About the journey

A few years ago i picked up the idea of travelling by bike over long distances when i read the german edition of Claude Marthaler's "Le Chant des Roues". I was hooked!

I've been dreaming of repeating Claude's travels since over 10 years and i promised myself to start before i turn 30(I don't mind getting older, but i strive to live my dreams and i need to begin with that somewhere sometime). Many times i stood on the Reichsbrücke in Vienna and looked south, where wide open spaces to be explored and freedom where waiting.

I had to delay the start of my adventure two times for yet another year, but in August 2010 i was finally able to pack up and cross the Reichsbruecke for a 3 month "rideabout" to Asia.

While i'm still dreaming to travel across all continents like Claude at some point in my life and the plan was to travel at least for 6 months and reach New Dehli, i had a modest start for now. I travelled from Vienna/Austria along the Danube through Hungary/Slovakia, Serbia, Romania/Bulgaria to Istanbul. From there i continued through central Turkey via Ankara to Malatya in eastern Anatolia. In December 2010 i went back home to Austria. I went back to office work and plan the next big journey together with my girlfriend for may 2013.

Updated 28.February 2013

About Daniela

Daniela with her camera in front of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Als geborene Kärtnerin bin ich nach meiner Matura nach Wien gezogen, um mein Architekturstudium von 2001-2009 an der TU Wien abzuschliessen. Seit drei Jahren übe ich den Beruf als Architektin in Wien aus.

Da ich schon lange nicht mehr länger auf Reisen war, der letzte lange Auslandsaufenthalt war 2008 ein Semster in Shanghai, freue ich mich schon wahnsinnig auf das nächste Abenteuer.

Meine Motivation für die Reise ist in meinem Kopf frei zu werden. Vergangenes loszulassen und für die Gegenwart bereit zu sein. Der Alltag auf dem Fahrrad ist so einfach, dass man sich auf das Wesentliche konzentrieren kann. Nämlich auf sich selbst und die Umwelt - die Umgebung und die Begegnungen mit voller Freude genießen zu können - neue Energie zu schöpfen und sich selbst besser kennenzulernen - an die Grenzen gehen, im Positiven und Negativen.

Ich bin glücklich die Möglickeit zu erhalten, solch eine Reise zu machen. Einen Freund zu haben, mit dem ich die Reise teilen kann.

Updated 24.March 2013

About Christian

Christian Benke sitting in the grass in an apricot orchard in Turkey, part of his touring bicylce next to him

I was born in September 1980 in Graz and my parents christened me by the name Christian while i was still not able to argue about it.

At the age of 17 and 18 i spent the money i had earned on summer jobs for Interrail-travels all over Europe and Morocco. These 4-week travels literally broadened my horizon, i got a sense of places, distances and my own geographic and cultural stance. A very different experience than what you learn from maps, books and media.

After finishing school i moved to Vienna in 2000 and while i didn't mean to stay there for long as i was dreaming of travelling all across the planet, i ended up living in Vienna for a full decade and a bit up to now(2013). Occupation with social necessities and work always seemed to be more important, so i was limited to short-term summer-travels within the boundaries of Europe with a glimpse of Asia in Istanbul and Africa on a second Interrail-travel to Morocco.

In 2005 my interest for travelling by bike had led to a ride from Vienna to Budapest, followed by a solo-ride from Vienna to Berlin in 2007 and a journey from London to Edinburgh in 2008. In 2009 my girlfriend joined me for a bike-trip to Morocco(Visit No.3!) but the heaviest rainfalls in two decades and a severe cold with fever limited our possibilities(You will find documentation of the latter two travels on this website).

For the Vienna-Berlin ride i borrowed my brothers point-and-shoot-camera and realized how much i still enjoy photography(Inspired by my elder brother to try it, my first camera was a LOMO when i was 16). For the travel in England i had already purchased a Nikon D40 which also survived the trip to Turkey under harsh conditions.

After my first bike-travel and seeing that it was a optimal way to cross countries(Not too fast, not too slow, closely knit to the landscape you are travelling through), i had altered my world-travel-plans from backpacking to riding a bike across the globe. Initially i had planned to cross all continents in one go, but at some point i realised that i have to curb my enthusiasm, as too often life crossed my plans.

poab stands for "percival on a bike" - I've read the medieval story of Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach in school and i've identified myself with it's curious protagonist since. Like Parzival, i'm a pretty naive and sweet-tempered person and i'm looking for the "holy grail" of awareness and understanding since i'm a little kid. I'm curios about the world and i want to know how all of it works and how it is connected. Time will show if i ever reach my childhood dream of wisdom and enlightenment.

My "professional" background is in information technology(Free and open-source software - internet telephony, project management and the likes), in my early twenties i've been working as a bike-courier, salesman, electrician, automation-engineer, draughtsman, organizer and mailman.

If you want to contact me personally, the best way to do this would be by mail: benkokakao - gmail - com

Updated 28.February 2013

About the website

Work on this website already started in Autumn 2008 with month-long breaks in between, where no code was commited.

In September 2012 i finally found the time to port the whole website to Pyramid.

What you see in your browser is just the tip of the iceberg - there's more in the backend with a local webinterface to be able to write offline-journals and synchronize the images and journals with the server when i have access to an internet-uplink later.

All code is public at my repository at github.com:

  • poab_local is the local webinterface to create journals, convert/geocode the images, write all the content and metadata to xml-files and synchronize the content to the server
  • poab contains the main backend-scripts to analyze the data that was uploaded with poab_local and write it to the database and copy images to flickr.com
  • poab_pyramid is the pyramid-framework including controllers and templates that finally collects and merges all the content from the database and files to dynamically create the site you see.

I've used tons of open-source-code where dozens of individuals contributed to - i'm very thankful towards these people for releasing their software open and free - these are most of the projects and scripts i'm using to create/run this website:

Apache httpd
Wintec Tools

Updated 28.September 2012

About equipment

I knew with a sinking heart that we where going to talk equipment. I could just see it coming. I hate talking equipment. "So what made you buy a Gregory pack?" he said. "Well, I thought it would be easier than carrying everything in my arms."
― Bill Bryson - A Walk in the Woods

Well, honestly i'm very much into equipment and i'm carrying far too much stuff around the planet. We'll see if i need it.

Updated 22.July 2010