of the Hungarian Railways. Both recumbents and bike trailers were excluded from carriage. Literally. However, we gambled that the conductors wouldn’t know this paragraph, rode the 10 km to the station and took the train home without much trouble.
This concluded our first family recumbent journey, from which the attached video is taken. This year we also attempted a similar trip, but heavy rains and health issues cut it short to a story not even worth writing about.