Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bicycle Hire and E-Bike Hire in Oberstdorf, Allgäu, Bavaria, Germany

Skiers know Oberstdorf and the nearby Austrian Klein Walser Valley as major winter sports centres, the site of a ski jump arena and a number of cable cars and chairlifts.

In summer it is a good area for mountain biking, cycle touring with or without E-bikes. The glaciated landscape with hanging valleys and moraines means that there are many short steep climbs interspersed with longer more gentle ones. Judicious use of the power control on a pedelec could make cycling a lot more pleasant. Local pubs and cafes offer free charging while you enjoy lunch or snack. We are here enjoying a few days walking in between the rain and snow storms, but took the chance to check out the town's bike hire facilities.

Zweirad Center Hasselberger, Hauptstraße 7, 87561Oberstdorf, T: +49(0)8322 4467, F: +49(0)8322 8932 has touring bikes (9€/day), mountain bikes (12€/day) and E-bikes (20€/day) for hire.

There is a Movelo hire point offering Swiss Flyer bikes. These have the advantage that 26 hotels, cafes, campsites and bike parks in the region will exchange your exhausted Movelo battery for a freshly charged one free of charge, which means you can spend more time touring and less time sitting on a terrace in the sun looking at the mountains. The company also offers E-bikes from other manufacturers: Focus and Kalkhoff and a large range of special vehicles: E-mountain bikes, trikes, tandems, tandem trikes, electro wheel chairs, sociables, bike wheelchair combinations, children's trailers, children's seats and dog trailers.

E-Bike Verleihcenter Oberstdorf, Bahnhofsplatz 1 a, 87561 Oberstdorf, T:  +49(0)8322 95290, F: +49(0)8322 95290,, (only in German), Open daily including on public holidays from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm. Opposite the railway station.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Folding bikes and Mothering Sunday. What is the best way to fold a bike?

I recently came across a link to a website suggesting presents for mums on Mothering Sunday / Mothers' Day. One of these presents is a MINI folding bike marketed by the BMW subsidiary that manufactures the MINI car. It comes in two colours, black or lime green and leaves one in no doubt from whom the bike comes. The frame is well endowed with MINI decals. The bike is actually a rebadged Tern Link. It would appear to be cheaper than the original Tern, but I've not checked the street prices of both bikes worldwide.
Like all the bikes from Tern and Dahon it has one major big time disadvantage when compared with the Brompton. When the bike is folded, the chain is on the outside, whereas with the Brompton the bike folds around the chain. Because the chain is on the outside of the folded bike, there is a good chance of your mum getting oil on her trousers carrying the folded bike. She is not going to be a happy camper. Believe me! We own a couple of Dahon folding tourers which also fold the woman-unfriendly way and I have had oil on my trousers a number of times. She who must be obeyed normally does the washing at Forsyth Towers and she was not happy.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Cyclists in sects

I am not the only person to have noticed the ability of cyclists to form sects. At the top of the tree there are the road men and women who ride very fast on tyres (tires) the width of razor blades and ignore all other cyclists. They are rather like the Lowells in Boston who only talk to God, as the poet put it.
There is also a group of cyclists are probably extreme members of  the High Moral Ground group (HMG). The HMG are the moral preachers of the cycling world. It is their right to cycle on four lane highways and they will do so at risk of life and limb because they are producing less carbon dioxide that the fossil fuelled in their steel overcoats. The world would be a better place if we all cycled. They are right, but… They also suffer from too much zeal and have been known to suggest to fellow members of cycle clubs that using a motor car or a taxi from time to time is reason enough to leave the club. They will jump red lights and ride the wrong way along cycleways and one way streets. It is, in their opinion, the duty of motorists to watch out for them rather than the other way round, even though the other road users may well include drivers existing on a few hours sleep a day,  planning their supermarket shopping list for the golden wedding party on Saturday or working out how to tell the boss what to do with his job. Personally we cycle with the belief that all other road users, pedestrians included, are out to kill us. It has kept us alive so far.
The HMG have been around for some time. During WWII there were no street lights in Britain and motors had just slits on their headlamps to let a minimal amount of light out. British bicycles had by law to have a broad white stripe down the rear of the mudguard (fender) to aid visibility in the blackout organised to stop German bombers aiming at concentrations of moving lights and bombing towns and cities. Most British bikes at that time had mudguards, as it was at that time, unlike now, not fashionable to wet oneself through with dirty road surface  water, which is what happens if you cycle without mudguards in the rain. Many cyclists and cycling organisations argued against this sensible move to increase visibility: the white patch on the mudguard, on the grounds that it was the duty of motorists to watch watch out for cyclists.
These extreme proponents of the HMG  dress in black or dark clothing, do not have lights of any kind, cycle up to and across across zebra crossings without observing the traffic and jump red lights, both pedestrian and traffic lights. My feeling is that these characters are the modern day equivalent  of the Shakers in 19th century USA. This was religious group who made superb furniture, had at least one pleasant hymn and lived celibate lives. So the movement died out when it could not recruit new members. I don't know whether the HMG lead celibate lives, but they are certainly running the risk daily of cutting their numbers drastically.

Monday, March 02, 2015

E-Bike Hire in the Black Forest in Bad Säckingen

The Black Forest features some serious climbs and those of us who are long in years are beginning to think about renting an e-bike, rather than our usual technique of cheating by sticking to river valleys and even taking to the train or bus to ascend the hills. Over the next few weeks we will try to list those hotels, organisations and shops who rent out e-bikes in the Black Forest. We will also try to mention in addition whether a hire company has normal bikes in case you have purists or keeny-beanies in your party. There are over two hundred e-bike charging points in the Black Forest and a goodly number of hire points. While your bike is charging you can lunch or eat a serious sized portion of Black Forest gateau. (All of the portions of BFG in this neck of the woods are enormous.) Obviously you need to check beforehand whether your hire point has bikes available and whether in the case of a hotel the management is prepared to hire to non-guests. You will need a passport or identity card and probably a returnable deposit to hire the bikes in addition to the rental fee.
Where Tel/Internet Open Comment
Tourist Office, Tourismus GmbH, Rheinbrückstr 48 79713 Bad Säckingen T: +49(0)7761 5534523 Daily 8-13:00, 14-19:00 10 E-Bikes
3h: 10€
Day 19€

Blog Archive