Category Archives: SPEZI Rhine Tour 2015

SPEZI 12 – Hitdorf to Kempen

Friday 1 May 2015

Today’s route was originally planned to go through Düsseldorf but we realised before the tour started that 1st May (a bank holiday) through the Düsseldorf Altstadt would be a recipe for disaster in terms of dodging pedestrians and other cyclists, so we’d work out a different route home when the time came.

This meant that we relied on Klaus’s routefinding which is always a bit risky as he tends to head for off-road sections.

Here is the track from today.

Hitdorf to Kempen

I was late to bed due to writing up my blog for two days and woke up early again because of a lack of decent curtains in my room. It was the last day of the tour and that was a bit sad too.

I went down to breakfast which was in a room just off the art gallery – most peculiar! There were sculptures on pedestals around the room – one had a price tag of 3,600€ so I was rather hoping I wouldn’t accidentally knock it over.

The choice was good – and when we asked for scrambled eggs we got them in the pan too!

It was a very interesting Guest House with so many different birds. When I went to collect my trike the albino peacock was displaying.

Simon had mended Joyce’s puncture (she had one as we arrived at the Guest House last night) and we were ready for the off.

After 2km we stopped… Joyce had another puncture.

Simon found another significant piece of glass in the tyre and checked the rest of it well – two different glass punctures in two days was rather bad luck.

Klaus looked rather bored whilst waiting. He was looking forward to leading us all over miles of off-road surfaces I suppose.

I saw another interesting milestone – not that far to Rotterdam (where Simon and Joyce would be riding after today).

We had ridden alongside the Rhein on some very good tracks – through some attractive villages and lots of well-asphalted Deich paths too. We reached the outskirts of Düsseldorf and were passing Schloss Benrath, a smallish castle in a large park, so decided to detour briefly to visit the park (although a No Cycling sign put us off briefly but we ignored that eventually).

Here we are lined up outside the castle.

Joyce went off to find a loo and we played games with swapping hats.

We continued on, with one sour moment when a man on a mountain bike called us “lazy *******” when he passed us. Klaus gave chase and had a go at him for it. That was unnecessary, especially as lots of people ride recumbents due to disability (me, for example). But generally people were positive and nice to us.

We soon arrived at Himmelgeist which has a ferry crossing but just for pedestrians and bikes, not for cars.

This was a rather pricey ferry – the cost for the four of us was 9,50€, which included 1,50€ for Simon’s trailer. But it was a ferry with style!

As soon as we had crossed we happened upon a café and it seemed rude to pass it by.

The original plan was to stop for waffles which were advertised for sale but when we asked the lady she said they didn’t do waffles until 2:30pm. We thought it might be worth her turning on the waffle iron for us but clearly that was too much of a break from the normal run of things.

So we admitted defeat against the typical German customer service and had cakes instead.

This was the end of my routefinding – it was now over to Klaus.

we set off and after about two minutes were off-road. Normal service was resumed…

We were heading for the Nordkanal route which is the route that Napoleon started to build in 1806 (but didn’t finish) from the Rhein at Neuss to Antwerp. This route runs almost past Klaus’s house so we often ride bits of it but he hadn’t done this section before (although it turned out that I had when I stayed in Düsseldorf a few years ago).

We passed this hospital which had a special entrance for recumbent people…

We enjoyed the ride along the Nordkanal route. It was the 1st May so there were lots of people about (and unfortunately also lots of glass from some overnight revelry). We also saw lots of Maibaumen, these are branches of trees decorated with coloured paper which are placed outside your beloved’s house.

We rode along the rather uninspiring road through Kaarst before leaving the Nordkanal route for a more attractive route through Schiefbahn. We passed the point where Klaus had joined us for the tour twelve days ago (although at that point we had Nigel with us too), I had to stop off at a bank but then we were back in Viersen to a very warm welcome from Lara and Claudia (which involved chocolate and cups of tea).

Claudia had made us some food which we really needed after 62km. We then took some photos of us all before the three Brits headed back to Kempen.

It was just 20km back for us along various Bahnradwege. As for the whole tour we had people waving at us and chatting – lots of people smile as they see all our flags floating past.

When we arrived in Kempen we put Joyce’s and Simon’s trikes and trailer in the garage, along with Penelope and Alfie. It was a bit of a squash in there!

We did a load of washing for Joyce and Simon whilst sorting out a GPS track for Simon to follow to Arnhem and then back to the Hook of Holland.

In total today I rode 81.23km at 15.01km/h. The total tour distance was 928.55km at an average speed of 14.83km/h.

It was a brilliant tour with only two rainy days, great companions and comfortable trikes. We had a few mechanicals but nothing too dramatic and it was good to bump into various friends at SPEZI as well.

Needless to say the only reason I opened my heavy tools bag was to get out cable ties to attach the flag to Klaus’s trike flagpole. Alfie’s Alfine gear was not perfectly adjusted (so I lost the top two gears at times) but it wasn’t annoying enough for me ever to remember to fix it when stopped. It’s just a small adjustment of a widget that I will do next time I remember.

It was also good fun having our tame German along with us. He was the butt of several jokes, particularly with regard to some of his rather eclectic English phrases. Joyce’s favourite was when he called knitting ‘kniddling’ and mine was when he called something noisy ‘soundful’. He had almost two weeks speaking English and regularly being mistaken for an Englishman due to the flag on his bike so he was overall a very good sport, especially as when we usually referred to him as ‘Mr Grumpy’ or ‘the Cormorant’.

Joyce and Simon were also excellent company and it worked really well that we all cycled at roughly the same speed. It was also nice that we could cycle on our own for a bit without chatting and other times could ride alongside each other and talk. Cycle touring is very relaxing (it’s just eat-ride-sleep-repeat) but with the wrong companions it can be stressful. This tour was very low stress and overall great fun. I enjoyed every minute!

Joyce and Simon seem to have fallen in love with Germany so I am hoping they’ll make another visit soon and will need Auntie Helen their translator and routefinder again!

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SPEZI 11 – Bad Honnef to Hitdorf

Thursday 30 April 2015

Bad Honnef to Hitdorf

Today’s track was 73km and the forecast was rain for most of the day but after a good breakfast (Klaus seemed to have avoided a post-wine headache) the view outside was rather good – dry!

The landlady had tales to tell about the vines and the special rock of Drachenfels from which the Köln Cathedral and others are built.

Joyce and Simon rolled up at 9:30 and we had a bit of a chat (their hotel had been considerably less salubrious than ours) and Joyce had a look at my cool room. Then it was time to head off, which started almost instantly with a detour as we couldn’t find the way that my Garmin was indicated. Needless to say the Garmin was correct, we were just all a bit dopey first thing in the morning.

After about half an hour it started to rain so we stopped under a bridge to put on waterproofs.

The route was unfamiliar to me but nice. We saw a lot of wildlife such as herons, a stoat, lots of birds of prey and more. I also saw this sign which I initially read as “a kick in the nuts”.

We felt the need for some cake after 30km so deviated from the route in Troisdorf in search of a bakery. We were successful.

The bakery didn’t have a loo so we asked where to find one – in the Rathaus they said, so we pootled off there.

We carried on, pleased that the rain had cleared. We had stopped several times in the morning to put waterproofs on and take them off again – but whenever I took my waterproof trousers off it started to rain. So there was much comment about paying me to keep my trousers on. I can see the wisdom of this!!!

We happened upon a concrete bowl which was clearly ideal for cycling.

I had wanted to have a go on Alfie but the chaps thought it a bit dangerous for me.

I had prepared Alfie by removing his panniers and in due course Simon was persuaded to attempt it.

He then attempted to ride up the side to where we were standing.

Klaus the Cormorant gave him a boost in the end.

Here is the track on my Garmin Oregon.

There was also a swing in the playground area so Joyce had a go on that.

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After this faffing we continued on towards Köln, seeing dark clouds amassing before us.

We would be on the other side of the river to Köln, the Deutz side, but it was good to get a different view of this city. Including sheep grazing by the Rhine.

As we reached the centre of Köln-Deutz the rain came down really heavily and we were soon soaked. It made it a bit tricky to read the Garmin screen at times and the navigation was tricky but eventually we escaped and found a pizzeria for some lunch. We were dripping wet.

We had only 19km to go but the rain was uninviting. Nevertheless we sorted ourselves out and headed off, stopping after a few hundred metres to repair a puncture in Joyce’s front right tyre.

The route took us through Leverkusen which has a large pedestrianised centre which reminded me somehow of Basildon. I spotted this interesting inscription on a building.

The rain had eased off as we rode the last five miles to Hitdorf where our guest house for the evening was situated. It had fantastic wisteria outside!

And the owners kept lots of different birds – including two albino peacocks!

Joyce had got a second puncture in the same tyre over the last few kilometres but rode on – we wanted to get to the hotel and shower etc. She will fix it in the morning.

We went out for an Italian in the evening (it was the closest restaurant we could find) but were all pretty full so we left a fair bit of our main courses. We had had to put on our still-wet coats to walk to the restaurant so got a bit chilled – it was good to get back to the hotel.

Today we did 77km, tomorrow we wiill do a similar amount riding first to Viersen (to drop Klaus off and to eat with his family) and then back to Kempen. The tour is almost at an end which is really sad – I would happily have continued another week or two! But I think my clothes will appreciate a date with the washing machine…

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SPEZI 10 – Spay to Bad Honnef

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Spay to Bad Honnef

I do like the hotel Alter Posthof and their breakfasts are very good. I was first down to breakfast and then Simon and Joyce arrived. We had some cereal (and discovered the milk was a bit off when it curdled in our tea) and then Klaus arrived. He requested scrambled eggs and Simon and I said we’d also like them.

When the eggs came it was one large plateful. Klaus dished himself out a portion and Simon then proceeded to scrape the rest of the egg onto his plate. He had forgotten I was having some. We ribbed him about this for the rest of the day.

After a bit of bike fettling (pumping of tyres etc) we set off heading to Bad Honnef. Today we would be riding on the right hand side of the Rhein after Koblenz – I had never ridden this section before (I had always taken the left bank) so was looking forward to it.

As we trundled along the Rhein Path through Spay with the heavy legs of early morning Simon nipped off the trike to do some elliptical training.

We had various stops to don gloves, buffs etc as it was surprisingly cold, but as usual the view of the river was great.

Klaus seems to like listening to music for the first couple of hours so we have got used to him cycling along with earphones in, nodding his head in time to some eighties hit.

As we were cycling along towards Koblenz I saw this rather interesting milestone.

The day was surprisingly chilly – we had got used to temperatures of 18-20 and today was 14 – so in the end I had to stop to puut on some socks. Yes, I was wearing socks with sandals (but in Germany this is allowed, although I should really have chosen white socks with my sandals for the full effect).

Soon we arrived at Koblenz and stopped, as before, on the large open space before the statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I.

I had never actually walked up to the statue so decided today was the day – Simon and Joyce decided to come with me and Klaus would look after the trikes.

We walked up the first set of steps and I found this plaque of my adopted county.

We looked down on the tiny people and tiny trikes from our lofty position just below the statue.

It’s very interesting inside the statue plinth.

On the way down I was rather taken by this rectangular chain.

Although we’d spent a good fifteen minutes faffing at Deutsches Eck we all fancied stopping for a coffee and cake so found somewhere just around the corner.

Klaus was delighted to find some Saure Pommes Haribo (his favourite) so bought them with a cheesecake too.

I had a strawberry cake.

Yesterday we had met a lone woman cycling on a Bike Friday folding bike. We spotted her again as we were heading out of Koblenz and she asked to join us as she was not too sure of the route (and I am very familiar with it).

She rode with us north out of Koblenz until we reached the bridge where we were crossing to the right hand side of the Rhein, at which point we said our goodbyes.

These photos were taken by a passer-by who appeared on a Hase Kettwiesel.

He had bought it via eBay and travelled from Aschaffenburg to Köln by train to collect it and was riding it back as far as he could in the time available (and then taking the train).

Here are Simon and Joyce about to cross the bridge.

There are some very sharp turns through the towers of the bridge and Simon’s trailer couldn’t get round without some help from Joyce.

It’s an impressive long bridge.

Klaus took this photo of the view in his mirror.

Once we had finally crossed (which took a while with the wide trikes) we saw this plaque about the bridge.

And here it is again – an impressive bridge and fun to cross as long as you don’t mind heights.

We were now on a brand new section of Radweg to me so it was a bit of an unknown. We were also getting a bit peckish and decided to stop somewhere for food although it took a little while to find anything suitable. Finally we located a reasonable-looking restaurant directly opposite the Andernach Geysir. We had hopes the Geysir would go off whilst we were there (it goes off for 5 minutes every 100 minutes and is 60 metres high) but we were out of luck.

This turned out to be a rather strange restaurant. The guy serving us looked like he had just been woken up as he was constantly rubbing his eyes. He was fairly old and doddery and seemed to find it hard to deal with our orders.

When the food came it was very nice though.

However when the time came to pay the bill (which took ages – and we never had a chance for a refill of drinks) he overcharged me by 10€ (which I noticed straight away) but also overcharged Klaus by 2€ (which he did not notice straight away). Although the food had been good the service was pretty poor – we didn’t tip.

We continued on and saw more evidence of yarn bombing.

In Leutesdorf my route, which goes along the side of the Rhine, did not agree with the signposts. We initially followed my route but a chap outside his house said that way was blocked and we had to take the other route. So we did – and it turned into a bit of a climb!

The climb had a few surprises too – such as this gate (which was just to keep wild animals in, apparently)

But then we came to a section which was not at all to our taste – there was a really steep ramp which led straight down to the major road which was being worked on. No sign of a usable cycle path. Uh oh!

We would have to ride along this road.

It was clear there was only one way we could go – down this rough track.

Klaus decided to go first because he is brave.

I went down next – it was quite exciting as all three wheels tended to drift a bit and I was using my brakes a lot.

Joyce waited till I got to the bottom and then set off. This isn’t her favourite kind of riding by any means and she only has drum brakes, not discs, which can be slightly less confidence-inspiring but she made it to the bottom OK.

Simon came down last – he said with the trailer behind it was ‘interesting’.

The cycle route diversion signs suggested we ride along the right hand side – but there was a lorry parked in the way.

Klaus chatted to the lorry driver who said there would definitely be no way through for us – we’d have to ride on the main road, the B42. So we went back a little way to where there was a break in the armco and headed off, riding on a road that was undoubtedly not allowed for bikes.

One of the workmen with a digger drove behind us for a bit, then overtook. We had thought he was shielding us but I am not so sure.

This was not idea riding conditions really but we survived it unscathed and were back on a decent cycle path reasonably quickly.

We stopped briefly to look at this reconstruction of a Limes watch tower – this was the line of watch towers which the Germans used against the Romans [edit – I have been informed that the Romans built the watchtowers against the Germans. Oops!]

Being on the other side of the river is interesting – here we are looking across at Bad Breisig.

This side of the Rhein feels like it is a bit hillier than the other – there are occasional very sharp, steep climbs in some of the villages.

As we arrived in Linz we felt it would be nice to stop briefly for a cake or ice cream. Linz was a very attractive place but as we entered the pedestrian area a woman moaned about us cycling (at walking pace). An example of an officious German – you do come across them occasionally.

We stopped at a place which advertised waffles – but they had run out. However the chap offered pancake with strawberries, ice cream and cream. Joyce, Simon and I all said yes to this but were a bit shocked when the bill came – 9,50€ each!!!!

We headed off feeling a bit stung by the expensive pancake (which was nice, fortunately).

Linz is an attractive town but the railway runs very noisily next to it. But it had this rather nice portcullis!

On our trip south we had passed the Remagen bridge – this time we saw it from the other side.

We were all feeling a bit tired now so were glad when Bad Honnef arrived. This was where Joyce and Simon were staying as they had been unable to get space in the same Guesthouse as Klaus and I had booked (they had left their hotel bookings until a couple of months after we had made ours).

We said goodbye to them and headed off to our hotel which was in Drachenfels, a few kilometres down the road from Bad Honnef, almost in Königswinter.

The Guest House was in a Vintner’s and it was a very interesting looking building. It not only sold wine but also preserves and other goodies.

We were greeted by a youngish looking lady – who had a Catrike Speed recumbent trike parked outside! She asked the lady inside whether there was somewhere safe to put our trikes – and there was. The huge, huge room that they use for big events.

I was very impressed by my bedroom – it had high ceilings, interesting mouldings on the doors and a big couch.

As we had arrived the 82-year-old owner had checked where we were going to eat. Apparently the only local eating place closed in two minutes – she said she could phone them to ask them to stay open later but we both wanted a shower before food. There was somewhere we could walk to in a twenty minutes but neither of us fancied that so started making noises about eating the apples I had in my panniers. At which point the lady said she would make us a Flammkuchenm, which we readily accepted (despite Klaus’s no-carb diet).

So we arranged to meet downstairs at 7:30pm and I found Klaus ensconced with a litre bottle of wine from this vintner’s.

The younger lady with the Catrike was still there and we offered for her to come and sit with us. As you can see a table for two in this large room was a bit exposed!

The lady Heike agreed and we had a really great chat as we waited for our Flammkuchen.

She was a fascinating woman – she had grown up in East Berlin and had escaped via Prague. She had then been in the German Bundesliga for Handball. She was now an artist. She had some amazing stories to tell and it was really interesting talking to her. Frau Pieper, the old lady, also came to join us so we had a table of four chatting about life, working as a vintner, and more.

When Heike found out I played the piano she pleaded with me to play something (there was a piano in the room) so I did a couple of pieces. The piano was appallingly out of tune but the others didn’t seem to notice, fortunately.

Klaus was steadily drinking his way down the bottle of wine (I was on water of course) and it was a truly bizarre and yet brilliant evening, chatting to two really interesting people.

Heike then told us that they had some special cheeses in the kitchen so in due course they came out, with some meat as well.

Klaus’s no-carb diet was taking a beating today but he consoled himself with the wine, finishing the bottle and generally being not too different than normal, except for slightly more talkative (if that is possible!)

Here are Heike and Klaus after they’ve both enjoyed a fair bit of wine!

It was after 10pm when Heike headed off back home to Beuel (12km). I had to write up this blog but discovered the internet connection was too slow for the photograph uploads so I had to leave it – this I am writing it a day later.

Today was a brilliant day with some great cycling (with a few challenges), some good food and meeting Heike who was such a fascinating lady. Our cycling distance was 76.1km at an average speed of 14.7km/h.

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SPEZI 9 – Eltville to Spay

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Eltville to Spay

The Hotel Alta Villa in Eltville is very nice indeed and the staff are most friendly – but unfortunately if your room is on the side of the railway you may not have a very good night’s sleep. The trains run throughout the night and can be very noisy!

So when I headed down to breakfast I felt pretty tired as I hadn’t slept well. The excellent breakfast choice soon perked me up, however!

We settled up the bills for our rooms and went out to the trikes. After drying overnight they were looking pretty mucky.

Here’s Joyce’s seat – it’s clear that her mudguard (now removed) had its uses!

I spotted a hosepipe in the area where the bikes were stored so asked the Hotel owner if we could use it to wash down the bikes. Of course, she said, so we rinsed all the bikes off (although we should have really done this last night) and Simon oiled all the chains.

We had a good look at Klaus’s front right hand side wheel too. Before the trip he noticed that the bearing was clearly not right but yesterday’s ride in the rain clearly showed that there’s a leak in the seal somewhere and a lot of rust was coming out.

He has already ordered 20 inch wheels (rather than the current 18) as he wants to try those anyway so will put those on and then replace the bearings in the old wheels in case he swaps back to those (the other bearing is also showing some signs of rust). Interesting that they have failed after 10,000km – perhaps a duff batch or someone forgot to do some kind of sealing.

At 9:30 we were ready to roll. Klaus phoned home to chat to his family whilst we faffed and a man came to inform me that I should be flying the German flag above the British one on my flagpole. I pointed out that I am a Brit but he said that Germans who move to Canada still fly the German flag above the Canadian so I should do the same here (which rather contradicted his point). He said his piece several times, and I replied that I like the Union Jack to be at the top, and then he said “but then who cares!” He clearly did!

Today’s route was one that I have done once or twice before so I was pretty confident that it would be a nice ride and that we shouldn’t have any significant detours to add to our 70km. I looked like I might be wrong as right at the very beginning in Eltville there was a partial closure of the cycle path which was too narrow for our trikes so we had to ride around Eltville a bit. It’s a lovely little town but we wanted to get underway really.

Soon we found our way onto the Rhein path and headed west, into wind, towards Rüdesheim. The weather forecast was for rain late afternoon so we hoped to get to Spay before that.

Along the path we saw a yarn bomber had been at work.

We also saw these cormorants and this reminded me that yesterday, when Klaus was wearing his black waterproofs and occasionally shaking his extended arms to shake the drops of water off, he looked like a cormorant. He’s got that rangy look about him. So we have a new nickname for him. We also yesterday called him the Grim Reaper as he looked a bit like that too.

Looking back along the Rhein you can see that we had a very good day for cycling, albeit a bit cool at times when the sun was behind a cloud. I think it was about 15 degrees generally.

We saw a large wooden crane on the path so stopped for a closer look.

We liked the English translation of the information board – people referred to as ‘menials’!

Another cyclist was there so we asked him to take a photo of us all. Poor chap had to rummage in his rucksack for his glasses but eventually was able to take the pic.

We continued on and enjoyed a 2km stretch where there were loads of geese and ducks with their goslings/ducklings. So sweet!

But they sometimes decided to cross the cycle path when we were coming.

We rounded a corner and had an excellent view of Bingen, which we would cross to via the ferry. You can see Hildegard of Bingen’s convent at the top of the hill.

When I took this photo I looked back at the path we had all ridden on and you can see the four trike tracks and trailer tracks.

We arrived at Rüdesheim after 17km and as it was now midday (we had stopped for lots of photos etc) we thought it time for cake.

After a nice half hour break we headed towards the Rüdesheim ferry, stopping at a bike shop on the way for Simon and Joyce to get some supplies – including inner tubes for the trailer tyres.

We made our way onto the ferry and settled down for the short crossing.

This was the priciest crossing though – 2,50€ each!!

Once in Bingen it was a very easy ride back northwest along the Rhein towards Spay.

You often see these height markers for the high water times when the whole area is flooded. The heights can be very impressive!

The ride from Bingen was lovely – we got into our Chain Gang routine once or twice (although Simon with the trailer was unable to participate as it was too hard work). It was pretty windy so Joyce and I were lazy and let Klaus lead most of the time. We were able to do a short section at 28 km/h which was pretty good for us with that wind.

We arrived at St Goar and decided to stop for a late lunch.

After St Goar it was just 22km to Spay. We headed off, battling rather against the headwind and hoping to avoid the rain that looked like it was coming. As we rode through Boppard I spotted an ice cream stand and decided to get one (Simon and Joyce thought this was a good idea). Klaus took the opportunity for a nap – his room, too, had been on the railway side of the hotel last night.

An American man came out from the hotel opposite and chatted to us. He said “I’ve always wanted to try out driving one of these” but none of us went with the unspoken request to give him a go. We wanted to get to our hotel before the rain.

We whizzed along seeing building clouds. There was a brief holdup at a bit of roadworks on the path. On our outward journey we had all got through OK, even Nigel with his trailer. This time the workmen had obviously crept the barriers to give them more room and it was now not wide enough for Joyce’s trike so she had to do some lifting.

One of the workmen did grudgingly move some of the barriers so that those behind Joyce had an easier ride.

We arrived at the Alter Posthof hotel before the rain and put our bikes in the garage there. I have stayed seven or eight times here so am very familiar with this hotel and like it very much.

After showering and chilling out for a bit it was time for dinner. Here are some pics of what we had. Very tasty!

   
        

Tomorrow we head to Koblenz and then cross the Rhein to cycle further up the east bank – not a route that I have ever done so should be fun! We are overnighting in Bad Honnef, a place I have also not visited. The weather looks good and hopefully after a better night’s sleep I will feel more awake!

Goodnight!

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SPEZI 8 – Worms to Eltville

Monday 27 April 2015

This is a map of where we should have been going today…

Worms to Eltville Map

However we ended up doing a rather different route:

Worms to Eltville

We went down to breakfast and there was a very good spread.

Being a Brit I enjoyed some cereal

Followed by some hearty items to give me energy for the day.

We paid our bills and then it was time to fetch the bikes from the Tiefgarage. Here are Klaus and Simon cementing their Bromance.

We cycled up the ramp from the garage and then stopped – time to put on the waterproofs – it was pouring!

Klaus even put on his waterproof overshoes. That is serious rain protection.

We crossed the bridge out of Worms and then both Joyce and I realised that our decision to wear long trousers and no waterproof overtrousers was the wrong one. We both had wet legs and were already getting cold after just 10 minutes of riding.

Joyce decided to put her overtrousers on over her wet trousers so we stopped under the ramp to the bridge. I realised that my trousers, freshly delivered yesterday by Claudia, were rather too wet and unlikely to dry under the overtrousers because of their material. There was nothing for it but to change into shorts under the bridge ramp. The chaps looked away and my change of clothes was quickly effected – I put shorts on and then the Altura Night Vision overtrousers.

Because I was lazy I decided to put the trousers I had removed into the trailer rather than putting them (wet) into my panniers. This turned out to be rather a mistake, as I discovered later.

It was just a couple of kilometres later than I noticed everything in the trailer was getting rather wet and mucky due to its lack of mudguards. Oops!

At breakfast we had discussed taking an alternative route. The original plan was to retrace our route of Friday but that had involved a detour after Oppenheim which had added 6km to our tally. We looked at the map and thought that riding on the right hand side of the Rhein until Nierstein might be a better option.

However the route seemed to be taking rather a long time – especially when there was a diversion on this side. We went through Nordheim, Wattenheim and Biblis, all of which are under 10 miles from Klaus’s parents’ house where he was this weekend.

We stopped at a bus shelter to do some more map consulting. It seemed as if the plan for the right hand side of the Rhein was not as good as we had hoped so we decided to cross at Gernsheim instead.

The rain and mucky roads had also had rather a dramatic effect on my fellow cyclists, all of whom were slightly deficient in the mudguard department.

Joyce (Mrs Miggins) discovered that her previously always-rattly mudguard did confer some benefits before she threw it in the bin in Bingen…

This is what her jacket looked like.

Simon is a former firefighter so he posed outside the Biblis Feuerwehr during yet another stop to take off/put on waterproofs.

The problem was that the weather was constantly changing and when the rain stopped the waterproof jackets could be a bit warm. I had to roll up my waterproof overtrousers as they stuck to my knees (as I had only shorts underneath) and it was rather annoying.

Eventually we arrived at Gernsheim – after 31km. The ferry was surprisingly expensive at 2,30€ each.

Simon used the opportunity to do a bit of fettling of the trailer hitch.

When we rolled off the ferry we saw a sign to Worms – 19km. So we had done an extra 11. Nice.

We were now feeling hungry and a bit tired and cold so it was time to stop. We detoured to Eich and found an Eiscafé which did food too – although Klaus decided to go for some Apfelstreusel.

I had a baguette.

From Eich we went on the detour that we had done on Friday to end up at Nierstein, then pressed on to Mainz (after briefly losing Klaus after he cycled into a ‘no cycling’ section; we assumed he’d come back but he carried on).

We had thought previously we might stop for cake at Mainz but we were all too wet and cold so decided to press on to Eltville, only 16km further.

We crossed the Theodor Heuss Brücke in Mainz – on the up ramp is this sign for Berlin, 563km away, plus one piece of Berlin Wall.

The section from the Wiesbaden side of the Rhein to Eltville is rather nice, albeit with several sections of loose sand (which ended up all over us due to a paucity of mudguards). Our hands and faces were gritty, we were wet on the outside and over-warm inside the waterproofs, but it was still brilliant fun. Of course us Brits are used to rain and yuck weather but Klaus’s new waterproofs were performing well and he didn’t look like he was hating it the entire time.

Finally we rolled into Eltville and the hotel Alta Villa (where I have previously stayed). The lady was very friendly and helpful and moved some tables about so we could put the bikes under a large umbrella.

After a VERY long shower (I had to wash the filthy trousers that had been in the trailer – but they are still a bit sandy; I wore them for 10 minutes on this tour and am not sure I can wear them again without them going through a machine wash. I also had to wash all my other clothes and attempt to dry my waterproofs) it was time for dinner. We decided to eat in the hotel restaurant for simplicity.

We were given a free starter.

All four of us chose the green bean and buffalo mozzarella soup which was very tasty!

The meals were a bit pricey except for the pizza so I had one of those, as did Simon and Joyce.

Klaus went for a baked camembert which was very attractively presented.

I was so full I couldn’t finish my pizza but Klaus managed to squeeze in a dessert too whilst the rest of us watched him eat.

We were all completely pooped after our ride – it was meant to be 73km but ended up 91.64km at an average speed of 14.42km/h. Moving time was 6 hours 21 minutes, of which I reckon 5 hours were in the rain! We were door to door 8 hours 13 minutes.

So it was an early night for the rest of them. I still had to write up this blog!!!

Today we had a couple of mechanicals – Joyce’s mirror flew off (again) but was rescued and refitted. Klaus lost his rear light (a branch swept it off) but he noticed and rescued it. He has a slightly dodgy wheel bearing in his right wheel and it is now making some funny noises but should complete the tour fine.

Yesterday I lost my hat going over the bridge to Worms but fortunately Simon saw and rescued it (and it didn’t go into the Rhine). Joyce and I have both had our hats blow away several times but they have always (so far) been rescued. I am glad mine didn’t get lost as it was my new SPEZI one.

Tomorrow’s route (to Spay, where I have stayed a half dozen times) should be only 70km. We shall see. At least there is minimal rain forecast!

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SPEZI 7 – Speyer to Worms

Sunday 26 April 2015

Speyer to Worms

So now it’s halfway through the tour, I thought I’d do a summary of the mechanical issues we have experienced with our four trikes (three ICE trikes, one Steintrikes).

1. Dodgy valve on one of Joyce’s tyres which means it very slowly deflated. Tube changed.
2. My front chainring bar-end friction shifter was loose and wouldn’t tighten very well (so it kept changing down from big ring to middle ring). Simon and Nigel fixed this by adding a washer as the screw for the friction shifter was bottoming out.
3. My Alfine hub gear didn’t like using gears 10 and 11 after I changed the rear tyre and generally fiddled about with it all and cleaned it. Over the first five days of the tour this resolved itself and all gears are now working.
4. Joyce’s rear mudguard stay split so we threw it away.
5. Simon’s squashed elastomer.

So not bad so far at all!

Since our trip to SPEZI we have added better flagpoles to the three ICE trikes, Simon bought a left hand side mirror (which he realised he needed when cycling on the wrong side of the road) and Simon is now of course towing a trailer. Without mudguards. Joyce now has no rear mudguard. Klaus’s rear mudguard keeps him dry but not the person riding behind him. So basically I am the only rider whom it is safe to cycle behind without getting wet. Which means no more chain gangs I suppose.

We had a good breakfast again.


After breakfast we had a leisurely pack as we didn’t need to leave until 10am to meet for lunch at the agreed time, although as usual after a week on a bike tour we were keen to get going.

We spent a few moments sorting out our stuff.

The hotel owner, a very friendly lady, had asked if she could try one of the trikes so I let her have a spin around the car park on Alfie. She really enjoyed herself!

We set off a bit earlier than our original plan as we were to meet Klaus at the Rheinterasse in Mannheim at 11:45. It was only 26km so we didn’t really need two hours but it ended up being rather fortuitous we set off early as we bumped into a retired couple who were unloading a couple of recumbent trikes – Anthrotechs – from their car.

One of the trikes was on a trailer behind the car.

The owner of this trike, a lady, was happy to let me have a sit on it.

We had a lovely chat with them for about fifteen minutes but then it was time to press on as we had a message from Klaus that he had just 12km to go and we had 13.5.

We had forgotten about the Altrip ferry though – we had to wait ten minutes for it. Here we are in the queue.

And here is Simon with the ferry behind him and also the very impressive and clean-looking coal power station behind him, Grosskraftwerk Mannheim.

It was a short trip on the ferry and it cost us 1 Euro each. A chap came to chat to us about our bikes whilst we were on there – he had been to SPEZI last year.

We rode round the industrial bit of Mannheim and then found ourselves in a lovely green area with trees and walkers and cyclists etc, Waldpark, which had carpets of wild garlic.

We arrived at the Rheinterrasse restaurant which was our meeting point. It was originally planned for us to eat there but when Klaus tried to book it last night he discovered there was a wedding party there so had booked somewhere else, but as the track I had on my Garmin was to here then it was the best meeting place.

We ceremonially gave Klaus his present from SPEZI – a Union Jack buff to use as a flag.

We then headed off to meet Claudia and Lara at Dehus, a restaurant on Friesenheimer Insel. I liked seeing three flags blowing in the wind in front of me.

The BASF factory at Ludwigshafen (the other side of the Rhein) is amazingly large – 12km long apparently – and it looked huge and sprawling from our side of the river.

Claudia and Lara were waiting and after collecting my fresh clothing from them (and giving them a bag of worn clothing to take back to Kreis Viersen) we went into the restaurant for our meal.

Lara had a slinky toy with her withh which we spent a good amount of time playing. Here is Joyce modelling it.

The meal was very good but the owner of the restaurant was rather Basil Fawlty.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Claudia and Lara who were heading home for another normal week of work and school whilst we were lucky enough to continue cycle touring. Lara seems to have slightly got the bug for touring as she was asking me how long it would take to ride from Berlin to Usedom. (Answer, 190km = 4-5 days I suppose).

A slight navigation error by me meant we reached the end of this little island with no bridge so had to ride back to the restaurant (we had set off whilst Klaus was still sorting out his bike) and from there go to the chain ferry across this bit of the port.

After the chain ferry we pootled along the Rhein Deich again towards Worms, seeing signs showing it was getting closer.

Joyce had to pose for a photo at this car.

It was a relatively short ride today – I ended up doing 56.42km – and so fairly soon we saw the bridge that crosses the Rhein at Worms.

A short ride around the outskirts of Worms found us at the Hotel Asgard where I had stayed previously. I had responded to an email from Booking.com about upgrading my room for 8€ to include tea & coffee making facilities, more room and a bathrobe and slippers. I know how to live! Anyway, here was my kitchenette…

And even some cutlery to eat the free fruit that was here!

We wandered into Worms for food.

I had cleverly turned the radiator in my room onto high (and put my clothes on it). However, when I walked back into the room it was like a sauna! So I turned the radiator off and rigged the washing line in the only sensible place – across the door to the room. Hopefully there won’t be a fire alarm tonight!

Tomorrow we are riding to Eltville.

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SPEZI 6 – Speyer to Germersheim, SPEZI Radmesse

Saturday 25 April 2015

Speyer to Germersheim map

Today was the day for the supposed purpose of this trip – the SPEZI Radmesse – although of course that was just an excuse for a nice bike tour!

Joyce and Simon and I met for breakfast and it was very pleasant with a good selection and a very tasty fruit salad. The lady made us two cups of tea too.

My room at Gasthaus Halbmond was very nice but Joyce and Simon had a bonus in their room – a turret in the corner! This was their drying turret as they had their wet clothes hanging in there. Very posh!

The forecast for today was rain and unfortunately I had hoped the rain would hold off until tomorrow (when I get my bag with changes of clothing and my waterproof jacket from Claudia). I had a pack-a-mac with me but it is rather boil in the bag. Fortunately Simon had another showerproof jacket with him and lent it to me. Yes, I am wearing team Sky clothing!

We set off under cloudy skies at about half past nine for our 22km ride to Germersheim and SPEZI.

After about twenty minutes it started to spit with rain, then got a little heavier so we stopped to put on rain clothing.

It was a lovely ride to Germersheim along the Rhein Deich again. We saw some other cyclists going in our direction including a group of about seven including a couple on a Hase Pino and another guy on an very odd-looking recumbent bike. We chatted to them for about ten minutes – they all seemed to think I had cycled from the UK too and gave me credit I did not deserve!

We soon arrived at Germersheim which is a slightly odd town. I think the US Army used to be there but have now pulled out as it seems to be rather dying on its feet with lots of empty shops. But as soon as you arrive at the exhibition area you are knee-deep in weird bikes.

As soon as we arrived at the exhibition area and stopped we bumped into these chaps – Hartmut and Jochen from Kempen. The first faces we saw. Small world!!!

We parked our trikes – they seemed a source of interest to many passers-by throughout the day. I think the Union Jack flags helped.

Talking of flags, we each bought a new flagpole from the stand just inside the main hall. 8 Euros for a flagpole is a bargain!

We had a couple of little jobs to do, one of which was to talk to ICE about Simon’s elastomer. His red one had squashed rather impressively on the ride through the Netherlands.

I didn’t have a spare green elastomer (I only have one, but three reds due to sending a part back with a green and getting a red in return) but had lent him a red which he was using alongside the squashed one. But we found Lois from ICE on the ICLETTA stand and asked her if she had any suggestions. She said she’d look in their box of random bits when she had a break and to come back later and see if she had found one. ICE being very helpful as usual.

Klaus wanted me to chat to Thomas Seide of Steintrikes and experience the full force of his personality. However he was mega busy, surrounded by people all the time as he rattled off facts about his trikes at full speed. He periodically stood on the trike seat and bounced up and down to show off the suspension as well!

On the Bike Revolution (Steintrikes) stand was this Wild One in green and purple.

I bumped into Michael, who had ridden with us two days ago, and we had a good chat, also with his friend who had broken his leg so was in a wheelchair (but is normally in a Milan velomobile). I also finally met Gerhard who often comments on this blog – he spotted me and came and said hello – and had brought me an apple pastry!

As usual at Spezi there were lots of interesting bikes to see.

And a four-wheeled Quest

And also some interesting people.

Simon and Joyce decided to look at bike trailers as they’re thinking of touring in Germany again in the autumn but camping rather than using hotels. They spent a lot of time looking at the hinterher.com stand.

…and the deal was done with a special offer.

We said we’d go for lunch whilst they sorted out a few bits and bobs with the trailer so we could take it away with us. So Simon, Joyce and I walked into the centre of Germersheim and found a lunch spot.

We returned from lunch and went back to the ICE stand to see if Lois had had any luck with the replacement elastomer. She wasn’t there but there was an envelope for Simon…

Once again, excellent service from ICE!

It was time to collect the trailer too – and I had an impulse buy of a new tyre for 10€ (a Schwalbe Energizer Plus 20″). Here are both together.

Of course I’d need to carry the tyre with me to the lunch tomorrow when we’ll meet up with Claudia (in her car) at which point she could take it home for me. Except I bumped into Jochen again, who lives in Kempen and came by car today. I bought him an ice cream and he agreed to take the tyre home for me.

We’d had a good look round and it was time to go. Here we all are (with Hartmut too).

I hadn’t slept too well as my room was very light. Sitting on Alfie again was rather comfy and I fancied a nap.

So we said goodbye to the various people we’d seen. I had also seen Oliver (who appears on this blog and lives fairly near me in NL) and it was great to catch up with him again. But it was time to head the 22km back to Speyer.

On the way Joyce and Simon decided to climb this log pile.

My purchases for the day were the flagpole, the tyre and this fetching baseball cap…

The total ride distance was 45.44km at an average of 15.8km/h so a nice rest day.

We arrived back at our hotel – here you can see the turret room that Joyce and Simon have.

After showering and washing our clothes we headed off for a meal in Speyer – this time at a Greek restaurant.

I spent some time sorting out what clothes I will give to Claudia tomorrow to take home for me – she has a bag of fresh clothes I packed last week. The forecast is for cooler weather and more rain so riding conditions won’t be as perfect but I’m looking forward to getting back on the road again after the rest day today – and it will be good to have Klaus join up with us again. And now we also have a trailer to put all our stuff in!!

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SPEZI 5 – Nierstein to Speyer

Friday 24 April 2015

Nierstein to Speyer map

Today we were heading from Nierstein to Speyer which would involve cycling past Ludwigshafen/Mannheim and waving goodbye to Klaus who would head off north-east of Mannheim.

I had a better night’s sleep, fortunately, so felt much more energetic for the day.

After an excellent breakfast we got our trikes ready to leave the garage.

We headed off through Nierstein and onto the Rhine Cycle Path.

However after just a few kilometres there were diversion signs for the Radweg – which we duly followed. This involved lots of faffing through some villages and riding a good distance away from the Rhein. It also included riding through vineyards again.

I was absolutely delighted with yet another climb over a bridge. But at least the view from the top was nice.

Klaus had decided for some unfathomable reason to ride up onto the bridge in top gear so had to have a rest.

The diversion seemed to be going on forever but eventually we rejoined the Rhine route – and the Garmin showed that the diversion had added an extra 6km onto our tally for the day. As the planned route was 90km this looked like it might end up another 100km day.

Klaus had thought previously he would leave us at Gernsheim but we were making such good progress and it was a beautiful day for cycling that he decided to carry on a bit further with us, to Worms. But a headwind sprung up so we decided to form a chain gang – that is, to ride in a row very close to the person in front to make the most of them as windbreaks.

This turned out to be a much more effective tactic than we had thought. We rode for nine kilometres like this and our average speed increased in this sector from 14-15km/h to 23-24!! At one point Klaus was dragging us along at 28 km/h. I will be interested to see my heart rate monitor data when I get back to my proper computer as we were all working hard, each of us taking a 1km turn on the front. But it was brilliant fun and really good for the legs and lungs.

Consequently the distance flew by and we were soon at the outskirts of Worms where we saw this English mine.

Which was near this boat which is a clubhouse for retired navy personnel.

Before Klaus headed off we decided to have a cake and found a bakery where I decided to go for this rather fine chocolate roulade.

My companions went for a Streusel:

A Lemon cake

And a fruit tasche.

I had to make a visit to a chemist’s shop to get some more sun cream – it’s been very strong and as it’s early in the year I’m not terribly well acclimatised.

We waved goodbye to Klaus who headed off over the bridge in Worms. We’ll meet up with him again on Sunday for lunch with his family in a restaurant before they head home and he carries on with us on the bike again.

After we left Klaus I led us through the complicated underpasses (which had been completely flooded the last time I was here). A minor episode of navigational failure had us riding along a railway line for a few metres before we extricated ourselves and headed off along more excellently-asphaled Deich (dyke).

We had 50km to go which was a fair way so we kept our speed up. It was a hot day (22 degrees) and we had a headwind but all three of us seemed to be able to keep up a similar pace and we enjoyed the ride, chatting and looking at the changing scenery.

As we were riding through a village on the other side of Ludwigshafen we saw two velomobiles, an orange Quest and a white one, and shouted hello. They were undoubtedly on their way to SPEZI.

We decided it was time for an ice cream but no ice cream shop was forthcoming for quite a while. We were all getting a bit parched and tired so eventually when we rolled along past the village of Altrip we took a detour to the centre and found an Eis café.

We decided to take a selfie to show Klaus what he was missing (he had taunted us with photographs of his cycling gear having been through a proper washing machine at his parents’, not being washed by hand in the shower like we have to do).

We each also bought bottles of water and drank the lot – a windy, hot day means you can get dehydrated quite easily. We also reapplied suntan cream.

Then it was onwards, just 15km to Speyer. The signs were looking good that we were on the right track!

As we approached our hotel it was clear we would just have 97.5km on the clock. That clearly would not do so I took us on a couple of circuits of a large local park to bring our distance for the day up to a respectable amount: 100.2km with a moving average of 15.4 km/h.

We checked in at Gästehaus zur Halbmond which we will stay at for two nights. The rooms were great – I had a twix on my pillow!

After the shower and clothes washing we went downstairs for dinner as the place had looked great. The menu was not particularly extensive but the food was excellent.

A free starter of bread and creamy stuff.

Simon enjoyed his first Radler (a kind of shandy)

We had all gone for a Spargel (asparagus) main course. Simon and I chose asparagus with Wiener Schnitzel.

Joyce went for the herb pancake option.

Once again we were tired after our riding, particularly because of the hot day, so it was an early night for us. The owner of the Guesthouse asked me if she could try my trike tomorrow – I said of course!

Tomorrow is our trip to SPEZI so just 40km for the day with an interesting day looking around the exhibition in the middle. I know of loads of friends going so it will be great to catch up with everyone.

You will be able to read all about it tomorrow of course! (thank goodness for the excellent WiFi at the Guesthouse for all the photos!)

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SPEZI 4 – St Goar to Nierstein

Thursday 23 April 2015

St Goar to Nierstein map

I had a fairly bad night’s sleep last night so felt pretty pooped all day – fortunately it was to be a shorter day at just 80km. Nigel had already decided not to ride all the way to Nierstein with us but to stop in Mainz; his knees were hurting and it was best for him not to press on to SPEZI.

Anyway, we set off from St Goar on a day that looked like it would be sunny and nice. We were travelling further through the ‘castles and wine’ section of the Rhine and there were always interesting sights.

I particularly liked this floating generator.

 

Here’s the information about it (in German).

The plan was to stop in Bingen for cake but this proved harder than we thought as there were lots of roadworks going on in the pedestrian area and it actually took us a little while to find a suitable Konditorei.

Of course I eventually succeeded and we found a place with a good selection of cakes (although a touch pricey).

My fellow travellers also liked the English Tea option (bringing their own teabags), so here was our table – four English teas and one Latte Maccchiato (for the German in our group).

There was a Hildegard von Bingen Kuchen so I had to have that of course!

Klaus decided to have some cheesecake despite his current diet of limited carbohydrate.

Joyce had a florentine which turned out to be rather expensive at 2,20€.

Simon had an Apple Cake

And Nigel had a strawberry cake.

So a good selection was had by all!

After settling up we headed off again towards Mainz, our idea for a lunch stop.

The interesting thing about cycle touring is that the landscape changes throughout the day as you cycle. We were now away from the deep gorge that the Rhine has cut around St Goar and were in flat, open land again.

Today on our ride we saw several storks which were wonderful – one on a nest and several others wheeling around in the sky on the thermals. Wonderful!

We couldn’t resist taking a photo at the sign for Sporkeheim – here is Simon holding aloft his titanium spork!

We were whizzing along on a Deich (dyke) beside the Rhine with some reasonable speed but I had to stop at this see-saw.

The reason is that there has long been discussion about why I descend faster than Klaus on the trikes. The obvious reason is that I am heavier. So I said one day we will have to try a see-saw to find out for sure. So we got off the bikes, trudged across the sand to the see-saw, sat on it and went up and down a couple of times (Klaus somehow managed it so he appeared to be heavier) and then went back to our bikes and carried on. I think the woman sitting there must have been utterly bemused as to what was going on.

I had to take this photo too – a sign for Klaus at his river (as he calls it).

As I was having a slow day the journey to Mainz seemed to take quite a long time but eventually we arrived, via a couple of off-road sections, and then it was time to say goodbye to Nigel who was heading for his campsite. We had all been very impressed about how well he handled his trike and trailer combination, especially as he only has one arm! We wish him well on his further adventures (he is heading to the Mediterranean).

We then wended our way to the centre of Mainz for some food. I had the soup.

The day was feeling long for most of us I think so the final section to Nierstein, as time was marching on a bit, felt quite lengthy. Particularly as the route went uphill a bit through some vineyards – but lovely scenery!

I photographed this sign for Roter Hang – their wine was available in the restaurant we chose in the evening.

We arrived at the Best Western Hotel in Nierstein (the most expensive hotel any of us have booked for this trip but the hotels were all pricey there) and found very nice, spacious rooms with good facilities. Including an underground garage for the trikes.

After the usual showering, washing of clothes and finding somewhere to hang them we headed out to find food, wandering around Nierstein before settling on a restaurant. Our table was in the Keller.

I had chips and a burger.

I was utterly shattered by the end of the day so was pleased to be in bed by 10pm. My body is getting used to the longer days of riding but I always find it difficult to sleep if a room doesn’t have blackout curtains once the sun comes up. The problem of summer!!!

The total distance today was 83.2km at an average speed of 13.7 km/h. Our moving time was 6 hours. I was considerably to blame for the slow speed as when I am tired I get slower and slower and after my bad night I was pretty pooped. Still, it wasn’t a race!!!!

The next day we would be riding to Speyer, just 20km north of Germersheim, and also saying goodbye to Klaus who wasn’t coming to SPEZI with us but visiting his parents. Our group of five would reduce to three…

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SPEZI 3 – Bad Breisig to St Goar

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Bad Breisig to St Goar map

Today was going to be a lot cooler, according to the weather forecast, so we fortified ourselves with breakfast in our fab Guest House.

This was sitting in the dining room off the kitchen – a wonderful English country-style kitchen with aga-type oven (called a Falcon). We had bread rolls, cheese and ham and she cooked scrambled eggs for Klaus who is eating minimal carbohydrates at the moment. But we also had as part of breakfast some cake!

Whilst we were finishing breakfast Nigel arrived on his trike & trailer from the campsite and our landlady gave him a cuppa too.

A small amount of trike fettling took place (Simon sorted my bar-end shifter which was a bit too slack) and then we gathered for the landlady to take a photo of us.

We set off with the Rhine to our left again, in a rather cloudy and chilly day with some wind.

After a short distance a recumbent two-wheeler appeared in our rear view mirrors. He said hello to Joyce and Simon at the back and they said there were German speakers at the front so the rider soon came alongside me – and I recognised him. We had met at the Trike Treffen last May. He, too, was on his way to SPEZI and we had a good chat. Michael had set off from Osnabrück on Monday and ridden 170km the first day. Today he was heading to Bingen so rode with us until Boppard – it was great to have him to chat to although our speed was notably less than he usually rides at.

Today had a few obstacles – steep inclines with hairpin bends and Drängelgitter appeared occasionally. For the trikes they can be a bit awkward but Nigel with his trailer had quite a lot more bother with them but he always manages to get through.

We had a cheery hello from these chaps chainsawing a fallen tree. One of them had to reverse the van a fair way so we could get past.

Soon we were riding on what were to me very familiar tracks as I had a week’s holiday in Koblenz with the bike a couple of years ago. We crossed the bridge over the Mosel and were soon in Koblenz at Deutsches Eck.

We created quite a stir with the tourists who were photographing us – but we had an interesting display from a Viking Cruise Ship which was broadside across the river, travelling downstream with the current before powering up and heading down the Mosel. Clever driving!

Here we all are in formation.

And then we lined up in front of the statue of Kaiser Wilhelm. Photo taken by Michael our two-wheeled companion.

We continued on along the impressive waterfront in Koblenz which was abloom with beautiful tulips.

Klaus knew of a good café in Koblenz so we headed there for a burger and cup of tea. The staff were really friendly and helpful and we had a good relaxing break there. The six recumbents parked outside caused a lot of interest for passers-by.

Klaus had been regularly assumed to be British as he was travelling with four Brits which caused great horror to him, so whilst he’d popped to a chemist for some After Sun we fixed one of my cycling buffs, which has a Union Jack flag on it, to his flagpole. He didn’t notice until we were parking the bikes up for the evening. Here is Killer his trike flying the British flag!

Between Koblenz and Rhens there’s a long cobbled section which really rattles your teeth out. Klaus’s Wild One trike has front suspension which makes a real difference so Simon tried it out.

More obstacles!

We reached Boppard and with 15 more kilometres to do it was time for cake, so I led us to a Konditorei that had been my furthest point on my first ever cycle tour of the Rhine. At this point Michael carried on as he was heading to Bingen today.

Joyce and Simon each had one of these.

I had this lovely strawberry cake with cream.

Simon had to do a bit of fettling of Joyce’s trike when we came out as the mudguard was being really rattly. Here is his excellent ratchet allen key set!

However it turned out she now had a broken mudguard stay.

The answer was to take the mudguard off and throw it away!

We just had to find a bin!

We rolled into St Goar and found our hotels.

Then after a bit of a break it was time for food. Soup:

And our main courses.

      

We have 80km to ride tomorrow and we will also tomorrow say goodbye to Nigel who feels it sensible to have a rest day as his knees are complaining a little. He’ll travel with us as far as Mainz and then stop there for a day.

Today was a great day and despite the cooler weather we saw lots of wonderful scenery – the river, castles, vineyards – and cake!

Total distance today was 74.1km at an average speed of 14.2 km/h which took us 5 hours 14 minutes.

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