Monday morning, but today I didn’t have to get up at 5:30am to go to work… but I got up at 5:30am so we could get on the road early.
We were ready to leave by 7am and as the Ferienwohnung didn’t offer breakfast we knew we would just pick something up on the way.
However, Uli noticed straight away she had a puncture.
She set about fixing it very quickly, during which time Klaus realised he had left his heart rate monitor in the bathroom of our Ferienwohnung but we had shut the door. Fortunately the landlady answered the doorbell and let him collect it!
Below is today’s route.
The forecast was for a much warmer day but we started in fog. Uli tells us this is fairly normal for the area around the Donau/Danube.
We rode round Bad Buchau and then through Moosburg and Alleshausen. We were on a fast, rolling terrain of quiet roads lined with arable fields and poppies. We were averaging 30 km/h.
We rode through Oberstadion and Unterstadion and as Rottenacker was a reasonably large town I decided we could stop there for breakfast, as it was at the 28km mark. Our total ride today should be around 100km.
We crossed the Danube into Rottenacker and then my usual ability to find food in German towns failed me, mainly because I couldn’t see the church so was unable to identify the town centre. Uli led us up a hill and eventually we found a supermarket; I asked a local lady if there was a café anywhere and she said only the bakery which was attached the the supermarket. So we went in there.
Our Bakery breakfast was a filled roll.
This was a ‘Stehcafe’ (which means no seats) and so, as I suspected, there were no public loos. Fortunately the bakery lady took pity on me and let me use their staff loo.
I took this photo of Uli’s DF – the Schwabenpower lettering makes sense as she is powering her way around the Schwäbische Alb.
After our breakfast (which of course included a cup of tea) we set off again, but this time all the fog had gone and instead we had blue sky.
The route was again rolling and this works well with our speedy velomobiles.
At Ehingen we stopped riding beside the Danube/Donau and instead turned more north, taking a quiet road parallel to the B492.
At Berkach we saw huge numbers of cranes – Uli explained that this is something to do with Liebherr.
We rode through Allmendigen and then beside the railway to Schmiechen.
Before Schmiechen there were some cycle path closed signs but as we didn’t know of a good alternative we carried on – you can usually get through the blockage.
The blockage was a road being resurfaced, but we saw a possible diversion on our Garmins and went for it. This diversion was successful but it involved us getting up a seemingly 20% climb for about 50 metres. We all sensibly decided to push our velomobiles up this slope. This was OK for Uli and I but for Klaus, trying to push the heavy Quattrovelo up this slope with click shoes was a bit of a challenge!
We made it to the top and got back in the bikes to roll down to Schelklingen.
We were now on nicer roads on our way to Blaubeuren which had ‘Blautopf’ which Uli said we should visit. We had also done a route adjustment yesterday evening as she said we were riding up a massive hill on a very busy road, and so suggested an alternative quieter route, just 4km more. The hills in the picture below are what we would have to cycle over!
We arrived in Blaubeuren and Uli suggested an ice cream. I parked Millie beside this sign that says “do not lean bicycles against this wall”. I complied with this command.
It was getting really warm now so the ice cream was nice!
We walked a short way up the hill to see Blautopf, which turns out to be a smallish lake which is an incredible blue colour.
The blue comes from the limestone dissolved in the water. You can read about it on Wikipedia. There is also a large network of caves leading from here which have been variously explored and there was information about this at Blautopf.
Our bikes were waiting patiently for us beside the hammer mill whilst we walked around the lake, but it was time to carry on – we had the massive hill to climb!
Before we set off Uli dipped her baseball cap in the water to cool her head and also removed the inspection cover from the front of the DF to give more air flow. And then we headed off to the start of our climb – this hill straight in front in the picture below is the one we had to climb. We would be climbing 200 metres in height over 2 kilometres’ distance, so a 10% average.
Here is the elevation diagramme from the whole ride. The climb after Blautopf was at about 2 hours of riding.
My two companions selected their low gear (using the Schlumpf) and started winding their way up the hill. My lowest gear is MUCH higher, so I set my motor onto level 4 of 5 and simply glided up the hill, passing them. Klaus had his lid open for more airflow – at 5 km/h the drag from this is negligible!
There was a lay-by halfway up so I paused there to let them catch up. Once they had passed I carried on, again having to go a lot faster as I could not ride at their slow pace as my gears were too high. A mixture of setting 3 and 4 on the motor got me to the top still feeling pretty fresh!
I didn’t have to wait long for the other two as they made good progress but were both very warm by the top, the village of Sonderbuch. Fortunately we now rode along the top of the ridge and we had a bit of speed to cool the sweat.
Our original route plan had us joining the Landstraße L1230 but Uli suggested we stayed on the quieter roads to the east of this, we followed her until Berghülen where we had to join the Landstraße. We said goodbye to Uli at this point as she was heading off home – it had been great to have her riding with us for the last three days, and her local knowledge in this area was really useful.
So now we were two Velomobilists again. We followed the L1230 except for a shortcut through Machtolsheim. Then at Merklingen we were able to leave this busy road for good and instead take very quiet roads through the rolling Schwäbische Alb.
This included a bridge over the Autobahn A8 which had a rather large bit of machinery right across it.
No problem for a Quattrovelo or Milan…
We were riding through arable land now, with quite a lot of muck and dirt on the road. We cycled through Nellingen and then a fast zoom to Amstetten. Klaus had told me that after Amstetten we had a really long downhill to Geislingen and he was right! We were on the B10, a busy road for this downhill, but it was tricky to stay within the 50 limit sections. We were doing up to 70 down this swoopy downhill and the car following me made no attempt to overtake. Which he shouldn’t, as then he would be speeding!
I have to say, these long downhills are great fun. The Milan is steady as a rock, the steering is reliable and comfortable, and the brakes are acceptable. More braking power would be welcome, but it’s tricky in velomobiles. Anyway, we made it down into Geislingen and stopped for some lunch at a bakery.
After lunch we did a bit of shopping. I had run out of hair conditioner (oh no!) and we also needed more toothpaste. I also wanted to buy a baseball cap as my visor leaves the top of my head liable to a bit of sunburn – the forecast is mega hot for the next few days.
We have now discovered that baseball caps are only in men’s clothing sections and usually only in dark colours. I ended up with a black one for ten Euros. Hopefully it will keep my forehead from getting browner, as lower down I am entirely sun-free due to the peak shielding me.
After Geislingen we had just 15km to ride, and this included a town made for me!
The final 200 metres of our ride was up another hill (poor Klaus!) I still had 50% battery power on my motor remaining so let the Bafang take the strain! We arrived at our Guest House having completed 107km rather than the originally-planned 100. The detours around Blaubeuren had added a bit, but it was definitely worthwhile!
Interestingly, with our room in the Guest House we didn’t have a private bathroom. This was an oversight on my part, and it’s not something I like as I tend to have to pop to the loo once or twice per night. However we were able to shower in peace and rigged up our washing line in the room. It was getting really hot in the late afternoon so all the shutters were closed to keep the sun out.
The Velomobiles will spend the night in the beer garden
Klaus has a good friend Oliver who lives in Geislingen and we had arranged for him to come and meet us for dinner. Unfortunately due to work commitments he didn’t have much time, so we ate our meal alone and he joined us later with his wife Iris. We had an enjoyable time with them and they came back to meet the velomobiles.
Tomorrow’s route is 90km but hillier than today. We are looking forward to it!
Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen