TreuchtlingenMay 9, 2017 in Germany
Today had a nice lazy start, breakfasting with Philip before heading off through central NBG for a spot of sight-seeing. We made our way through what felt like 100 red traffic lights before making a stop at the Parteigelaende where the Nuremberg rallies took place. After a quick clothing change (the flecks of blue sky visible from the appartment were just an illusion!) and a "quick" check through all 5 bags for my gloves..(painstakingly taking out every item of clothing from a compression sack, including all my underwear, in front of a group of german school kids in Hitler's congress hall (Kongresshalle) )..which I didn't find until a few hours later, realising they were in fact in the bar bag...oops 😀
Once we got out of the cycle path myriad of the city we were quickly back into the small village life of rural Bavaria. Rolling hills, punctuated with little vilages full of timber-framed buildings and roofs that arch steeply above the many tiny shutter-covered windows. Each village identical in style but with a different charm somehow.
Today's riding was kind to us, we hit upon our first long flats!! The Main-Donau Canal (averaging 21kmh for about an hour was awesome!) followed by a nice disused railway cycle track that took us to Heideck.
Germany really is amazing for cycling, such a comprehensive network of cycle paths in all cities and equally well-connected routes around even the smallest of towns. Signage is pretty clear and following the cycle paths very rarely takes you onto sharing a road with cars. Country lanes are often very very quiet so cycling side-by-side is never normally a problem. The absence of hedges flanking fields also means you can see anying incumbent vehicles in plenty of time to move over. A road biker paradise for sure.
The only issue I have is the "rechts vor links" principle of right before left, even when you think you are on the main road. This means you can be cycling along a fairly sizable road but you have to look (sometimes stop) into roads joining from the right, who have priority. As Germany typically sees a faor amount of wonter snowfall, roads and priorities are signed on posts as opposed to marked on the ground as in England. I'm slowing getting used to it despite a brief panic mode moment today where a car came and from the right, i forgot all of the "vorfahrt" rules and bolted to the left pavement out of comfort and habit. Haha.
2 people asked where we were going today, a drunk cyclist in Nuremberg and a guy with a dog who had a good look at our set up before deciding to venture a question or two. Now we are 4 days in, it doesn't feel so abstract to tell them our plans. 😀
We arrived in a nice little town called Trautlingen in the early evening after passing through our original minimum day's target destination of Weißburg. Trautlingen has a warm vibe (despite the baltic chill that's still not going!!) 2 minutes into the search for a B & B we stopped outside one for a matter of 30 seconds before being greeted by the owner. We were super happy to bring the bikes into a secluded courtyard before the owner ushered us to the locked garage just behind. What more could you ask for as a biker!
Dare I say it, today for the first time I was almost slightly sad to be ending the day's cycling. After 4 days I think I can safely say that we've found our cycling legs (and bums).
Today's bike hack is regarding kit: to keep pack weight down and to try and straddle the spring /summer conditions Peter is travelling in sandals with click-pedal fixtures, when its rainy he can put on neoprene socks to insulate and keep out any water. When its not rainy but windy as per today, some black insulation tape was the perfect solution to turn the sandals into wind proof but breathable shoes. I'm cycling in trainers but its a stinky feet recipe risk if the shoes get wet and you only have one pair of closed shoes with you....
A light-weight gilet is also an essential bit of kit for anyone thinking of cycle touring. A cycle-sepcific fabric one with a waterproof/windproof front and vented back adds next to no weight (you can scrunch it so small it fits into your palm) but is amazing in insulating the body core on cold windy days where you are exercising hard amd don't want the extra arm warmth from a full extra top. It is also great in summer for speedy and breezy descents or cycling into a cooling headwind. If you've been sweating on an uphill climb the body temp can drop very quickly in damp clothes into any kind of wind once you stop exerting yourself. Peter bought one in Sportscheck yesterday by Vaude for circa €50, I bought a soft-shell style thicker one for around €35. It made a world of difference today so money well spent!!Read more