Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
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Category — Germany

Day 2 (Germany/France/Switzerland): Freiburg - Basel (including a poster fight)

today’s distance: 94 km
total distance: 178 km
riding time: +/- 5 h

Cycling Without Borders took an unexpected turn today … more on that later. Heading out of Freiburg, the same wind started to pound in my face … not much of a happy camper. Neither are the people in this town. It seemed like a poster war was going on as soon as I entered. The whole thing is about whether to build a road around town to decrease congestion and noise for the people living along main street. They are - needless to say - in favor of the new road, but it just so happens that the people where the road is to be built aren’t. So here goes the poster fight.

Soon afterwards I talked to a local bike store owner and to get away from the high volume of traffic he suggested to try the French side, so off I went to cross another border - not in the plan.

I pedaled along the Rhine for the most part, the road being sheltered by the trees on the right hand side and with considerably less traffic. Much better riding apart from the rain, the wind and the nuclear power plant that I passed. Power was supplied by the chocolate Easter eggs given to me by Maria that morning. They provided much needed energy. Late lunch was equally good with baguette, tomatoes, hummus and a couple of cheeses.

Back to Germany to take care of some administrative matters and then I was in Switzerland with the first stamp in my passport. Basel is a wonderful and picturesque city with friendly people around. An elderly lady I talked to thought I should come back after the trip and seek her out on her daily stroll along the Rhine river to give her the summary of the trip. We shall see whether that will happen.

However, the people of Basel will still have to explain to me how they ever fit 11,000 virgins into this little alley, but that’s something for another day.

Ina and Michi were kind enough to let me stay at their place. I’ve known the two of them for quite a while now and the evening was spent watching soccer and eating wonderful food in addition to the usual good conversations. Thanks to both (riveted by the German victory over Switzerland):

March 26, 2008   No Comments

Day 1 (Germany): Gengenbach - Freiburg

today’s distance: 84 km
total distance: 84 km
riding time: +/- 4.5 h

The first day … I was finally able to take off and it was quite a relief I must say. Not that it hit home right away, but it was time after having been diagnosed with mono and incessant headaches for six weeks making the time creep by slowly. It wasn’t fun, that’s for sure. I packed the last things (and forgot a few for sure) the night before and bid farewell from my mother and uncle.

The weather was alright, snow cover on the ground, but with clear roads. It was just above freezing, so not bad at all. My first climb followed soon after, one that I’ve been doing dozens of times and by happy coincidence, the dog that bit me last summer was there to greet me again when I passed a farmhouse. Yikes … but he was good this time around, no bruises this time.

Arriving in Lahr, I met up with Daniel who is a member of a touring biker forum. Together we biked to Freiburg, stopping at what I consider to be the best bike store that I know. Speedzone, led by Dieter & Dirk, is a fantastic place and the two are not only the people that put my bike together in a protracted process (more about that at some later point), but have become good friends.

Somehow the first casualty occurred right before getting there … I lost my good gloves at some point. But Dieter stuck some gloves into my face, refusing any payment. Thank you for this and everything else!!!The wind wasn’t favorable to say the least. Winds from the Southwest made for a tough going and I was fortunate to have Daniel with me (a big thank you, Daniel). Riding a loaded bike is like pushing a board into the wind and can be grueling if the winds come from the “wrong” direction. But the sun came out and overall made for great riding on the first day. At the end I was pretty exhausted - long illness, hardly any chance to train and probably too little food over the course of the day.

After finishing the last purchases (lensbag and footprint for my tent as well as a compression sack - thanks to the Outdoorshop in Freiburg), I spent the evening in the company of a good friend with great food and conversations. Thanks a bunch, Maria.

March 25, 2008   2 Comments

the first video - pre-departure

There is not much to add, so just take a look at the video if you have a couple of minutes. This will be the standard procedure every morning after spending the night in the tent. Enjoy!

video pre-departure

click on the image to watch the video, it will open in a new window

February 18, 2008   2 Comments

the last weekend

The last weekend is here … I’m trying to tie together some lose ends here and there, such as buying memory cards and batteries, bidding farewell to friends, putting data where it belongs, final equipment testing, etc. Here’s another useful item that I’m grateful to Diane for putting it together as sowing does not belong to the list of my core competences. Maybe it should, but it isn’t.These are essentially all the tools and spares that I will be taking along, safe for the spare tire and tube. Still a few things missing, but they’ll be gathered in due time. Click on the picture to get a more detailed overview with notes.

February 17, 2008   No Comments

less than 10 days …

It is now less than 10 days until my departure on Feb 20. Am trying to take care of some bits and pieces here and there. I got my last shots today, completing the 2 1/2 month vaccination marathon. I stopped by Dr. Schraeder’s office about 20 times during the last months. He and his staff have been a good source of information about all things medical that can happen during the tour. A big thank you!!!

MVZ Team

Guess what this is - old and new …


These are two water filter cartridges, new and old obviously. Up until now the water was always great, but I suppose it was time for a change. Not sure how often I will have to make use of the filter, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Too bad you can’t see the critters with the naked eye. Lovely names like Giardia and other parasites come to mind …

February 16, 2008   1 Comment