Category Archives: Cycle Tours

Bodensee 2019 Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach

We didn’t have such a great night’s sleep as it was so hot. The fan had a 2 hour timer and switched off after that; I woke up twice and switched it back on, and Klaus did it once in the night too.

I woke at 5am as an alarm went off, a kind of recurring trumpet fanfare which sou ded for a minute and then paused for 10 minutes. I couldn’t sleep through it so sat outside in the little courtyard that was cooler. It wasn’t till 6:30am that someone switched it off. Very antisocial, although fortunately Klaus was able to sleep through it.

We had our breakfast early and then the hotel manager helped us get the Velomobiles out of the laundry room. Fortunately the day was a lot cooler so the ride ahead of us was more appealing.

Our route for the day started through Klaus’s old stomping ground.

He grew up in Einhausen and went to school in Lorsch and we passed through both of these towns in the first 15km of our tour.

On our way to Lorsch we saw another Velomobile on the other side of the road. It was a white Evo K with red markings on the side, and the guy waved at us, but we don’t know who he is.

In Lorsch we took a minor detour so we could visit the Kloster that I visited last month during Klaus’s class reunion. This time we were there under our own muscle power though! (Well, a bit of battery power for me too).

The sun was rather low as it was 8am so it was tricky to get some good photos. Here is photographer Klaus.

Several groups of schoolchildren walked past whilst we were talking our pictures and they all screamed and chattered excitedly about the weird bikes. We just enjoyed a five minute break.

Our route for the beginning of today was on Landstraßen and Klaus didn’t really know how busy they would be. In fact they were fine, not too much traffic at all, and we were able to make progress at a good speed. We averaged 31k./h for the first 55km.

We saw several storks today, including one nest with two parents and a very scruffy-looking fledgling. We also saw a deer running through a wheat field away from us. But mostly we were out in the countryside with a decent road quality.

After Lorsch and Einhausen we rode through Groß-Rohrheim and then Gernsheim, where we saw the Rhein again. We also saw, in the distance, the hills that we would be riding alongside as we started along the Rhein valley at Wiesbaden.

We were zooming along, riding through Biebesheim, Stockstadt and Riedstadt. We next arrived in Trebur after 55km of riding (with just a couple of wrong turns) and we decided to stop at a bakery for cake.

Tea and cake both eaten, we carried on again. We were both feeling good and pleased to be making so much progress – we only had another 65km to go and it was just 9:30 in the morning.

We rode onwards. I had already noticed a lot of Opel cars around and then saw the signs to Rüsselsheim where they are built, so that made sense!

Some of the roads we were riding along had cycle paths but we tended not to use them as we were so fast, plus there were hardly any cars overtaking us anyway.

This changed a bit as we approached Mainz. The traffic was heavier and it would probably have been good to use the cycle path but it was tricky to get to as we rode through Bischofsheim and in the end we crossed the River Main on the main road, riding in Mainz-Kostheim and Mainz-Kastel, although the main city of Mainz was the other side of the Rhein.

From here we were back on our outgoing route, riding along the river past Wiesbaden, through Schierstein, and then many of the little villages that we have passed on several tours. Walluf, where we stayed on our second night of this tour; Eltville, where we stayed on our SPEZI tour four years ago, Erbach, Hattenheim. With the railway to our right and the B42 to our left, we cycled along this wine region enjoying the sunshine and that it was not quite as hot as yesterday.

We rode into Oestrich-Winkel and then we were heading for Rüdesheim. I decided we should stop for ice cream in Rüdesheim and so stopped at a likely-looking place on the river front. We had some very good value ice creams!

We had plenty of time so also had a cup of tea/coffee whilst we relaxed a bit after our 95km of speedy riding.

We then crossed directly to Bingen, and of course lots of people on the ferry were asking us about the velomobiles.

It’s always good fun crossing the Rhein!

Although this crossing is a bit pricier than OST.

Our outward track on this journey took us on the main road between Bacharach and Bingen but we had ended up using part of the Rhein Radweg right next to the river. I had ridden this several times before and remembered it being not too bad, so I suggested to Klaus that we took this route rather than the road. I could remember it, and it was signposted, but I had also prepared a track for our Garmins last night.

So we came straight off the ferry and turned right onto the cycle path which we followed the entire way to Bacharach. Which was very convenient, and as it was a Thursday there weren’t too many tourists either.

We stopped for a look at the Rhein and Klaus got out two blankets from Emily (to use when she has a puncture and you have to lay her on her side) so we could sit on them, but I got too hot within a few minutes and so we had to give up on that plan. I am also a bit paranoid about ticks, and have found three walking on my arms/legs since I have been in Germany (fortunately not having yet attached themselves to me), so I am a bit reluctant to sit on the grass now.

So we got up again and carried on riding.

The Rhein valley in this area (Bingen to Trechtinghausen to Bacharach, Loreley, St Goar, Boppard etc) is narrow and has a busy road and a railway line squeezed into the narrow valley. The cycle path is also there. Here is Klaus racing a train.

This is also the section of Rhein valley where you can always see at least one castle.

The Radweg was mostly very good, but one of the latter sections did have a bit of a problem for me. There were various drainage channels built across the path, and these were mostly asphalt without too steep a dip, but o the final section between Rheindiebach and Bacharach they instead made very deep ones with cobbles. Fortunately the cobbles were a lighter colour so you could see them in advance, if they weren’t masked by the light and shade pattern of neighbouring trees.

Here is Klaus gingerly crossing one of these.

Millie crunched rather noisily each time I went over one of these. It rather makes one wince to hear the sound! The key is to go as slowly as possible, but not so slowly that you get stuck nose-first into one of these things. I think Millie’s underbody got a bit more remodelling today, but that’s life.

We arrived in Bacharach and made our way to the Hotel Burg Stahleck where we would collect the keys for our Guest House. It was good that we knew this in advance as the Guest House was 400 metres up a hill!

The staff of Hotel Burg Stahleck were really friendly. We had booked the smallest room but the chap gave us a free upgrade as he said the Guesthouse wasn’t very booked tonight. Our room ended up being a very decent size, and we had access to a balcony/terrace area where we hung our clothing after washing it in the shower. In the heat and with the wind it all dried very efficiently.

Here are our statistics for today’s ride:

Here is the entire route so far:

After a bit of a rest we headed down into Bacharach again. It’s a beautiful village with lots of interesting buildings.

Lots of the houses have German phrases painted onto them. They are very attractive!

Our destination was Hotel Burg Stahleck again as when collecting the key I had spotted their cake display case…

I had this nice cake.

Klaus went for this mango cream one.

After our cake and (naturally) tea, we walked the short distance to the Rhein and sat on a bench for a good hour, watching the ships and barges go past.

This ship, the Goethe, is a paddle-steamer. Well, it is driven by paddles both sides, but I think they may have a Diesel engine powering them!

We really enjoyed the time just sitting, chatting and enjoying the view of the river and all the different boats.

Then it was time for dinner. Klaus enjoyed some local wine.

I had a very tasty pork steak.

Klaus had Rinderroulade with Rotkraut.

At least half the other guests at this restaurant were American. I wonder if a tour boat had docked for the night at Bacharach.

I was also interested in the menu’s translation of the different words Kuchen and Torte.

For me, ‘pie’ is more likely to be savoury (“meat pie”, “shepherd’s pie”), although an Apple Pie is of course an exception.

After our very nice meal we walked back to our Guest House. The sun was shining on the castle at the top of the hill beside the mini valley on the way to our Guest House.

Tomorrow we ride back to Drachenfels, staying again at the vineyard. It’s a ride of 100km so should be very easy. Breakfast is late tomorrow, starting at 8:00, so we won’t be on the road as early. But we have plenty of time for the 100km and we know the route!

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Bodensee 2019 Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim

We were so tired last night that we went to bed at 8:30pm. Our cunning plan to leave really early this morning was foiled by the fact we woke up first at 6:30am. More than nine hours’ sleep each was very refreshing!

Despite waking a bit later than planned, we were still ready to head out at 7:15.

Emily had spent the night in the shed.

Millie had been hiding under the main outer staircase to the front door of the house. Pretty much in view for all who went past, but the alarm didn’t sound at all.

Here was our route for today:

And here the elevation profile – a bit of a hill to start with, then a mega downhill and the rest pretty much flat.

It was already warm as we set off, trundling our way from Gündelbach to Schützingen to Zaisersweiher. The road we were on was a bit busier than last night – I guess some commuter traffic – and we were causing a bit of a hold-up at times, but there was no cycle path we could use instead.

We then started climbing up the hill from Diefenbach to Sternenfels.

The climb was about 100 metres in total but didn’t seem too bad. We had considered stopping at the top as I knew there was a bakery but in the end I decided it would be better to stop after the downhill as that would cool us down anyway.

The downhill from Sternenfels to Oberderdingen was brilliant! It was a relatively smooth road with a few curves but nothing too sharp, so we could just let the velomobiles roll until our bravery ran out. I hit a top speed of just under 85 Kim/h and Klaus made it to 89. Both velomobiles were steady as a rock and very easy to control.

Having ridden a massive 16km it was time for breakfast in the bakery.

Klaus breakfasted on a piece of cake.

It was very hot in the bakery so we didn’t linger after eating our food.

Back outside again we checked the front of both velomobiles and we had several dead insects plastered onto the bikes’ noses.

Pretty much the rest of our tour would now be flat, with just a minor hill or two tomorrow on the way to Bacharach.

From Oberdingen we rode to Flehingen, this time on a cycle path beside the main road.

We were heading to the Kreichtal and in Gochsheim rode around some buildings on a bit of a hill. We then rode to Münzesheim and out the other side to Unteröwisheim. We had a mixture of riding on the road and riding on cycle paths.

In Unteröwisheim we were cycle on the road through the town when a lady from a side rode failed to stop and stuck the nose of her car right in front of Klaus. He made a speedy evasive manoeuvre and managed to avoid hitting her (she also slammed on the brakes). I was behind him and saw it all – it was incredibly close. The woman just pulled straight out of a side road without looking. I said some choice things to her as her window was down, but we carried on as there were cars behind us. In a normal bike that would have been a serious accident as the rider would have gone over the handlebars and onto the car bonnet. Plus in a Versatile or other high centre of gravity Velomobile it might have rolled. Good that we are in such safe, well-planted Velomobiles!

Once we were out of the town and able to park on a cycle path, Klaus took a few minutes to calm down his heart rate and recover from the shock.

I have to say, I find that German drivers tend to ride at full tilt to a junction and then brake really hard. As a cyclist passing this junction on the main road, it’s scary as you never know if they will stop. In the UK I think drivers tend to brake earlier for the junction, but perhaps this is just an impression I have and is not correct. Whatever, it means that when we are riding on main roads we give a wide berth to each side road, and in this case it saved Klaus an accident, had he been riding in the gutter.

At Ubstadt-Weiher our route turned more northwards and followed the Bundesstraße 3, although we found cycle paths for almost all of it last night when double-checking the route. These cycle paths were mostly OK, but the one below was a bit sub-optimal.

We had decided to ride a long way before stopping so zoomed through Bad Schönborn, carrying on along the B3 until we turned off to Rot. We passed Kreuz Walldorf, the motorway crossing of the A5 and A6 in comfort on our cycle path.

From Walldorf we rode to Sandhausen which had roadwork which necessitated us turning round (we couldn’t get through them) and doing a fiddly detour to rejoin our track.

After this we were on a cycle path which then took us away from the L598 that we should have continued cycling along and instead towards Leimen, where we didn’t want to go. We had to turn around again and go on the main road; I was slightly concerned about this as there was a police car stationed back at the traffic lights dealing with a minor traffic bump and I thought she might have something to say about us riding on the road, but I was able to shield myself from view beside a car transporter and zoomed along the short distance of Landstraße before we turned off.

We were now on a very rural bit of road…

So it was time to stop in the shade of a tree to have some more water, to pour some water over our heads and to generally relax for a bit. In the photograph below you can see Heidelberg in the distance.

We rode to the west of Heidelberg but did pass the old runway of the military airport. Klaus wondered if I wanted to stop to take a photo but I was so hot now that stopping was not appealing. At least when underway there is a breeze in the Velomobile; when we stopped now under the midday sun it was just baking hot!

We passed Pfaffengrund and Wieblingen and then got our first glimpse of the Neckar river for today. We rode through Edingen-Neckarhausen and in Neckarhausen we crossed the railway bridge on a cycle path beside it.

We didn’t have far to go, it was baking hot with a wind from the Sahara, so we pedalled onward through Heddesheim, where more roadworks involved a diversion, and then arrived in Viernheim. Just before Viernheim there was a bridge over the Bundesautobahn 659, and the cycle path crossing was quite complicated. Doubly-so when we realised the lights just weren’t changing for us. There was a button we should press but we had no way of reaching it, and Klaus had already crossed to the first traffic island anyway when there was nothing coming. I was waiting for him to move on to the next traffic island before I crossed (there was room for only one Velomobile per traffic island) but he had no chance.

Then I saw a chap on a bike riding towards me and asked him to press the button, which he did. Fortunately then the lights changed for Klaus and we were able to cross and ride the last 500 metres to our hotel. I felt like my head had been baked, sitting for what felt like 8 or 9 minutes at a traffic crossing.

Today was a shorter day and with the wicked temperatures that was very fortunate. We arrived at Hotel Tenne at 12:30pm having ridden 88km.

The hotel had building work going on but said they could store our bikes inside – they ended up in the Waschküche (laundry area).

The hotel manager offered us a drink and then said he had three rooms to offer. One was a large room with a balcony; the second was a smaller room on two floors, also with balcony but with the bedroom in the roof; the third choice was a very small room with no balcony and two separate single beds, but he said this was the coolest room. So we went for that one! It had the advantage of being almost next to where the bikes were being stored so we would hear the alarms if they went off.

The hotel manager also offered to wash our clothes for us in their washing machine and we gladly took him up on this offer. With the hot and sweaty riding we have not been able to get our cycling kit really clean by hand washing, so we hope a proper hotel washing machine can get the sweat stains out of Mr Grumpy’s shirt.

My weather app showed us the temperature today and for the next few days

34-37 degrees is just too hot, and although our room was cooler and had a oscillating fan, we decided we needed to find some air conditioning so we walked the five minutes too the Rhein Neckar Zentrum, a shopping centre, for some lunch.

Klaus had the Birne-Helene cake, I had a filled roll and later a meringue. We also had to buy Klaus another drink. He works much harder in Emily in the heat than I have to in Millie, plus he is less able to tolerate the real heat, so he has drunk gallons of liquid today and felt pretty pooped due to the heat.

We returned to our hotel to sit worshipping at the oscillating fan and to wait for the evening when we would go out for a meal with Klaus’s father. The original plan was to cycle the 11km to the restaurant but Klaus’s father instead offered to pick us up by car and we gladly accepted – we’d had enough of being outside in this heat!

He took us to a nice Italian restaurant at Karlstern and we ate well. When he dropped us back at the hotel we introduced him to the velomobiles – he has heard a or about them!

Tomorrow we have 120km to Bacharach, but the temperature should be less than today, maybe up to 31. We hope so as the weather as it is now is Just Too Hot!

This is a map of our entire tour so far… we have almost joined up with our outgoing route, and will do so tomorrow in Wiesbaden.

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Bodensee 2019 Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach

Our plan was to leave early this morning to try to beat the worst of the hot weather, and this was pretty successful as we breakfasted at 06:30 and were out of the door by 07:10. However we had the traditional 10 minutes’ explanation about velomobiles to some of the other hotel guests who were enjoying their breakfasts and had plenty of time to ask us questions.

Today would be our highest climbing at 700 metres plus, and with the hot weather this could be a challenge.

Here is our route for the day:

This was a route prepared using software tools and without local knowledge and this showed a little at times when we were routed along roads that might have been best avoided.

The elevation profile of day had four major hills – and the hardest came first.

A climb from 350 metres to 500 metres to start!

After a relatively easy initial few kilometres through Göppingen, we turned north towards Rechberghausen.

Here was a slow trundle up the hill, aiming at those houses you can see in the distance.

I overtook Klaus as he was using his Schlumpf and stopped at the top, looking back down over the road I had cycled up from the valley below.

We wound our way through the streets of Rechberghausen catching our breath and then there was a little more climbing – but we could tell when we were reaching the top!

What goes up must eventually come down, but first we rode along a slightly shady woodland section.

We rode through Börtlingen and then Breech and then started our downhill towards Schorndorf. At the top of this downhill we passed a roadie cyclist and then zoomed away from him down the 4km descent. We weren’t as fast today with our descending, we were both using the brakes quite a bit as we knew the descent ended in a town and we wanted to be going slow enough for that!

I took a wrong turn in Schorndorf when negotiating a series of junctions, and took the opportunity to replace my hat whilst stationary. I had removed it before the big downhill so it didn’t blow away, but without the baseball cap visor it is a bit tricky to read the Garmin in the bright sunlight. That’s my excuse for taking a wrong turn!

We rejoined the road and crossed over a roundabout onto a quiet path, at which point the roadie caught us up again. This time he asked about what motors we had, and I told him Klaus didn’t have one.

We left him behind us again and then found ourselves riding along a cycle path on a reasonably busy road when… ping! It disappeared!

So we both got out, dragged the bikes down the kerb (there was no dropped kerb of course), crossed the road and carried on along the cycle path on that side.

We went past Winterbach and then arrived at Geradstetten. I had a waypoint in my Garmin for a bakery and at the last minute saw it on the left hand side of the road (I had expected it on the right). I quickly turned left to park and rolled about 10 metres down a ‘no entry’ road (there was nothing coming the other way). I got out, and Klaus who had parked near me also got out, a lady outside started berating me for riding down a ‘no entry’. I said “I saw it at the last minute, and normally bikes are allowed down No Entry ways anyway” but she carried on complaining, then said “is this a bike??” And I said “Yes”, but she still went on and on moaning. In the end Klaus just said (in German) “give it a rest!” And we went into the bakery. These sort of busybody things are just annoying – she was just a lady who had driven to the bakery to buy bread rolls.

Anyway, we had a cake and a tea and relaxed a bit.

As we were leaving I spoke to two ladies who had been sitting on a bench outside the café the whole time. I said “I am cycling the right way now!” And they laughed.

We had some more hills to do, and the day was warming up, so we were pleased we had made such an early start.

We rode through Remshalden (we were following the Rems valley at this point) and then it was time to move over to the next valley, the Neckar valley. This included of course climbing out of one valley and descending to the next.

We rode through Grossheppach and Kleinheppach, slowly winding our way up the hill, but this was easier than the first hill today. We then rode through Korb and then briefly on a track alongside the B14 before crossing that major road and heading to Schwaikheim.

As I was waiting at traffic lights before Schwaikheim a police car pulled out in front of me. Klaus was already ahead on the road and we had a reasonably fast downhill of about 2km with some bends. When Klaus arrived in Schwaikheim he pulled onto the pavement to wait for me. The police car which was right in front of me pulled in in front of Klaus, so I stopped behind them both.

The two policemen got out but they really only wanted to ask us what these vehicles were. Klaus explained they were bikes, and the police seemed satisfied although they said they were a bit low down. I said that the higher ones were not as stable on the corners due to the higher centre of gravity, so not so safe; no idea if they thought anything of this answer. But they headed onward, and so did we.

From here we rode to Bittenfeld and Hochdorf (another climb) before descending to Poppenweiler.

There were warnings that there were road closures in Poppenweiler but of course we didn’t know if this would affect us. Indeed it did, but we were able to cycle along the footpath for the 100m of road works and got through the blockage.

From Poppenweiler we found ourselves on the L1100 which was actually a very busy road. We were pedalling as fast as we could but there was no cycle path and the road had unforgiving walls to our right as it was built into the side of the valley.

Fortunately after a couple of kilometres we crossed over the river Neckar on a bridge and then were down a very quiet road where I had already identified a Biergarten. So we stopped and had a Radler (Klaus) and ice cream (me) whilst looking at the Neckar.

The day was warming up even further and the beer garden, although originally almost empty, began to fill up. We had left the bikes in the shade but when we came back to them, the shade-producing van had left and they were in the sun again. So we got in as soon as possible and got underway to try to cool down again – it was 30 degrees now.

We had another climb up to Freiberg, again on a cycle path beside the road. The path quality wasn’t very good but it was preferable to the road which had a fair number of cars. From the path we could look down over the landscape before us.

We rode towards Ingetsheim and then to Bietigheim where we crossed the Enz river (this has been a day of multiple rivers).The route out of Bietigheim was a bit horrible but fortunately we found a cycle path. Which then suddenly disappeared, and we had to ride on the L1125.

This was a horrible road with lots of traffic and VERY impatient motorists. We were riding as fast as we could but it was a light uphill over several kilometres so we were struggling to make 30 km/h. It felt like half the motorists who overtook hooted their horns at us, and I had one punishment pass from an Opel Mokka. Do they not realise that if there were a cycle path we would happily have used it? We didn’t know at the time of any alternative route we could take. So we gritted our teeth and rode as fast as we could until we were able to get off the road at Sachsenheim. We will definitely avoid this road if we are in the area again!

We rode into Sersheim and at last knew we were nearing our destination. The charm of the riding had worn off a bit as it was mega hot, we were on busy main roads a lot of the time now and we just wanted to jump into a cold shower!

From Sersheim we were on a quieter road to Horrheim where I had put a waypoint to visit the Penny Markt to buy some dinner. The village of Gündelbach where we were staying tonight didn’t have any restaurants, so rather than ordering pizza for delivery we decided to buy something at the supermarket. I had studied the photos of our Ferienwohnung closely and it seemed there was no oven, just a hob, so we took that into account and bought salads and bread.

Now we just had 4km to ride which was a relief! We pootled our way towards Gündelbach and found our apartment, which was blessedly cool! We unpacked the bikes and had some cold drinks followed by a cold shower. Klaus was feeling pretty pooped after all this climbing on such a hot day, so it was good to know we didn’t have to do anything else today. He also has a mega impressive arm tan now:

Although only riding 90km it was quite hard work!

We washed the clothes and hung them on a jury-rigged washing line and then simply relaxed. We had arrived at 2pm and enjoyed doing nothing for the rest of the afternoon before having an early dinner, phoning chum Jochen for a chat (who is off to Velomobiel.nl tomorrow with a broken Strada) and making some changes to our track for tomorrow. We have realised that it routes us on a Bundesstraße and a close look at the satellite view showed cycle paths on one or the other side, so we have adjusted the track so we know where the cycle path is – from the low vantage point of a velomobile you can’t always see the cycle path when there is high grass around and we didn’t want to miss it.

Tomorrow we ride back to the Rhein valley to Viernheim, which is fairly near to Mannheim. We will see Klaus’s father for an evening meal. Tomorrow is meant to be 37 degrees in Viernheim mid-afternoon so our pan is to leave here before 7am and try to get to Viernheim by midday. It’s only 85km so should be possible, and it’s much flatter than today too. We shall see!

Here is the ‘wheel’ of where we have ridden on this tour:

We will join up with our outgoing track north of Mannheim and will take the same route back through the Rhein valley – there aren’t that many alternatives, at least not super-hilly ones. We only have three more nights on the road now, so our touring time is coming to an end. But we have 450km still to ride, so there is still time for some more impressions of life on the Velomobile cycling road!

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Bodensee 2019 Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen

Monday morning, but today I didn’t have to get up at 5:30am to go to work… but I got up at 5:30am so we could get on the road early.

We were ready to leave by 7am and as the Ferienwohnung didn’t offer breakfast we knew we would just pick something up on the way.

However, Uli noticed straight away she had a puncture.

She set about fixing it very quickly, during which time Klaus realised he had left his heart rate monitor in the bathroom of our Ferienwohnung but we had shut the door. Fortunately the landlady answered the doorbell and let him collect it!

Below is today’s route.

The forecast was for a much warmer day but we started in fog. Uli tells us this is fairly normal for the area around the Donau/Danube.

We rode round Bad Buchau and then through Moosburg and Alleshausen. We were on a fast, rolling terrain of quiet roads lined with arable fields and poppies. We were averaging 30 km/h.

We rode through Oberstadion and Unterstadion and as Rottenacker was a reasonably large town I decided we could stop there for breakfast, as it was at the 28km mark. Our total ride today should be around 100km.

We crossed the Danube into Rottenacker and then my usual ability to find food in German towns failed me, mainly because I couldn’t see the church so was unable to identify the town centre. Uli led us up a hill and eventually we found a supermarket; I asked a local lady if there was a café anywhere and she said only the bakery which was attached the the supermarket. So we went in there.

Our Bakery breakfast was a filled roll.

This was a ‘Stehcafe’ (which means no seats) and so, as I suspected, there were no public loos. Fortunately the bakery lady took pity on me and let me use their staff loo.

I took this photo of Uli’s DF – the Schwabenpower lettering makes sense as she is powering her way around the Schwäbische Alb.

After our breakfast (which of course included a cup of tea) we set off again, but this time all the fog had gone and instead we had blue sky.

The route was again rolling and this works well with our speedy velomobiles.

At Ehingen we stopped riding beside the Danube/Donau and instead turned more north, taking a quiet road parallel to the B492.

At Berkach we saw huge numbers of cranes – Uli explained that this is something to do with Liebherr.

We rode through Allmendigen and then beside the railway to Schmiechen.

Before Schmiechen there were some cycle path closed signs but as we didn’t know of a good alternative we carried on – you can usually get through the blockage.

The blockage was a road being resurfaced, but we saw a possible diversion on our Garmins and went for it. This diversion was successful but it involved us getting up a seemingly 20% climb for about 50 metres. We all sensibly decided to push our velomobiles up this slope. This was OK for Uli and I but for Klaus, trying to push the heavy Quattrovelo up this slope with click shoes was a bit of a challenge!

We made it to the top and got back in the bikes to roll down to Schelklingen.

We were now on nicer roads on our way to Blaubeuren which had ‘Blautopf’ which Uli said we should visit. We had also done a route adjustment yesterday evening as she said we were riding up a massive hill on a very busy road, and so suggested an alternative quieter route, just 4km more. The hills in the picture below are what we would have to cycle over!

We arrived in Blaubeuren and Uli suggested an ice cream. I parked Millie beside this sign that says “do not lean bicycles against this wall”. I complied with this command.

It was getting really warm now so the ice cream was nice!

We walked a short way up the hill to see Blautopf, which turns out to be a smallish lake which is an incredible blue colour.

Photo by Klaus

The blue comes from the limestone dissolved in the water. You can read about it on Wikipedia. There is also a large network of caves leading from here which have been variously explored and there was information about this at Blautopf.

Our bikes were waiting patiently for us beside the hammer mill whilst we walked around the lake, but it was time to carry on – we had the massive hill to climb!

Before we set off Uli dipped her baseball cap in the water to cool her head and also removed the inspection cover from the front of the DF to give more air flow. And then we headed off to the start of our climb – this hill straight in front in the picture below is the one we had to climb. We would be climbing 200 metres in height over 2 kilometres’ distance, so a 10% average.

Here is the elevation diagramme from the whole ride. The climb after Blautopf was at about 2 hours of riding.

My two companions selected their low gear (using the Schlumpf) and started winding their way up the hill. My lowest gear is MUCH higher, so I set my motor onto level 4 of 5 and simply glided up the hill, passing them. Klaus had his lid open for more airflow – at 5 km/h the drag from this is negligible!

There was a lay-by halfway up so I paused there to let them catch up. Once they had passed I carried on, again having to go a lot faster as I could not ride at their slow pace as my gears were too high. A mixture of setting 3 and 4 on the motor got me to the top still feeling pretty fresh!

I didn’t have to wait long for the other two as they made good progress but were both very warm by the top, the village of Sonderbuch. Fortunately we now rode along the top of the ridge and we had a bit of speed to cool the sweat.

Our original route plan had us joining the Landstraße L1230 but Uli suggested we stayed on the quieter roads to the east of this, we followed her until Berghülen where we had to join the Landstraße. We said goodbye to Uli at this point as she was heading off home – it had been great to have her riding with us for the last three days, and her local knowledge in this area was really useful.

So now we were two Velomobilists again. We followed the L1230 except for a shortcut through Machtolsheim. Then at Merklingen we were able to leave this busy road for good and instead take very quiet roads through the rolling Schwäbische Alb.

This included a bridge over the Autobahn A8 which had a rather large bit of machinery right across it.

No problem for a Quattrovelo or Milan…

We were riding through arable land now, with quite a lot of muck and dirt on the road. We cycled through Nellingen and then a fast zoom to Amstetten. Klaus had told me that after Amstetten we had a really long downhill to Geislingen and he was right! We were on the B10, a busy road for this downhill, but it was tricky to stay within the 50 limit sections. We were doing up to 70 down this swoopy downhill and the car following me made no attempt to overtake. Which he shouldn’t, as then he would be speeding!

I have to say, these long downhills are great fun. The Milan is steady as a rock, the steering is reliable and comfortable, and the brakes are acceptable. More braking power would be welcome, but it’s tricky in velomobiles. Anyway, we made it down into Geislingen and stopped for some lunch at a bakery.

After lunch we did a bit of shopping. I had run out of hair conditioner (oh no!) and we also needed more toothpaste. I also wanted to buy a baseball cap as my visor leaves the top of my head liable to a bit of sunburn – the forecast is mega hot for the next few days.

We have now discovered that baseball caps are only in men’s clothing sections and usually only in dark colours. I ended up with a black one for ten Euros. Hopefully it will keep my forehead from getting browner, as lower down I am entirely sun-free due to the peak shielding me.

After Geislingen we had just 15km to ride, and this included a town made for me!

The final 200 metres of our ride was up another hill (poor Klaus!) I still had 50% battery power on my motor remaining so let the Bafang take the strain! We arrived at our Guest House having completed 107km rather than the originally-planned 100. The detours around Blaubeuren had added a bit, but it was definitely worthwhile!

Interestingly, with our room in the Guest House we didn’t have a private bathroom. This was an oversight on my part, and it’s not something I like as I tend to have to pop to the loo once or twice per night. However we were able to shower in peace and rigged up our washing line in the room. It was getting really hot in the late afternoon so all the shutters were closed to keep the sun out.

The Velomobiles will spend the night in the beer garden

Klaus has a good friend Oliver who lives in Geislingen and we had arranged for him to come and meet us for dinner. Unfortunately due to work commitments he didn’t have much time, so we ate our meal alone and he joined us later with his wife Iris. We had an enjoyable time with them and they came back to meet the velomobiles.

Tomorrow’s route is 90km but hillier than today. We are looking forward to it!

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Bodensee 2019 Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau

Our Sunday morning started in a very relaxed manner, with breakfast on the balcony. Last night we had bats whizzing around whilst we sat on the balcony which was lovely.

Tim suggested we left all the washing up and clearing up for him to do later, which was very kind! We aren’t very good guests as we eat everyone’s food and don’t do much in return! But of course, if ever our Velomobile friends are passing they can stay with us.

We had a few jobs to do on the velomobiles as we had Tim’s garage with tools available. Klaus pumped up all four of Emily’s tyres and I adjusted my brakes as they had got a bit loose. When everything was done it was time to head off.

This was our route for today:

The start out of Tettnang was a huge swooping downhill… which was fantastic!

I had, of course, only just adjusted my brakes so I tested them a few times gingerly on the way down to check nothing too exciting happened. I reached 78.8 km/h on this downhill but Klaus, who was braver and didn’t brake, got up to 82.4 km/h.

The route had been planned by Klaus and he had decided to route us around Ravensburg (home of the puzzles!) to avoid city riding with traffic lights and junctions, but the alternative route went up some more hills and was a bit longer. Tim warned us about the hills before we left, but the conclusion was that riding through Ravensburg would be more hassle. We would risk the hills!

It was a very good route, almost entirely on quiet roads with little traffic.

This gave me lots of opportunity to take photos – here you see our little gang with Klaus in Emily the Quattrovelo, Tim in his Evo K and Uli in her DF.

And here they all are seen in my mirror.

Klaus, Uli and I all had the track on our Garmins but Tim’s Garmin wasn’t compatible with Garmin Connect so he had not been able to load it. This meant that the lead of our convoy changed regularly. As I had a motor I was able to go faster up the hills than Klaus and Uli; Tim also has a light velomobile and is well trained in the hills so he was quick. This meant that we stopped and waited a lot of the time, and that those swooping past would take the lead. It worked well.

Tim, Klaus and Uli winding their way up yet another hill

As you can see from the photos, the sky was a bit cloudy but the temperature was ideal for velomobile riding. It did get very hot on the climbs though, especially for my three companions who had no motor and had to work hard to climb.

We rode through Brochzell and then Appenweiler; we stayed at a place called Appenweier just a few days ago. Then we rode through Taldorf and Schmalegg. In Schmalegg there were signs for a bakery and Tim automatically headed that way; I had trained him well, but in fact the plan was to stop at a bakery/Konditorei in a village at 35km and this was 8km too early. So I astounded him by saying we could keep riding.

After Schmalegg we went down, down, down – super fast! It was good that there were few cars on the road as we were cruising down at 60 km/h and more, and at those speeds you have to really concentrate and prepare for the corners. It’s such fun though!

I was ahead at this point but started braking quite early as I could see there was a very sharp bend where we joined another road and the Milan has a very wide turning circle. In the end I was almost stationary when taking the bend. We had dropped a long way down, and as soon as I turned the corner I saw we had to go back up again!

The photo below shows this climb which I guess was the hardest one.

The picture is of Uli. Tim had needed to walk up in the end as his gearing isn’t low enough on the Evo K. Klaus and Uli both have Schlumpf Mountain Drives so were slowly spinning their way up the hill. Tim and I, being kind souls, pushed them up the last 30 metres or so!

We had to have a break at the top. The other three (without motors) were pretty sweaty as it’s hot in a velomobile when climbing. You just don’t get the airflow. For this reason I have a fan in my Velomobile but it doesn’t point at me but at my motor to cool it, as the motor gets very little cooling from the air as there is just the small gap around my head lamps as an air intake.

We rode through Strass and then Beienbach. the next village, Blitzenreute, had the café, and we duly pulled up outside it… only for the owner to tell us they were closing now. This was indeed true! What a disaster.

The lady in the café told us if we just rode down the hill to the next village there was another café which was open. This sounded like a good plan. Although our route wasn’t going that way, Tim said we could rejoin the route later and wouldn’t have to go back up the hill.

Which was a VERY good thing, as it turned out to be a really long descent with again very fast speeds. I think the total distance was about 2.5km but it was over in a flash. It was a busier road than the others we had been on today and we had some cars behind us but fortunately they didn’t seem to want to overtake us – this was a good thing as extra wind buffeting at that speed isn’t something we particularly want.

We arrived at the café in Staig, parked all four velomobiles in one parking space, and went in… Hurrah, a good choice of cakes!

We spent about an hour there with our tea and cake, and then it was time to head onward the last 30km.

Tim had ridden this way before and suggested an alternative to joining back up with our route. We were happy to follow his local knowledge.

The weather was improving all the time with blue sky. The landscape was beautiful too, so we were having a great ride.

We rode through Mochenwangen and then the wonderfully-named Preußenhäusle (if you have a tame German, get them to say that name for you). This route was actually a little less hilly than the route Klaus had originally planned, which went the other side around a hill. It was also very green with woodland both side, and evidence still of last night’s rain on the asphalt.

We rode through Zollenreute and then arrived in Aulendorf where we rejoined our track briefly before heading off again on a different route suggested by Tim that followed along the railway line.

We rode through Otterswang and then arrived in Bad Schussenried. Tim suggested an ice cream stop and we all agreed, although in the end Klaus went for a cake.

I enjoyed a banana split.

From here it was just 10km to Bad Buchau and we rode along the main road all the way. There was an uphill at the beginning which meant we were going pretty slowly – but all had a wonderful view of a red kite being mobbed by a crow. We saw lots of red kites today and the German name for them is ‘Milan’ so that rather suits my velomobile!

Right at the end, just before we reached Bad Buchau, Klaus missed a turning as his Garmin was zoomed out. He was in the lead so the other three all went off up another hill. I turned off, having hoped they had seen it. I made my way to the end of the track on my Garmin but couldn’t see our Ferienwohnung; I then realised the track just went to the centre of Bad Buchau, not right to the Ferienwohnung door, so I looked up the address and discovered it was just 700 metres away. I sent Klaus a message with the correct address in case he didn’t have it.

Just as I pulled back onto the main road I saw the others so I was able to lead the to our very nice Ferienwohnung. It was the first floor of a family house and had plenty of space and was very well-equipped, including a washing machine, hurrah. Tim decided to hang around and eat an early evening meal with us before riding the direct way back to Tettnang, so we had our showers, did our clothes washing and then walked 1.5km along a canal side-path to a Balkan restaurant that our landlady had recommended. Our food was fine and we had a lovely time sitting out in the sunshine. I was entertained by a hummingbird hawk-moth flying around a hanging basket of flowers.

We told the lady we are likely to leave early in the morning tomorrow. This is partly because the Ferienwohnung doesn’t supply breakfast but mostly because the weather is forecast to be very warm again and we have another day of climbing. The earlier we leave, the more progress we make before it gets too hot. It may even be up to 40 degrees in a few days’ time!

Here are my statistics for today:

So as you can see, not very far and not many calories, but that is mostly down to me cheating by having a motor!!! I would not have enjoyed the day at all if I hadn’t had the motor; in fact, I might not have managed it at all due to knee pain.

Tomorrow we have a longer day (100km) with almost as much climbing. We will be visited by Klaus’s friend in the evening when we reach Eislingen. I haven’t met Oliver before so that will be interesting as Klaus has talked about him a fair bit.

Tim headed home today and tomorrow we will wave goodbye to Uli who is going in a different direction. It’s been lovely to be riding with other velomobiles over the last three days and it’s worked out really well with speed and riding style. I think we stop a bit more regularly than the others might, but this is our holiday and cycle touring is also an important cake-tasting experience.

Millie and Emily both worked very well today. Klaus and Emily climb much better than we all thought – she seems to cruise OK up the hills despite her weight (some of which is my luggage of course!) and Klaus has got into his rhythm so he can pedal his way up the hills. We have two more hilly days and then we are back to the flatlands again, which is more my kind of terrain although I have loved the scenery today.

And here is the map of our whole tour so far…


Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Bodensee 2019 Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang

After a good night’s sleep, it was time for the household of velomobilists (6 of us) to have breakfast, and once again Anna had prepared a great spread!

Before setting off we did a few bits of bike maintenance. I pumped up Millie’s tyres (as I had guessed, they had reduced from 110psi to about 70) and Christoph helped put gaffer tape over the hole underneath for the rear wheel, and he also gaffer taped some dangling cabling that had come adrift by my shoulder over the week’s riding.

And then Anna, seeing I admired her lift handle, popped into the house and got some rope and tied me one too.

She said the rope was a little short so the width is not ideal for my hand, but it is an improvement and so far doesn’t seem to be flapping around annoying the rear brake light. I will get hold of some longer rope and then attempt to recreate her knot.

Klaus also had a sit in Anna’s DF-XL.

It was time to leave, and so we said our goodbyes and offered once again our thanks for the hospitality of Christoph and Anna. We all had a lovely time with them.

As they live on a VERY steep hill we started our cycle tour for the day by walking and pushing our velomobiles up the hill…

At the top we jumped in and headed off on our tour around Bodensee to Tettnang.

Here is our route for the day:

I don’t entirely remember who sent me the route but this person definitely prefers riding on main roads. We followed the road to Konstanz and this was nice and quiet, but then after Konstanz and crossing back into Switzerland at Kreuzlingen we were following the main road around the lake and it was quite busy in places.

We also found that one of the roads on our route had disappeared and some new road building was taking place. This involved some last-minute Garmin map-reading which meant we had a couple of minor detours. One issue with the Garmin map, at least on the Edge 1000, is that it doesn’t rotate that quickly so if you do several roundabouts together you can get a bit lost. Secondly, if you go off track it decides to tell you which way you should go, just at the moment you want to see the original map. This really annoys me as it suddenly starts navigation mode when I just want to look at the map as it was before and work out the best way to join back up with the official course.

We routed along some very nice cycle paths beside the railway on the way through Konstanz and then headed down some Fahrradstrasse within the centre of Konstanz. It meant is was surprisingly easy to progress through this town.

After crossing into Switzerland we went through Münsterlingen, Güttingen, Kesswil, Uttwil and then arrived at Romanshorn. I fancied stopping for a loo opportunity plus a cuppa. Tim and Uli weren’t sure if we would find anything suitable that wasn’t ruinously expensive but they didn’t reckon with my cake radar. In Romanshorn I took the lead, went off track and found a café almost immediately that had cake!

We sat there for quite a while, chatting away. Only Klaus and I had cake – Tim and Uli thought it was too early after breakfast. What were they thinking?

This café will remain in our minds because of the ‘bitte öffnen’, ‘bitte schliessen’ signs. Both signs were on the door to the outside seating area, which made sense, when I went to the loo I was a bit surprised to see a ‘bitte öffnen’ sign on the toilet seat. Of course I had to open it to use it! But then once opened, I saw the ‘bitte schliessen’ sign on the inside of the loo lid. So all became clear.

In the end the bill for two cakes, three coffees and a tea (which was actually free) came to 25 EUR so it wasn’t too terrifying.

The café owner chatted to us for a good ten minutes before we left. Then he gave us instructions how to get onto the cycle path behind the railway – Tim was confident enough that he could find the more scenic and less trafficy route which would be an improvement as this Saturday there was much more traffic than usual.

So we headed off and Tim navigated us to this cycle path which turned out to be really good.

Unfortunately it also started to rain. This actually got quite heavy for a while but as we kept going at a reasonable pace not so much rain actually came inside to make us wet.

This route crossed the railway several times and we often had to wait at the level crossing – it seems there are quite a lot of trains on this route.

We rode through Arbon and then Steinach and Horn. We then rolled along the waterfront in Rorschach, which looks like a lovely place. However the lake level of Bodensee was very high, you can see the water lapping at the edge. Of the promenade and they have put out warning tape so people don’t just step off into the water I guess.

We passed the airport for St Gallen and then had to do a very high bridge crossing (very steep!) to cross over the A1 motorway on our way to Rheineck. We crossed it again and then found ourselves in Austria!

Tim had suggested at the beginning of today that we eat in Austria as it is cheaper than Switzerland, and he said the Restaurant Glashaus is very good. Once we had crossed into Austria he took us across some very empty marshy areas on small lanes with lots of wiggles in the track, and eventually we ended up at Glashaus which had a wonderful view of the lake.

We parked the velomobiles and the sun came out!

We ordered a two course lunch (soup followed by pizza) and enjoyed the improving weather and looking at the view.

I took a few photos and for one of them a sparrow flew across just as I was taking the picture. So I zoomed in on the picture and have the bird in flight!

After our email Tim and Uli had a bit of a paddle in the lake.

It was time to head onward, with just 50km to go. The weather had now really improved, the threatened thunderstorms looked rather unlikely!

The first few kilometres were on a rather rough road surface which makes everything inside the Velomobile rattle. But the view was worth it!

We then crossed the river Rhein where it flows into Bodensee and then went into the town of Hard, where we did another detour to pick up the nice cycle path again. We passed a huge row of old fire engines, all painted bright red and full of people waving at us. There was even an old Model T fire engine!

We then crossed the Bregenzer Ache, a river the drains into Constance, and found ourselves amongst rather a lot of bicycle and pedestrian traffic as we made our way round the bottom of Bodensee.

We arrived in Bregenz and it was a lovely place! We rode through quite a lot of bicycle and pedestrian traffic which meant our group of 4 velomobiles often split up with quite large gaps between us.

At Kaiser Strand we all stopped to enjoy the view and walk around a bit (to improve the circulation to the feet).

It was time to carry on. I was keen for my shower so declined the offer for us to visit Lindau. We crossed the border into Germany at Unterhochsteg and trundled along past the holidaymakers through Wasserburg. There was a huge group of cyclists who stopped in the middle of the road to photograph us, but fortunately we didn’t have to go past them but diverted to Nonnenhorn. From there we rode to Kressbronn and then headed away from Bodensee on our way to Tim’s house in Tettnang.

There was a REALLY long and steep hill just after we crossed the Argen. I certainly appreciated my motor for this, especially as my knees were hurting again. This seems to happen now on the longer days of riding (longer in time, not necessarily distance) and might also be related to the stop/start nature of today’s riding.

Ass we arrived in Tettnang we stopped at Lidl to buy our food for the evening. We then managed to park 3 of the 4 velomobiles in Tim’s garage.

The final velomobile, that belonging to Uli, was disguised with a green tarpaulin and hidden behind some shrubbery!

Here are the statistics for today.

After the traditional showering and freshening up, Tim and Uli started preparing dinner. The plan was to have Käzespätzle but Tim discovered he didn’t have any Spätzle at home so instead we had chow mein noodles with cheese and onions. And the dessert was my favourite, Kaiserschmarren, although there was a slight miscalculation of quantity and it filled the pan before it had been chopped up.

The finished product was fantastic, though!

We have had a very good day, particularly with regard to the weather which was much better than we had expected. The forecast shows it will get much warmer over the next few days which isn’t entirely good news; really the temperature today was perfect at 23 degrees, but it’ll be 30 in two days’ time. Prepare for complaints about us being too hot!

Tomorrow we are riding to Bad Buchau which is the middle of nowhere but not very far, 68km in total. Tim and Uli will be accompanying us, and Uli will stay with us in our Ferienwohnung as well, so our little band of velomobiles will continue for another day before the Niederrheiners are left on their own to return to Kempen!

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Filed under Bodensee 2019, Cycling in Germany, Millie the Milan GT Carbon, Velomobiles

Bodensee 2019 Day 7: Koblenz (CH) to Konstanz

We have been on tour for nearly a week now! And today we reached Bodensee, the official goal of our tour!

Here is our track for today.

We enjoyed a full breakfast with Jos and Marian. We are very grateful for their hospitality and hope we can return it some day.

We then set off on our way at about 8am. It was much cooler today and there were some clouds in the sky.

After about 400 metres we crossed the border from Switzerland back to Germany. Once again we were riding in the rush hour and we had to be on the road for some of this route so were trying to go at a good pace, but we also had some climbing so couldn’t go really fast. At other times there was a cycle path beside the road and we used that when possible. There was even a special bridge just for cyclists.

We rode through Waldshut-Tiengen and then Lauchringen, riding mostly along the B34, a quite busy road. Just before Geisslingen we turned off onto a parallel road and we were separated from the B34 for the rest of the ride, so were on much more relaxing routes.

Here was a quick stop to enjoy the view.

We then rode through Erzingen/Klettgau and we crossed again into Switzerland. We were now in more rural area with lots of rolling fields. I saw some oats growing, the first time I have seen them in Germany.

We rode through Neunkirchen and then we were heading towards Schaffhausen, but before this we had to ride over a bit of a hill, but it was reasonable going with a fast road (no cycle path) and we enjoyed it, and the views.

And then of course we had the downhill which was great fun! We arrived in Neuhausen am Rheinfall and made our way down to the Rhein river, where we stopped at a café for a piece of cake.

The service in the café was very good and the cake was also tasty but not as exciting as German cake. The price was OK though, we had expected worse!

We rode along the Rhein to Schaffhausen and then crossed over again to Feuerthalen which involved a bit more hill climbing. My motor makes this much easier than I used to find it, so it’s just a matter of getting the speed and gears right.

The opposite side of the Rhein had a German enclave around Büsingen am Hochrhein. It’s worth a read of the Wikipedia article on it, here.

We rode through some villages including the very pretty Diessenhofen.

We crossed the Rhein just before Stein am Rhein but didn’t carry on to along the Rhein but instead headed north, with the mountains visible before us.

Velofahrer…

We arrived in a village named Moskau (the German for Moscow) and then turned off the main route and headed over the hill which would lead us to Konstanz. We crossed the border again at this point, returning to Germany.

It was a lovely time up the hill and then on the way down I didn’t pedal at all for about 4km, reaching speeds of 50 km/h. It was an exhilarating downhill!

We arrived in Radolfzell where we had decided to stop for some lunch. So we found a café right next to Bodensee.

Flammkuchen for me
Wurstsalat for Klaus
Banana Split for dessert

We were staying with Christoph and Anna tonight in Konstanz and we had sent Anna messages throughout the day showing her our location. She said to wait for her as she would come and meet us, and in fact Christoph arrived first, so there were four velomobiles in total.

After Christoph and Anna had a drink we then headed off to their house, just 16km further. It is always nice to be guided by people with good knowledge of the routes.

In total we had ridden 92km, and despite more climbing than normal we neither of us felt particularly tired. I think because it wasn’t as hot and because we had now had two shorter days.

We put the bikes in the garage and then freshened up. Anna had spent lots of today preparing our food and she was cooking focaccia bread whilst we were showering. The two loaves were works of art!

We went for a short walk up the hill to get some great views of Bodensee.

Christoph had also invited Uli and TimB to join us so there was a good group of six velomobilists for our evening meal.

We had a wonderful barbecue with loads of food, excellently cooked by Anna. Klaus and Tim shared some wine and so were very jolly by the end of it!

We went for a walk after dinner down to the harbour.

Tomorrow we ride to Tettnang with a TimB and Uli. I am not yet sure of the route as there is some discussion about it, but I hope we will have a chance to set a wheel in Austria to tick off another country in my Velomobile-visited list!

Thanks to Christoph and Anna for their great hospitality.

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Bodensee 2019 Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)

Despite having been on tour for nearly a week, my sleeping schedule has not changed so I still am ready for bed at 9pm and wake up at 5:30am. Today when I looked out of the window horribly early I noticed that it had been raining last night – quite a lot in fact!

So Klaus and I quickly emptied the velomobiles of things that shouldn’t really have been in the rain (such as my shoes and my sun visor) and I tried to drain a bit of the water out of Millie. We had parked under a balcony but the rain had clearly been a bit sideways.

The forecast for today was rain but fortunately not as hot, but we decided it would be good to start early. We had no breakfast at the Ferienwohnung so decided to pick something up on the way. So we started at 7:15am, heading east towards Basel.

Here was our route for the day.

We started of course with a good downhill stretch as our final Kilometer yesterday had been VERY hilly. With wet roads we took it carefully though, as we didn’t want any unexpected slides.

The roads were wet as you can see.

After about eleven kilometres we arrived in Efringen-Kirchen and found a bakery that was open (today was Froneichnam, a public holiday). We found ourselves a decent choice.

Disappointingly they didn’t have any toilets for customers so I decided I would need to find somewhere on the way.

We set off again, heading south east through Märkt, where we saw this rather lovely stork wandering around in a field.

We then rode through the outskirts of Basel, crossing the border into Switzerland. This was a slightly interesting moment for me as I had realised yesterday that I didn’t actually have my passport with me. However there are almost never any checks on the borders and I assumed this would not be a problem (I have never had my passport checked before).

An advantage of being in Switzerland was that in this area the shops were open, despite it being Fronleichnam (Corpus Christi). So I found a supermarket with a toilet and made the most of the facilities!

What seemed like a couple of kilometres later we were back in Germany.

At Riehen the way on the track was blocked by a building site and then we found ourselves at a dead end so had to turn round outside the gates of a garden centre, being watched by six or seven chaps eating their breakfast sitting on a wall.

We rode through Herren and then Warmbach, with the hills slowly getting closer. We took a wrong turn in Rheinfelden and ended up at the bridge across the Rhein to Switzerland, but we didn’t go across.

Our route now was parallel to, and sometimes on, the Bundesstraße B34 which is quite a busy road. Some of the sections to take us away from the main road involved going up fairly steep hills into villages along the way, but we were also at other times directed towards the River and were often following the official Rhein Radweg.

Past Schwörstadt we decided to ignore our track on the Garmins and instead follow the official Rhein cycle path signs, which seemed to be going a nice way. Fairly soon the path stopped being asphalt and then we found some interesting barriers – which we could cycle directly underneath!

We were actually in a kind of nature reserve with loads of birds, ducks and other waterfowl, plus people with very complicated-looking cameras trying to photograph birds whilst two mini-thunderstorms rolled by.

The route today was actually very nice most of the time, with lots of cycling on separate paths beside the river or at least away from the main road.

We went by Wallbach and then we were approaching our planned cake stop at Bad Säckingen.

This is a lovely old town that Klaus had visited previously and we rolled into the centre, looking out for somewhere to have some cake. Our attention was caught by a little coffee shop and the lady said that they didn’t have cakes but they did have crepes – so we each had one of those!

We had just finished our crepes when two people on very obviously well-travelled touring bikes rolled past and stopped to look at the velomobiles. We struck up a conversation with them, discovering they were from Australia and on a world tour. They had started in Vietnam and ridden round a lot of east Asia and then they had travelled to Europe starting in Istanbul and heading their way west. Their final destination is Portugal and they will then fly home from there. We had a lovely chat with Marisa and Mike.

If you would like to take a look at their blog, they are blogging at Two Beyond the Quotidian.

Whilst we were having a second cuppa with them, the heavens opened. There was also thunder, so the threatened thunderstorms had finally arrived. We waited for about fifteen minutes for the worst to pass and then set off in the rain anyway. We only had another 28km to ride.

It did rain but as it was still warm (about 24 degrees) the rain wasn’t too bad. However, we were riding along a quiet path when there was an almighty bang of thunder and a lightning flash at exactly the same time. Very exciting stuff, as we could smell the lightning. Two lady joggers coming the other way looked like they had had a heart attach from the surprise. What a loud bang!

There was a short section where the track did a really sharp turn and looked to me a bit narrow and difficult, so I went on the road instead and met up with Klaus a few minutes later. I didn’t fancy a 25-point-turn, but Klaus is made of braver stuff!

The final stretch of our ride was less rainy and we were heading to Switzerland again… another border crossing without passport! We rode into Waldshut-Tiengen and then crossed the bridge to Koblenz in Switzerland, needing only a few hundred metres until we arrived at the house of Marian and Jos who were kindly putting us up.

The garage was full of velomobiles! Marian and Jos have a QuattroVelo, a Strada and a Mango, as well as several other recumbents and a couple of ‘normal’ bikes too.

They made us very welcome and washed our clothes as well as cooking dinner for us. We are very grateful for their hospitality! We had a lovely evening chatting with them and sharing stories of velomobiles, life in Switzerland, Brexit and more.

Here are our statistics for today.

Tomorrow the weather should be dry in the morning with thunderstorms from midday again. We hope to start fairly early and get on the road to get most of our journey to Konstanz done before the worst of the rain! Tomorrow’s distance is 90km which is also good to know, as we appreciated having a shorter journey today. However, it will have the most climbing of this tour, so might be a bit of a challenge. We shall see!

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Bodensee 2019 Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach

Day 5 of our tour and we have already got in the groove and it feels like we have been on the road for longer.

Today was forecasted to be even hotter than yesterday, and this is not ideal for Klaus, so we decided to set off very early and get the majority of the ride done before it go into the 30s Celsius.

Breakfast was good and we said goodbye to the nice landlady of Gästehaus Adler and got on the road. Although I initially turned the wrong way out of the driveway of the guest house so we had to turn round after 100 metres. Oops!

Here was our route for today.

You can see some very long, straight bits on the route – this was the Canal du Rhône au Rhin which we would be following for over 40km today.

We set off in nice sunshine and with the temperature a reasonable 23 degrees.

Millie’s gearing had been making some rather loud clunk sounds when changing gear yesterday and I was a bit concerned. This morning I re-adjusted my tool bag (which sits next to the gear cable) in case it was causing the issue, but apparently not. As we were rolling through the countryside I did a few tests and discovered if I switched the motor off then the gear change was smooth and quiet as normal; with the motor on setting 3 the gear change was loud. My conclusion is that the motor cut-out sensor is perhaps not enjoying the hot weather and taking a brief holiday. The motor DOES cut out, but I think perhaps not quite quickly enough. But at least I know the cause of the gear change issue and it’s not the dreaded gear cable breaking scenario.

We were heading south today, on our left were the mountains of the Black Forest (as you can see above Klaus’s head).

To the right as we rode were the Vosges Mountains.

The first 20km were in Germany, mostly on roads between smallish villages, but when we were alongside the L98 there was a decent cycle path.

We were approaching the border with France – the Rhein river again, and our sixth crossing of this tour would be over a bridge.

Once over the bridge our route left the main road and we were on more country lanes for four kilometres until we found ourselves at our start point for the Canal du Rhône au Rhin.

This was a beautiful stretch of canal to ride alongside. We rode 42km in total along this canal but did not see a single vessel navigating it (although there were some parked houseboats). There were lots of locks, but the water behind each lock looked fairly static with muck and gunk on it, as if the lock gates are rarely opened. There were also fishermen sitting beside most of the locks, of which we saw dozens.

Mostly the canal was fairly open, but there were some stretches with trees either side which allowed for a bit of shade and for us to be a bit cooler.

We made a conscious choice to cycle more slowly today. Firstly because yesterday was very fast and it was tiring for us both, and secondly because if you ride at 40 km/h you miss a lot of the sights. We were cruising at around 27 km/h today and it gave us more time to enjoy the wildlife around us. It is my impression that there are more butterflies and other insects in France than in Germany, and I also saw at least a dozen little lizards run across the path in front of me!

At each lock gate the path usually went under a bridge and it narrowed and there were poor sight lines so we reduced speed significantly. We than had to accelerate again afterwards, so it wasn’t as easy riding as you might expect considering there were almost no road crossings to navigate (roads were generally on high bridges and we went underneath).

We stopped and relaxed on a bench at this lock, with its beautiful lockkeeper’s cottage.

What a cracking view below, down the Canal.

The day was warming up. We reached the end of our sector of Canal when we got to Marckolsheim and at this point our track went into the town, where we found a bar for a drink with an attached Patisserie for something to eat. I had something that was remarkably like a Linzer Auge but with a French name (which I can no longer remember).

Klaus had a Streusel doughnut-thingie.

We communicated in German with the lady as both of us found our French was too far back in our past to use easily, and they all seemed to speak German anyway.

Whilst sitting in the bar drinking our juice and eating our goodies, Klaus commented that the people around us were not speaking French but instead their dialect. He said its musical tone is very like that of his home dialect, near Mannheim, and although the words are different he could sense the similarities between these two French-influenced regions.

It was time to move on, and so we headed off along roads which were quite busy and also had a rather rough surface. It was getting hot too, so our speed wasn’t as quick as yesterday as we were trying not to exhaust ourselves.

Our track went through Neuf-Brisach which has a very interesting plan:

It also had a large moat and some impressive fortified walls.

Although it might have been nice to have a look around, it was getting a bit too warm. It was also surprisingly windy, which was odd as our weather apps and also a local information board with weather info had said wind 3 km/h or so, but the wind that we had on the nose/side was nearer 25 km/h. Which was also energy-sapping.

We were now heading back towards Germany and the Rhein. We could see in the distance the hills that we would be riding round tomorrow, following the river to the south of them to Basel.

Our final few kilometres involved a bit of a diversion as the cycle path that had been beside the main road suddenly went off on its own route. A few wrong turns and we eventually found a decent way to Bamlach, a small village attached to Bad Bellingen.

We had seen from the elevation profile of the track that Bamlach was up a bit of a hill. It certainly was! We ended up climbing 50 metres in height over just 800 metres. That’s steep! I had to have my motor on maximum, Klaus had to use his Schlumpf Mountain Drive in earnest. Fortunately this replacement unit lived up to its name; we both thought how bad it would have been if the old unit chose today to break down rather than two weeks ago when we were able to get it exchanged.

Statistics from today’s ride
More ride statistics

We were staying at a Ferienwohnung and had already had emails from the host to say they weren’t there. They gave us good instructions about what to do and we found our way in without any problems. And there, in the bathroom, what did we see…. but a washing machine! Hallelujah!!! I had bought some washing powder with us in case we had a chance to do our washing so was delighted we could at least for the next few days have fresh clothes.

So the machine did a full load of all our cycling gear and a few other bits and bobs, and we then had to wait for Klaus’s shirt to dry before we could walk down the road to the café for a piece of cake.

Fortunately the shirt dried in about half an hour, as I was feeling the cake need.

We walked the 150 metres down the road to the café I had spotted as we were toiling up the mega hill upon arrival. They had cake!

We enjoyed a cuppa and some cake, before walking back (uphill this time!). You can see the view from our garden, with the Rhein in the distance and the Vosges Mountains behind.

There isn’t a restaurant in Bamlach and I didn’t fancy cycling up that hill again after a meal so we ordered a pizza online for delivery.

We have a shorter day tomorrow at just 85km but will enjoy having a bit of a rest. We are staying with some people from the Velomobilforum in Koblenz in Switzerland so that will be really nice. We are actually staying three nights in a row with Velomobilforum members, so are really looking forward to spending time with other velomobile users!

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Bodensee 2019 Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier

I slept well last night, Klaus needed to worship before the air conditioning unit in the middle of the night because he overheated, but overall it was a restful night after the hard day’s cycling.

And today dawned, 18 June, which was my 48th birthday. I had lots of lovely messages on Facebook, WhatsApp etc, which was very nice.

Our hotel booking was without breakfast so we ate the items we had bought last night (a yoghurt for Klaus, some rolls with ham and cheese for me). Most of the butter, ham and cheese were left over so I suggested we bought a couple more rolls and made ourselves some lunch. We didn’t know where we might have a chance to stop for food, so this seemed a good idea. So we took a short walk to the bakery round the corner and bought ourselves some Laugenbrötchen, making them into sandwiches back in the apartment.

Then it was time to extract the velomobiles from the drying room. Since we had put them there, several channels had been dug in the floor which would make the operation to remove both velomobiles more challenging. Fortunately the two workmen carried both out for us.

And then it was time to set off on our 130km ride. As initially planned yesterday, we were expecting to meet up with a member of the Velomobilforum named Thomas, who could meet us at Maximiliansau at 12:00. That gave us a most relaxing 3.5 hours to ride 42km. We should manage that!

Here was our track for the day:

Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are ‘laps’ which I did on my Garmin and you can see the different statistics for those sectors on the ride info at the end of this report.

On our way out of Speyer we took a wrong turn (my fault), where i turned off the fast road just a touch too early and ended up on a major road going in the wrong direction. Klaus navigated our way back to the original track but I think it was at least an extra 3km – a bit annoying when you only started ten minutes before!

A rather unnecessary diversion

Still, we made it back onto the road which would take us to Germersheim, the spiritual home of recumbents and velomobiles. I had visited by Trike four years ago, not it was the turn of my Milan and Klaus’s Quattrovelo to arrive in the hallowed town.

We had both been a bit concerned that the route today would be a repeat of yesterday’s which was rather hard work – but fortunately that was definitely not the case. Today’s route was along the Rhein but on wonderful paths, an example of which you can see below.

We were on the western side of the Rhein and were on very good roads or cycle paths pretty much the whole time. Although this was easy going we kept the pace very relaxed as we had plenty of time before our meeting point with Thomas.

I had found a bakery in Wörth am Rhein which looked a good opportunity for our first cake stop but in fact a few hundred metres before this we found a sign for ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ and stopped at what turned out to be a lovely local place.

It is some kind of community for protection of birds and they had various birds in aviaries and open areas behind the place. There was home-made cake too, so I took a slice of chocolate-iced sponge.

Klaus had a cheesecake.

We were very relaxed and enjoyed listening to the conversation of the various chaps who turned up on their bikes for a beer or sandwich and then headed off again.

We had arranged to meet Thomas at a McDonalds a few km down the road so headed off there and Klaus had a burger and I had a McFlurry whilst we were waiting.

Soon enough a yellow Milan appeared!

After a short chat we then headed off. Thomas rode at the front as he knew the route and he set a pretty good pace – we were cruising at around 40 km/h quite a lot of the time, with occasional slower patches on curves or with road crossings.

And then… we were in France!

I have to say, the French section seemed just the same as the German, just slightly different signage.

We carried on, zooming along beside the Rhein.

And here we were crossing the mouth of the Sauer river, which I presume is the same Sauer which makes the Sauerland in Germany.

There weren’t that many bridges on this stretch, but here was one.

Then it was time for a refuelling stop. We detoured to a French supermarket and Klaus and Thomas bought some drinks.

Rather than drinking in the supermarket car park we headed back towards the Rhein and found a small amount of shade. Klaus and I ate the sandwiches we had prepared this morning.

As we continued on, we came to a bit of a Velomobile trap!

We had to get out in order to get through, but we are used to it.

We then crossed back over the river at Freistett, having first fallen afoul of a French cycle lane (I had to get out of Millie and drag her onto a busy roundabout as the cycle lane I was on had an impossible series of kerbs so Millie’s nose just jammed).

We were on a busy road and had to ride fast. At some point Thomas peeled off back to his home, and Klaus was behind me as I crossed back into Germany.

Klaus was feeling a bit overheated so we slowed down a bit and enjoyed the final cruising 15km to our hotel in Appenweier, with the hills of the Schwarzwald visible in the distance.

We arrived at our very nice guesthouse and a friendly lady showed us to our room, which was nice. I was desperate for a shower as it had been such a hot day. I also had to tend to the wasp sting that I had near my elbow earlier on in the day – fortunately Klaus had the antihistamines with him, plus some anthisan cream, so it didn’t hurt too much but has gone impressively red (more so since this photo was taken).

So here is today’s info on the ride…

And here were the lap times. Lap 1 was on our way to the first cake at a very relaxed speed. Lap 2 was between the cake place and McDonalds. Lap 3 was with Thomas, and Lap 4 was from the supermarket to our hotel.

And Millie hit a new milestone today – 20,000km!

Our evening meal was in the Stube next to our guest house and was very tasty, although they charged us 1,50 EUR for a glass of tap water!

Flammkuchen with bacon and onion
Ice cream
Klaus’s dessert Flammkuchen with apple, cinnamon and cognac – set on fire!

Tomorrow is another fairly long day at 123km, and it is also expected to be up to 30 degrees, so we plan to leave earlyish to get more of the riding done before it is too hot. But the following days have thunderstorms forecasted so we might start getting wet!

It’s been a good birthday and Klaus and I now have a combined age of 100. We’re feeling quite good despite the numbers!

Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen

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Filed under Bodensee 2019, Cycling in Germany, Millie the Milan GT Carbon, Velomobiles