Saturday, July 13, 2013

Into Germany

Early day today, only 40 miles or so from Munster France to Freiburg Germany.

We got in pretty early after a gorgeous ride, with much of it along bike paths. Lots of vineyard before crossing into Germany, more that we had seen previously.

It’s nice to be in early since it gives us some time get the clothes washed. We have the day off tomorrow, but it will be Sunday and we suspect that all the stores will be closed. So anything we need washed, or to buy will need to be done today. I writing this blog while watching the my clothes go ‘round at the laundromat. By the time we’re done, we’ll be able to check into the hotel.

TDA has really booked us into an nice hotel, not just a motel but a nice Hotel. Much more than I had been expecting.

Plans are already being made to head out to the beer garden this evening and just walking the streets looks like some nice places to eat, so we’ll see what happens.

That’s it for now, I’m hoping enough internet time to upload the photos from the past couple of days and to upload the Garmin plots from today’s ride.

That’s it for now, Happy Biking,


Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 5, Up and Over

Another wonderful day on the bike. The distance was pretty short just over 90 km. We started in the chill of the morning with most everyone wearing jackets. When I get a chance to upload the photos you’ll see some shots that I took as we left. Normally we ride in small groups of 2 to 4, but this morning for some reason about half the group left at the same time.

The first part of the ride was a lot of up and down as we made our way off the ridge we were camping on, then it was a very nice downhill swoosh as were rolled into a large town at about 25 km, just the right time for coffee and pastries.

It was a nice flat ride after that for about 20 more kilometers. By this time we had picked up a nice little group of 5 riders and set up an informal pace line that really makes the ride go fast.

At about the 45 km mark we started the highlight of the day a 1000 meter (about 3000 foot) climb over a mountain before dropping into Munster. The climb was about 25 km long and sometimes the road pitch was more than 11 percent, but the road was shady and the temperature cool at 20 degrees c (68 degrees F). I hate to compare the climb with others but the pitch and shade was similar to Old la Honda that I've ridden in the Bay Area and to total from bottom to top reminded me of parts of Angela Crest in Southern California, both wonderful rides.

The road topped out at a ski resort at 75 km and our lunch was waiting for us. We hung out for a while at the top until we couldn't delay any longer. the remaining 18 km into Munster was a zooming switchback downhill into town. We stopped several times to take photos, I’ll upload them when I can. The views were stunning.

As we reached Muster, we were ready for something to drink and stopped at a bar that was already filled with riders from out group. After a drink, it was a short ride to the campsite where we arrived at about 3PM.

I gotta say that the Garmin GPS has really been useful on this trip. I takes me some time to enter the route into the unit the night before, but the unit has provided us a level of confidence that allows us deviate from the route and find our way back on to the course with no problem.

It has also alerted us to turns that we would have missed, but it beeping and messages on the screen has kept us from going off track.

Well that’s ride from today, Happy Biking,


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 4; Recovery Ride

After the long ride yesterday, today's was fairly short at 87 km (54 miles). We stopped for coffee and pastry about the 25 km mark. The town was just what you might have expected from a french town with cobble stone streets shops and a open air market.

We were lead to the pastry shop by our noses, no kidding. The day was cooler overall that yesterday and the views were gorgeous!! I've biked in many places, but the views were as pretty as I have seen anywhere.

Click on the map below, "View Details", to view more details of our ride, but since the ride was pretty short today, I was able to catch up on the blog a bit and upload the Garmin GPS data to the internet. I also tried to upload photos for both yesterday and today, but for some reason the photos would not upload. I'll try uploading them at a later time.

That's all for now, Happy Biking,


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 3, A Wonderful Day

I just love it when a biking day goes so well. We left the hotel in a convoy fashion for the first 6 km this morning to insure that everyone found the bike path. The bike path lasted miles and miles mostly following a set of canals. The paths were asphalt and the canals were on one side and farm fields on the other. The paths wound up to a set of lakes. We had hoped to find a place for coffee overlooking the lakes, but we were too early and pushed onwards until we found a small town where we got some pastries and espresso.

I just gotta say that this was one of the most pleasant day on the bike. the morning was cool the scenery was wide open vistas that reminded me very much parts of the US that I've had a chance to ride, lush green rolling hills, with many crops such as wheat, corn and grapes. I just did not want the day to end. At about the halfway point we found the lunch stop and refueled for the rest of the ride.

The Garmin GPS was really handy. The night before I loaded in each turn off the tour provided cue sheet and as we rolled along, the map with the turns are displayed on the unit mounted on my handle bars. We didn't miss a turn and always knew our distance from the end of the ride.

Many of miles after lunch we left our quiet country road and turn on a busy main road that we would follow to our destination. The shade that we enjoyed in the morning disappeared as the temperature increased. We finally found an open cafe where six of us piled in and had espresso and ice cream (two of the most important biking food groups). The the road was pretty busy at this point with many trucks passing by us without much room to spare. The road also began to climb and dip only sapping our strength and slowing our progress. We also came upon What seemed like a short ride to the end became more and more difficult.

We almost reached our destination when we came upon a small farmer's market. Though dinner was only an hour away, we stopped and ate some fruit and figs before heading the last km to the campground.

Currently I'm charging my GPS and laptop while sitting outside the men's bathroom with my extension cords winding their way into the outlets above the wash basins. I'll upload this post, photos and GPS map as soon as I get a WiFi connection.

 Until then, Happy biking,


Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 2, Nuclear power plants and wind turbines

Today as we left our campground that is located on an active farm, we passed the ponies, ducks, geese and lambs and hit the cool road. Bright blue sky called us down the road.

Just a couple of miles down the road we passed a castle with a drawbridge and moat. I knocked on the castle door to talk to the king, but only an angry dog answered from the other side for the door.

About and hour into the day, we pulled into a small town and found one open bakery. Had a pastry and a cup of coffee before heading off again.

We didn't really push the day very hard and even side tracked a bit through a small town and some back-roads. With the Garmin GPS it was pretty easy to track where we actually were, vs. the planned route, so we never felt lost. We were just exploring our options!!

Lunch came up at the 50km point, which was more that 50% of the way to destination of Troyes. As the day  rolled on the crosswinds and headwinds picked up a bit and slowed down our pace a bit. But the road became more quiet while we passed fields of barley, poppies and hemp.

We also passed a nuclear power plant puffing clouds of white smoke and fields of wind turbines.

The last 10 km into town was along a very busy highway, but we just kept moving and were in town in just a short time. This evening we're staying in a very nice hotel and will have tomorrow off to explore our surroundings a bit.

Happy Riding,


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 1; Out of Paris

At last!! We're off.

Road through Paris as a part of our first day. Pass many of the famous sites. After 20km we were out on the more rural roads, though the speeding trucks zipping by us sometimes came a bit too close for comfort.

The wind started to pick up a bit in the afternoon, too bad it wasn't a tail wind, mostly a cross to head wind, but not too bad. The day was fairly short, only about 60 miles. I arrived in the campground at about 2 or so.

The campground is part of a working farm and as you can see in the following photos, we had plenty of shade for lounging and getting to know each other.

I also had a chance to test out my garmin today. The resulting map and ride statistics are shown below:

Happy Biking