Europe 2019

September 21, 2019 Cycling begins

We got our bikes assembled and ready to go today. This trip we are using a new system to carry our gear. In traditional cycle touring you have four big bags attached to metal racks on the front and the back of the bike. In the past, we’ve used folding bikes that are stored in a large suitcase. When we got to our destination we removed the bikes from their suitcases and assembled them, and then the suitcases become trailers, with a set off wheels attached, that we pulled behind the bike. It works well and we never have to worry about the bike cases because they come with us as trailers. You never notice the trailers you are pulling until…you try and climb a mountain in the Dolomites. Gravity works against every pound and the suitcase trailers weigh 30lbs alone. In addition, because you have room, you are tempted to bring too much gear and the weight adds up fast.

So this trip we are following the new trend of ultralight backpacking and bikepacking.

We have no heavy racks just compact ultralight bags that fit a direct connection to the frame. You pare down everthing for the promise of a light bike when climbing the mountains. Our total gear is 25lbs, bags and contents. So far so good.

Taking off from our Gastehaus we followed our route on our smartphone to today’s destination 25 miles south in the village of Edling, Germany. I use a routing software named Komoot @ I put in my starting point and my destination and it finds a route using bike paths and gravel roads whenever possible, as I selected in my setup. It created a wonderful route through farms and villages.

The route is mostly dedicated bike paths with small country roads and small dirt roads connecting everything.

Also new for us are gravel bikes. Gravel bikes are the hot new item and gravel racing is very popular but these bikes we are a variation of a gravel bike. They are designed like a classic road racing bike but with wide clearance for large tires. This combination gives the ride of a throughbred racing bike with the cushy ride of a fat tire bike, even over rough gravel roads.

Our day’s ride ended at the “Old Farmhouse,” a B&B owned by Sabine and Gerhard. They have taken the old farmhouse and converted it into a beautiful new place with modern apartments.

The view from our room gives a hint of tomorrow’s ride.

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