Strasbourg served us well, and I have to say, as a city dweller, it was nice to feel I was in an urban environment for a night. Makes no real sense as the whole point of a trip like this is the great outdoors – nonetheless I know their ways better in a city. Often Lamby and I have no clue of ‘their ways’ – for instance why do folk on campsites appear to live here? They have caravans and a fence around them?? Who has the right of way when cycling on urban cycle paths (Pavements) when you cross the road – btw, if you know the answer to this please tell me.
Today we would cross one of the worlds great rivers and into Germany. 4 Years ago I cycled the Rhine a bit on my first major pedal and it was exciting (can I say that?) to cross the mighty river again.
It’s a cliche, but Germany does do things a bit better. For instance bike path signage, bike paths full stop, camp sites, I could go on… I love France, absolutely love it, but in Germany, I know things will be in order and work. Oh, and they will be cheaper… Such a Scotsman I know!!
The ride today could be broadly split in 2. The first section a relatively easy climb along the river Kinzig as we head into the Shwartzwald – then the second a fierce climb up through the Black Forest and through the rolling plateau to Bad Durrheim.
The first section was awesome – largely on levees – we rolled along – and up. The mountains (and they are that), looming in the distance.
We circled Offenburg and pressed on to the foothills of what would be some considerable climbs. I should pause here on Offenburg… I have been here before – 21 years ago. This may come as a shock – or largely just a source of great amusement to some – but in my teens I was hugely religious. Or should I say, I had faith and was practising (I still have some sort of faith). Back to the story though – when I was 16, I was briefly a missionary (I know – madness to think – especially if you know me) – and it was in Offenburg I spent 5 days at a huge Christian gathering known as ‘Love Europe’ – before being sent in small teams to do just that – I spent a long time on a campsite in Hungary – largely playing the guitar and singing shine Jesus Shine. I still love Europe – and it’s somehow fitting on the day of the European Elections to say that. I do.
We made it to Hausach for 13:00 and decided to have a considerable lunch – especially given we were at the foot of the huge climb of the day. Just as well we did as the climb was massive. We called it the Col de Banhof
It was tough – truly tough – and the double pasta and pizza really stood us in good stead!!!
I’m guessing you can tell that we wimped out and got a train up into the schwartzwald – we did. Again ashamed – but if we had ridden it we’d still be out there somewhere. Also, this is a holiday – and so there has to be some enjoyment. Perhaps we are getting older or just perhaps, more sensible. On the train front – again, the Germans do it brilliant. We struggled, a lot, in Belgium getting our bikes on and off trains – here – almost a pleasure. Almost encouraged… That could be a bad thing….
So, the train deposited us in Villingen and we cycled on from there to Bad Durrheim – or in fact Sumthaser See – which was actually over another large climb. All in – I’m not disappointed with our riding today. I was however disappointed with the fact our campsite, fantastic as it is, does not take cards. That meant I would have to cycle back over a massive climb, then back again just to get cash. If it were not for this man:
Total legend. Owner of the site – and happy to drive me in his lovely Merc to the bank. He retired at 60 (17 Years ago) and bought his daughter this campsite. He lives here, and works here now for free… He does look scared in this photo though… Can’t think why.