A two days micro-adventure.
370 km | 3500 meters of elevation gain | 18 hours in the saddle
Easter was around the corner. And this means spring – the most beautiful season – is here. I love when the trees are showing their blossoms, when nature is becoming colorful again, when the air starts feeling softer and the days are getting longer. It’s just a foreshadow of summer, and yet this energy makes my time on the bike most precious.
There is something special about riding a bike and carrying a tent with you. I feel so independent, so free, so at ease. I know that I can make it without hotels, without gasoline and without electricity. All I need is food, water and a good mood.
My tent and my sleeping bag (both Forclaz/Decathlon light weight) are not made for icy winter days. Camping in spring is therefore a bit more of an adventure in itself and I always carry an emergency blanket with me.
My plan was to start in Mörfelden near Frankfurt and go to see my brother’s family in Freiburg for Easter two days later. One night in a tent in between. I did not spend in depth time on route planning. I like to keep it a bit spontaneous and see how I feel along the way.
For camping I prefer to organize myself a camp spot beforehand. This time I used My Cabin to book in advance. Friends of mine from Konstanz created MyCabin.eu – it is a platform for nature lovers who want to promote soft tourism. It is a good mix of being out there by yourself and meeting like-minded people. This is a unpaid, whole-hearted recommendation.
The first day was heading south from Frankfurt, crossing Heidelberg, going up to Bietigheim-Bissingen. The ride was flat, sunny and I stopped for ice cream and coffee twice. Halfway, Jule joined me for 30 kilometers and we had good talks and snacks. Time flew by, found my rhythm, my legs, my energy was totally there. I arrived at around 4:30 pm at my camp spot.
As all shops where closed due to holiday, my friendly host Tobias gave me water, pasta, a pot and gas to cook my own dinner. The hospitality was overwhelming for me since I did not ask him for help or food. He surpised me and it was just right for me. What a day. I was extremely thankful for a wonderful first stage and went to bed right after sunset.
When I laid down I decided to change my route. The original plan was to go flat along the Rhine to Freiburg. But I knew this part alreay from past bikepacking trips. So I decided to take a more promising route with more hightlights along the road. Consequently, this also meant that I had 1500 more meters of climbing and about 20km more distance to cover. Excited but also nervous about a super long day two I tried to fall asleep.
I woke up at 6:30 am. Maybe even a bit late for what I had planned. Packing my bike (including my laptop) took me one hour. I rolled off to the next bakery, had my first two coffees and a sandwich with cheese. The sky was cloudy and the air was fresher than yesterday. But it felt good that way because yesterday I had gotten a sunburn already. Oopsie.
220 kilometers to go. The number my bike computer told was not notably changing for a long time. The first 100km on such a long day feel incredibly intimidating. I started calculating my time, the kilometers, the meters I had to climb. And I knew – it was a close call. I estimated 11 to 12 hours of riding. Plus 2-3 hours of pee-water-food-breaks.
I tried to minimize my time off the bike. Only one pizza-stop was included. No more ice cream or cappuccino. Hence, eating on the bike, taking the photos on the bike, checking the route etc. on the bike. Hour after hour, I snacked a whole bag of gummy bears, one package of oreos, two snickers, and nuts with honey and salt.
Crossing the black forest by bike was definitely worth the effort. Gravel tracks through the woods, little traffic, rivers, a good mix of cycle path and off road fun.
You can find the link to the whole tour here:
It felt good. I felt good. I liked the movement, the climbs, the descents. Nature was overwhelmingly beautiful in the Murg valley, I drove through lovely little villages with old buildings, fountains, fantastic scenery, and even the sun came out after about 6 hours under cloudy skies.
At 7:45 p.m. I rolled into Freiburg. Just in time for sunset. The plan just worked out. No mechanicals, no food or water shortages, my butt still okay. Great day on the bike.
Facing a new challenge and extending my comfort zone in time on the bike and distance was a great experience. I am overall happy with my little trip – especially because I can enjoy the ride and I am working with my body. Pushing my limit feels liberating, even if I also really need a few days now to recover from this adventure, it was worth it.