Day 4, 31 5 2014, Baden Baden to GenGenbach

We changed the plan a bit.  We were intending to head back down to the Rhine from Baden Baden, but after some investigation we decided to ride the Black Forest foothills just to the east of the Rhine.  This involved some hills.

We have spent the first three days of this trip on the flat country of the Rhine Valley, so it was time for a change.

The country today was astonishingly beautiful, as were the houses and villages.  We rode through the foothills on the western side of the Rhine last year, but they did not arise so abruptly from the plain as they do on this eastern side.  They were much easier to ride. 

Today‚Äôs ride was quite tough.  As we were riding south, and the Rhine, runs south to north, the valleys that drain the country we rode through run east-west, so we spent the day riding up out of a valley and down into the next.

We were fully aware that the route we chose would be more difficult, but so be it. It was worth it.

There were grades of up to 13% as the Google Earth profile below shows.  I find this seriously hard.

There were a lot of bike riders in these hills.  One stopped to help us with navigation, and then very kindly led us for the next 20Km.  He lived in Munich, and grew up in this region and knew it well.  It was a considerable kindness, as there was no way we could keep up with him on his carbon fibre road bike.  We have had a lot of kindness from people who stop to ask if they can help, and they all speak English.

We navigated largely be finding a town on a map then entering it into TomTom.  It was amazing how often this coincided with established bike routes, indicated by route signs.

The road conditions, as always in Germany were fantastic.  On the rides through the passes there was no bike lane, but they were very lightly trafficked by very considerate motorists.  Bicycle riding is such a part of life in Germany that drivers seem to think that it could have been them on the bike.  Mostly in the valleys there was a good quality bike path adjacent to the road.  By good quality, I mean smooth, 3 metres wide and sealed.  So it is never necessary to mix with heavy traffic on narrow roads.

My brother emailed to berate me for only covering 57Km yesterday, which is a bit rich coming from him, as he considers a big day of exercise one in which he rearranges his lawn furniture.

So, only 67Km today, but hard ones.

Roz says thought I was doing well on day 2 until I realized I did breakfast with my lycra pants on back to front!  I know like who cares??  Gave the low gears a beating today.  And we managed to polish off half a kilo of the sweetest freshly picked strawberries ever en route, followed by a bottle of local Reisling when we opened the bar fridge at the hotel!!  

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On to Day 5