About : Europe

There are 3 very different parts to the ride. In Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland and Germany you’re in modern western civilization all kinds of amenities and support – fine dining and **** hotels to budget inns. You ride on nice, paved secondary streets, and especially in Germany, on a lot of spectacular bike paths. Crossing into eastern Europe, (Czech Republic and Poland) the roads are about the same, but the seleciton of accoodations goes down outside of the major cities. In Belarus and Russia the road selection and hotel selection outside of major cities goes way down – get support or bring camping gear.

Roding 140km/84mi**

europe2003 PII, Day 10
23June03, 140km/84mi**
Roding, Germany

I don’t think I mentioned it yet, but Lisa’s instructions were for “variety” in hotels. Today we’re heading toward the most rural of that variety – a farmhouse 5km south of Roding, Germany, essentially in the middle of nowhere.

The first 3 pictures today are of Susie. Celebrating further her “century” yesterday, we photographed both her odometer and her with an official 100-mile sign. (Dave, eat your heart out.)

Then we left the Hotel Rappensberger in Ingolstadt a little before 8AM. Jason led us around the greenway and out toward the farm fields, but not before we had the first “crash”of the trip. Susie hit a curb and went down! (Note: This is a reenactment, not the actual crash.)

She laid on her stomach for a minute, then on her back, and then with the assistance of 6 anxious men, regrouped and got back on her bike. She wisely only rode another few kilometers – to the 10k point of the ride, where Sylvie and Lisa (taking a morning segment break to get some work done) picked her up. The rest of us rode on through the fields and along and across the Donau (Danube).

Our first official break was at Neustadt a.d. Donau where we gathered, as usual, at the church, placed the camera on fountain, and let it take a picture of us. (Bill and Jason hadn’t made it to the church at the time of this picture, but they’re coming…).

We split into (so we thought) two groups, with the road bikers in front and the mountain bikers behind. Coming out of Neustadt we rode through fields of hops on giant (20’ tall) trellises. We continue to explore the relationship between good hops and good beer, which the Czechs and Germans have known for centuries.

Our next break was west of Affeking, just across the river from Kelheim. There were a few big hills along the way, but we were rewarded by a McDonalds at the bottom of the last one. This is Lisa watching Bob and Charlie doing the usual map debate, while we waited for Bill and Jason. Somewhere here Bill called and said, “where’s Jason” (buddy system break-down) and Bob drove back to check things out.

Some pictures of this would have been good, but alas Bob forgot the camera. Jason was well ahead of Bill, both of them plowing up one of the multi-kilometer steep climbs. Both declined free van rides back to the McDonalds. After some refreshments, Bob, Don, Charlie and Steve took off in group one, Bill and Lisa headed off in group two, Jason joined Susie and Sylvie in the van and we all headed into our last western European city – Regensberg.

Regensberg is typical. Old, beautifully maintained buildings, some nice new structures, narrow walking streets, outdoor cafes, and of course, the Danube. We ate at a café across from St. Peter’s cathedral (the tall spires in the next picture.)

Big hills were forecasted for the last 50km/20mi into Roding, and we pared down to 5 riders. We stocked up and crossed saw the Danube for the last time. At this point it’s split into the dammed river (not damned) and a series of locks.

Just east of town we caught up with a rider who commutes 30km each day into Regensberg for work. Charlie drew a lot of information about our upcoming route from her.

She was quite an asset. She directed us to a 30km rail-trail through the forests, with no traffic or towns. Charlie missed the turn off, but Lisa, Don, Steve and Bob really thought this was the best riding in days. Some photos:

That’s Don and Lisa racing, Lisa behind me, a break along the way, and then Steve and Lisa. When the rail-trail ended in Rossbach (here in Germany there’s a funny looking B where those two s’s are) everyone gathered for another break. Then Steve and Lisa, for unknown reasons, decided to take the long, hilly route to the hotel in Roding, while Charlie, Don and Bob stayed on the more direct route. We were all interrupted by some very big winds (enough to blow Don’s helmet down the sidewalk) and lightning, but very little rain.

Our hotel for the night, the Land hotel Lugerhof, is a farmhouse 5km from anywhere, and Sylvie was wonderfully waiting to make sure we didn’t miss it.

We met on the “hotel” (actually a working farm that served milk fresh from the cow the following morning!) patio to rehydrate and tell our bike stories, then it was showers, shuttling into Roding for a German dinner, mediocre wine (some like the watery swiss and german varieties) but excellent schnitzle.

This was our last day in Germany, and in Western Europe. Tomorrow we’ll pack our passports and head for the Czech Republic.

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