Day 5 – Eltmann to Volkach
We had our breakfast at 8:00am this morning, sitting at the table which was marked “Die fleißige Radler” which we clearly are! There was only one other person at breakfast and no other tables laid so I assume the hotel was rather underpopulated; this was perhaps reflected in the breakfast as there was slightly less choice than usual, but we still managed to eat a hearty selection.
With a final use of our in-room WiFi (listening to The Today Programme on Radio 4) we packed up and collected our bikes, setting off at 9:15am.
No-one seemed to be about and we had the Radweg to ourselves for the first half hour or so. We cycled through Limbach, Sand am Main and then we raced a local couple into Zeil am Main. She had an electric bike which was very shiny and she overtook us, apologising and saying she was just testing out the new bike. We only chased her for a short distance before being sidetracked by a large wooden waterwheel beside the road. It was mounted in a fairly small stream but was doing a very good job of picking up water – the blurb said it moved 18,000 litres per hour.
As we were getting ready to set off again, Electric Bike woman came back the other way and waved very cheerily. Germans always seem to be friendly to us!
The next town was Haßfurt which is rather attractive and has lots of shops and cafés. I remember having an ice cream here with Pippa on our tour in 2009 but this time all I did was got some money out of the bank – not so exciting! James went in search of the public loo but, despite lots of signs, neither of us could find it.
After Haßfurt we went through Wülflingen, Obertheres and its brother Untertheres, the track finally alongside the Main river. The quality of the cycle track was generally excellent which makes for a much smoother ride. We were passed a couple of times which is bad form but usually by people without panniers.
I saw a pair of crows mobbing a bird of prey (couldn’t tell which one) and all three birds flew right through the power cables for the railway, which looked a bit dangerous.
It was getting very warm and sunny now with a few white clouds but lots of blue sky. We stopped for a banana and to anoint ourselves with sun cream:
before continuing on through Ottendorf, Gädheim, Schonungen, Mainberg and then finally reaching our planned lunch stop after 24 miles – Schweinfurt, at 12:15.
We then set about finding a café that did soup as we both fancied something light like soup. There are dozens of different cafés, of course, and it’s very difficult to choose. In the end we sat ourselves down at a Sushi café that did chinese food and ordered… not soup, of course, as the exhaustive menu had tempted us to choose something different. I had sweet & sour chicken and rice and James had chicken with noodles. I checked there were no Sprossen (beansprouts) and she assured me there weren’t. Having a Chinese in Germany makes a change from eating Wiener Schnitzel!
Schweinfurt is a bustling town and with the warm weather there were loads of people sitting outside, wandering around the shops and generally being sociable. The town centre is pedestrianised and there were bikes everywhere.
After our rather lovely Chinese meal we sat around for a few minutes people-watching and then decided to get underway. We were soon back beside the river on the Radweg following the signs to Volkach, our destination, 29km away.
The path from Schweinfurt dodged round a couple of motorways but was mostly reasonable quality and wide enough to cycle side-by-side without issue. We cycled through Bergrheinfeld and then to Garstadt where there were lots of lakes. We seemed to spend forever cycling around the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power station with its amazing collection of pylons.
We then had a long stretch to Wipfield with very ominous clouds above from which we felt the odd spot of rain.
At Wipfield we took the ferry across the Main river, at a vast cost of 50 cents each. Mind you, it’s hardly a long journey. There were another couple of cyclists on the ferry who seemed to peer weirdly at us; James had noticed them before as they had overtaken us (not many people do that) and it was a bit embarrassing as they were in their sixties, probably.
Once across the Main we had a short ride up a road which then connects with a good cycle path beside the road. As we got to the corner some people who had parked their car rather randomly started chatting to us about where we were going, was I Dutch or English, why did I ride the trike, where were had stayed last night, etc. Once again an example of friendly Germans although I would prefer if the people round here didn’t have such strong Franconian accents as they can be quite tricky to understand.
As we whizzed along this excellent cycle path towards Stammheim we noticed that the vegetation had changed. For our first couple of days we were mostly in arable territory with a mixture of wheat, barley, oats, sweetcorn and oilseed rape, none of the fields that big and the next field almost always a different crop. Now we were entering the wine region as the landscape was more hilly and we started to see vines.
We passed the military museum which has various aircraft outside, including something that looks like one of the first German jets. We carried along the excellent path, making very good speed, to Fahr and then were on the final four mile stretch to Volkach. At this point loads of cyclists appeared so the path got quite busy. The road that the path runs alongside was being resurfaced so there weren’t any cars, just various workmen standing around looking lazy and some colossal machinery.
It was a relief to enter Volkach as James was looking forward to a rest, although he is already getting used to the mileage and seemed to have more speed and energy today. We found the hotel fine and it did indeed have a music shop next door, and the chap there took us in and then called his aunt who was apparently going to help us. She had the strongest accent I’ve heard over here so was quite tricky to make sense of but gave us a room key, told us she didn’t know the password to the wifi but her husband did and he would be back at 5pm, and opened the door to the parking area so we could store our bikes.
Our room was another plain one on the third floor of the guest house but it seemed fine and the town is very attractive. We went for a walk-around after our showers and indulged in another impressive ice-cream – I had a Toblerone-Becher and James had an Erdbeer-Becher. Yum!
We also checked out places to eat tonight as our hotel’s restaurant is closed tonight; there were plenty of options so we decided on a nice cheap Italian café as we don’t need to eat much.
I liked this sign at a different restaurant: cyclists, dump your bikes wherever you like!
We went for a short walk to see the Rhein river again.
Tomorrow is our trip to Ochsenfurt which has the added excitement that I booked the rooms over the phone (the place didn’t have an email address) so I have no paperwork to confirm it’s all fixed. I’m sure it will be fine.
Cycling statistics for today:
Distance: 43.6 miles
Moving time: 4 hours 22 minutes
Moving average: 9.9 mph
Maximum speed: 20.97 mph
Calories burned: 1237
Maximum heart rate: 142
Average heart rate: 102
Oh, and I see that ICE Trikes’ facebook page has linked to this blog so there may be more people out there reading it who are trike riders. I’ll try and put more trike pictures in if I can manage it…