Ko2Ko – Karlsruhe to Speyer

It was another early start by me this morning – I seem to be waking up early and raring to get on the road.

Today I cycled to Speyer, which turned out to be an exceptionally nice city.

Here’s my total distance travelled so far.

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And here is my route today, which as you can see has some odd squiggles – all will be revealed below!

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Anyway, I headed out trying to work my way to the Rhein cycle path (in last night’s blog I stated that I wanted to follow the path as much as possible). The thing is, my hotel was in the centre of Karlsruhe which was nearly four miles as the crow flies from the route of the cycle path. No problem, I had a short cycling day today (35 miles).

I stuck a waypoint on the cycle path on my Garmin and let it lead me there.

It picked a rather nice cycle path through some parkland.

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This was good and fast and there were lots of other cyclists. I saw signage for Wörth am Rhein which was the next town I would go through (tthe other side of the Rhein to Karlsruhe) and I decided to follow these signs rather than the Garmin.

Maybe that wasn’t the best idea as in due course I lost sight of the signs and had to go back to the Garmin. The four miles to Waypoint distance seemed to be stretching out a bit and I had to do some fiddly crossing of some major roads. I eventually arrived at my waypoint after six miles, which was rather further than it should have been, but that’s life.

I turned onto the cycle route and starting pedalling, at the same time making a waypoint on the TrackMyTour app. Then I noticed water and stopped – oh dear, the path was flooded and I was 5cm deep in it before noticing!

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Fortunately I was wearing sandals so I could put a foot down and push myself back onto dry land. The Banana Bags stayed out of the water, fortunately!

Rather annoyingly I was at the end of a long stretch on a little island and had to retrace my route for a mile and a half before I had a chance to aim for a different, downstream bit of cycle path. Which I duly did, arriving at the path via a rather unattractive following-my-nose ride through a large industrial estate, the Hafengebiet (docks area).

At last, after nine miles I reached a bit of cycle path that was above water!

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I rode along this for 100 metres, approaching an impressive looking weir. Which, I realised, was my route across this bit of dockyard… but was decidedly higher than the path I was on.

I rounded a corner and was faced with this.

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There’s nothing like the thought of having to carry your trike and luggage up and down a long flight of stairs, having ridden over nine miles and still being in the same town you started. I said a couple of rude words (which is unusual for me), disconnected the luggage from the trike, hefted it onto my hip and climbed.

The view at the top was interesting – lots of gravel being loaded into barges.

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And then I had to do the same down the other side. A speedy racing cyclist was carrying his lighter-than-air carbon bike up the steps so I waited for him. When he got to the top where I was standing he asked if I needed help but I said no, it’s easier to carry the trike ono my own down stairs. He and I had a little chat aabout where there is flooding and which route I should take from now. He was yet another Karlsruhan who had a pierced lip – loads of the youngsters seem to have these piercings; not something that appeals to me at all!

Here is Alfie patiently waiting at the top of the stairs. I had just carried my luggage down, being very careful I didn’t drop it into the Rhein!

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After this I had a long, straight bit of tarmac and eventually I reached the bridge over the Rhein at Maximiliansau. I had done 10.2 miles and was finally leaving Karlsruhe. I liked Karlsruhe but could have done without all the extra pedalling around!

Here I am crossing the bridge – the Rhein is pretty wide here.

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The view northwards as I crossed.

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The route now wound its way to Wörth am Rhein, beside (but set away from) the B9 dual carriageway. I did like this sign, though – it’s Grim oop North, particularly where Scottish people live!

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The route soon turned away from the main road and started going through an industrial area on a well-surfaced bit of tarmac. I hadn’t realised what industry was taking place until I read this:

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Before long we were past the buildings of Mercedes Benz and heading out into open countryside. I had a four or five mile stretch of lovely smooth, straight track, following a pair of cycle tourists with panniers but who were riding mountain bikes with knobbly tyres.

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At this point I decided to try to do a bit of mental arithmetic about how many times I had turned the pedals on this tour. This required me to know how far I had gone already, which I didn’t (as my cycle computer stopped working in the rain), but I did discover I did 210 full pedal revolutions in one mile (this was on a flat, straight path in a high gear so is probably about my minimum cadence).

Anyway, now I’m back at the hotel with the records of previous days I can inform you that I have ridden (in miles):

Day 1 – Great Bromley to Harwich: 16 miles
Day 1 – Hoek van Holland to Düsseldorf: 59.94
Day 3 – Konstanz to Meersburg: 37.74
Day 4 – Meersburg to Höchst: 11
Day 5 – Höchst to Stein am Rhein: 52.65
Day 6 – Stein am Rhein to Waldshut-Tiengen: 45.45
Day 7 – Waldshut-Tiengen to Weil am Rhein: 51.22
Day 8 – Weil am Rhein to Breisach: 43.10
Day 9 – Breisach to Kehl am Rhein: 55.40
Day 10 – Kehl am Rhein to Karlsruhe: 49.15
Day 11 – Karlsruhe to Speyer: 47.11
Total so far: 468.76 miles (just under 750km).
And I make that 98,439.6 total pedal revolutions.

James just asked me through iMessage if I think I have cycled off all the calories from the cake. I’ve gotta say, I don’t quite know. Maybe, maybe not, but I shall keep eating ’em!

The route now gave me two options, one crossing the Rhein to the east bank and the other going through the village of Leimersheim. There is a route marked on the map but with crosses on it – apparently it would be opened in 2014.

As it was 11:15 I thought it time for a cake stop so headed into Leimersheim in search of a bakery. Which I duly found.

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This was filled with a kind of nut paste – yummy!

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From Leimersheim the route headed away from the river and towards the village of Kuhardt (which was up a bit of a steep hill). I was puzzling over the direction of one of the Radweg signs in Kuhard when a chap on a racing bike stopped to talk to me. He gave me route advice to get to Speyer (although I had my Garmin and book) but he told me something very useful – that north of Speyer the left hand side (west) bank of the Rhein is far more attractive a route than the right (east). That was worth knowing!!

From Kuhardt the route headed to Hördt, past some interesting fields which had all sorts growing in about 100 metre widths including oats, wheat, potatoes and, of course, Spargel (asparagus).

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From Hördt the route headed towards Sondernheim (with signage for Germersheim, my planned lunch stop) and the cycle path was a little more distant from the road.

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As I approached Sondernheim there was a bit of a hint that I needed to take a different route.

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Note the helpful signage – turn left for Speyer and Germersheim ‘bei Hochwasserr’ (when there is high water) and the other way was presumably for normal use.

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The alternative route was exactly parallel to the official route but the other side of the bund. There was a chance to look over the top, though, which I took.

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In the background behind the waste bin you can see a cycle path sign – don’t think anyone’s going to be using that path except by boat for a bit!

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Father Rhine is being rather overbearing!

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A bit further on I had another look.

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Having had a good look at the Rhein flooding I headed off to Germersheim for lunch. The name is probably familiar to other recumbent owners as each year in April there is a special event called SPEZI for unusual bikes and the conference/exhibition takes place in Germersheim. ICE were here this year so it was good for Alfie to visit the same place.

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I ordered an ice cream (not sure why my bat wing arm is bulging out like that but it’s my dodgy arm and doesn’t always behave!)

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And here’s a close up.

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After lunch I had just fourteen miles to go which was a relief as it was getting really hot again.

The landscape was pretty flat now (no sign of the Schwarzwald now that I am in Rheinland Pfalz rather than Baden Württemberg) – there were some windmills visible on the horizon.

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After Lingenfeld there was another diversion because of high water but this time they’d made some very posh signs with the Rhein Radweg logo.

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The route into Speyer passed Flughafen Speyer/Ludwigshafen which had a giant aeroplane fixed onto a gantry. This pic makes it look like it was on the petrol statipn roof, which it wasn’t!

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They also had an American fighter plane (a mustang?)

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I rode through the centre of Speyer to reach my hotel and was immediately very struck by how attractive the town was.

I arrived at the hotel Alt Speyer.

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This hotel has excellent reviews on Bookinng.com and I can see why – the staff have been really friendly and helpful. However they had a brand new Wifi router (purchased yesterday) and it wasn’t working quite right. Although I had a decent signal in the bedroom it didn’t work although it was fine downstairs in the reception area so that’s where I sat to write up this blog, chatting occasionally with the staff too.

Here are the statistics for today from my Garmin. Somehow I did ten extra miles, which is presumably that faffing around Karlsruhe and a few floodwater diversions. However I should get brownie points for sticking to the official cycle track!

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After my shower (which included washing my cycling SPD sandals as they were getting a bit whiffy) I headed out to look around Speyer.

This is a gate to the main street, Maximilianstraße.

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It’s mostly pedestrianised with more Eiscafés than you can shake a stick at!

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Right at the end is the Kaiserdom cathedral.

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It was a gorgeous building and very long (which you can’t see from my poor pic).

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All this walking around had tired me out so it was time for some tea and cake. Look what I found!

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I wrote up some of my blog and then at 7:45pm went out to find some food.

First of all I found a bike shop with a bike with fantastic orange wheel rims and chain!

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And a hairdresser whose name doesn’t inspire me!

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The light was gorgeous on the Altpörtel gate.

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I saw this Challenge Furai recumbent bike leaning up on a flowerpot beside the café where I atee my meal.

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Which was a burger and chips!

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It was then back to my hotel to finish the blog. I popped into a supermarket and bought a banana for breakfast tomorrow as breakfast isn’t included in the room rate and it’s 6€ so I’ll do without, apart from the fruit (the hotel supplies free apples, oranges and kiwi so I have picked up a couple for my fruit salad breakfast).

On the way back to the hotel I passed the Gedächtniskirche which was another impressive building.

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Tomorrow the plan is to visit Worms and I have booked a hotel there which is a modern one and half a kilometre from the centre but it’s a good price. Worms should just be 40 miles away but on today’s experience who knows – I have to pass Ludwigshafen and Mannheim on the way there which gives plenty of opportunity for detours.

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

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