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Alps - Day 20 : Racing the Rhine

In the morning, we were happy when it the sun rose, it was freezing. The combination of little sleep and being cold all night hadn't been good for our legs. Again an excellent breakfast of 25% rye bread and, this time, honey. 

We had gotten up very early. There was no point in laying in our cold and wet bivy bags any longer. Around 8 o'clock, we were already on our bikes. The first 80 km went smoothly, just one straight road leading north. Around 11, we stopped to eat, by then we had already cycled 70 km. The day before, we had only cycled 40 km around noon, so today we expected to cover much ground.


We continued along the large road until a cycling path appeared on our left. The road went uphill, but the bicycle path stayed at the same elevation. After the hill I looked back. Due to the stupid bicycle path, we missed an exit. It was on top of the hill and invisible from the bicycle path. There were, of course, no signs.

 

Half an hour later, we cycled into a village. A car passed us with the passengers hanging out of the window. The man called something 'bla bla bicycle path' and pointed to the path next to the main road. Yeah, if we cycled there, we definitely would get lost. We preferred to be home the following day. Two minutes later, the same car drove by again, and the people again shouted 'bicycle path'. We didn't care, the bicycle paths in Germany are so horrible and unclear that we refuse to follow them anymore. Every time the bicycle paths were much longer than indicated, and it was a total surprise where we would end up.

We had gotten lost in Bad Kreuznach during our Black Forest trip. Due to our experience and asking for directions it went much better this time. We reached the Rhine again in Bingen. By then we had cycled 100 km. We went pretty fast, around 25 km/h on average. Three hours later, we reached Konstanz. Around four, we reached the castle we had photographed at the end of our second day out of the Black Forest. That meant that we were already well ahead of that schedule. We found a bench to sit down and rest a bit.

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The castle

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The Rhine

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An orange from South-Africa
 

Bram had a theory that oranges get better the further south you are. That theory seemed to hold up. In Germany and Belgium, we had small and very sour oranges that were hard to peel. In the south of France, we had big oranges that were juicy and flavorful. They were also easy to peel. This one from South Africa was even better. I concluded that oranges from the south pole had to be the best.

 

Along the Rhine, we passed many people on a cycling vacation. When we were eating there were even two girls who passed. I only saw them from the rear. Bram said they were good looking. He quickly got his camera, but unfortunately they had already passed around the corner.

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That's where they just rode
 

We had already been following the Rhine for a long time when we got to Koblenz. The last time it had taken us 1,5 hours to find the right road there. This time we could follow the bicycle path to Andernach, or so we thought. Along the Rhine people were constructing a fun fair. Exactly when we passed by, they decided to test the sound equipment. On maximum volume, we heard "pa pa pa pada pa pada pa pada EACH MORNING I GET UP I DIE A LITTLE, CAN BARELY STAND ON MY FEET, TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND CRY ..... SOMEBODY, SOMEBODY, CAN ANYBODY FIND ME SOMEBODY TO LOVE?" That was pretty cool after hardly hearing any music the entire vacation. Half a kilometer further, we still heard it.

 

A few kilometers later, the bicycle path was closed, and we again lost directions. We searched for the correct route on our own. At a bridge, we relived the drama of our Black Forest trip. Back then, we had ended up at that bridge at least ten times while trying t find a way out of the city. Only the west side of the ridge had a bicycle path, but it was impossible to get there. There was also a bicycle path to Andernach. However, it didn't run over the bridge, while Andernach lay clearly on the other side of the river. I was so focused on searching the right roads that I bumped into a pole and broke my luggage rack. Fortunately, I was able to fix it the next day.

Due to our experience in cycling vacations, finding the right road didn't take hours. We just cycled over the car section of the bridge. There weren't even signs saying that was not allowed. On the other side of the river we again found signs for the bicycle path to Andernach, but Andernach had been crossed out. We didn't know what that meant but followed it anyway. From Andernach we cycled to Sinzig.

 

Just before Sinzig was a railroad overpass. The barriers closed when we arrived. Bram really needed to pee and told me he would go in the bushes on the other side, as soon as the train had passed. The first train passed. The barriers remained closed. Half a minute later, a train from the left. The barriers remained closed. A third train came from the ride, filled with cars. The fourth train came from the left, a very long freight train. According to my pedometer the barriers had been closed for over 5 minutes. After a few more minutes, a fifth train passed. That was the last one. The barriers opened, and Bram dove into the bushes.

It was again time for wild camping. We continued until 20:30 and found a quiet field atop a hill. For dinner, we had cold sausages and a piece of chocolate. This place was much better than the one last night. When we were lying in our bivy bags we could see the stars, it was a clear night. This was even better than sleeping in a hotel, despite everything being wet and the smell.

Distance cycled : 227 km.

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