Like all good stories, my story starts on Google search. Actually, no, it starts with friends. More specifically, Dan and Alex. The bicycle touring duo. They came back to fill my ears with stories of how amazing the Rhine is. As fate would have it, another friend asked me; would I like to go on holiday in August and what would I like to do?
That is how the plan was conceived to pedal from Basel in Switzerland, through France to Mainz in Germany. Taking in a large section of the River Rhine. Here’s how I’ve been planning so far. All tips are welcome!
What part of the Rhine should I cycle?
Googling “Rhine cycling route” was helpful to get an overview of where the Rhine actually is. Apologies to my previous geography teacher for not knowing this by heart. But which part of it to cycle? My friends blogged about how from Koln onwards, industrial sights gave way to rolling countryside and picturesque villages.
Currently, as I mentioned, we plan on doing the section slightly further down and from South to North in order to end the trip in style in Frankfurt for a few days.
I was hoping to take the Trek Madone road bike. However, due to the rough road surface at places and the lack of space to fit pannier racks on a road bike, it is not suited to the job.
Instead, I’ll be taking my trusty Marin hybrid bike. The puncture proof tyres, space for panniers and general toughness should be exactly what is needed. Although, I do plan on fitting some drop handlebars so I can vary the position that my hands rest on.
Where to stay?
How are we getting the bikes there?
After looking at Easyjet, British Airways and Lufthansa all the airlines seem fairly easy going when it comes to bikes. BA even transports bicycles for free.
In terms of how to safely pack the bikes I believe the best option is a plastic bike bag with plenty of bubble wrap.
Quick tip: When searching for a cheap flight I’ve yet to find a website to rival Momondo.com for excellent prices.
What are we taking with us?
The packing list for our Rhine cycling tour so far is:
- Repair kit
- Water bottle & cages
- Base layer
- Padded bike shorts
- Padded cycling gloves
- Rain jacket
- Baby wipes
- Lip balm
- Mobile phone
- German plug converters
Why not just book a tour?
This was our first thought. However, the distances the Rhine tour companies covered each day seemed short for our ability and we were looking for flexibility. Although, we’ll definitely miss out on having our bags carried by someone else.
How awesome will it be?
There’s definitely a lot of excitement at the prospect of cycling through gorgeous scenery, discovering tiny towns along the Rhine and enjoying the challenge. Therefore a ten on the awesome scale!
That’s where we currently are on the planning stages. If you have any tips I welcome them!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.