„It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them“ - Ernest Hemingway
Following Hemingways advice my brother and I came up with the idea to get to know our mother country Germany better back in 2012 - so what could possibly be better to grab our road bicycles and get rolling?
Well, a plan wouldn’t harm. Soon we decided to race from the southernmost point Oberstdorf to the northernmost point List on the island Sylt through Germany. We grabbed a map, drew a line from the south to the north and divided the route into ten days. Afterwards we bought a trailer for my brothers bike, lots of spare parts and train tickets to the starting line. Done.
Oberstdorf - Essingen (Aalen) 197 km
Essingen (Aalen) - Würzburg 149 km
Würzburg - Gersfeld 97 km
Gersfeld - Göttingen 97 km
Göttingen - Bevern (Holzminden) 73 km
Bevern (Holzminden) - Wolfsburg 148 km
Wolfsburg - Hamburg 158 km
Hamburg - Kiel 123 km
Kiel - Flensburg 86 km
Flensburg - List (Sylt) 114 km
It really was awesome to experience the contours of our contry this way. Although getting up on our bikes every day in rainy weather or with a hurting bottom can be quite a bummer. As a bonus to the joy of travelling we placed first in a challenge by youpodia / DJH / Bionade („Fahrrad statt Flieger 2012“) and won one bottle Bionade per biked kilometer (most of them went to a local pediatric clinic [Sophisticates / Jugendherbergen in Deutschland / Main-Post]).
We’ve learned a few things on this trip:
First of all: if you want to, you can - just get going. (We’ve been on our bicycles for a few kilometers prior to this journey, but never for this period of time)
Second: get a companion. (It's a lot easier to get going each day if there's someone who keeps on pushing)
Third: don’t buy too many spare parts. (You won’t need five bicycle tubes, but you have to carry them all along. And if you do, you can buy them on the way)
Fourth: don’t use a trailer on a road bicycle.
Fifth: travel with light luggage.