Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Deutsche Bahn High Speed Trains

Amazing! Deutsche Bahn German Railways has fought against putting bicycles on ICEs, their high speed flagship trains since they were first introduced more than 20 years ago.  The fat controllers have changed their minds in a big way. The latest class, the ICE4, will take at least 8 bikes, probably in summer. It is a miracle. I hope that we can use them when the trains come into service in late 2017.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Bicycle expressways in and around Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim

The German Fedral Government plans to invest in new cycle freeways. These will be designed to take bicycles and e-bikes with a maximum speed of about 19mph, which means no pedestrians crossing the road, no junctions and lighting when dark. These routes are not designed for day rambles out into the country, but for commuters. The Mannheim region is planning to apply for financing for several routes:

East West: Heidelberg Mannheim Ludwigshafen and farther west in to Rhineland Palatinate.
A vaguely North South route from Mannheim to Darmstadt.
A southern route towards Karlsruhe.

I am a little dubious about the design speeds. It does not sound like much fun to ride for the slow moving like Judith and I. I just just hope I can see them before I have to hand in my bicycle clips for ever.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Kalmit Klapprad 2016

We went to the annual Kalmit Klapprad meeting for the first time in 5 years on September 3rd. Quite why we've missed it in between we don't know. For those that don't read this blog the Kalmit Cup is a Klapprad bicycle race up hill to Kalmit hill (400m climb over 6km) from Maikammer a village on the edge of the Rhine Plain in the south of Rhineland Palatinate. A klapprad is a pre Brompton folding bike, maybe sitting dusty and unloved at the back of the garage. We travelled there by train with our Bromptons (5 and 10 gear models) and followed two race participants on single gear Klapprads from the railway station to climb about 100m to reach the starting line. They disappeared up the road as if I was standing still and I was half dead by the time I reached the line.
It is a serious race. The winner (male) took just over 19 minutes to reach the top. The fastest signora took somewhat over 24 minutes. However there are also prizes for the best costumes. The theme this year was Italy, so we spectators were treated to a cycling leaning Tower of Pisa, Roman Centurians, pizza delivery vans, Chianti bottles, ice cream cones and, of course, the Mafia. All good fun. This year the requirement that the riders have a mustache was dropped, but registration was only possible if the rider could give their start number in Italian!

Anyone for pizza?

Pizza trike followed by 2 gondolas

"Ben Hur" meets ""Death in Venice"

Bellisimo! The essence of Italy, the flag, the Romans, Pisa, Chianti, the Mafia

Friday, September 02, 2016

Packing for touring

We have just spent a few days touring along the Kocher-Jagst Cycle Route on the edge of the Swabian Alb and saw a modest number of other touring cyclists. What struck us was the amount of baggage carried by some groups with in some cases trailers. If you are camping then you do need a lage amount of gear, but over the years we have gradually reduced the amount of stuff we take with us to one set of evening gear, a spare set of cycling gear, not forgetting waterproofs, maps, guides, water bottles/s, something to read in the evening, a first aid kit and enough tools to repair a puncture as well as a spare inner tube all packed in waterproof bags - think Ortlieb. That's about it. That's all you need.
Don't forget though that if your bags are so tightly are so tightly packed that there is no room for anything like a lunchtime snack this could lead to problems. If you leave home in wet weather it is possible to forget that you will need somewhere to pack your wet weather gear when the sun shines. It is easy to do. I have done it and ended up buying a new rack pack on the next day to take my jacket and overtrousers.

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