2012 is go

I’ve decided to ressurect this blog….it started with the best of intentions, but fell by the wayside somewhat.

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Days off the bike = bike rides round Oberstdorf

Got to Oberstdorf ok, and got booked into a B&B. Then went out for a ride to keep the legs loose. Ended up climbing about 1000 feet up the mountain behind the ski jumps, and felt quite good doing it – Last time I was here in 2008 I had to walk up the same hill, this time I got most of the way up. Descending made the rims very hot to the touch!

Had a few beers at the Irish pub in town and called it a night at 1. Up early for breakfast, and the B&B owner took me for a bike ride south of the town, where we climbed about 5-600m higher than the town. Descending was hairy and fast to say the least. I then rode the Fellhornbahn to the top of the Fellhorn where there were beautiful views.

A quick ride back down into town, and a bite to eat. A coffee, check email, then back to the room to pack ready for tomorrow.

Miles today about 20, but loads of climbing. Need a cat nap, then a quiet shandy, early night and tomorrow it is homeward bound.


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Reasons not to be cheerful…….part 1

I get a little peeved at some people’s stupidity.

Like the people who smash beer bottles on bike paths – why?

People who spray grafitti on bike path signs?

People who turn round bike path signs!!! got lost a few times.

People who walk aimlessly on bike paths, than look at you like you have 2 heads when you ring your bell.

Railway stations with no provision to lift bikes from subway to platform level, so you have to take all your panniers off and do a few trips up and down the stairs – only for a DB railway worker to warn you about leaving your bags unattended!!!

And breathe out……..hommmmmmmmm

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Let the train take the strain….

Woke up in the night coughing like a copper’s nark, and felt really crook. So I packed up and rode to Augsburg (about 8 miles) then got a train to Oberstdorf (where I am now) for 2 days off the bike, to rest up, regroup, and get ready for the 750 mile return leg along the Rhine. I have used the train a few times now, and each time it is like a physical torment schlepping my kit up and down stairs – the lifts to the platforms aren’t big enough to do the job?????

At this point I would like to say how ashamed I am for what I did next…..

I was on platform 6 at Augsburg station, and an announcement on the tannoy warned of an approaching train. I looked up to see a long freight train come to a halt, waiting for favourable signals before moving on. At this point a ‘visually-impaired’ gentleman (complete with white stick) walked up to the train and tried getting on one of the wagons. A quick-thinking DB train employee ran over to stop him riding with a consignment of logs to Berlin. I couldn’t surpress the giggles, and was chortling away when a DB Railway Policeman looked at me giving me a very disapproving look.

On the train some young bloke entered the carriage exclaiming that he was getting married, and had a sandwich board for people to sign. I wrote, “Don’t do it, stay single, Paul’. I wished him well, and said goodbye at Oberstdorf.

The rest of the journey to Oberstdorf passed without event, and I am now chilling, resting, having a beer, and updating this. Pics to follow.

Just gotback from a ride up the mountain – and who did I meet? Only the bloke getting married, complete with stag do entourage. I could hear them still shouting “Hallo PAUL” as they went down the mountain.

I had ridden this road once before, about 3 years ago, and I was a lot fitter and got up higher quicker, so it must be working.

Total miles – 557


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Baptism of rain, wind, glass…….etc

Got up and felt really sh*t. I really struggled to get the motivation up to ride. Cold now on my chest, so coughing like a broken-winded horse.

I passed through the 49th parallel, in line with Paris, Mongolia and the northern border of the USA apparently.

It was a cooler day, so (with the chest thingy) I decided to take it easy. I rode the rolling hills south from Dinkelsbühl to Donauwörth. Harburg has a lovely castle on a hill overlooking the town. With threatening skies I pushed onto Donauwörth. I had to pause under a railway bridge to dodge a shower. Whilst there nature called, and I almost returned to my childhood of wet pants when I struggled to get the old man out – wearing bib shorts is not condusive to going wee wee in a hurry.

After the near-trouser incident I rode the last few miles to Donauwörth in very light drizzle – no drama. I then sheltered for lunch in a railway tunnel (disused – the tunnel, not my lunch). Donauwörth, like some many towns along the Romantic road, is a walled city, full of tourists etc. Here I joined the Dannube and headed east before turning south onto the Lech river.

At this point I was now on the smoothest bike path I have EVER ridden on. As I approached the town of Rain it began to do just that – rain – and lots of it. Unpeturbed I pedalled through the town until a hiss and wobble from the back wheel signalled the arrival of the p*ncture fairy. Not bad going – 500 miles fully-loaded and 1 puncture. Cheeky as I could be, I pushed the bike into some blokes yard and asked to mend it under his car port. I have kept the offending piece of glass for posterity.

With the mending done, thoughts turned to sleep/food. I then headed to mühlhausen about 20 miles south, into a cold headwind on a narrow busy road. Bloody-mindedness kept me pushing on the pedals, and I rolled, soggily into a campsite at 7, with another 79 miles in the bank – 549 miles total.


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Attention readers

Please note I am writing this in a tent, not some swanky cappuccino shop with WiFi, so don’t expect too much in the line of grammar. I will do an edit and add pictures on my day off in Oberstdorf.

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Things you learn on the road – well things I learn….

I need to practice my ‘footballer’s nose blow, as the the right shoulder of my t shirt will testify.
I can happily ride 75 hilly miles on a fully-loaded touring bike, although my @rse might argue the toss.
I can ride 15 miles per banana.
Goats in fields are ace.
Going to sleep at 9 makes you quite fresh and perk at 4.30.
Following a river downstream doesn’t necessarily mean it will be all down hill.
It’s hard to control a loaded touring bike going 40mph when your hat is flapping in your face, and your trying to stop the map case from blowing off.
Lots of people I speak to think I’m Dutch.
more to follow.

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Can it get any hotter?

Set off from the campsite early, after a restless night listening for Russians. Got to bottom of the road and realised I’d left a bungee wrapped round a tree. Edit – Quick break while I eat my currywurst. – edit off. As I rode away a man in a van saw me coming out of the wood. I didn’t hang around, and did a 4 mile descent into Tauberbischofsheim. It was hard going again this morning, but not so cold. Blue skies meant it was suncreme time.q got some good miles in early doors, and had 40 into the bank by midday. thanks to all comments, I will reply personally when I have a day off. was now riding in hot weather and the road sent me to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. a beautiful walled city, well worth a visit. I then pressed on south towards Feuchtwangen. I then had a ride on a barge seat in a mill pool. a few miles later I stopped for a rest and slept for an hour in the sun by the river. finished the day at 81,miles in Dinkelsbühl. total miles 470. Oh, almost lost a sock down the side of the tumble dryer at the campsite. Ciao.

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Baby, it’s cold outside.

Woke up cold in the night,blinking freezing. Struggled to get going and warm. Took about 30 miles before I felt ok. Beautiful river valley of the Fulda. Didn’t feel up to the 900m hills of the Rhön, so got the train from Fulda to Würzburg. Beautiful city on the Main river well worth a look around. A really hot day and my main concern was to get more water, and get a few miles in on the Romantic Road cycle path. More like hell road with a long climb strait away for about 3 miles. Very hard in the heat. Nice downhill into town of Kist, 32mph eyes watering and hat flapping. What goes down must go up, and I soon ran out of speed and ended up pushing the bike up a long 1 in 4 through the village. Camped near Tauberbischofsheim. 78 miles for the day with total now at 389 miles. Ciao.

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Hills, dam busting, bike busting, angle grinding and tail wind.

Set off about 7 from my lovely secluded camp site. Straight into hills. Getting to the Eder dam involved a lot of climbing. There was no avoiding the hills, so I just dug in. Trouble was, the downhills were twisty and rough, so I didn’t get the benefit of them really. The dam was an impressive feat of engineering. Having seen the volume of water held there, I wouldn’t wish it bombed on anyone, there would be no escape from the torrent.

I had an egg sandwich for lunch.

After the Eder the cycling gods smiled on me and provided me with smooth roads, a long downhill run, and a cracking tailwind to boot.

Was all going so well till my front pannier broke and I spent 2 hours replacing it. Had to fit it myself, and had to angle grind the bolts so the panniers would fit.

Still the tail wind beckoned and I finished the day at 75 miles, not bad considering  the hills and breakdown.

Got to use a cable car ferry across the Fulda, well cool.

Total for trip 311 miles.


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