It is always nice to be home! After a great dinner, a good night of sleep and a huge breakfast, I am ready for the tour.
I will start cycling from Köln today. Then I will have about 140km to Holzhausen, which should be an easy start.
My bike looks like this now:
Everything is packed and ready. I will fly home to see my parents tomorrow and on Friday, I will start cycling.
It will be a short tour this time; just 6 to 7 days. And afterwards I will have some more days to relax at home. The only problem is that the weather turned colder than expected. So we will see if I can use my tent at all. My sleeping bag is not very warm…
Rose Pro SL race bike. It is a pretty basic beginners race bike, but I love that thing. I spent countless of hours on it while the last four years and it is still almost as good as new. There are a few things modified: I added a triathlon handle and switched the stem with the one on my tour bike to have the handle bars a couple of centimeters higher (more comfort on long trips). I use Continental Gran Prix 4 season tires which are thicker than usual race bike tires (28mm). They are more comfortable to ride and are a bit more puncture proof.
- Tent: Tarptent “Rainbow”. I just bought it and didn’t really try it yet. But it makes a good first impression. It is a one-layer tent for 1-2 persons and weighs only 1kg. It is very easy to setup. I will write more about my experiences with this tent on my trip.
- Mattress: Thermarest Neoair Xlite Regular. It weighs just 350g and has a very small pack size. Disadvantage is that it is not self inflating.
- Sleeping bag: Cumulus Quilt 250. A quilt is a sleeping bag without the back part. So basically a blanket with a pocket for the feet and a strapping system to keep it attached to the mattress. This one has a comfort temperature of 4 degrees and weighs only 480g.
Thus, camping gear weighs only 1.8 kg in total. I will not bring a stove or any cooking gear. This saves a lot of weight in addition and won’t be necessary in densely crowded central Europe anyway.
- Bike pants, shoes, shirts, helmet and socks
- Rain jacket, helm cover, water proof trousers and over-shoes
- Arm- and legwarmers
- Short and long gloves
- Trouser, shirt and sweater for the evenings
- Two waterproof pack bags (front and back)
- Frame bag
- Deuter backpack, holding a camelbag
- Bike computer Garmin Edge 705 for logging and navigation
- Galaxy Note 3 to write this blog and emergency navigation
- 12Ah Powerbank to charge empty batteries
- Bike repair kit
- Camping towel
After an early spring and a great summer on the recumbent – probably my best biking season so far – it would be perfect to end it with something slightly different. So this time, I will try to go ultra light.
That means taking as compact and light luggage as possible and fit it on the race bike. With this setup, I can cover much longer distances each day and mountains are not such a problem any more.
So I booked a flight to get to my home town. From there, I plan to cycle down to Freiburg, following the Rhine and through the Schwarzwald (Black Forest). On the way back, I plan to cycle through Elsass, Saarland, Luxembourg and Belgium. I know the first half of the route pretty well but never did it by bike. The second half will be all new to me. Here is the map:
It is in total 1100km. I will have to do 180+km each day to finish the round in 6 days. But we will see how this will work out. A day or two longer isn’t a problem anyway. And here is the profile:
There are two hilly or mountainous parts to cross until Freiburg. They could be avoided actually by just following the Rhine all the way to the south. But I am really looking forward to climb some mountains with the race bike. That was the main reason to go right through Schwarzwald. The first hilly part is close to Nassau when I leave the Rhein to go to Holzhausen, close to the hunting ground of my father – like this I will have a comfortable first night in the hunting cabin. Then there will be more hills on the way north again. But that doesn’t look too bad.