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Day 8 ......Mainz to Marburg An Der Lahn ......159 km ....(total 516 km)

The original plan had been to do the Luxembourg to Mainz ride with the gang from USA and then train it to Hanover, rest up for two days , catch the sights and be refreshed and ready for the next 700 km stretch from Hanover to Prague with my neighbour Gareth.W

However buoyed by the scenery and company of the previous 7 days I decided to ride from Mainz towards Hanover some 410 km away. Cognisant that I needed to be there by Sunday to meet Gareth. Forgetting that if I cycled all the way to be there Sunday and we then set off on our non stop ride to Prague that by rides end I would have been on the bike for 16 consecutive days. This only dawned on me at about 80 km into today’s ride. It would be fair to say that I’ve never been good at numbers. Suffice to say I had accommodation booked and paid for in Marburg 160 km from Mainz and that would be my first destination at the very least . Once there I would reassess. 

Before today started we had yesterday’s evening . As we strolled back from our farewell dinner the sky and sun put on a show for us in Mainz. The USA crew all head back today and it’s onto Hanover for me.

The Main river upon which Frankfurt sits (hence Frankfurt am Main) is a smaller version of the Rhine and Mosel but still plays an important part in industry. 

The ride from Mainz to Frankfurt is not a scenic one. You pass numerous industrial estates , alongside a rail track most of the way and below the flight path into Frankfurt airport . Add in a chilling headwind and the perfect way to start a day it is not. 

The northwest area of Frankfurt however is a different matter. Here you’re riding alongside a bubbling brook through tree lined parks that provide shelter from the wind. Suddenly the day starts to perk up.

I came across 2 brave teachers taking their class of 24 students out on a nature ride as part of their science lessons. 24 kids on bikes. Me thinks herding cats would be easier. 

Inverted visions 

As the wind stiffened and the bike trail spat me out on to farm fields the going got a little tougher. Any thoughts of self pity were quickly shelved  when I came across this chap powering himself in the opposite direction solely by using his arms . Inspirational in every sense.

One of the more clever and artistic ways to decorate an electrical power sub station. Very impressive lateral thinking me thinks. 

Readers of my blogs in past will recognise this pose. Ride in April-May and Rapeseed fields you will see . 

On a big cycle day for me good to see other Ironmen take the same route . Small difference is that they’ve just finished a 3.8 km swim, are now cycling 180 km and will finish it with a 42 km run. Everything is relative. 

Not all bike paths are alongside pleasant creeks and trees. Here I am heading against the traffic on the main freeway between Frankfurt and Hanover . Noisy and windswept it was too.

Ride anywhere in Germany and you’ll come across plenty of these. Very informative cycling signs. Let me try and explain.

The top sign - the badge on the left is the crest of arms for the state of Hessen which I find myself in. Marburg is clearly 36 km away on a cycle path and Giessen just 3.2. To the left of Giessen there’s a little picture denoting that in Giessen there’s a train startion where you can board your bikes into a train.

Below the main sign there’s 5 smaller plates 

Left to right 

Kleebach - cycle route from Burzbach to Giessen (38 km)

LahnLimes - a local cycle route linking two rivers (39 km)

R7 - part of the nation wide cycling route system and this particular section is the R7

Lahntal Radweg - a cycle route running from Koblenz to Lahnkopf (245 km )

Radweg Deutsche Einheit - a cycle path built to signify the unification of Germany that runs over 260 km from Bonn to Berlin

Want to ride any of these paths ? There’s a books and map for all of them and in German precision all times are based on you averaging 16.2 kph. Now you know.

Rugby in Germany? Who would’ve thought. 

Saw about 460 of these on the ride today. On sighting the 405th I stopped and took a photo determined to find out what the longest word of the day actually means .

“Landschaftsschutzgebiet” ... means “conservation area “ ....

Now you know (part II)

My grasp of German language is next to zero. However crossing several hundred farmers fields on a cycle path I came across this numerous times. I am guessing that translated it means “Hey cyclists, f**k with the farmer on his tractor at your own risk”

And finally 159 km after setting off I arrived at Marburg An Der Lahn. A picturesque little town on the banks of the Lahn with an imposing church sitting atop a hill.

As the ride finished the last 20 km was across open farm fields into a biting northerly and it was raining. With the forecast for more tomorrow and the day after the cycling executive council has voted to bus it to Hanover from Marburg and rest up for 1.5 days ahead of the next exciting adventure of cycling 700 km along the Elbe . I’ll be reporting back on the wonders of Hanover in the interim.

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