Friday 24 April 2015
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!)