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Three Lands Point – Belgium, Germany, Netherlands

Last week I received an e-mail from long time friend and bicycling buddy that he would be in Germany flying in from WV, USA and planned on coming to visit me and Crystal for a couple of days.

Top 12 Events of 2012

Over the course of the year I had a lot of adventures and experiences, alone, with Crystal (my wife), with family and friends. It was both a rewarding and challenging year.  Below are probably the top twelve events for me. 

Day Five Ride to the Netherlands Complete

I finished the final 35 miles to arrive in The Netherlands.

Here are the quick statistics:

Total Travel Distance 35 Miles
Total Travel Time 3.25 Hours
Total Pedal Time 4 Hours
Killer Uphills 0
Killer Downhills 1*

* Hill was so good that I missed my turn and had about a mile corrective detour.

I am physically fatigued, however the biggest issues are my stiff fingers from holding the handle bars. Typing this is extremely problematic. I am glad there is automatic spell check. I guess I will have to change out glove brands.

It was nice to to see my wife once I got to the Hotel.

Overall, I am glad I did it. I had been wanting to do something big for a while. And I was not sure what I was waiting on, so I just went and completed the ride.

Not sure what is next for trips: I am thinking something by foot in October. Any Suggestions?

For the immediate future:
1. Move into new house tomorrow
2. Unpack when our belongings arrive (mid August?)
3. Write up my lessons learned on the tour and come up with next steps.




Day Four – Ride to the Netherlands Complete

I completed the last long leg of my tour. It took me from Montabaur to Dueren. I made some modifications to my route that added distance but killed hills and time. Out of Montabaur, I went south to the Rhine instead of west through the hills to the Rhine. I think it was a wise decision.

I rode along the Rhine for about 30 Miles and along a Rhine tributary (not sure the name) for another 10 miles. From there I headed NW to Dueren through the Eifel. Here are the stats:

Total Distance 85 Miles
Total Travel Time 11 Hours
Total Pedal Time 9 Hours
Killer Uphill 1 (Out of the Rhine into the Eifel)
Killer Down Hill 1 (to the Rhine – Best guess about 4 Miles)

I had mechanical difficulty throughout the day. First off, my rear wheel was totally deflated at one point. I pumped it back up no problems. Will likely toss the tube when I am at home.

My chain became bone dry and I had no oil. My travelling tool kit was packed at our old house (long angry story) so I was running a quick PX purchase of tools. I finally found a bike shop in Sinzig, right before my climb out of the Rhine valley Bought some oil and put it on the chain. What a huge difference. While I was doing that the owner of the shop started asking about my route. He suggested that I reroute through Cologne as it would be faster and no hills. It would have been an addition 10-15 miles of biking. Fortunately I did not take his advice the “killer hill” out of the Rhine valley was nothing more than the hills around the Oberpfalz where I used to live.

The last mechanical difficulty came with BoB. The axil holding BoB on my bike came loose. At first I was not able to tighten the quickrelease so BoB and the rear wheel would stay in the bike frame. I had to do an extended roadside repair. Fortunately I was able to tighten the Axil up, but I am going to have to monitor it. Probably will just purchase a new one.

The ride itself was gorgeous. Along the Rhine I got pedal through vineyards and cross the river by ferry. It went fast so was only able to get a shot of me and my bike and a church (below).

The ride through the Eifel was mostly farmland and rolling hills. There were fresh fruits and vegetable available in every little town. I am sucker for those things and wanted to stop several times, but could not figure out how to keep them until I got to the NL. Maybe today.

The other Picture is of the castle I stayed in at Montabaur (Day 3).

Day Five is my last day only about 30 miles with a border crossing. That is good I am fatigued and my fingers and hands are tired from holding the handle bars so tight while climbing through the hills. I think my high school typing teacher would be upset as I have basically thrown out the home row as I am typing this Blog.

Now to ride


Day Three Ride to the Netherlands Complete

I finished day three. It was a mentally and physically challenging day. Mentally, I kept getting lost in the hills between Bad Homburg and Limburg. My best guess is that I added about 15 miles to my journey. This is where the physical challenge was. If Day 2 was my mountain stage over the Spessart, Day 3 was the hill challenges. It was steep ups and downs with little to no flats from Bad Homburg (the 1/2 way point) to Montabaur. Here are the basic stats:

Total Distance 85 Miles
Total Travel Time 13 Hours
Total Pedal Time 9 Hours
Killer Deal Breaking Hills 20 (But I lost count)
Total Water Drank 8 Liters

I am learning a lot more about the German bicycle routes. I have come to the conclusion to not take them unless I absolutely know where they are going. In some cases the path is little better than packed sand, others have so much debris that getting a flat or losing a spoke is a real possibility, and finally the paths don’t take the direct route they usually add several km/miles to the ride and not usually with benefit along the scenic, cultural or historical.

Day four looks to bring some flats along rivers (hopefully). Possibly a couple of WWII sites.


Day Two – Ride to the Netherlands Complete

I completed day two yesterday and was exhausted. Here is the breakdown on the stats still have problems with mapmyride uploading to Facebook.

Total Distance 80 Miles
Total Travel Time 12 Hours
Total Pedal Time 9 Hours
Total number of Thunderstorms 2
Major Hill Climbs 1
Deal Breaking Hills 5*

The ride itself was tough tough. Straight out I got poured on outside of Dettelbach. I was to far away to get back to Dettelbach and there was no cover, so I had to ride to the next town Bibergau, where I stood under a barn until the rain passed.

I met up with Otter for coffee at the Uni Cafe. It was good talking with him. I don’t think I would have made in Germany for the first years without his friendship.

I then headed toward Marktheidenfeld. A very pretty city where I had lunch. I did not stay long.

My route took me out of the river valley at Marktheidenfeld over the Spessarts. The spessarts are the huge hills that divide Wuerzburg from Aschaffenberg. While I have not measured the route yet, based on observation of the road signs I had about 10 miles of continuous unforgiving hateful hills to climb.

I usually don’t complain about hills, because there is always a payoff, but not this time. I crested the pass and I met the second thunderstorm, where I had to dive under a tree for cover. I did not even know I have crested, it was so wet, steamy, foggy…. Once the storm passed about 15 minutes, the roads are wet, so I have to take SLOW down the Spessarts. I was chapped. I got to Rohrbrunn slowly. Rohrbrunn is where the rest stops are on A3 between Wuerzburg and Aschaffenberg. At that point the roads were dry and it was a quick ride into Aschaffenberg.

I had never been to Aschaffenberg. Wow what a pretty city. If I did not have to meet the time constraints to get to Seligenstadt. I would have stayed longer.

After Aschaffenberg, It was smooth riding (except the designated bike path) along the Main river all of the way into Seligenstadt.

I learned not rely on Google Maps so much. To get to Seligenstadt, I had to cross the river. Google indicated that the bridge was serval miles beyond my route. Fortunately there was a pedestrian/bike bridge that I crossed, however I wish that I had waited as there was an old style ferry that crossed right at the city. The pictures would have been great. Oh well.

Day 3 starts soon.

* This number represents when Crystal would have me find another route


Prepping for Bike Ride Across Germany

I am currently trying to stay out of the way of our packers as they pack out the house. I started to help but the packers said if I helped it would take an extra day as I would just slow them down.

Instead I focused on getting my bike in order (brakes, tires….). Our current landlord came by to check the bike as well. I got his seal of approval or what I think he said to me in German/Oberpfalzer.

I thought that since I was going to spend the better part of two days pedaling through Franconia, I would fly the Franconia Flag that my good friend Otter gave me.

My gear is all packed, so all I have to do on Friday is put my gear on the trailer and go.



Route Plan for Ride Across Germany

I just finished with the basic plan for my trip from our current home in Germany to our new home in the Netherlands.  The plan is the day we turn over the house to our land lord is the day I start pedaling to The Netherlands. 

Day 1     27 July 2012 Vilseck to Schwarzach 139 KM

Day 2     28 July 2012 Schwarzach to Seligenstadt 113 KM

Day 3     29 July 2012 Seligenstadt to Montabaur 117 KM

Day 4     30 July 2012 Montabaur – Dueren 124 KM 

Day 5     31 July 2012 Dueren-Brunssum 45 KM

The route specifically routes around major cities Frankfurt, Cologne…  I am looking forward to route.  

Day One – Schwarzach is the spot outside of Wuerzburg that a huge Benedictine Monastery is in. It gorgeous country side and is an area of Germany that I lived about 15 years in.  I hope to meet up wit my long time friend Otter for dinner. 

As I get beyond Schwarzach past Wuerzburg, it will be an adventure as I have lived 20 years in total in Bavaria.  

During the route I plan to update in WordPress and track my ride in 

Less than a week to go and a house to pack out of and start a new adventure.  Maybe I need a motto.  Suggestions?

Funf Flusse Bike Ride

On Sunday, 3 April, I went on a ride from Hersbruck to Nuremburg along the Funf Flusse Radweg (Five River Bike Path).   In total there were seven of us for most this was their first extended bike ride for the season.  The trip took about 3.5 hours in total for a total distance of 20 miles.  At about 1/2 way we stopped at Lauf for coffee, water and ice cream.  The big three for a long days ride.

I did find it funny that everyone had an iPhone and at Lauf and we proceeded to compare apps.   I was surprised that Crystal had some sort of walkie talkie program that I had not heard about.

When we got the Nuremberg, we ate at an Italian style cafeteria, where there were several lines that you would go order what you wanted, there was a line each for pizza, salads, pasta, and one for drinks.  I ordered a Pizza Crudo which had prosciutto, parmesan, rucola, and tomato sauce.  I did not realize it was about the size of a medium American pizza.  I am glad we decided to take the train home because I was stuffed.

I used my HD camera  to take about 800 photos of the trip,  condensed it all into a 90 second video at:

Overall, the ride was enjoyable and uneventful.  Really quite the opposite of most of my rides: no one got lost, I did not find any new shortcuts that added several miles and towns to the trip,  No break downs,  No deal breakers like rain or snow,No missed trains or getting on the wrong car to go home just warm pleasant weather and good company.

I will have to do better next time.  I am sure Dave and Hank are disappointed.


Big Rain

I got a bit of a late start this evening riding home.  Because I left late I got drenched from the waste down.   It not only poured.  It was one of those rains that reminds you that you are in Germany.

It is not necessarily a pleasant thing bicycling in the rain and having road splat from trucks and cars wash onto you.  I know my friends Hank and Dave wouldn’t mind they.   They are much tougher than me.  I think rain is a deal breaker at the start of the ride.

I think I am about properly geared except my shoes, I am going to have to look for some waterproof shoes or something like the shoe covers I wear in cold weather.  Everything else was pretty dry including the inside of my bags.

There was one thing that was funny that happened to me on my ride home.  The two groundskeepers for my school pulled up along side of me in there vehicle and started pacing me and encouraging me to pedal faster.  They made an otherwise unpleasant ride fun and gave me a laugh.  I could just see one of them now with his arms outside the car cheering me on.

Now I hope everything dries by tomorrow at 0500 for the ride in or it might be a bit chilly.


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