Mosel 2009 – Treis-Karden to Traben-Trarbach

Day 5 – Thursday 28th May

Distance: 44.34 miles; time: 4:03:48; Average speed: 10.9 mph; Max speed: 21.0 mph; Calories (guesstimate as Garmin lost ’em): 3000

After breakfast I set off at 9am, wanting to get on the road so I could do my riding in the morning and hopefully arrive at either Traben-Trarbach or Bernkastel-Kues (whichever I feel like, Bernkastel is farther) with enough time to have a look around again.

I put on armwarmers today, not particularly because it was cold (although that headwind was there again) but more to keep my arms out of the sun for a day. I also decided to wear my other, much thinner-framed glasses, as I have very much the look of an owl about my face at the moment.

I didn’t see another cyclist for the first half hour (lazy people!) but as I neared Cochem, my internet-cafe stop, I saw a few. On my way back along the Mosel I will stop in Cochem for the night as I’d forgotten how nice it was! At the Internet cafe I was able to download my photos to my Flickr account which is rather good.

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The route from Cochem westwards was really good and fast and I was regularly cruising at 14mph, a first for this tour! The cycle path markings were also very good and easy to follow, which was useful as my German Tourist Board GPS route wanted me to cross over at Cochem and go on the other side of the river. Which I didn’t want to do – I plan to go all the way to Trier on the north side and all the way back on the south side. The Garmin had a hiccup anyway over a particularly dramatic bump and turned itself off (it does this about once a week over a big bump) and I didn’t notice instantly; annoyingly it forgets the calorie calculation so I’ve had to guess at calories for today, not that it’s that accurate anyway probably.

I had planned to stop for lunch at Bullay but then discovered it was the other side of the Mosel from the side I was cycling and I missed the bridge. Never mind, I trundled on to Zell which was a rather pretty village… mostly on the other side of the river. There was a footbridge that I used to get across the river which had a most exciting steep descent with plenty of rubber marks on the tarmac from madly-braking cyclists. My trike’s brakes are great so no problem.

I faffed about choosing somewhere for lunch (why? Everywhere is generally good in Germany) and ended up at yet another Italian restaurant. I parked my trike outside within view and settled down for a leisurely lunch as my overnight stop, Traben-Trarbach, was only another 21km further. Nothing like an Italian take on Chicken & Chips with Mushroom Sauce.

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As I was sitting down to eat the first drops of rain fell so I went to the bike to put the waterproof cover thingie over the panniers. Some passers-by had stopped to admire it and they asked what the cover was for. “Gegen Regen” I replied, rather pleased with the rhyming! The rain stopped within a minute so by the time I returned to the trike the seat was dry.

I had my first equipment failure, however; the clip on the strap of my rucksack snapped. I have done a temporary fix which works fine for the rucksack on my shoulder but not to attach it to the trike – however the other strap still works for that. It was previously fixed to the trike in four places and is now only three, but I still think that’s pretty securely attached.

Seeing as my journey isn’t probably going to be as long as it could have been I have arranged for a ticket for an Andreas Scholl concert on the 12th June at the Wigmore Hall. I was really keen to go but thought I couldn’t risk it as I might not be home; it looks very likely that I will be now so I contacted a friend who usually has spare tickets and lo and behold she did. Hurrah!

Anyway, I set off on the shortish journey from Zell to Traben-Trarbach which was through vineyards along their service roads. There was a fair bit of uphill but it meant I got some good views of the valley – the Moselle is particularly twisty at this point. It was also interesting to see the narrow tractors the winegrowers have that fit between the rows of vines.

On this tour I’ve seen a few tandems, including one towing a trailer; I reckon that where I have problems fitting my trike are probably similarly difficult for tandems, which are longer than my trike. But the vast majority of people are on normal bikes, mostly hybrids or bog-standard shopper types, a few mountain bikes and a very few racers. Virtually every shop has a bike rack outside and cycles are everywhere. Cars take really good care and seem to let me out at junctions very courteously. The cycling experience here is very good, and I just love those (mostly) flat routes.

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As I arrived at Traben-Trarbach, a very attractive town either side of the river (one side is Traben, the other Trarbach, but I have no idea which is which) and eventually found the hotel I had chosen from my Bett & Bike book.

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It is a very interesting looking old building and I’m on the 3rd floor. The room is OK, not brilliant, but the cost is 35€ for the night.

When I arrived and found they had a room I asked about the bike parking (something I think is very important). It turned out that the bike parking is actually an empty shop next to the hotel – with huge glass windows. So my bike has pride of place in there, although the hotel owner had to get her son to lift it through the rather narrow doorway.

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Some more spots of rain arrived as I entered the hotel so I timed that just right. The very friendly lady (who described me to her husband as ‘a really nice female cyclist’) offered me some free wine. When I said I didn’t drink wine she offered me grape juice, which I also turned down. I explained that I only drink tea, water and orange juice, and that I’d had loads of orange juice at lunchtime. We agreed I could have some free tea later. She then said my German was ‘perfekt’ which I think is rather overstating the case!

So a shower/clothes wash, unpacking my panniers (my non-SPD shoes are always at the bottom), a handful of non-melted Smarties and off I voyaged to the internet cafe that I’d seen as I cycled into the town. It’s the other side of the bridge between the two halves of the town, but of course I don’t know which side that is!

Traben-Trarbach looks like the sort of place that would be good to visit for a few days as it has lots of museums (including apparently a ‘Fahrrad Museum – eintritt frei’ which when I went in appeared to just be a wine shop rather than bicycle museum), lots of nice buildings and a never-ending supply of wine and food. I shall set off tomorrow morning, though, to reach Trier and the furthest point of my Mosel Voyage.

I raced a barge today (and won!) although he was going upstream – but I had a headwind (although so did he, I suppose).

So it’s been a good day and I’m looking forward to my cup of tea and some more smarties when I return to my room.

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