Category Archives: Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011

B2B Day 11 – Eltville to Spay

Day 11 – Eltville to Spay

This was our last cycling day! It was also the furthest distance in terms of cycling mileage but 31 of the 44 miles were familiar to us – I’d cycled that way three times before, James twice, so it felt like it wasn’t so far.

The breakfast at hotel Alta Villa was perhaps a little sparser than we might have expected for the price – there was no cereal, just orange juice and tea, yoghurt, two rolls each and a croissant, salami, ham, cheese, preserves etc.

As we went upstairs for our final pack it was raining and the nice lady in the hotel suggested it would be raining all day. Rather a disappointment.

So we set off at 9:30am through Eltville towards the Rhein with our waterproofs on and with persistent drizzle wetting the roads.

The route today was one that I had devised myself with the help of OpenStreetmaps (the Main routes had all been downloaded from the official tourist website). This was partly because the route I’d gone with Pippa from Eltville to Rüdesheim had been confusing and a lot of it was on the road and not very scenic, whereas the OSM route was right along the Rhein and looked nice.

I suppose I should have thought a little harder about why the nice riverside route wasn’t the official one. We found out soon enough – it was unsurfaced. This meant initially just a loose gravel surface but after we’d gone a couple of miles and passed a bail-out point at Hattenheim it turned into rather squishy mud. James had found the previous surface fine with his bike, although I was getting rather mucky from the surface flicking up from my tyres, but he found it difficult going through the mud and my trike was sliding around all over the place; I also occasionally completely lost traction and had to put my foot down to push myself along. The tyres were caked in mud and it was going all up my arms and on my face. Not good.

So I decided we were going to go on the main road, leaving this alternative route behind. Unfortunately I didn’t have the ‘official’ radweg route on my Garmin so we just had to make our own one up, which meant cycling into the town of Oestrich. We had to cross a very busy road, the B42 (B roads in Germany are equivalent of our A roads, their A roads are Autobahnen – motorways) in order to get into Oestrich which took some time. Then as soon as we were cycling in Oestrich there was a diversion from the route we wanted to take which sent us up a very steep, cobbled road. The rain started really coming down now so we stopped under a bike shelter to check the Garmin and take stock.

Within about  three minutes the rain had eased and we set off again, cycling into Winkel and discovering occasional signs for the Rhein Radweg so it seemed we were on it again. However, they petered out and I’m not sure at what point we diverged.

We passed this unusual house, built around a tower.

Our route continued alongside a busy road into Geisenheim where there was yet another diversion (fortunately not too awkward) and then we headed down towards the river a bit, cycling on a quiet road alongside the B42 with all its ‘no cycling’ signs.

This quiet road continued for a fair while and then we found ourselves going through a supermarket car park – which I remembered doing with Pippa two years ago; this meant this was probably the correct route but it felt a bit random!

In Geisenheim we then had to climb a fairly steep section before coasting down the other side for several miles, parallel to the river but about a quarter of a mile away, before our path headed back towards the water as we entered Rüdesheim am Rhein, our destination for the ferry crossing to Bingen.

I took a short detour to a bike shop (I’d hoped to buy a new water bottle as a memento of this tour as my one’s cap had gone a bit odd, but there wasn’t anything  suitable) and then we finally rejoined the original route I had drawn for our Garmins, which was gravel initially and then became tarmac, hurrah. All the faffing around had taken ages today and our average speed to Rüdesheim was just 7.4mph, which is largely  because I had to go so slowly through the mud. If we’d had mountain bikes that route would have been fine, but we didn’t and it wasn’t. My recommendation to others doing this route is that you cross the Rhein before Rüdesheim, maybe at Mainz, and go along the other side (I assume there’s a decent route on the left bank).

Fortunately the rain had eased off completely by the time we reached Rüdesheim ferry and we had a very easy crossing which was free of charge (although there was a price listed of 2,30 Euros for cyclists).

The other side of the river from Rüdesheim is Bingen, home to Hildegard of Bingen the nun from the 14th century (I think) who wrote music that our church choir still sings today.

This blog is entitled From Bayreuth to Bingen as I felt the two musical bookends (Wagner and Hildegard) gave it more of a shape. However, we were cycling another 30 miles past Bingen to reach Spay.

As soon as we were off the ferry some passing cyclists hailed us – are you English? They clearly were – she was on a Thorn, he a Raleigh steel framed bike, and they had camping kit. The man had a beard and his shorts bore the CTC Portsmouth logo so he was clearly  a proper British cyclist.

They chatted to us for a bit. They had come up the Rhein from Basle and were staying in campsites. They had left Mainz this morning (he pronounced it Mayne-z, not Mine-z) and were planning on stopping at a campsite at Trechtinghausen, just a few miles on from Bingen, assuming it was still open – he bemoaned the fact that lots of campsites were just for motorhomes or caravans now, no longer for tents. I looked on my Garmin and said that if the one at Trechtinghausen wasn’t available there was a campsite at Bacharach a few miles further on. The man asked if my trike were made in Cornwall (which it was), as it turns out someone in their CTC group bought one. He said “we all had a go” and I said “I assume everyone wanted one after that.” He said someone else had bought one but he clearly wasn’t interested – I think a trike isn’t the right sort of steed for a CTC chap like him. I did drop into the conversation that my trike has done 24,000 miles in three years, including several German tours, but he wasn’t impressed.

They set off and we followed them for a bit until they took a wrong turn and we took the correct route. We cycled along the good quality track past Bingen station and then past various allotments.

A couple walking their dog grabbed the dog (a boxer) and the chap said to me, “why are you riding that?” “Because I am lazy,” I replied, at which point he asked “are you Belgian or Dutch?” I pointed at my flag and his wife said “English!” They explained what is now becoming a common theme – my German sounds like that of a Dutchwoman, although apparently when I said the word ‘Wörter’ later in our conversation it was clear that I was English as I have the usual English inability to say the ö sound.

The chap then told me he spent six years trying to learn English and then gave up as it was too hard. His biggest issue is that we only have one word for ‘you’, whereas German has two (‘du’ which is informal and ‘Sie’ which is formal). He said he couldn’t imagine how, if I met President Obama, I could call him ‘you’, the same word as I use with my husband. I pointed out that English has lots of other polite filler words which do the same job but he said it was just too weird to him. He told us he used to be a barge driver and so had been through the Loreley section a thousand or more times. I would have liked to talk to him longer about this but they had to go. Yet another friendly German couple!

We were getting hungry now so stopped for a biscuit.

We then cycled on for a few miles through Trechtinghausen (which did have a campsite!), Niederheimbach and Rheindiebach, where we saw this bit of graffiti – ‘Lebe Vegan’ means ‘Live vegan’.

We soon arrived at Bacharach where we stopped for some cake and a cup of tea.

We pressed on after that, going through Oberwesel

before arriving at Sankt Goar which looks out onto Loreley, where we stopped for an ice cream and watched the barges skidding round the corner where it’s narrow and fast-flowing.

As we set off the sun had come out and it was so warm I ended up taking off another layer so I just had my cycling vest top, having worn a short-sleeved jersey, long-sleeved windproof and rain jacket over the top off that when we started out this morning!

It was a very bumpy concrete path directly beside the main road from Sankt Goar onwards to Hirzenach and it felt narrow when we had to pass other people. At one point I saw a bike and trailer coming towards me and pulled in to a convenient wider spot – the couple on the bikes said “Thank you” in Aussie accents so they were travelling far!

We continued  on the bumpy path through Bad Salzig before arriving at Boppard which is a very nice town. At this point the path goes through a parking area and there were several coachloads of Japanese tourists who seemed to like my bike.  We were soon through Boppard, however, and knew we only had four and a half miles to go.

The path out of Boppard towards Spay, where the river does a big meander, was freshly surfaced since last year and was really fast. We zoomed along, averaging around 14mph and I was riding at 20mph at one point, which with heavy panniers and tired legs was rather good going. We had a tailwind which helped.

We stopped to take a photo of the sign for Spay

When we started again my knees were complaining – I think the sudden stop from working hard wasn’t the best plan! However we were soon rolling into the car park of the Alter Posthof and being reunited with my car which had had a nine day holiday in Spay.

I took several photos of my mud-encrusted bike

before using the socks that encased my flagpole to clean off the bike, brushing off all the dried mud (it came off very easily).

The bikes were both then stowed in the car and we collected our spare clothes – what a treat to wear something different tomorrow!

We’re off out to get some petrol shortly in preparation for tomorrow’s drive home. We’ve got a reasonably leisurely journey to get to the tunnel for 4pm and then it’ll be back to normal life in England again. And I shall be having a no-cake phase to attempt to undo all the extra lardiness I have gained on this tour.

Statistics for today:

Distance: 43.75
Moving time: 4 hours 46 minutes
Moving average: 9.1 mph
Maximum speed: 19.84 mph
Calories burned: 1293
Maximum heart rate: 145
Average heart rate: 101

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 10 – Obernburg to Eltville am Rhein

Day 10 – Obernburg to Eltville am Rhein

Stage 1: Obernburg to Steinheim

Stage 2: Wiesbaden to Eltville

I slept really well last night, despite the fact our hotel room didn’t have any curtains or blinds, although James slept less well. After a reasonable breakfast (but with no hot food, not even an egg!) we set off at 9:15 for our last day on the Main river.

The day started off like yesterday in terms of weather – blue skies and dark clouds – but fairly quickly the blue skies disappeared and the cloud cover became thicker.

The beginning of the route was once again on excellent cycle paths towards Großwallstadt, where the route then dodged about a bit round campsites and a couple of lakes before making its way to Niedernberg. It wasn’t particularly warm today and we both had windproof jackets on; I kept wondering if I should put my waterproof on to make me a bit warmer but it’s rather boil-in-the-bag so I decided against.

We continued on, arriving in due course at Aschaffenburg which is a very impressive-looking town.

Whilst crossing the bridge over the Main we could see one of those weird boats that we had photographed earlier, a kind of flat trimaran with some kind of metalwork which raises up and down. This boat was being pushed by a river authority boat into the river bank – we hoped we’d get a closer look once we were over the bridge and back on the path but unfortunately we couldn’t see it as there was another canal between us and the boat – so we’ll never know what they do!

As we rode from Aschaffenburg to Mainaschaff it started to drizzle – not very much at all, not enough to create puddles on the road, but it ddid make my legs feel slightly damp. The path here was a bit rough in places with tree roots and some narrow sections around huge rocks…

It then became a bit worse with cobbles so James walked around for a minute or two once we got onto better surfaces to recover.

There was a diversion in place around Mainaschaff which caught us out a bit (I had to go up a high kerb and then through some barriers) and at this point we caught up with some chaps who had passed us a few minutes earlier, asking us where we were going (speaking in English, presumably because of my flag). They sped on, but when we caught up with them after the diversion (I think they had gone the wrong way) they chatted to us for a while about our tour. They said they only paid 20 Euro a night for accommodation, finding places to sleep advertised in Post Offices in the towns they visited. They sped off after a ten minute chat.

The cycle path through Kleinostheim was gravel rather than asphalt but it was well compacted so not too uncomfortable. We whizzed on from there to Dettingen, glad that yesterday’s wind had disappeared but finding we were getting a bit cold in the continuing drizzle.

We crossed the river again at Dettingen and quickly reached Kleinwelzheim and then our chosen lunch spot, Seligenstadt.

There was some kind of event being prepared for in Seligenstadt including portable loos, beer tents and more on the radweg so we cycled up into the town and stopped at a restaurant/café which did some warming soup and bread to keep us going.

The rain was really falling when we went in at midday but by the time we left at a quarter to one it had reduced to just fine drizzle again.

We only had a short stretch now of 11 miles to Steinheim, near Hanau, where we were catching a train. This bit of journey seemed really quick as we were pedalling well, now wearing waterproof jackets because the rain kept drizzling down.

We went through Klein Krotzenburg and then Hainstadt where there was supposedly a bike shop but when we went looking for it there was nothing to be seen, despite several signs on the road and it being marked on my Garmin.

We pressed on through Klein-Auheim and then found ourselves entering Steinheim, cycling along the river route until about a quarter of a mile before the S-Bahn station where we turned off, saying goodbye to the Main river for this trip.

After some confusion with the ticket machine (it seemed our tickets were 13,50 Euro each which seemed rather a lot, and I couldn’t find any bicycle tickets anywhere) we got ourselves sorted and got on the S9 train which arrived. The doors were nice and wide and the bike space was empty when we got on.

The journey was an hour and ten minutes and involved going past Frankfurt airport where lots of smartly-dressed Lufthansa people got off. We went past the Opelwerke (factory) at Rüsselsheim which was enormous and eventually ended up at Wiesbaden Ost, our stop (one before the main Wiesbaden station).

At Wiesbaden Ost we had to carry our bikes down one set of steps and up another, but I am used to that. Interestingly, though, my heart rate monitor showed I got up to 175 carrying my bike up the stairs, which is equivalent to cycling up Crockleford Hill in Colchester which is very hard work!

Wiesbaden is twinned with Tunbridge Wells in Kent, near where we used to live. However, if the good burghers of Tunbridge Wells had cycled through the bit of Wiesbaden that we did, they wouldn’t be very impressed. It was rather run-down and seedy, although I am sure it is better elsewhere.

After a mile we got our first sight of the river Rhein at km 503 so took lots of photos of the bikes there to show we had made it.

James pointed out that we could smell a brewery although we’re not sure which one it was.

We then pootled along various tracks and roads and paths through the outskirts of Wiesbaden before getting underway properly.

We went through a huge grassy park area that belonged to the local water company and we stopped to photograph a stork (they are huge!) finding loads more in the next field, including some nests.

We eventually found an information board which showed that the water company have a special Stork breeding programme, and it also looked as if there was a camera looking at one of the nests – a Storkcam? – although I can’t find a link to it. The general webpage (in German) is here: http://www.schiersteinerstörche.de/

We cycled through the village of Walluf, knowing that we were almost at our destination. Eltville soon appeared, initially a long and boring road but soon turning into a more attractive traditional German village. I chose to stay there because I had enjoyed a breakfast there in 2009 when touring with Pippa, and also because my favourite classical singer, Andreas Scholl, lives just up the road in Kiedrich, so it was as good a place as any to stop.

The hotel Alta Villa is the most expensive hotel on this tour, mainly because of the location (Rhein can be pricey, and we’re very near Rüdesheim which is very popular) but it is also a very pleasant hotel with a super-friendly receptionist. She explained to me that if I just speak a few words of German I sound Dutch, it’s only when I spoke more that she realised I’m English. So the mystery is solved!

We had a shower – what a delight to shower without having to wash all our clothes, as we only have one cycling day left! – and then went out for a wander around the town. This included a trip to Lidl to buy some chocolate and bananas and other cyclist food. We then went to a restaurant and had more schnitzel with a very generous salad beforehand.

The restaurant served Kaiserschmarren (my favourite) as a dessert but I had no room after my main meal so decided to go back later!

We returned to the restaurant at 9pm and seated ourselves before realising there were two Americans and a German couple on another table. How loudly did those Americans speak!!!! It really isn’t necessary to shout when the people with whom you are conversing are less than half a metre away, but unfortunately both Americans did so James and I know all about their company’s car policy, how to go about ordering a new office chair, the differences between European and American work ethics, the fact you should always try to upgrade, that Mondeos are better rep cars than BMWs… we heard it all. Still, the Kaiserschmarrn was very tasty, although such a heavy dessert just before bed meant James didn’t sleep too well.

Statistics for the day:

Distance: 39.04
Moving time: 4 hours 2 minutes
Moving average: 9.6 mph
Maximum speed: 21.84 mph
Calories burned: 1318
Maximum heart rate: 164
Average heart rate: 110

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 9 – Wertheim to Obernburg

Day 9 – Wertheim to Obernburg

This morning the weather looked rather changeable – blue skies, then five minutes later heavy clouds, then a few minutes later blue skies again. I imagine we will get wet on our 36 mile cycle ride today to Obernburg.

We had breakfast which was very good – croissants were on offer, as was scrambled egg with onions, ham, tomato etc in it.

As we were standing on our balcony looking down at the cycle path James saw and recognised some cyclists we had seen yesterday. It’s interesting how you become familiar with some people and see them multiple times. We’re way ahead of Wowbagger’s German cousin so I can’t imagine we’ll see him any more.

We were ready to leave by 10am and after a small bit of bike fettling (James tipped the nose of his saddle down slightly) we were off.

Oh yes, in the underground parking area was a tractor which was a Porsche!

We crossed over the river Main as we set off, passing through Kreuzwertheim and discovering that we were cycling into a stonking headwind. Unfortunately our journey today was mostly west and the wind was a westerly, and very strong.

This is looking back at Wertheim, sorry about the rather dark photo!

It was hard, hard work pedalling our way round from Kreuzwertheim to Hasloch. The wind was funnelling up the river valley so even if our compass direction changed considerably, we were still fighting against the wind. We were probably only cycling about 7-8mph for quite a lot of the time.

It started getting a little chilly so I decided that now I am 40 it’s acceptable to put socks on with my sandals, which I duly did.

After Hasloch we went through Faulbach (since when was Bach lazy?) where we discovered we were alongside a single track railway line with level crossings with no automatic gates. The train just whistles when it approaches, which seemed rather old-fashioned and sweet. When a train came past, however, it was perfectly modern – it had three carriages, one of which was a Fahrradwagen (bicycle carriage) and both others had bicycle spaces marked too.

We fought our way onward against the wind, looking at the dark clouds with some misgivings. We stopped for some food (banana and biscuits) to have a short rest as it was such hard work.

We cycled through Dorfprozelten and then Collenberg which was rather nice, watching a ship going through one of the locks.

We then went to Freudenberg which was very attractive with a castle perched impressively up on the cliffs above.

We carried on and then realised it was about to rain so we sheltered under a tree which was surprisingly effective. The rain lasted less than five minutes and, having waited a further five minutes to be sure it had properly stopped, we carried on into blue skies and sun. The weather here is very changeable but very quick!

We were looking forward to arriving at our lunch stop, Miltenberg, as we were feeling like we were expending a lot of energy. When we got there we found a nice restaurant/café and I had some asparagus soup followed by marzipan cake which had very impressive strata.

James had a sensible lunch (bread and ham):

but was tempted by my cake so had mandarin cheesecake afterwards.

He also drank a Radler which is a classic drink around here – it’s a cyclists’ special drink, half beer and half lemonade, and apparently is very refreshing. I just had a cup of tea, of course.

After we finished lunch it rained again, so we sheltered in the cafe a little longer, watching the clouds through the window to see when it was safe to venture out.

We headed off at a quarter past two with fifteen miles still to go. The bad weather and the headwind made us a bit nervous but luckily our route headed more north than west now and the wind was much kinder.

The route was a bit faffy getting over the bridge at Kleinheubach and again as we weaved our way through Großheubach but we were soon back on an easy path, relieved that the wind wasn’t so against us. A very short rainshower didn’t hold us up – we just kept going and it stopped after a minute or two.

After a long stretch with just cycle path and hillside we reached Klingenberg am Main, at which point we crossed over again to the left bank of the river. This was a bit awkward as there was a diversion on the cycle route which ended up requiring me to cycle up steps – not easy! So we retraced our path for 50 metres or so and got onto the road instead.

Crossing the bridge was meant to be on foot (Radfahrer absteigen) on the pavement but it looked too narrow so I cycled across on the road. James walked on the path and said it was really bumpy. They were building a new bridge next to the one we crossed so presumably this is being improved.

We then cycled through Wörth am Main which was very interesting due to the view on the other bank of the river – a barge on various bogies to launch it into the water sideways.

We had passed a bar called U-Boot which was in a sort-of submarine shape so we then wondered if U-Boots had been built at Erlenbach (the other side of the river) but can’t find any information on that.

We knew we were on the final stretch now so found the going easier and increased our speed. Between Wörth and Obernburg the cycle path was closed and instead we were routed along an excellent road that had no traffic on it; it seems a new road was built next to it which has taken all the traffic. It was a lovely fast surface so we zoomed along.

We arrived in Obernburg at about four o’clock and made our way to the hotel via a slight detour when I took us down what I thought was a good route but which ended up by a fountain with lots of steps up to the road.

The Hotel Römerhof is really nice, with a large room, cosy looking bar/restaurant downstairs, free and fast WiFi and friendly staff, although I find the accent very difficult here. Our bikes are locked outside down a side passageway – not under cover, but out of sights. A bit of rain will help to wash them down a bit!

I made the mistake I had expected to make before now but had avoided – showering with my Garmin heart rate monitor on. Fortunately it seems to be OK.

After we had freshened up we went for a walk around the town which was lovely – lots of attractive buildings, although everything was shut as it’s Sunday evening.

I saw this tea for sale in a closed shop, “Feel young” tea, probably something I need now!

Well, not everything, we found an open bakery and bought some cake for later.

We walked across a pedestrian footbridge to see the Main river again – tonight is our last night on the Main, tomorrow we will be on the Rhein (train-assisted, getting the train from Hanau (east of Frankfurt) to Wiesbaden (opposite Mainz, where the Main flows into the Rhein)).

And saw this really unusual church (it turned out to be a catholic church) which was really interesting inside as well, although I didn’t take pics in there as the priest was sitting in the pews.

As we were resting before the evening meal we heard loads of church bells ringing, then a brass band and some singing. There was some kind of procession going past our hotel which we watched from our window. It was clearly some kind of Christian procession but not sure what for specifically.

We ate in the restaurant below the hotel which was nice, although I was a bit surprised to be charged 1 euro for some tap water. However I ordered extra olives on my pizza and they didn’t charge me for that…

Weather for tomorrow looks similar to today, so not particularly warm and with some showers, but I think it should be a bit warmer on Tuesday fortunately. Wednesday we will be driving home

Statistics for today:

Distance: 36.55
Moving time: 4 hours 3 minutes
Moving average: 9 mph
Maximum speed: 21.86 mph
Calories burned: 1174
Maximum heart rate: 148
Average heart rate: 106

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 8 – Gemünden to Wertheim

Day 8 – Gemünden to Wertheim

I woke up this morning a whole decade older. Scary! As James had pointed out, if I had celebrated my birthday in England I could have had an extra hour in my thirties!

I checked my emails – lots of birthday messages, thanks to everyone.

James joined me downstairs and we went into breakfast. The breakfast was superb – the first full, hot breakfast we’ve had in Germany including Frikadellen (sausage patties), bratwurst, scrambled egg and bacon as well as boiled egg. There was a good selection of bread rolls, cold meats, cheeses, yoghurts, cereal and muesli and fresh fruit.

As I paid for the room the chap told me that tomorrow he had five English people staying, including one who had lived in Germany for fifteen years but still couldn’t speak the language (he was clearly appalled).

We set off just after nine, retracing our route of last night for the first mile so that we could cross over the Main to the southern side (left bank). This involved a long, steep road bridge which was very hard work after our large breakfast and with little warm-up.

The first village we reached was Hofstetten which also had a very steep climb which was hard work!

Going down the other side of the slope was good fun though!

Most of the route was alongside the river and we saw lots of wagtails flying across the path, plus swallows/swifts (not sure which) over the fields.

We had quite a headwind to contend with, plus there were some ominous-looking clouds ahead. The forecast for today depended on which of the three websites I looked at, but two of the three suggested we would get rained on – and we did, about halfway to Lohr am Main in a quiet stretch without much shelter. The village of Steinbach was visible a mile or so ahead but we realised we’d get soaked in the time it took to get there so we stood under a tree and put on our waterproofs.

Initially we stayed dry, but the rain came down harder and eventually the wind was blowing it under the tree and water was dripping down through the leaves. We were joined by a local who didn’t seem chatty – we all stood around waiting.

After about ten minutes the rain eased. A lone jogger had run past, clearly made of sterner stuff than us three.

Suitably dressed now in waterproofs, gloves, and with a plastic bag stuffed down the back of my seat to attempt to reduce the spray coming onto my back from the back wheel (no mudguard), we headed off in the drizzle.

The rain petered out after about ten minutes but I was getting quite mucky on my arms, panniers… and my head! It was flicking up off the back wheel onto my head; my new birthday buff was rather less clean than it had been when I unwrapped it this morning and my hair had lumps of mud in. Oh well. Oh, and my trike was rather muddy too without its mudguard:

We passed a sign for 50 degrees longitude beside which I posed – but I’m 40 not 50!

We passed through Sendelbach which is opposite Lohr am Main where we could hear some strange brass music playing – there appeared to be some kind of procession going over the bridge through Lohr; lots of people with umbrellas singing, then alternately a marching brass band playing. Random.

There were lots of cyclists sheltering under this big road bridge – they were wimps, the rain had stopped some time ago! A whole bunch of them seemed to have black arrows pained on their cheeks for some unfathomable reason.

We carried on riding, trading places with a couple with matching blue waterproofs. We went through Pflochsbach and then Erlach am Main, which were smallish villages with little in between except for excellent-quality Radweg paths. The standing water meant I was still getting quite wet, so although I took my waterproof off as I got a bit hot, I had to put it back on to keep my windproof jersey clean as I didn’t have another with me.

We cycled through Zimmern, cheered that the skies appeared to be less rainy ahead. At Marktheidenfeld, just over halfway, we stopped for lunch.

I had stopped here with Pippa in 2009 for an ice cream but the weather wasn’t good enough for that so I had soup and a salad in the next restaurant along, and James had Bratwurst.

When we set off again it looked set to be dry, if cloudy. We toiled along, finding the headwind hard work (all of today’s cycling seemed to take more effort than usual). We went through a big campsite before Lengfurt – it’s always amusing to see all the German caravans/campervans with their satellite dishes – they do seem to need their TVs!

We passed Schloss Homburg:

and carried on through Homburg which is opposite Markt Triefenstein.

At Homburg (is it something to do with hats???) we saw another concrete factory. James had noticed days ago that every medium-sized town seems to have a concrete factory. I suppose it’s the availability of water but they are generally rather ugly things. We cycled through the factory at Homburg; in the UK this would be a Health & Safety nightmare, in Germany they just put signs up saying don’t trespass. Same goes for the railway – no fencing or anything, you could just walk straight onto it if you so desire.

After Homburg we saw a few vineyards (the landscape up till now had mostly been forest or arable), but they soon petered out and we were back to forest.

Just before Bettingen we crossed from Bayern (Bavaria) to Baden Württemburg and there was a monument to mark the county boundary.

Here is a picture of my feet and my trust Garmin satnav (the Oregon 300) which was faithfully guiding us.

At Bettingen we started the large meander which was to take us to Wertheim; from Bettinghen Wertheim was probably only a mile and a half away as the crow flies but the river does a significant loop which was another six miles. At the bottom of the loop was Urphar which had lots of terraced vineyards.

We rolled into Eichel which then became Wertheim. We cycled along the front until we found our hotel, Hotel Schwann, which I thought was the one in which I had stayed with Pippa in 2009. As it happened it wasn’t – that one was next door! – but we checked in and have a very nice room with a large bathroom and, rather wonderfully, a balcony which looks over the Main river.

I had a discussion with the hotel receptionist about why WiFi had to be paid for (they hadn’t mentioned this on their email) but didn’t manage to persuade her to give it to me free of charge, sadly.

After our showers and clothes washing, we hung our wet cycling gear on the balcony to delight the passing tourists and then went out to find me some birthday cake.

What we decided on in the end was a waffle as it was a bit more warming – today has been a bit chilly.

After the waffle and cups of tea we went for a wander, exploring the huge Protestant church which had a very well designed exhibition about someone I’d never heard of (Heber) with lots of things to do. The interior was much more ornate than most Protestant churches I am used to, but it did date from the 1500s.

I liked the board which listed the hymns and was rather specific about which verses were to be sung!

We walked around Wertheim a little more, coming across an English red telephone box in a quiet street, and then realised the rain was starting so we went back to the hotel.

I paid my 2 Euro per hour for WiFi so that I could check all my messages – lots more birthday wishes, thanks to everyone. I do feel a bit old now though.

Statistics for today:

Distance: 36.21 miles
Moving time: 3 hours 51 minutes
Moving average: 9.39 mph
Maximum speed: 21.29 mph
Calories burned: 1142
Maximum heart rate: 150
Average heart rate: 105

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 7 – Ochsenfurt to Gemünden

Day 7 – Ochsenfurt to Gemünden

We both slept well and woke up ready for our breakfasts. Today’s hotel had a somewhat different breakfast arrangement, with the usual buffet choice narrowed a bit and delivered to our table. No cereal or muesli available, just rolls with ham, cheese and preserves, followed by a yoghurt. We paid the bill – a bargainous 50 Euros.

The day looked bright and sunny at 8:30am and I asked the hotel proprietress if she knew the weather forecast – like this all day, she said, and 23-24 degrees. Perfect cycling weather!

We packed up all our belongings again ready for the off. I wiped the dried mud from last night’s rain off my trike, re-arranged the socks on the headrest and we were off at 9:15.

We took the road bridge over the river rather than the ferry as the ferry is rather a tight squeeze for my trike (I used it two years ago). We had to walk over the road bridge but this was fine and we were soon on our way.

We went through Sommerhausen (with Winterhausen on the other bank, naturally!), Eibelstadt where we saw six herons flying alongside the river, then we arrived in Würzburg which is a wonderful old town with a very impressive and imposing castle looking down over the Main.

We crossed the river here over a bridge that was just for cyclists and pedestrians,

then had to do a short loop to get back to the radweg which included six steps – not much fun on my trike.

As we cycled along the Main racing a barge called Wartburg we felt a bit peckish so stopped for a banana each.

We carried on, racing a group of people with matching panniers and matching checked shirts.

We cycled on through Zell am Main and then through Margetshöchheim where James admired some boats, then on through Erlabrunn on a good, fast path. We now fancied some lunch (well, I was after a cake) and we found ourselves on a stretch rather devoid of food opportunities. Eventually we arrived in Zellingen and had two fruitless stops at a Biergarten and what turned out to be a kebab house looking for cake. I knew I wanted cake, so we went on. We thought we’d probably have more success if we went into the centre of Zellingen rather than sticking to the radweg (the centre was about 500 metres inland) and wended our way through some quiet streets, eventually finding what appeared to be the main street and which had several cafés. We stopped at the first place, a bakery, and when I had ascertained that it had a loo as well as serving cake, we sat down.

A rather handsome cyclist sitting alone on the next table struck up a conversation. He was doing the ride the other way but slightly more miles per day (he was planning on 160-200km per day). He asked us whether we recommended going all the way to Bayreuth and we suggested we felt Bamberg was a better end point. He had a look through our guidebook and then chatted generally about cycling. He’s clearly a very well-travelled chap as he mentioned cycling the coast to coast in America, cycling in Patagonia, Argentina, Namibia and more. He said he was now cycling in Germany as in the summer the weather was nice and it wasn’t so far to travel. He wasn’t a proper German as he had no mudguards on his bike (thought they weren’t necessary) and bemoaned the shocking lack of free WiFi in Germany. He said he lives in Bremen so had travelled a fair distance to do the Main river, even if he were going to do it in just three days.

We had an hour chatting with him about all sorts of things – the Olympics, Tour de France, Franconian hotel decoration and more – and then it was time to move on; he was going to Schweinfurt for the night which was quite a distance, and we felt if we sat still for a lot longer we’d find it difficult to get on the bikes again.

A few miles outside Zellingen we came to Himmelstadt which seems to have two claims to fame – stamps and Christmas – and we were treated to lots of information boards about both of these things. We continued on through Laudenbach and Mühlbach where we crossed the river on a narrow bridge (cyclists were supposed to walk but I pedalled at walking speed) into Karlstadt.

We were now on the right bank of the Main again and the excellent, smooth path continued on through fairly sparsely-populated fields growing lots of sweetcorn and barley with vineyards visible up the hillsides.

Wernfeld came and went and then we were arriving at Gemünden, our stop for the night. I was aware that our hotel was a little outside Gemünden, halfway to the next village of Langenprozelten, so I suggested to James we stopped for tea and cake in Gemünden itself, which we did. As we sat there someone cycled past on an HP Velotechnik Skorpion trike but they didn’t see my trike. Earlier today we’d seen a recumbent bicyclist too.

After a very nice piece of Apple Torte:

we set off the final two miles to our hotel, popping into an Edeka supermarket to buy some biscuits and choccies to keep us going tomorrow.

We arrived at the Hotel Imhof zum letzten Hieb at three o’clock, wondering a bit where we were as we seemed to be next to a couple of railway lines and a busy road. Fortunately the hotel itself was very nice and we actually have a balcony (I’m sitting on the balcony typing this) which gives more room for drying cycling clothing.

Today was the first day we didn’t have to race to our destination to avoid rain, which was a bonus. It was sunny with blue skies and white clouds all day, although not as warm as yesterday (maybe 21 degrees).

The overall impression of today’s cycling was the excellent quality of the cycle paths – 95% of them were separate, asphalted lanes about 3 metres wide with a lovely, smooth surface and often alongside the river.

As this hotel seems to be in the middle of a suburb with no shops or restaurants visible we ate in the hotel’s restaurant.

Then tomorrow is a shorter cycle to Wertheim, just 35 miles, and is also my 40th birthday. Yikes!

Statistics for today:

Distance: 41.77 miles
Moving time: 4 hours 16 minutes
Moving average: 9.78 mph
Maximum speed: 20.24 mph
Calories burned: 1145
Maximum heart rate: 150
Average heart rate: 100

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 6 – Volkach to Ochsenfurt

Day 6 – Volkach to Ochsenfurt

I slept really well in the hotel and felt most refreshed when waking up. We listened to The Today Programme on Radio 4 as we got ready and went down to breakfast at 8:15. It was the least varied breakfast we’ve had so far but was still perfectly adequate in terms of content.

We left our room at about 9:30am and James did a bit of fettling to his bike, lowering the handlebars slightly to take a little pressure off the saddle.

I organised a new arrangement of socks around my flagpole on the trike. This may seem a bit strange but I gaffer-taped the flagpole onto the headrest so it was the right height but the gaffer tape continually stuck to my hair and pulled it out. Eventually (after several days!) I had the bright idea of wrapping James’s drying socks around the headrest mount and covering the tape. It worked a treat yesterday but as James’s socks were now dry and packed away I had to use my own, so some fetching black and grey woolly socks were added to the mess on my bike.

Right at the beginning of this day’s ride we had a choice of routes. At Volkach the Main river has a canal which goes directly from Volkach to Schwarzach, reducing a 12km route to just 4.5km. However we (I!!) thought doing this route was cheating so we followed the river rather than the canal, which turned out to be a very attractive route through lots of vineyards.

We also saw asparagus, strawberries and fruit trees growing. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t too strong so it was a lovely day’s cycling.

We saw this weird boat/trimaran thingie – not sure what its purpose is.

We cycled through the sleepy village of Nordheim and then eventually reached Sommerach were the route via the Mainkanal joined us. We stopped on the bridge looking over the canal and some other people stopped too so we reciprocated photograph-taking.

As it was a hot day I was feeling it was about time for an ice cream so we decided to stop in Schwarzach am Main (the next big town) for an ice cream. We pulled up the bikes beside a metal Penny Farthing (which we think was probably meant to be a flower planter, although it didn’t have any flowers in) and took a couple of photos.

It was then that James said that he recognised the bike beside ours – wasn’t it the Schauff bike belonging to Wowbagger’s German cousin? We couldn’t see him around but it did look awfully familiar.

We decided to sit in the shade outside and as we walked up the steps to the little terrace, there was Wowbagger’s German cousin grinning at us! We had a little chat, surprised he was so far ahead (he’d had an awful night’s sleep in a noisy hostel in Schweinfurt which didn’t do breakfast so he set off really early). He was stopping today at Marktbreit which is the village before our stop (Ochsenfurt), about three miles from it. Small world! I gave him the address of this blog and then took a photo of him with James at their bikes.

He was clearly having a leisurely day so we set off before him, having enjoyed our strawberry cakes with cream/ice cream and a cup of tea.

The blue sky now had some clouds in it and it looked as though the weather was going to continue its pattern of our days so far – clear morning, rain clouds in the afternoon, actual rain late afternoon and then dry/warm evening. This is apparently a convective weather system (according to my Dad) and it did seem rather familiar to me – the weather in Düsseldorf always seemed to be like this too.

We crossed the Main river again at Schwarzach and then had a section away from the river but alongside a road. At Dettelbach, the next village, our route was once again alongside the Main and continued this way through Mainstockheim until we reached Kitzingen.

The original plan was to eat lunch at Kitzingen but neither of us was that hungry and the clouds were looking really rather rainy in the direction we were cycling. Ochsenfurt was only 11 miles away and it seemed like a good idea to press on.

There was a very faffy, badly-signposted section once we’d crossed the bridge in Kitzingen, although the bridge was great – now closed to car traffic with huge flowering planters in the road to stop cars, but bikes could weave past them. The guide book suggests we should go straight along the riverside but all cycle path signs take you slightly away from that and then there are some very faffy crossings of a couple of major roads. I remember Pippa and I struggling with this section when we rode this in 2009 but this time, with the helpful GPS track, we were a bit more confident and got there in the end.

‘There’ being some nice, fast downhill sections alongside the river although we couldn’t see it all the time. There was a little side section of river that had mostly dried up although clearly usually had water, so that was interesting. The bank had starting crumbling into the riverbed as well.

The skies were looking more and more rainy now so we were pushing the pedals harder than normal. Marktsteft came and went and then we arrived in Marktbreit, which initially seemed rather industrial and had some rather interesting graffiti!

Eventually we came to a nice bit. Just out the other side I stopped at a bicycle shop (a big one) but it was unfortunately closed. I have a hankering for a nice Vaude rack pack to match my panniers, I’ve seen several on other bikes and I think it’d be just the thing for my trike!

Now the rain began, just a few drops, then getting more and more persistent. Within a few minutes we were going over a level crossing and before getting back on the bikes (it was one of those scary ones without magic barriers where you have to just look and listen – around two blind corners!) we put on our waterproof jackets and added some gloves as with wet hands I can’t change my grip-shift gears on the trike (part of the reason I’m having bar-end shifters on the next trike as I rarely wear gloves).

The rain was really coming down now and James made sure he cycled in front as the lack of mudguards on my bike meant I was creating three little water fountains. We passed several German cyclists sheltering under trees; they know that this kind of rainstorm passes in half an hour or so, but we were so near to our destination (and I was getting really rather peckish) that we wanted to press on.

Here is my trike alongside one of the many locks:

We arrived in Ochsenfurt rather wet but pleased to be there. They appear to be rebuilding the bridge that fell down four or so years ago but is still on the official Radweg – Pippa and I were caught out by this last time and had to take the ferry! Anyway, the bridge still has a huge gap in the middle so I imagine we’ll go back to an earlier bridge tomorrow or take the ferry.

The hotel was in a good position opposite the library (which apparently has Internet access for punters) and had a very good looking food area. They put our bikes in the garage and gave us the keys to our room. The room is the cheapest (50 Euros for both of us, including breakfast) and it’s very small and stark with the obligatory old-fashioned brown German bathroom, but it’s somewhere to sleep and is well situated.

When we arrived in our room we discovered there was, on the wall, a print of The Haywain by Constable. You find reminders of our corner of Essex in the strangest places!

I went in search of food after my shower, finding myself in a café which had a very unusual looking cake-thing, which I expressed interest in. “Is it a kind of pancake?” I asked the lady. “No,” she said, “it’s fried strudel mix with sugar.” I gave it a go – it was very tasty but a bit unusual – rather like fried filo pastry. Went well with my cuppa, though, and filled a gap. James took the opportunity for a nap whilst I was out exploring.

I went out to attempt to find wifi but failed; however, there was a computer in the library that I could use so I had a quick look at the news and the weather for tomorrow (looks like we should stay dry, hurrah!)

When I got back to the room James was awake so we went out for a wander. Of course, the moment we stepped out of the hotel it started raining. We stood under the archway into the hotel terrace for a while awaiting weather improvement and eventually got bored so wandered off in the drizzle to see the Main river.

We took some photographs of the bridge that they are rebuilding. They appear to be reusing the old keystones (they had numbers painted on them) but are setting them into fresh concrete. They’re making the bridge out of concrete now and just cladding it in stone.

On the way back we passed some high-water marks with years noted; one of them was twice James’s height. This explains some rather serious flood defences between the Main and the town walls.

We walked along the high street, visiting the towers at both ends. We happened to be at the clock at the Rathaus (town hall) bang on 6pm and when it chimed some little faces peeped out of windows next to the rather strange skeleton under the clock face. There was also a character with a beard whose mouth went up and down silently. Unfortunately there wasn’t any information we could find about the clock – or indeed about the collapsed bridge.

We decided to eat at our hotel as it had been very busy all day which was a good sign. When we arrived almost all the tables had people on or were reserved – in fact only two tables remained, one of which we took. Several other tables had people playing cards and the hotel provided little dishes for the money that they appeared to be gambling (it looked like copper coins).

I decided it was time to have some proper Frankish food so I had pork with Kloß which are potato dumplings. It came with sauerkraut, of course, and was very tasty. James had a Jägerschnitzel but with pasta rather than fries as he can’t eat potato at the moment. James also sampled some local white wine which he said was very nice.

I felt that I deserved dessert today so ordered Apfelkräpfle which are little apple cakes with cream and ice cream and fruit and a toffee sauce – superyummy for only 3 Euro.

James decided to try some of the hotel brewery’s dark beer (Schwarzbier) which looked very dark but which tasted like particularly malty normal German beer, rather than like bitter. It was nice though!

I decided to time how long the waitress would take to bring our bill as normally we seem to have to wait ages, but the restaurant had had to turn away several people as they were full. The answer was, 40 seconds. We gave them a generous tip as the food had been great and the service was excellent.

The rain had returned by the time we had finished our meal so we decided not to venture out any further. We have a longer day tomorrow on our way to Gemünden so will probably start out reasonably early.

Statistics for today:

Distance: 28.69 miles
Moving time: 3 hours 14 minutes
Moving average: 8.85 mph
Maximum speed: 21.93 mph
Calories burned: 775
Maximum heart rate: 154
Average heart rate: 97

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 5 – Eltmann to Volkach

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…

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 4 – Lichtenfels to Eltmann

B2B Day 4 – Lichtenfels to Eltmann

James didn’t sleep so well last night as his bed wasn’t too comfy but I felt very refreshed when I woke up. The Hotel, despite being fairly new, has a rather 1980s fake bamboo look to the furnishings which didn’t make for a comfortable headboard to lean against.

After a hearty breakfast and a look at the weather (thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon) we were ready to set off. This was later than yesterday, 10am, but as we’re only doing 40 miles today that shouldn’t matter.

We fetched the bikes from the storage room and set off pedalling. James had dropped his cycle computer yesterday and it had started malfunctioning; he wasn’t sure if it was going to work properly today but it seemed to settle down, fortunately.

The beginning of the route today was the same route I had taken to Vierzehnheiligen yesterday, although we didn’t do the last half (uphill) mile. It gave us a good view down over Lichtenfels and the Main valley.

We cycled through Reundorf, Schönbrunn (which had a very impressive castle up on the hill behind it), and then found that there was a cycle route diversion at Bad Staffelstein. This was rather annoying as we weren’t sure how much extra the diversion would cause – as it happened, it was only an extra half mile overall, but it did involve cycling on some of the annoying holey cobbles like we had yesterday, although fortunately not for very long. We passed several fields of Pick Your Own Strawberries and they smelled wonderful!

We rejoined the route again and then made our way through Unterzettlitz and, finally, at Wiesen we caught sight of the Main river, having done 7.5 miles without really seeing it.

We went through Niederau and then came to Ebensfeld. On reading the German guide book last night it suggested that if you want to avoid a slightly dodgy off-road section there’s an alternative route between Ebensfeld and Ebing. As I dislike off-road this seemed like a good idea so I had marked a waypoint on my Garmin at the point where we should do the alternative route so that we didn’t miss it. As it turned out, the alternative route wasn’t signposted so it was handy to have the guide book and Garmin.

This route moved away from the river (whereas the signposted route follows some meanders) so we did 2km less, especially as we carried on along the main road rather than rejoining the cycle route at the first opportunity, missing out the village of Ebing and instead rejoining the route a bit further along at Rattelsdorf.

After Rattlesdorf the path made its way beside the main road and we worked our way towards Breitengüßbach, looking rather warily at some of the dark rainclouds. Appallingly, at this point we were overtaken by a woman in her fifties on a manky old bike with a wire basket containing a rucksack on the back, and some panniers. She sped past us and we couldn’t catch her. She was the first person to pass us (apart from the young lads yesterday who don’t count as they didn’t have any luggage).

The path wended its way around the town and then under the A733 motorway. After a brief stop for a walk around to stretch our legs we continued on, deciding we could make it to Bamberg for our main stop (Bamberg was at about 28 miles on our 40 mile journey today).

We went through Kemmern and then arrived at Hallstadt which is the start of the Bamberg suburbs. We’ve both visited Bamberg before and it’s a touristy place full of eateries but the Radweg route seemed to be missing most of that out. We wanted something to eat so decided to head off route and go along the river, which we did, but realised fairly soon we were on an island between two bits of river so made our way back towards the Radweg. I saw a bakery so we stopped there; unfortunately they didn’t have any filled rolls and couldn’t make us tea but James had a pastry filled with quark and I had a piece of strawberry gateau for lunch. Yum!

There wasn’t much ambience so we continued on out of Bamberg, presumably now on routes that I cycled with Pippa in September 2009 although none of it seemed familiar.

We passed the first of many, many locks on the Main river (I think there are 33)

We found ourselves in an out of town shopping area that had a Netto so we decided to stop to buy some bananas and biscuits. James also found a selection of mixed fruit and nuts which was amusingly-named “Studenten futter” (futter is the German word for animal feed). I bought some chocolate too!

The cycle path from Bamberg onwards seemed wider. My memory of the overall Main river ride with Pippa was that the paths were generally very good, but I have found the stretch from Bayreuth to Bamberg has been less so – I suppose they put more attention into the stretch from Bamberg as that’s probably where most people start off from – it’s the start of the navigable portion of the River Main and it’s where the Main/Donau (Danube) canal starts too.

We cycled through Bischberg and Trosdorf, feeling a bit more relaxed about the weather as the rain clouds weren’t getting any closer.

Some very clever marketing by an Ice Cream café in Viereth worked its magic on us so as we passed several signs we began to think an ice cream was just the thing. James had a strawberry ice cream & strawberries knickerbocker glory, I had a banana split. Yummy!

I went to use the loo in the Eiscafé and, rather fantastically, it was a toilet bowl with a shelf like one always used to find in Germany but are now getting quite rare. It also had a rather unusual design in that the loo was squeezed in a small space and a corner of another room projected into this room in a rather inconvenient manner – you had to put your leg past the corner of the wall before sitting down, and when sitting down your nose was almost touching this sharp bit of wall. Quite odd really.

While we were sitting at the Eiscafé a recumbent bicycle went past on the other side of the road. He didn’t see us, he was in his own little world. I’m not sure what it was but it looked a bit like an HP Velotechnik Grasshopper – it had a front fairing which seemed very high up!

The Radweg now went along the road and was well surfaced so we whizzed through Trunstadt and Rossstadt (yes, it really does have the letter s three times, it presumably used to be Roßstadt). At this point it began to spit with rain but as we knew it was only three or four miles to Eltmann, our final stop, it didn’t seem necessary to put on waterproofs. The rain came down a bit more heavily as we went through Dippach and the roads seemed wet but we pushed on, arriving at Eltmann at 3:15ish.

We detoured through the town to check out restaurants (I wasn’t sure if the hotel had one) and thought we would be able to find something when the time came. Our hotel seemed quite a long way from the main town centre – there’s a short cut pedestrian pathway past a large open-air swimming pool and sports centre but the barriers would have been a pain for my bike so we took the road to get to the hotel.

Total distance today was 38.38 miles done in exactly four hours (moving time) with a max speed of 24.7mph (moving average was 9.6 which is pretty good for cycle paths).

All the doors were locked when we arrived but I rang on the doorbell and a lady appeared, handing us a room key and telling us where to put the bikes (a garage).

The room in the Hotel Wallburg is one of the more old-fashioned ones with fairly basic furniture and facilities. However, the shower was good and warm and it’s the first hotel that’s had functioning WiFi in the room, although my plan to listen to BBC iPlayer didn’t work out as it’s not available outside the UK (which I did know, but had forgotten). I can listen to Radio 4 through the TuneInRadio app, though, so all is not lost!

We both washed our clothes and hung them up, eating some of our goodies from Netto and generally winding down. Tomorrow we have a slightly longer ride, 43 miles, and it’s the hotel’s closed day so we have to pick up the room keys from the music shop next door – but before 6pm. Shouldn’t be a problem but any deadline does make one a little concerned.

At 6pm James had woken up from his nap and the sun was shining (where was the electrical storm we had been zooming along to avoid?) so we decided to walk into Eltmann to see what was there. Not too much that was open, but it seemed a nice little town if rather busy with traffic (unusual for the quieter towns round here). There was a very nice catholic church which clearly had interesting stained glass windows but appeared to be shut so we couldn’t see them from inside.

When we got back to the hotel we went straight into dinner, and what an excellent meal it was! A huge plate of salad was our starter (free of charge).

Then we had variations on pork (I had a bauernschnitzel which is pork schnitzel with cheese and ham and other goodies) with chips and James had pork medallions with Spätzle (a kind of pasta) and a mushroom sauce which was very nice. He enjoyed two beers, 0.4 litre each, and that cost 2 euros per beer. Which is pretty cheap for nearly a pint.

We were too stuffed to have dessert!

Although the hotel room is a bit basic we think this might be our favourite hotel at the moment as it has wifi in the room, a very hot shower and absolutely brilliant food at a bargain price. Our evening meals were less than 9 Euros each which is most bargainous, and they didn’t even charge me for the cup of tea I had after the meal.

It’s 8pm and the sun is still shining. Here’s hoping for great weather tomorrow as well.

Statistics for today:

Distance: 38.33 miles
Moving time: 3 hours 59 minutes
Moving average: 9.6 mph
Maximum speed: 24.93 mph
Calories: 1251
Max heart rate: 156
Average heart rate: 109

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 3 – Bayreuth to Lichtenfels

Day 3 – Monday 13 June (Pfingsten Bank Holiday), Bayreuth to Lichtenfels

After a good night’s sleep we went down to breakfast and enjoyed a vast variety of goodies. They had even painted happy faces on the boiled eggs!

We paid our bill and were presented with a jar of jam (apparently our hotel was a Marmeladen-Hotel) which James seemed willing to carry. A glass jar, quite large, full of jam, isn’t exactly lightweight for cycle touring.

We set off, instantly being glad that I had prepared the route on my Garmin. There were various cycle path signs but it wasn’t always clear which path they were for, as there are several that criss-cross Bayreuth. Sometimes the Main Radweg route was the less obvious option. With my trusty Garmin, however, we found our way out of Bayreuth and started out.

Here we are crossing the Roter Main, one of the two rivers (the other is the Weisser Main) that make up the river.

And a bit later:

It does look a bit reddish/brown, rather like the East Coast round Essex!

We pootled through Altenplos, Dreschenau, Neudrossenfeld (which had a very interesting building we couldn’t identify – we will look that up later), Altdrossenfeld and Neuenreuth.

The scenery was surprisingly reminiscent of Kent with rolling, wooded hills. The path was generally very good asphalt with some sharp ups and downs at times.

We stopped occasionally to look at the view or various roadside items – we were following the route of the Roter main (red Main); however the cycle route didn’t follow the river that closely so we didn’t see it all that often.

At one point we came across a giant granite bicycle which of course we had to photograph, including ourselves in some of the pics.

And as a recumbent tricyclist should pose:

At that point a chappie cycled up who we had seen on the train from Würzburg to Bayreuth yesterday; he was fairly memorable as he looked like Wowbagger’s German cousin (Wowbagger is a friend with whom we cycle and in fact with whom we did a tour of the Mosel and Rhein last year). Anyway, he took a photograph of both of us on this bicycle structure and had a bit of a chat about the route, stopping to point out a Skylark (definitely Wowbagger’s German cousin!)

He headed off ahead of us but we passed him within 200 metres as he stopped to look at a roadside memorial.

We continued on, enjoying the warmer weather (we had started the day wearing windproofs). There were occasional patches of blue sky but it was mostly grey cloud. The forecast was apparently for a bit of rain  this afternoon so we were happy to get on the road early (we were turning our pedals at 9am this morning).

Original plan was to stop every ten miles as James hasn’t done much cycling this year since he had stents put in his heart in January and is still  getting used to the saddle again. However, being a bank holiday Monday morning there weren’t any open cafés after ten miles and he was feeling fine anyway so we pressed on.

We pootled on through Langenstadt, Lanzenreuth, Oberzettlitz, Unterzettlitz and then arrived at Melkendorf where there’s a significant diversion – the Radweg takes about an extra two miles although my Garmin appeared to suggest we could have gone straight through. Anyway, the diversion went to Katzenreuth where there is the confluence of the red and white Main rivers. We stopped to photograph this, a passing German pensioner asked to sit on my trike (having assumed initially it was James’s, calling out “Junger Mann!” to him – James was pleased to be called young as he’s almost forty…), and James had a walkabout for a few minutes as seventeen miles in the saddle had left him with a slightly square backside.

There was a pretty bridge over the now-joined rivers and the route then carried on on loose gravel which was hard work for me. There were two smoother tracks, one each side of the path for normal cyclists, but if I had my drive (rear) wheel in the smoother track for traction it meant both front wheels were pushing through thicker heaps of gravel and it was rather a lot of effort. Fortunately we only had a mile of this before we were back in Melkendorf about 100 metres away from where the diversion started.

After Melkendorf we passed a fishing lake and reached the outskirts of Kulmbach which is the largest town around here. We continued on to Mainleus where we felt it was definitely time for a stop, after 20 miles. Not much was open but we found a local beer tent with some seedy looking chaps who served us a Radler (beer & lemonade) for James and a glass of hot water (for a teabag for me).

It was good to have a break from cycling for a bit, although there was a rather Marie Celeste air to our surroundings, with just the four random chaps sitting at the bar and occasional cyclists going past very slowly on their enormous aluminium monstrosities.

As I got ready to leave some of the other customers struck up a conversation – was I cycling back to Holland? (No, I come from England); Where had I cycled from? Who went faster – me or James, etc. I chatted to them and then my brain failed and I lost what I was trying to say. I said “Mein deutsch ist weg heute.” and they thought this was an absolutely brilliant phrase and kept repeating it and grinning.

We cycled on, soon finding that some of the Radweg wasn’t lovely asphalt but instead concrete cobbles with holes in for weeds to grow.

This was very bumpy and noisy and slowed us down considerably. We also found the temperature a bit variable and James put his windproof jacket on, then had to take it off and put on an extra jersey instead.

We passed loads of fields that were full of poppies and cornflowers.

We went through Willmersreuth and skirted along the edge of Mainroth, then found a barrier across the path at Mainklein and a sign “Radfahrer absteigen” (cyclists dismount). This was because there was some kind of street event on with beer and sausage for sale. We walked through and then got back on the bikes past the next barrier.

We went past Theisau and then into Altenkunstadt which had a McDonalds (which we avoided, of course). As we were going up the hill towards Strossendorf we caught up with Wowbagger’s German Cousin again. James and I decided to stop for lunch and turned in to a barn with beer signs outside, as did Wow’s German cousin. There were a few people sitting at tables – the man and woman who work there and a lady who struck up a conversation with us. The lady told us that she came to Germany from Kenya in 1972 and chatted for a long time about life over here, being black and English-speaking amongst white Germans who spoke no English. She spoke in a mixture of English and German to us which was quite amusing. Wow’s German cousin joined in the conversation and there was lots of varied chatter about why I spoke German with a Dutch accent (do I?) and how hilly this route was, and the fact that there was a kind of Skyride thing going on 5km away today where the roads are closed to traffic and it’s just for cyclists and roller skaters, which explains why we haven’t seen as many cyclists on our route as I had suspected.

We ordered food – I had a Currywurst and James Bratwurst.

It was an exceptional value meal, washed down with beer/orange juice. Wow’s German cousin talked to us about where we were going – he’s not staying in the same places as us and is doing fewer miles per day but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him again.

James enjoyed an ice cream for dessert and then it was time to continue on the final ten miles to Lichtenfels.

This involved a bit of road with a chevron or two (denoting steepness) at Burgstall. Annoyingly, when descending the steep bit I missed a turning; I tried to indicate it to James in time but failed so he, too, sailed past. We had to turn round and go back to that turning which was to a rather bad bit of path through a forest, lots of gravel and rutted earth and a mosquito that bit me. This path was a couple of miles and it was particularly hard going on the trike, although having the weight of my panniers on the back certainly helped with the traction. Fortunately before too long we were back on an asphalted road going through Hochstadt.

The cycle route now seemed more popular with quite a lot of people out and about. The temperature seemed to change frequently; when James stopped to oil his pedal I got a bit warm, whereas five minutes later in a shadowy bit I got quite cold.

Some local youths overtook us after Schwürbitz when we weren’t paying attention. They were on mountain bikes or shoppers, one of which appeared to have never seen any chain oil, and I felt it was a bad show that they’d got passed me so pursued them and overtook them. I of course had to wait at the next cycle path junction for James so that he knew which way to go and they overtook me again. We caught up with them when they’d stopped at a junction for a chinwag, and so it continued with us overtaking each other. We, however, were laden with panniers and had already done 35 miles so when our routes finally diverged and they were ahead, I didn’t feel too bad about it.

There were a few tiny spots of rain as we cycled on towards Lichtenfels but nothing too troubling. We went through Michelau but didn’t see Wowbagger’s German cousin (he was staying overnight there, he said). We cycled past a Lido and there was a sign on the road warning cars to be aware of swimmers, which seemed a bit weird. They were advertising hiring of various boats which seemed a nice idea but we pedalled on, through Oberwallstadt and finally into Lichtenfels. It was a fairly uphill push into Lichtenfels but the end was in sight, and we pulled up at the Hotel Krone (which is next to a casino and a drinks supermarket). As we were locking up the bikes some English people walked past and said hello (presumably the flag gave us away). We checked in to our decent room.

I then had to decide whether or not to make the effort to visit Vierzehnheiligen which is only three miles away but up a VERY steep hill. Andy in Sigmaringen (from CycleChat) told me I really ought to visit it when I was in Germany before, and I was so near that it felt feeble not to give it a go.

James decided to stay behind and do some washing and have a rest as today’s 40 miles was more than he had done for a long time. I set off with just some spare tools and the camera in my pannier to make it less effort when climbing the hill.

The ride to Vierzehnheiligen was lovely as it was a pilgrim’s walking path with no car traffic (bikes were allowed).

Initially it was a fairly gentle slope up but eventually I joined the road again which had coaches and buses. It was pretty steep so I was in my granny ring and I had half a mile of this but I managed it without my heart rate going above 170bpm. At the top is a basilica so I photographed that to prove I’d been there, had a look at the view and then whizzed down again.

Unfortunately I slightly overshot my turn-off onto the Pilgrim’s Path and had to turn round and go up the hill again – in my highest gear! I managed the 50 metres and then was in the lovely, swooping downhill again. I managed my fastest speed of the year on this bit of the route – 42.5mph.

I got back to the hotel in about a quarter of the time it’d taken me to get to Vierzehnheiligen. That was 44.5 miles for the day for me, 39.5 for James (who was fast asleep when I got back to the hotel).

The Hotel Krone was very pleasant and has an attached Italian restaurant which we went to for our dinner – huge pizzas, very tasty, and good energy food for tired cyclists!

Statistics for today for main ride Bayreuth to Lichtenfels:

Distance: 39.35
Moving time: 4 hours 22 minutes
Moving average: 9 mph
Maximum speed: 31.57 mph
Calories burned: 1513
Maximum heart rate: 172
Average heart rate: 112

Extra ride to Vierzehnheiligen:

Distance: 4.91
Moving time: 37 minutes
Moving average: 7.79 mph
Maximum speed: 42.97 mph
Calories burned: 303
Maximum heart rate: 172
Average heart rate: 130

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes

B2B Day 2 – Spay to Bayreuth by train

Day 2 – Sunday 12 June

James and I both woke up fairly early as the curtains in the room couldn’t exactly be described as blackout. We were down at breakfast at 7:30am when they started serving and partook of the traditional German cyclists’ breakfast – cereal (corn flakes and muesli with chocolate balls), a boiled egg, a couple of rolls with cheese and ham/salami/black forest ham. Normally I’d then have a variety of fresh fruit but as we weren’t actually doing much cycling today I decided to forego that. We had both brought English teabags with us so were able to have a proper cuppa to start the day.

Our original plan was to get the 11:02 train but we were so ahead of schedule that we ended up getting the 09:02 one, and we were ready on the platform 20 minutes before that arrived.

We practised our waltzing along the platform (we went to a beginners’ waltzing class a few weeks ago) which involved a fair bit of trust by me that James wouldn’t waltz me off the platform and onto the rails.

The train arrived and it was one of the nice new ones that had plenty of bike spaces. The train was also almost empty so we had a choice of seats in our carriage. I did notice, however, that the display said the train was going to Bingen whereas the timetable (and the sign on the front of the train as it came towards us on the platform) said Mainz. Oh well, probably just an oversight – Bingen is on the way to Mainz anyway.

When we arrived at Bingen there was an announcement in German that the back half of the train (which we were on) stopped at Bingen, the front half carried on to Mainz. So we had to get off, walk 20 metres up the platform and get back on again. There was a German chappie with his bike on the part of the train we were getting on and he was most bothered that we would block  his bike in – I’m getting off the next stop, he said, and I said that was OK, there was room. It clearly played on his mind a lot as he kept shuffling his bike around, said to us a couple more times he was getting off at the next stop, and looked a bit unimpressed with us generally.

When we got to the next stop he was able to get his and his wife’s bikes out with no difficulty and then James and I were able to put our bikes a little more out of the way.

It was a nice train journey looking out at the Rhein river (along which we cycled last year) with blue sky and sunshine. It’s surprising how many landmarks we recognised from the train that we’d noticed when cycling, including a rather good ice cream café at St Goar where we sat and gazed at Lorelei.

When we got to Mainz station we had six minutes in hand before our S-Bahn to Frankfurt so we located the lift – which was too narrow for my trike. James got the lift up to the station concourse and then down again to the platform for the S-Bahn, I went up and down the stairs carrying my trike (James took my luggage in the lift) and we met on the platform two minutes before the S-Bahn train was due. But it didn’t arrive. No-one else looked surprised so presumably this was a not-running-on-Sunday train although it didn’t appear to indicate that on the timetable. I ran up the stairs to the main concourse to check times and the next S8 was at 11:02 so we had a half hour wait.

Further investigation showed that there was a RegionalExpress train to Frankfurt coming  into Mainz three minutes before the S-Bahn and that this was fifteen minutes quicker. It was on the other side of the platform we were already on so we decided to go with that one.

In the event, the S-Bahn train arrived a minute before the RE and as we stood and waited for the RE we noticed it had very narrow doors. “Narrow Doors!” we both shouted and sprinted over to the S-Bahn that we thought was about to depart. We went in the first set of (wide) doors and found ourselves in a rather small area without much bike room. We were also blocking the doors, although there were loads of other sets of doors. Hmmmm.

As the train trundled on its way we investigated the front of the carriage which had a large bike area. James wheeled his bike down there but my bike was too wide for the gangway so at the next station I got off the train, sprinted down to the front with my trike and got back on again, with James on standby to hold the doors in case the train wanted to leave me there! We then had a decent amount of room to store the bikes and sat down for our 45 minute journey. Today’s train journeys were meant to be low effort but so far they had been a bit faffy!

James’s understanding of German was tested by a man trying to point out that the handlebars were pressing against the glass window, fortunately he pointed in the end!

I chatted to a couple of airline staff in their smart clothes who were travelling to Frankfurt Airport. They were helpful in translating a message over the tannoy on the train from Franconian (a dialect) to normal German as I hadn’t understood a word of it – it was complaining that someone was standing too near the doors so they wouldn’t close, or something. I remember when doing my Main River tour with Pippa that I had occasional problems understanding what people said in their broad Bavarian/Franconian accents.

Once we arrived at Frankfurt-am-Main Hauptbahnhof it was easy to get the lift up to the main level and we realised we had about 40 minutes until our train to Würzburg was due to leave. So it was time to buy some lunch for the journey – two 2-hour train journeys.

Here we were faced with an embarrassment of riches – so many choices it was rather hard to decide! Eventually we got some filled baguettes and James had a croissant as well. The train duly arrived (at a different platform to that originally advertised) and we put the bikes on in the enormous bicycle area – half of one whole carriage. When we left Frankfurt there were eight bikes and a pram in the carriage.

The journey to Würzburg was easy if a bit noisy in the cycle compartment, although I went off to use the loo and it refused to flush afterwards and there was a flashing light outside saying “WC Defekt” which hadn’t been flashing before I went in, so I clearly broke it!

When we arrived at Würzburg we got off, unsure of which platform our next train (to Bayreuth) would be on as we are two hours ahead of schedule (I had printed out the journey starting at 11:02 or 13:02, not expecting we would leave as early as 09:02. As we wandered down the platform to look at the signs we saw a train which said ‘Bayreuth’ on the side, which was rather handy! It was another Narrow Door train which meant it was quite awkward to squeeze my bike on. There were two other bikes in the bike spaces which meant that my trike was over the yellow hatchings painted on the floor which said no bikes or prams. In the end it seemed easiest to take the seat off my bike (for getting it out of the train when we disembarked) and lying my bike down on its side, at which point only the mirror and a bit of the rear rack were in the yellow hatchings, which I thought I could get away with. James’s bike was able to find a home opposite the loo door.

This train whizzed through the countryside very quickly; in fact, this journey of 1 hr 45 minutes is covering the ground that we will take five days to cycle (I think the train goes on a far more direct route, rather than following the twists and turns of the river).

At the stop before Bayreuth the chap whose bike was behind mine wanted to get off, which caused great complications as lots of people had to move their bikes and the Germans seem unable to take their panniers off (although they are supposed to). Anyway, eventually the chap managed to get off and I ended up only slightly more oily.

We arrived in Bayreuth and had the amusement of observing the tradition German inability to queue. There were about ten bikes to come off the train, and then it was going back to Würzburg. Of course, the Germans-who-can’t-queue wanted to get on the train (with their bikes) before all the bikes were off. My bike was clearly going to be a problem as the mirrors were twisted, the glass had popped out  of one of my mirrors (although was undamaged) and seat was off but the rack was still on, which meant the rack wasn’t very secure. Anyway, we managed in the end, both James and I ending up slightly more oily.

At Bayreuth there was a huge queue for the lift (all those Germans who had got off the train before us) so we carried our bikes down the stairs and got to the exit before them – hurrah! We then followed my Garmin’s route to the hotel, all of 0.96 miles, passing a little brook which feeds into the Roter Main, one of the two constituents of the Main river, on the way.

The Goldener Löwe was a nice, friendly hotel with a shed for the bikes. Unfortunately their WiFi wasn’t working (it went wrong on Friday, apparently, and as it’s Pfingsten (Whitsun) weekend nothing is being fixed) so it meant I had to talk to James instead! We ate at the hotel, I had just a salad as I’d been snacking on M&Ms before dinner.

It was good to get to Bayreuth two hours early which meant we had some relaxation time. We had a short walk into the town to see if we could spot Richard Wagner, but failed, although we did see a very large dinosaur!

We went into a café that made me a cup of tea (free of charge) and we had some Kaiserschmarrn which was totally wonderful, of course.

Bayreuth seems quite a lively place although the pedestrianised centre could be any German town as it has the same selection of shops.

Having only cycled 2.6 miles in total since we’ve been in Germany, I look forward to the 40 miler tomorrow when we go to Lichtenfels.

Oh, and when in town I tried to see if there was any free wifi lurking around. My iPad saw a list of about 15 WiFi spots, several of which had very naughty names including English four-letter words and comments about people’s sexual practices. Clearly I have found the German sense of humour!

Statistics for today:

Distance: 1.42 miles
Moving time: 11 minutes
Moving average: 7.3 mph
Maximum speed: 18.58 mph
Calories burned: 74

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Filed under Bayreuth to Bingen June 2011, Cycling in Germany, Recumbent Trikes