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May 26, 2019

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Thoughts, observations and stats

May 28, 2019

1,232 km - distance cycled 

578 km  - distance trained 

257 km  - distance bused

1,251 km - distance flown 

 

3,318 km - Total distance travelled 

 

Top speed (on bike) - 67.5 kph 

Average speed (on bike) -17.8 kph 

271,040 - turns of the crankshafts  

45,785 - calories burnt 

38,785 - calories consumed 

1 kg (2.2 lbs) - weight lost 

5,979 (19,616 feet) - elevation gain... not quite sure how STRAVA figures out “daily elevation gain”

 

0 - number of punctures between the 7 riders I rode with over the two weeks

0 - number of mechanical failures on bikes ridden between the 7 cyclists over the two weeks

0 - number of times a driver honked his horn or shouted abuse at a cyclist

1 - number of times a rogue pannier fell from its rack

16 - number of different hotels slept in

 

 

 

Some observations :

 

- Absolutely ANYONE with an ability to ride their bike to the end of their street can ride the Mosel, Rhine or Elbe rivers. It is flat, flat, flat, and flat. Of the 3 rivers there is one uphill segment riding into Prague where a 2 km hill might test some however the other 99.99% of the ride is flat

 

- Germany is naturally beautiful. From the vineyard rivers scenes of the Mosel and Rhine to the forests and biospheres of the Elbe you will be pleasantly surprised. I continue to remain surprised the German Tourist Bureau doesn't advertise more to the English public

 

- The Mosel and Rhine river paths are beautifully maintained and conducive to cycling. So too the Elbe, however once you cross into the Czech Republic the track does become inconsistent.

 

- E-bikes are on an ever increasingly steep up trend. Over 50% of the bikes we saw on the Rhine and Mosel were e-Bikes. Speaking to one German lady she commented that it took her bike's battery from 0% to 100% charged about 5-6 hours and on the flat had a range of 180 km . Once they reduce battery weight and size I think the e-bikes will become even more popular. 

 

- Everyone in Germany under the age of 35 speaks ridiculously good English. Everyone over the age of 65 doesn't. Everyone in Germany regardless of age was engaging, friendly, approachable, and accommodative. Czech Republic not so. Our first experience of the contrast came within 1 km of crossing the border into the Czech Republic when we ordered 3 coffees. ''Service is not included'' said the cafe owner expectantly as he handed over 3 coffees that his machine had just spat out. 

 

- German food is on the improve. There seemed to be more options than the normal stodge one would associate with German cuisine

 

- We eat way more than we need to. We eat because we want to, not because we need to. Our bodies could do just as much if not more of what we ask of it on less food than we think possible.

 

- Each region in Germany had it's own regional beer and a strong alliance to it. 

 

- I continue to remain surprised at how few places would take credit cards. Especially accommodation establishments. Cash is king in most places in Germany. Still. 

 

- The whole '' you have to pay for water'' approach in Germany cafes and restaurants baffles me. Especially when you're riding alongside 3 of the big rivers of Europe and there is no lack of it.

 

- Germans do great bread. Coffee not so. 

 

- The cafe / coffee scene has yet to take off in Germany.

 

- German breakfasts. I still don't get the ham / salami selection with cheeses and cherry tomatoes thing. However the alternative selection on offer is pretty extensive and at least they are starting to do toast, muesli and fruit.

 

- Value for money on the accommodation front varied to such an extent it was noticeable. The best value place visited was in Schoningen, the worst were in Hannover and Badetz. As one American Hotel owner was allegedly reported to have said ''all hotel rooms look the same once you close your eyes, so why spend more than you have to''. That's all very well and fine but paying 80 EUR the middle of German countryside for a room with ensuite that has no soap, no wi-fi and threadbare towels is a rort.

 

- German accommodation owners still struggle with the wi-fi thing. If it is on offer it will be slow and restrictive in download speed. Some establishments, despite charging 70+ EUR a night still don't offer it. I guess they figure that given their country's 4G offering is so extensive why should they pay for you to access the internet. 

 

- The Mosel and Rhine rivers have an extensive array of accommodation on offer and are well positioned to cater for everyones tastes. The Elbe not so much.

 

- Most of the RV's and camper vans we saw in Germany were German number plated. It seems Germans like to tour their own country,

 

- German drivers are better than UK and Australian drivers when it comes to giving a cyclist room on the road. Still a way to go to match the french, Spanish and Italians though.

 

- German roads beat UK and Australia hands down in terms of being user friendly for a cyclist.

 

- The designated cycle paths of the Mosel and Rhine rivers are ridiculously good.

 

- I am pretty I never want do a river cruise on one of the many behemoths we passed on the Mosel and Rhine

 

- I was staggered at how little commercial traffic we saw on the Elbe. One solitary cruise boat and one working barge. You'd see both every minute on the Rhine and Mosel. 

 

- I was equally staggered how few recreational craft we saw on any of the 3 rivers. None on the Mosel and Rhine, but more on the Elbe once we had crossed into the Czech Republic.

 

- Wind turbines rule in south eastern Germany.

 

- German wine, especially the whites of Mosel and Rhine Valleys have a way to go before appealing to this cyclist's palate. 

 

- Germans do great cakes

 

- Cobblestones don't make for much fun on a bike. Along the Elbe I was surprised that when cycling along the cycle path we would come across a junction of cobblestones for no apparent reason. It made me think that whoever designed the path was clearly not a cyclist. 

 

- The Czech Republic is cheaper than Germany. Rougher, dirtier, less developed and more down to earth too than its German neighbour. Some would say it has more character as a consequence. 

 

- The influx of middle eastern migrants was very obvious in Germany and in particular Hannover. To the extent that there were seemingly as many Hookah smoking houses as there were cafes. The upside of this was that there's a Doner Kebab shop in every German town. There's also still a demand for internet cafes. 

 

- Places I'd revisit  or re-do : The Rhine Gorge; ride from Luxembourg City to Trier; Marburg; Hannover; Schoningen; Wolfenbuttel; Dresden

 

- Finally a thank you to Russ.K for allowing me to join the ride with him and his buddies down the Mosel and up the Rhine. Also to Gareth.W who was doing the second segment of his London to Istanbul ride . Last year he did London to Hannover. This year from Hannover to Prague. It was a pleasure to ride with you gentlemen. A real pleasure. 

 

 

 

 

Every journey starts somewhere. Waiting for the 6.15 am from St Margarets to Waterloo. Once there I would cycle across London to Kings Cross St Pancras and catch the Eurostar to Brussels and then a local train to Luxembourg City. Then a ride from there to Trier in Germany. Five countries in a day ( UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany).

 

 

 

Mosel River vineyards..

 

 

 

Castle at Moselkerne that has been in the same family's hands for 30 generations. 

 

 

 

 

German infrastructure on the Mosel.....the little boy who once loved building things with his Mecano set always emerges when I see stuff like this

 

 

 

 

Old German towns as old as they get.....built to last

 

 

 

Sunset drinks riverside in Boppard am Rhein...

 

 

 

Hannover's ''New Town Hall''

 

 

 

 

 

With fuel and a map you can get anywhere.....on a bike

 

 

 

 

Shortly after leaving Schoningen you pass across what was once the border between West and East Germany. Even today you'll continue to notice a difference between these two parts of Germany. 

 

 

 

 

Hand held, whilst cycling, photo of the type of forests and paths we rode along at the upper sections of the Elbe river

 

 

 

Wittenberg.....home of Martin Luther and The Reformation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old and new, just outside of Torgau.

 

 

 

 

Old loading crane used to haul logs from the Elbe river just north of Dresden

 

 

 

 

Disused windmill on the Elbe

 

 

 

Dresden Museum...

 

 

 

 

Evening light in Dresden.....

 

 

 

Elbe River south of Dresden and just prior to entering the Czech Republic....

 

 

 

 

Morning Elbe River scene as we left Litomerice on the last day of the ride

 

 

 

 

 

Town of Melnik....confluence of the Elbe and Vltava Rivers....where we left the former to follow the latter into Prague 

 

 

Destination achieved....

 

 

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