Monday, July 18, 2011

What a difference 5 km can make.

We are planning to cycle to Basel (Basle, Bâle) as soon as it stops raining. Once we are there we will need return by rail to Viernheim. Basel has three railway stations, belonging to three different organisations: Basel SBB, the Swiss station, Basel Badischer Bahnhof, the German station and Bâle SNCF, the French station. The platforms of the latter two are legally German or French, but the buildings themselves including ticket offices etc. are on Swiss soil. This means if you pay by credit or debit card that the tickets will be slightly more expensive.
However what amazed me was the price difference between travelling from Basel SBB and Basel Bad to Mannheim. As long as you are prepared to travel on regional trains fairly slowly the trip between Basel Bad and Mannheim costs 29 Euro for up to five people plus 4.50 Euro per bike for the bicycles, i.e. 38 Euro in our case. Travelling between Basel SBB and Mannheim via Basel Bad will cost you 63.30 Euro plus ten Euros/bike for an International bicycle ticket, i.e. well over twice as much. The five minute ride from Basel SBB to Basel Bad will cost over 40 Euro.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cycle touring as a mainstream activity

We have written recently that cycling has become a normal feature of holidays offered by German companies. I was still surprised to read that Nicko Tours carry a fleet of hire bikes on one of their ships: MS Wolga travelling from Passau along the most famous section of the Danube cycleway. On most of the eight days of the trip cyclists can borrow a bike and cycle between 40 and 70 km along the cycleway. This would help work off the meals that one is offered on the ship. Of course, if it rains, you can sit in your cabin and watch the scenery going by at cyclists' speeds. The same company offers a return trip from Ruse to Vienna or Passau, so cyclists on the lower reaches of the Danube could possibly come back with the company by ship. Thee are a couple of snags: the price 1000 Euros plus and a week of sitting watching the scenery go by and eating large meals.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fines for cyclists in Germany

Germany has a traffic code which allows the police to impose on the spot fines for minor infringements of the traffic laws, so if you are touring in Germany it worth knowing what you shouldn't be doing as a cyclist.
You can be fined 5 Euros for cycling on the pavement (sidewalk).
You can be fined 15 Euros for cycling in the wrong direction on a cycleway.
You can be fined 25 Euros for using a mobile phone when underway on a bike.
You can be fined 45 Euros if you jump a red traffic light.
You can be fined 10 Euros for cycling in a pedestrian zone.

Friday, July 08, 2011

How times have changed or is it just old age?

We want to cycle the last kilometres to Basel along the Rhine from Ludwigshafen to be able to finish off our planned electronic cycle touring guide. As usual before we start I run up a quick spreadsheet to decide where are the best place to stop overnight. To do this I need distances and so this morning I fired up the Mac to google "Rhine Cycleway". I found a number of hits and then saw our own website. This reminded me that down in the cellar we have a number of printed cycle touring guides which contain all the info I need. Nowadays however the first move I make when I am looking for information is to turn on the mac. Odd really.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Cycling information from a motor club?

It is still surprising to realise how mainstream cycling is in Germany. Our local brewery is giving away a cycling map with every crate of beer sold in August. What surprised me most of all, the ADAC the German equivalent of the AA or the AAA announced recently that it is selling an iPhone app through the Apple App Store that can be used to find and follow over 1500 cycle tours in Germany.

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