Land of My Fathers
Winter begins in Sydney next Thursday so it is time to head to Europe for another cycling adventure. My trusty old Cannondale Tourer is therefore packed in a cardboard box ready to accompany me on a flight to Frankfurt in Germany this evening.
Lately I have been considering buying a newer, light weight, carbon fibre or titanium bike with disk brakes and all the other modern whiz bang trimmings. But while my old-fashioned, steel-frame, USA hand-made, bike is heavy to lug around airports, this is more than made up for by its sturdiness, comfort, and stability of the ride. How could I replace such a trusty friend which, like its owner, still has some years left in it yet!
People often ask me how I choose where to tour next. For a number of reasons everything pointed to Germany and Denmark this year:
o Safety is always a major factor so my preference is always for countries that feature lots of dedicated, off-road, cycle-ways, or at least quiet, low-traffic, paved, side roads.
o The idea of relatively flat terrain appeals to septuagenarians like me.
o Last year’s one week Bike Planet tour down the Mosel River gave me a taste for the spectacular scenery and fabulous riding facilities in Germany.
o My mother’s paternal grand-father, Otto Frauenfelder, was born in Käfertal, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and emigrated to Albury NSW in 1853.
After spending a couple of days sight-seeing in Frankfurt, I will be catching a train to Mannheim where I have created a 50 Km route around the area where my ancestors lived. Like his son Otto, my great, great, grandfather, Friedrich Frauenfelder, was born in Käfertal (1815-1877). My great, great, great grandfather, Johan Mathias Frauenfelder, was born 1777 in Feudenheim and died 1836 in Käfertal, after spending his life teaching in Großsachsen and Käfertal. My route will pass through all of these places and will include a couple of friedhöfe (cemetries) where my forefathers are possibly buried.
After exploring the Land of My Fathers the plan is then to return to Frankfurt for a night before setting off on Thursday 1st June along the River Main Cycle Route to the heritage town of Bamberg. Riding will be mostly traffic-free on well-maintained, mainly asphalt paths through primarily flat countryside. I have broken the 410 Km into seven easy Daily Stages (average 58 Km per day) to allow plenty of time for sight-seeing.
From Bamberg I will be catching the train to the fascinating city of Berlin where I will spend three days sight-seeing before heading north to Copenhagen in Denmark. The route I am following will be as detailed in the website BIKEWAYBERLIN, comprising three main stages:
Again I have allowed plenty of time for sight-seeing, breaking the 700 Km journey into 13 easy Daily Stages (average 55 Km per day). Copenhagen has plenty of appeal for a cyclist like myself, being one of the Top 10 Bike-Friendly Cities in Europe, and may have even replaced Amsterdam at the top of the list. I have therefore booked three nights there before flying to Gatwick to be reunited with my dear wife for a month in London.
For the past week I have been keeping an eye on the weather in Frankfurt and am pleased to report that the forecast looks promising, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to high twenties for at least the next week. My excitement level is now building up and I hope you will enjoy following on my Blog page which I plan to update on a daily basis.
Auf Wiedersehen für jetzt!