Over 700km (435 miles) through Germany on a fixed gear bike (1 Viewer) Photos Travelogue 

Schnitzel

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This is a little story I got about my first bike trip I did back in July. It took me 4 days and 1 night and I went from Düsseldorf to Munich, around 720km (447 miles for you Americans :).

I'm not that great at planing trips so I just packed my bike and went for it. I followed the Rhine river for quite a while but stumbled across my first obstacle just before I reached Cologne. A few days prior there had been a heavy rainfall in the western part of Germany. The water level in many rivers, especially in smaller ones, rised rapidly and multiple villages ended up being flooded.
There I was, standing with my bike on a bike path near the Rhine which was just covered with deep water. No problem I thought and did a little detour, passed a few really flooded tributaries and went through citys.
Not such a beautiful route but there was no other possibility. During the day I had to take multiple detours but it wasn't that dramatic.

Around 60km (37 miles) down south, still in a good mood, I came across the biggest issue. Because I did no research I ended up in the region which was heavily, when I say heavily I mean fucking heavily, affected by the flooding.
Train tracks were just gone, the motorway flooded, any street leading more south just cut off by an actually small river which turned out to be enormous that day. A nice local actually tried to help me and guided me through the area but he was also so overwhelmed by the situation because even the paths he knew were just cut off. In the end I had to bike back 20km (12,5 miles), was totally pissed and even thought about giving up, took a ferry to the other side of the Rhine and got on a train towards Koblenz to pass this whole area and get a bit of wasted time back.

Slept in my tent under a bridge and continued the next day. This day seemed to be chill at first. The Rhine still had high water levels but the street running along it was higher up, which was of course great.
This was even one of the most beautiful passages I passed so I was in a great mood. Many km down the river signs about the street being closed popped up and I, of course, had no clue of what is going on.
Even one of the signs about the diversion for cyclists literally said "only for trained cyclist".
I followed the route a bit and looked it up on Maps. It went uphill most of the time and would've been a detour of over 30km (18 miles).
Went back and continued on the street at the river until there was no other possibility and even the road workers told me it is impossible to move on.

Ok, what should I do? Go back and follow the diversion uphill with a fixed gear bike or try something different? I'm not going to follow the train tracks with a fully packed up bike... Why not go hiking? That's what I did.
I hiked up about 400m uphill (437 yards) a quite steep and slippery hill, confused the heck out of a few hikers, was so exhausted by carrying a fully packed bike uphill and was greeted with a great view, maybe it was worth it...
The hiking path turned out to be really narrow at some points and also rocky. Hit the bike pedals way to often into my legs and was so reliefed when I left the woods and got onto a road. Finally I was able to ride my bike again!
Now I just went downhill but my braking pads were nearly worn down so less braking as possible. After 2,5h since my decision for a nice hike I arrived at the next village but still had 60km (37 miles) to continue.

On the first two days I biked around 120km (75 miles) on each day and it was the same on the third day. Fortunately this day was chill and I had a beautiful scenery and PERFECT bike paths!
In the evening I build up my camp directly at the river Main and looked up where the nearest supermarket is. Found one and at first I didn't know why it was closed on the next day.
It was a saturday evening and for those who don't know nearly everything is closed on sunday in Germany and in many parts of Europe too. Now I had to rely on the few chocolate bars and pieces of bread I had left.

The fourth day began and after taking a shit in the bushes I was ready to go. It was a beautiful sunny day and the area was so rual that most of the people passing me greeted me and even wished me bon appetite while I was eating a piece of bread on a bench :D
After biking 100km (62 miles) and the sun slowly setting I decided to continue towards Munich. I had nearly no food left and didn't want to set up my tent.
200km (125 miles) left to go and motivated I started a journey through the night. It was quite nice at first and not that cold after the sun was gone. It was a chill ride, no traffic at all and an amazing view of the night sky.
But in the middle of the night my mind started to go crazy, really crazy. I noticed that all villages I passed turn off their street lights late at night and everything was just dark. My head just couldn't cope with such darkness the whole time while riding and very long completely straight streets with corn growing on each side didn't help either. I started to talk weird stuff to myself, screamed at every cat I saw because suddenly they seemed to be a hazard to me and even saw things which didn't exist.
Yep, my mind was going totally crazy that night and I was so relieved to see street lights again after hours and hours of just darkness.

This is actually it, sat 25 hours on my bike that day (of course a few breaks) and arrived exhausted and hungry at my destination. I know, this is a quite long story but thanks alot for reading it ;)
Next time I would consider to take some company with me if I'm riding through the night again



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My bike and all the other stuff I carried with me


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Hiking up the hill through the woods


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The view at the top



Down the Rhine, south of Koblenz
 
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ali

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That's an awesome adventure, thanks for sharing! I can definitely understand your frustration at having to do so many detours and not really knowing where it will take you. I suppose that's part of the experience, and it makes a fun story afterwards, but it can be annoying and sometimes a bit scary at the time. Weren't you worried to camp under a bridge with the rivers already flooding?
 

Schnitzel

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It was a great journey and I regret nothing. Of course, bad moments are a part of a trip which is something I still have to learn.
The bridge I slept beneath was more like an overpass through a valley right next to a cliff. I was more afraid of rocks hitting me while I'm asleep than water. At that time I already had left the area affected by the flooding and the nearest river was quite a bit away
 

Schnitzel

Pilgrim
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That's an awesome adventure, thanks for sharing! I can definitely understand your frustration at having to do so many detours and not really knowing where it will take you. I suppose that's part of the experience, and it makes a fun story afterwards, but it can be annoying and sometimes a bit scary at the time. Weren't you worried to camp under a bridge with the rivers already flooding?
Apparently I didn't mark your comment
 

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