Mahler's Bicycle

If you read the piece I posted a while back call Mahler 5 Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race (now published in an updated form in a Festschrift for David Josephson), you will know that I have been working on a musicological project about Mahler and his bicycling activities. I have amassed a considerable trove of relevant information and this topic has now come to occupy most of my research and writing time. I will not here get into the specifics; however, I have recently learned that there are several other cyclist musicologists and composers out there, and many have requested to be kept apprised of my travel/research plans. And so, for the next several months, there may be a flurry of activity on this blog as I plan a trip to recreate a few of Mahler’s cycling excursions. I have just booked a plane ticket to Europe for May of 2017.

The ride which has become central to my research is the one mentioned in the previous post where Mahler tried to ride over the Loibl-Pass on the way from Maiernigg to Bled in Slovenia. Finding a ridiculously cheap flight to Venice, I will be making a tour from Toblach (Dobbiaco, or the site of Mahler’s final “Komponierhäuschen”) to Maiernigg to Ljubljana, with rides planned along the way. (Yes, I’m renting a car.) I’ll write individual posts about each ride complete with brentacol profiles, but for now, here is my rough itinerary.

May 10 – Fly BOS to VCE

May 11 – Arrive 8:45, Drive to Toblach. Short route planned (but with one rather significant climb):

May 12 – Bigger ride, recreating one mentioned by de la Grange that Mahler did, up to Lake Misurina, but continuing up the mountain:

Also visit the Koponierhäuschen, which is now stuck in the middle of a zoo.

May 13 – Leave Toblach. Stop for a “quick” jaunt up the Zoncolan.

May 14 – Here things get more complicated. Weather permitting, this will be the day for the big ride:

May 15 – Giving my lecture on Mahler and his bike for the at the University of Ljubljana, as a guest lecturer in a class of Gregor Pompe, coordinating with the Slovenian Musicological Society. Probably a short ride in the AM.

May 16 – In the event that rain or snow hampered the ride on the 14th, this will be the first chance to try again. If the ride was successful, then today will be spent exploring Mahler’s route in a little more detail, but a little more freely, starting from the Slovenian side.

May 17 – Lecture for the new music class of Steven Loy, on Darmstadt.

May 18 – Anniversary of Mahler’s death, third chance for the ride. Possible transfer back to Austria.

May 19 – One more day, drive to Venice, but with a possible ride and possible stop to ditch my bike in Austria along the way.

Stay tuned. There is a chance (which is why I may be leaving my bike in Austria at the end of this trip) that I will return for a separate event at the Steinbach composing hut in July. Fingers crossed.


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