My Blogger for biking from Nesselwang (Germany) to Diss (England)


Samstag, 18. August 2012

Day 13: Harwich - Diss

Woke up due to some music playing through the ships loudspeakers and after the music a female voice telling us if we wanted breakfast to go and get some.
At 6.30 it was then of the ship and through a pasport control. 
Then through english coastal landscape with not a single car on the road this early in the morning. Inevitable a few did appear later and as everybody had warned me some didn't really react properly to a biker. After some time it was of the roads and then through forests and fields. Cut myself on some brambles evading two dogs + owner going uphill and got stung by a few nettles, happened before. Then across paths in fields. In a straw field disaster struck. The farmer had pulled his straw over the path, completly right as it was his field, and I biked right through the straw. At some point my back gear got caught in some and was pulled up into my back wheel. Result: a.) myback gears have been demolished; b.) my wheel has been bent. Beyond fast repairs as I will need new gears.
Ringing around Mum somehow told me about a train 4km away from my position. Prepearing myself for a long walk I went along the roads but got a lift with a friendly older couple to the train station and then caught a train to Diss, where I was picked up by Grandma. And there it finishes, 1313 km of biking through nearly always sunshine. 10 days in Germany, 2 days in Holland and 1 hour in England is enough to wreck my bike. Had lots of fun (mostly) and can't wait to see the tracks and pictures on the computer. Not to forget I arrived just in time for a shower and chicken and mushroom pie.

Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: sry, my biking computer has reset it's self
Daily average speed:

Total time in saddle:
Total distance: 1313 km
Average speed:

Freitag, 17. August 2012

Day 12: Utrecht - Hoek van Holland

Woke up to wild geese hoonking outside the window at quarter to seven. Lay in bed a while and then went down to breakfast, not having a clue as to what was being spoken in the hall. The whole youthhostel felt and looked like a manor, exept the sleeping rooms. 
After breakfast and packing, back to biking. As I was quiete a bit of my track I tasked the GPS with making me one to a waypoint on my track. For some reason it took me all the way back to where I had left it yesterday. I think it had to do with me crossing one of the only bridges that were there, but I don't know. Until I was back on the trail, I had already biked over 10km. Then back on to the Deich with a headwind again *sigh*. All day I had one and it got stronger further into the day. 
At some point it got so anoying and tyring I went of my track, away from the Deichs and on to lands under sea level. Nearly each house has got their own lake with bridges conecting the houses to the roads. Also lots of bird that live on water.
The bike paths were once again really big and carried on for ages. Seing kilometres ahead isn't always fun, especially if there is still wind blowing against you. The Deichs dont seem to hold them of to well. 
My knee also started to ache after nearly two weeks of biking, but I pressed on until Rotterdam. Weatherwise it was, exept the wind, perfect. Some clouds to cool down but no rain. Reached Rotterdam at some point, there was no real sign for it and had lunch in some Thai run fast food shop. Them not capable of speaking either English or German it was the use of gesture that got me my food. Just right in time, as my stomache was starting to complain. Once again I had done over 80km in less than four hours and needed some energy. 
After that it was through Rotterdam with it's very good built biking ways. Compared to Düsseldorf I always knew when to stop and where to go. Also the first time/town in which I have been stuck in a cyclist quew. As Rotterdam is built around "Schleusen" (don't know the english word) they sometime have to raise complete roads to let big ships through. Came a bit as a surprise when in front of the other bikers the whole road was tilted up. There were also some pidgeons sleeping under the road, but they seemed used to it. 
After that it was through downtown Rotterdam with even more raisable roads. I counted three in total and they always caused big car quews. 
After Rotterdam it was along the Deich again, towards Hoek van Holland and the sea. Lots of swans in the water and the complete coastline around Hoek is litered with modern day windmilles. Looked like they wanted to make the "dirty" industry are on the coastline look "clean". 
Then along a strait tarmac road, racing against small motorbikes of all kind and race bikers, to Hoek. Got the first glimps of the ferry and it is hughe. The ship is only supposed to go to England, not across the Atlantic. Reserved my ticket (and had to dig out all my underwear in a terminal because I had forgotten to take out my passport in the morning) and found out a bike counts as a vehicle and then had a cold coke and a milkshake in the now blazzing sun. It feels like over 30 degrees celcius again. Whished I could have one of Rhiannon's ices in the cafe she works in. And there is no free Wifi here, they are all locked.
Then onboard the ferry. Their bike raks have not been designed for MTBs but I managed to get it on somehow. The to cabine Nr. 10 259 and a shower. Free TV, internet, electricity, and much more. And as highlight of the evening chicken and mushroom pie *huray*

Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 6 hours
Distance: 120,3 km
Daily average speed: 19,9 km/h

Total time in saddle: 72 hours
Total distance: 1291 km
Average speed:

Donnerstag, 16. August 2012

Day 11: Kleve - Utrecht

At last I could sleep until my alarm rang (stupid thing ;)
Went and had breakfast with a few other people and it was back on the bike after packing. Had to get back to my track somehow, so I followed main roads as I saw no shortcuts. Reached the track at some point and continued along a small river which was the border to the Netherlands. Crossed the border at some point and was nearly instantly on a hugh biking path. Only shortly, though, as it was then of to Anne, who I had met at Jon Frenches Vieweidfest. They live on one of the few hills in the country, of course. Uphill again.  Had a half an hour chat about the journey and then on through Nijmegen.
I found out that in Dutch towns if you have a bike you are somwhat of a half god. The only times you HAVE to stop is at a red light, otherwise everything and -body stops for you. Also the cyclepaths are massive, 3m  or more just for bikers. The whole day I have had the felling that I have been on some big bike path. And there are bikers everywhere. Helped a few people carry their electro-bikes around another building site and had a race against two boys on race bikes. I overtook them but they then used my slipstream which brought them a lot of kilometres very fast as my speed at that point was near to 30km/h again, with headwind. 
After that along the Deichs near the old Rhein river. Lots of black and white cows and headwind. Also the clouds were getting more numerous and the sun was more gone than there. Had some lunch from Aldi and refilled my waterbottle with some lemonade. Turned out to be a bad idea as when I opend it next time, nearly the complete bottle exploded. 
Along the top of the Deichs nearly all the time with the opposing wind and lots of bikers and cars comming past or the other way. Drated racebikers, to fast and nearly no place to hide from the wind behind them. My knee started aching a bit. I think I overdid it in the morning keeping nearly constantly above 25km/h for long times. Slowed down again in the afternoon.
This is acctually the first country I can remember going to and not have a clue what the signs mean. Also they don't understand german here which acctualy surprised me. Living so close to Germany I would have thought they could speak it. 
At one point I was feed up with my aching bum (again), as I had crossed half of Holland already and still didn't have a plan on where to stay. My GPS found the equivilent to a youthhostel (stayokay, in the Netherlands) a bit of my track. Thought I would try it as to Hoek van Holland it is only about another 100km. Arrived after more bikeroutes and got a stay for the night with free internet but no evening meal :(

Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 5 hours 
Distance: 109,6 km
Daily average speed: 21,8 km/h

Total time in saddle: 66 hours
Total distance: 1171 km
Average speed:

Mittwoch, 15. August 2012

Day 10: Düsseldorf - Kleve

Argg, I can not sleep long enough. Before seven it was today. Went downstairs and had a lot of breakfast. After packing and loading my bike I was of searching for a bank. Sky was grey and the sun was hidden behind clouds so it was just about the right temperature. Found the bank (no problem with my GPS) with a hugh building site in front of it. Ergo, bank is closed. Luckily they had put up a temporary banking shelter where I could get some money. Then navigating through Düsseldorf which was a challenge again. Crossed one of the many bridges and biked towards Duisburg. Most people here seem really unfriendly. I was biking along a bike path and another biker came the opposite way. He motioned, a bit to late for me, to get aside but as I was on the right (correct) side I stayed and he had to evade. He called me a few names I shouldn't mention.
South of Duisburg the air started smelling a bit funny and I found out later that that specific area is the chemical industrie of Duisburg. Then through Duisburg where I at one point had a whole bridge completly for me, because of a fare blocking the road for cars on one end. 
After that through nice landscape area. All flat and you could see some smog here and there on the horizon but otherwise a lot more natural than the towns. For one there were fields again. At one point I biked on an interesting track. It was kind of mudy but not so mudy as that you would get stuck. My weels picked up all the mud thought and I did slipp at one point, getting out of my clickies fast enough. At the end of the track my weels weren't oval like usual anymore but square, due to mud. So much you couldn't see the profil of the wheel anymore. Bombarded the next biker in front of me with mud until my weels where clean again.
Then towards Xanten, at some point passing the 1000km mark. Reached Xanten with no water and bought myself a litre of Sprite from the local supermarket. Drank it in record time and then went to have some lunch on their big market place. Had a chat with Dad at some point as I had good internet and he was online. 
After lunch it was biking again and the sun had come out. The country was heated up to 30 degrees celcius and Xanten has got two lakes which looked wonderfull to swim in. But no swimmstuff plus nothing to dry with ment I was cariing on. At one point I got lost because, once again, a building site had sprung up on my track. They were repairing a section of the Deich (some Dutch company, guess they are the experts) and to get back on I had to take a tour around a city. Ended up standing at the end of a long old garden centre. Biked past old greenhouses, rusty tractors just to turn around again as the road on the map didn't existe. Reaching the Deich I cycled with a guy for a short time talking about how nice Allgäu is compared to this industrial are. He also told me why the air smelled funny in south Duisbug.  Biking between 20-30km talking is not easy, but luckily we had a backwind contantly all day. Said goodby and then the long roads started. Seeing 7km ahead is not likable, especially if your bum hurts. After seven kilometres it was round a corner, and you see the next 5km in front. These were also in no good condition but bouncing around keeps you awake. 
Reached Kleve after two of those long stretches and whoever said it is flat here is lying. The Rhein was just under 20m above sea level. The yout hostel is just about by 100m. Up the hill and then finally a shower with some dinner later (lots of fried patatos).

Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 6 hours 15 min.
Distance:  126,7 km
Daily average speed: 19,9 km/h

Total time in saddle: 61 hours
Total distnce: 1061 km
Average speed: 

Dienstag, 14. August 2012

Day 9: Bad Honnef - Düsseldorf

Again to early, but got strait up and went to breakfast. After a bit of breakfast it was back to packing my bike, talking to two Belgium guys which were cycling along the Rhein till Koblenz and then along the Mosel into France.
Then it was back on the bike. Early morning the ways are pretty empty, most people still have to get up. A few dogs with owners but otherwise empty. 
What has been an enoying fact the past days, that just at head hight on specific paths there are always clusters of small flies. In the sun you can see and evade them but when you haven't got a clue where they are you get them strait into the face. Don't know how many of them have been inhaled or digested but it hasen't been few.
Continued up the Rhein, at some point crossing it again, and went along mostly cycling paths. Good thing about being a biker is you can be classified as three different objekts: 1. a biker; 2. a person in the main traffic; 3. a pedestrian using help. I have switched between road, footpath and cyclepath and it has proofed to be very mobile in this citied region.
Reached Köln at about lunchtime. Got a picture and wanted an ice but it was just to full. Gave up after some time and continued on along my trail. Had lunch in a restaurant a few kilometres north of Köln ("Wiener Schnitzel" again :) and then it was on along a brilliant cyclepath, sometimes next to the B9. I managed to stay just above 30,0km/h for 10 km and nobody caught up then. It was taxing so no more of that today. I arrived at the Neuss-Uedesheim youthhostel at about three. A bit to early and it was only 90km. Düsseldorf was only another ten kilometres away so I said I would stay there (the english guy yesterday said it was good, too). Dodging building sites again I somehow got into Düsseldorf at rush hour time, not good. I was a bit overloaded with all the information of traffic and decided to just be a pedestrian in the end. Arrived at the youthhostel (thanks to GPS) and got a stay for the night with another person biking along the whole Rhein. He mentioned a few youthhostels in the Netherlands that i'll probably have a look at. After some chilly con carne it was of to bed with a thunderstorm raging outside, due to the long heat periode.

Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 5 hours
Distance: 101,5 km
Daily average speed: 19,6 km/h

Total time in saddle: 54 hours 45 min.
Total distance: 934 km
Average speed: 

Montag, 13. August 2012

Day 8: Bingen - Bad Honnef

Once again, to early. My roommate, a guy from Austria who walks a lot (he walked from North Germany to Italy apparently), got up very early and was already packing up when I woke up. 
Met him at breakfast again and after that started packing. Unlocking and loading my bike I talked to four english guys about my age. They were biking on racebikes from Köln to Frankfurt a. M. They first of all adviced me against taking shortcuts over the hills surrounding the Rhein, but after seing what bike I use they said it should be possible.
Set of and had to find my way back on to the track. After reaching it, it was along the Rhein again, racing against a passengerboat this time. There are a lot of castles here: on the hills, in the towns and even in the middle of the river. At one point I could decide if I wanted to continue along the water or take a shortcut across the hills. As I had enough of flat, strait biking at the moment I went uphill again. Felt meditarenian going up. Hot air, some kind of brick they also use in Spain to build walls and a lot of lizards everywhere. Was funny watching them, once they noticed me they got into fights who gets the best hiding place from me. Didn't run over any and reached the top in the end, which was full of wheat. Filled up my bottles by a farmers and then went downhill back to the Rhein along a forest path. Just inside the borders of Koblenz I then had lunch in a restaurant which was out of "Schnitzel". The fireworks on the Rhein in Koblenz last night had apparently been so popular that they had no supply of salad and "Schnitzel" left. 
After lunch it was then through Koblenz which looked culturely interesting but was so full of building sites that my track wase'nt correct anymore. After Koblenz the dirty industrie started. I crossed the river at one point to get to the next youthhostel, but the other side didn't look much better. Lost track of time a bit there as the only interesting thing was another, older nuclear power station. Dont get to see them that much in Allgäu. 
About 20km before Bad Honnef clouds started appearing on the horizon and they didn't look to good. But I carried on past more building sites and vinejards. Had to wait at a railway crossing for 5 min. The cars standing there said they had already waited 5 min. Three trains in total went past and one of them was a goods train (which means very long). Then doging past more building sites it was of to the youthhostel for a shower and some (cold) dinner.
Met an english guy later in the evening, cycling my trail backwards to Lake Constant. He still isn't shure if he should do the Black Forest or take the flat country but i'll see how I can advice him ;)

Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 7 hours
Distance: 124,8 km
Daily average speed: 17,9 km/h

Total time in saddle: 49 hours 45 min
Total distance: 833 km
Average speed: 18,1 km/h

Sonntag, 12. August 2012

Day 7: Speyer - Bingen

If the nuclear power station would have blowen up, I would have survived. Sleeping in the cellar does have it's pros. 
Nothing happened thought and I woke up to early again. At breakfast I was eating with an elderly women who, I think, still is in WW2. There were a lot of people here with some disabilities (mentally).
After breakfast on the bike and along the Rhein on it's Deichs. A lot going on on that river, from normal boats to jetskies and waterskiing people. Travling along at about 25km/h for the first 2 hours I was mostly the one overtaking people, even the racebikers. There weren't a lot of people at 9 o'clock in the morning but more and more came to the long, strait roads of the Deich to do some sport, have a walk with their dogs, etc.
After 60km of keeping an average speed of about 23 km/h (you have to count slowing down for people, going around sharp curves) I decided to have some lunch shortly behind Worms. Name reminds me of a PC game were wormes blow each other up. 
Wanted to have lunch outside in clear blue sky with not a cloud to see anywhere, so I asked for a table and put it outside overlooking the Rhein. An older couple soon yoined and to my surprise knew/had heard about Allgäu and even Nesselwang (mainly due to old blocked road radio reports).
After lunch I was on my way towards Mainz along bumpy forest trails and uncared tarmac roads. They marked it as the Rhein biking path but going along some trail on a treking bike would be painfull. Passed the nuclear power stations Biblis A + B, both switched of. At one point my GPS map got confussing. It said there was land there but I came out just above a quarry lake. Checked the map and it had all shifted by about 500m.
Correcting the way it was further towards Mainz, racing again a cargo ship ("Provider"). I was faster, the ship had more stamina. Shortly before Mainz I refilled my bottled with ice-cold water in a family run restaurant. 
Then through Mainz, interesting city, but not for bikers. Doging people, dogs and other bikers you haven't the time to see the city. Did stop at some points for a few picis. After Mainz it was through the city gardens. Probably a lot of city people have got their own small gardens to care for there. Some where grilling, others watering plants, all on about 5x3m.
Passed the 100km mark at some point there and had a rest as a reward (my bum is still aching). Then it was further on to Bingen past an old bridge, of which only the foundations in the water and the bridge parts on land were left.
There only seem to be big citys here. Bingen is also hughe. Got a lot of industry, kultur, loud goods trains, ... Also some kind of big church with loud bells. On the other side of the river there is some kind of castle on the hills. I have reached the parts of the Rhein where there are vineyards left and right.
Reached the youthhostel after taking a wrong turn at one point and after a shower had some dinner and lots of tee.

Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 7 hours 15 min
Distance: 144,4 km
Daily average speed: 19,9 km/h

Total time in saddle: 42 hours 45 min
Total distance: 708 km
Average speed: 18,2 km/h