Friday, August 22, 2014

Disadvantages of e-bikes

We are both over the biblical age of three score years and ten. We have just  bought a couple of touring bikes. When we announce this, our friends and acquaintances all ask the same question: "An e-bike?". They are often surprised to hear that the answer is, "No, a staid normal touring bike with an eight speed hub gear".
"Why not an e-bike?"
Two answers:
  • An e-bike would not fit into our mode of cycling. We often take a train somewhere and then cycle on. It is important to us that we can easily lift our bikes onto trains. An e-bike weighs around 26kg. Our touring bikes weigh 14kg. In the two minutes that Deutsche Bahn allows to get our bikes onto a train the extra weight makes a big difference.
  • We store our bikes in our cellar. It is difficult enough carrying a 14kg bike down a tight curving staircase. A 26kg e-bike would be impossible.
If we lived in a hilly area then matters might well be different, but we live on the Rhine plain. This does not rule out hiring an e-bike in a mountainous area in future.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Don't ride in Danish pedestrian zones

We were in Nykobing this morning and as we were due to ride into the pedestrian zone, I asked a policeman whether we could. He shook his head and said that it would cost us 700 Danisch Kroner, i.e. about £80. Watch out when in Denmark as it is too easy to enter a pedestrian zone without noticing.

Friday, August 15, 2014

New improved BVA ADFC 1:150 000 cycling maps of Germany

BVA have brought out improved versions of some of the ADFC cycling maps. They are water and tear resistant. They come without the booklet with the ADFC Bett and Bike info which normally end up being deep sixed at least in this house. However there is a website listed on the cover with cycling and travel information. The disadvantage is however they are more expensive and now cost €7.95.I suspect the whole series will be upgraded as required.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Paneuropa Cycle Route Paris to Prague

Maybe you have not decided where you want to go on holiday this year, but if not, or you want a long term dream route with a taste of Europe then take a look at the Paneuropa Cycle Route*. It runs from Paris to Prague via Châlons en Champagne, Nancy, Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Nürnberg (Nuremberg) and Plzen, about 1500km in total.
The route exists only on paper in France except for a few km at the start and the last 100 or so kilometres into Strasbourg. From what we have heard and read recently the French government has other more pressing problems other than putting up signposts for cycle tourists. There are however GPS downloads and excellent 1:100 000 IGN maps available covering the French portion of the route  (http://www.ign.fr). 
Signposting is much improved in Germany. From Strasbourg you can use the excellent ADFC-BVA 1:150 00 cycle maps. We would suggest you do not follow the suggested  Paneuropa route over into Germany in Strasbourg, but follow the Rhine Route on the left bank to cross into Germany by Wörth. Then cycle on to Speyer with its cathedral, technical museum and excellent cafes before crossing the Rhine to wander across the fields to reach, first Schwetzingen, where Mozart played in the chateau and Heidelberg. The French cycle route of the left bank of the Rhine is tarred whereas the route on the right bank is an untarred river bank maintenance road. The Paneuropa route follows the Neckar Valley, crosses to Rothenburg ob der Tauber on the Romantic Road and on to Nuremberg before climbing over low hills into the Czech Republic. 
The cycle routes in the Czech Republic seem often intended for mountain bikes rather than touring bikes in our limited experience, but according to the authors of a report in www.crazyguyonabike.com the route does improve nearer Prague. 

*The website is officially available  in Czech, English, French and German, but only the titles are available in English, the content is in German, so use Google Translator.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Success breeds problems as well - changes in rolling stock needed!

The Mannheimer Morgen reported 2 August 2014 that the City Council was debating the funding of new rolling stock for the VRN the regional passenger transport authority because of the growing numbers of bicycles, prams, baby carriages and wheeled zimmer frames being used by passengers. It is true to say that at weekends and on Wednesdays the S-Bahn (suburban trains) to and from the Pfalz west of Mannheim have  problems in providing enough capacity for bicycles, in spite of offering about 28 places per train unit. Many of the S-Bahn trains have two units coupled together. In urban areas the problem is made worse by kindergardens, who often use kinder-buses, super large buggies that will accommodate up to six children.

Friday, August 01, 2014

At long last, Knooppunts, Navigation Nodes migrate into the Rhineland, Germany

If you think of a node system as a system of linked points, then you are not so far from the truth. A node system is an advanced system of signs for cyclists. We have written about this before. 
This system widely used as Knooppunt in the Benelux countries will be deployed in the RadRegionRheinland (Rhineland Cycling District) in North Rhine Westphalia. A total of about 430 numbered nodes will be created.  We have written about this type of signposting several times in our blog, in our website and in our books.
 

As a cyclist you can use this system for your tour. For example, you simply list all the nodes on your chosen route: say 4-6-3-5-15-4. The node system is regarded as a supplement to the existing signage and will not replace it. At each node an overview map will be installed, where you can quickly and easily see where to find where the next node is. So you can decide spontaneously depending on your mood and the weather, which way via which node you will travel.

The installation of the hub system in the RadRegionRheinland will be carried out bit by bit, during the year 2014. This is very good news.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Hire a bike in Berlin and drop it off in Copenhagen

If you hire a car in Madrid and wish to drive to Oslo, you can leave it in Oslo at a branch of the company. It will cost you a few pounds/dollars/euro/krone more, but you can do it. Normally it is not possible to rent a bike in one place and return it somewhere else. We have written about this problem recently.

We are planning a tour along part of the Berlin-Copenhagen cycle route and by chance I discovered that you can rent a bicycle in Copenhagen and return it in Berlin or vice versa. 
Fahrradstation (a Berlin bike hire company) in collaboration with MTB-Tour (Værløse, Copenhagen) offers the opportunity to rent a reliable bicycle in Berlin to ride this beautiful and famous international cycle route and then easily return it in Copenhagen. As well as the other way round!  You can enjoy a one-way ride without worrying about returning the bike to the starting point.

Choose your two-wheeler among a range of:
  • trekking bikes
  • mountain bikes
  • e-bikes
But also childrens' bikes and tandems!
Bike7 Days10 Days14 Days
MTB€ 199,-€ 229,-€ 259,-
Trekking Bike€ 199,-€ 229,-€ 259,-
E-Bike€ 299,-€ 349,-399,-
Child's Bike
€ 169,-
Tandem

€ 399,-
For any further information and for reservation, contact Fahrradstation  at berlincopenhagen@fahrradstation.de.

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