Friday, July 21, 2017

Booking a touring holiday in Franconia, for example or in the far east of Germany

Where do you start planning a cycling  holiday in Germany? You can, of course, fly to say Friedrichshafen and then follow the Rhine to the Dutch border finding your finding your overnight accommodation as you drift downstream. This is not a problem if you are in a small group and you start to look for your acommodation at around 4pm.
If you would like to get off the beaten track or you are worried about your lack of German, then check out the offers such as:
Those shown on www.mainradweg.de on the River Main between Bamberg and Aschaffenburg. This self-guided pre-booked trip costs 519€ pp for 8 nights with breakfast. Contrary to what "The Guardian" writes restaurant meals in Germany are less than in the UK.
The Fürst-Pückler Weg - 500km through Eastern Germany. This self-guided pre-booked trip costs 659€ pp for 10 nights with breakfast. http://www.radreisepartner-spreewald-lausitz.de/ 
The Spreewaldradweg - 420km through Eastern Germany. This self-guided pre-booked trip costs 399€ for 6 nights with breakfast.You end up on the edge of Berlin and could then spend a day or two there and follow the route round the wall, the former border with the DDR. The website is www.spreewald.de and it is in English.

Friday, July 14, 2017

MTB Trans-Odenwald Tour

Follow in the footsteps of Wagner's heroes like "Siegfried - The Killer of Dragons" on a mountain bike rather than a horse. How do carry your sword? We are not mountain bikers, preferring to use map reading and thinking to avoid hills. This trip is on offer by one of the bike shops in Lorsch, south of Frankfurt am Main. It should be possible to fly out on an early morning flight to Frankfurt International and followed by a train to Lorsch to reach there in time to join the group. You will experience the Odenwald, one of the German middle sized mountainous or hilly areas. From Lorsch in the Rhine Valley, you cross the Odenwald almost to the Bavarian border and back across the Neckar to Lorsch. The bike shop organises the hotels, baggage transport, the sag waggon and offers technical support. The ice cream shops in Lorsch are something else. After your ice you can catch an evening flight back to Britain to go into work on Monday morning.
The requirements:The trip is only really suitable for fit, technically competent mountain bikers, but you can cheat by using a MTB e-bike. The trip is four consecutive days with a total of about 230 km and 4,000 m. Bike hire is also a possibility.If you are interested drop the organisers an email under info(at)odenwaldbike(dot)de.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Radweg Deutsche Einheit - German Reunification Cycle Trail

The Radweg Deutsche Einheit - German Reunification Cycle Trail was initiated in 2015 by the German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt. It runs from the previous capital, Bonn, the "Bundeshauptdorf" - "Federal Village" as it was known, to the present capital Berlin. It is designed to show how reunification was achieved and what has happened in the 25 years since. Unlike most German cycle routes which are planned by a province, sometime acting together with another province, this was the work of the federal government. It is about 1100km long and offering some climbing as it does not follow a river like many of the major German cycle routes. Perhaps because of this plans are in place to install e-bike charging points at the stopping points near the 100 or so highlights en route. These stopping points "Radstätte" offer information, free WLAN, charging points not only for for  e-bikes and mobiles, digital information vis touch pads, bike racks and, in some cases, baggage lockers. Much more information can be found under https://www.radweg-deutsche-einheit.de/, in German only unfortunately.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Cycling Holidays in Alsace

A number of outdoor centres, holiday villages and youth hostels in Alsace cooperate to offer holidays across Alsace. You can if you wish help rebuild a mediaeval castle using authentic methods, go canoeing, learn or brush up your French and German, or hike. However the cycling trips would be of more interest to the readers of this blog: cycle touring in the North of Alsace or mountain biking along the Vosges Mountains. Much more information can be found under http://www.aja-tourisme.fr/en. If you looking for a holiday with children or young adults this could well be a solution.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cycling in Alsace

The French are gradually installing touristic cycle routes across France. For many years if you saw a tourist cyclist in France he or she would be a foreigner. The French either used a rusty ladies bicycle from the 1920s to cycle beret-wearing to the boulangerie pick up a baguette or two, or they wore a helmet, sausage skin shorts and Lycra® tops on a road bike in an attempt to get fit enough to recreate the glory days of Le Tour, when the French won, i.e. sometime ago.  French cycle route planning was to issue maps put out by central government showing where it was intended to have cycle routes with no timetable for completion. Alsace was always somewhat of an exception to this as the Germans came over the border to cycle and enjoy a French way of life - very strong coffee, eclairs and vin rouge in an area where many people understand German, Alsace has also benefited from this discovery that cycle tourists are a good source of tourist euros and new routes have had signposting, etc. installed. For many years the only route that was signposted was the Rhine Route on the left bank of the Rhine between the French border in Lauterburg/Lauterbourg and the Swiss border in Basel/Basle/Bâle. Nowadays the Marne Rhine Canal towpath from Strasbourg towards Sarrebourg, the Saar Coal Mines Canal from Gondrexange north towards Saarbrücken, the Alsatian Wine Road Cycle Trail and the Rhone Rhine Canal from Mulhouse to Belfort are well signposted. There is more information on www.cyclinginalsace.com in English. The Alsatian Tourist authorities produce an excellent printed map of Alsace which includes lists of firms offering bicycling holidays and bike hire. Drop a postcard to Comité Régional du Tourisme d'Alsace, 20 A rue Berthe Molly, 68005 Colmar, France or an email to crt(at)tourisme-alsace.com.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Beer soft drink mixtures for cyclists

Many continental beers at 5% alcohol content are stronger than British draught beers at 2% alcohol. As in Britain it is usual for cyclists especially to dilute their beer with lemonade. However what do you ask for? Asking for a shandy in a Munich beer hall will get you some funny looks and no shandy.

Here is a list of the names that various dilute beer mixtures are called:

The easy one  for our American cousins in Britain is Shandy, a mixture of about 50% beer and 50% lemonade. It would appear that our US friends drink Shandygaff which is the same thing. One of the most refreshing drinks of this type is a Ginger Beer Shandy, which could well become an export hit in post-BREXIT Britain. This too is a 50:50 mixture, but note it is a Ginger Beer not Ginger Ale. Since most beer lemonade shandies come pre-bottled these days Ginger Beer Shandy is not easy to find.

In southern Germany you ask for a Radler - a cyclist and in the north you ask for an Alsterwasser if you want a beer lemonade mixture - the Alster is the lake in the centre of Hamburg. However in some parts of Bavaria, but do not ask me where, a Radler is known as a Russ. On the River Elbe the familiar beer lemonade mixture is called  Ententeich or Entenpuhl - duckpond. On the River Weser in the northwest of Germany the beer lemonade mixture is called Fliegerbier - Pilot's Beer. In and around Münster in Westphalia the locals drink a beer orangeade mixture called Wurstwasser - sausage water. Why, I don't know. I drank it once on a very hot day in the winegrowing area of the lower Mosel Valley. It was all the pub had. I suppose it was really twice - for the first and last time.  If you are in Berlin in summer ask for a Berliner Weisse (German: Berliner Weiße) mit Schuß which is a cloudy, sour, white beer of around 3% alcohol which is coloured with a shot of Himbeer raspberry or Waldmeister green artificial woodruff cordial. In north-eastern part of the former German Democratic Republic a beer raspberry flavoured soft drink mixture is known as a Potsdamer.

In Austria you ask for an Almradler a mixture of beer and Almdudler. The original Almdudler is a sweetened carbonated soft drink made of herbal extracts. Almdudler is the "national drink of Austria". In the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg you need to specify whether you want your beer diluted with lemonade Süsses Radler or with mineral water Saures Radler.


Dutch cyclists drink Sneeuwwitje - Snow White, a beer lemonade mixture but don't ask me how you pronounce it.

The Belgians around Antwerp call for a Tango - a beer with cola when they wish to dilute their excellent beers.

In Switzerland and in Luxembourg one asks for a Panaché (from the French panacher meaning to mix). If you wish to dilute your beer with cola then add the word "coca"- Panaché coca. In the Saarland, the German province, where French is the first foreign language taught in schools, one asks for a Panasch to obtain a lemonade beer mixture.

One can, of course, use non-alcoholic or low alcohol beers instead of a full strength beer. If you are not taken with the flavour of alcohol-free beers, this is an excellent way of disguising their too hoppy flavour.

These days a lot of German breweries like those in the UK pre-mix Radler. You'll get a bottle of Radler rather than a mixture of lemonade and draught beer.

If when you are touring in hot weather you hit a wall of tiredness we find a quick lift is offered by a cola-orangeade mixture known in most of Germany as a Spezi, but in Mannheim and district as a Kalter Kaffee - cold coffee.

Friday, June 09, 2017

NSU Bicycle Museum Neckarsulm Germany

Somehow we've missed the Deutsches Zweirad und NSU-Museum near Heilbronn in the past. I supect we were put off by the NSU connection. NSU built bicycles, motor cycles and cars including those with Wankel motors. The museum features however 400 exhibits in 2000 square metres. The bicycles exhibited range from the 19th Century to the present day, from the hobby horse to the e-bike.
The address: Deutsches Zweirad und NSU-Museum, Urbanstraße 11, 74172 Neckarsulm. The museum is signposted from the entre of the town. It is a short walk from Neckarsulm railway station through the park to the former Deutschordensschloß. The website in German offers an impression of the museum: http://www.zweirad-museum.de/.
Entrance costs 6 € for adults, 5 € for seniors and 3 € for students. Children under 6 get in free. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 until 17:00. It is also open on public holidays if they fall on a Monday.

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