More DW Blogs DW.COM

Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Three weddings and exhaustion

Departure in morning fog

I will sleep well, no matter how loud it is. “I have to warn you,” said the hotel staff at the front desk. “We have three wedding parties today, and music might be played until 6 a.m.” The hotel in the village of Altrip, located on the so-called “Blue Lagoon” about 15 kilometers from the gates of Ludwigshafen, specializes in the align of weddings. On the other hand, it also offers a special discount for bike tourists. Exemplary! And so I stood around 6 p.m. in my bike pants in the hotel lobby, a few meters away from me one of the three brides – and many guests who were dressed up. “Don’t worry,” I answered to the receptionist. “I’m all run down, I’ll sleep like a stone.”

Dead end

Idyll near the Murg estuary

Another 130 kilometers are in my bones. This morning, Ralf Dujmovits brought me and my folding bike back to the spot on the Rhine near Söllingen, where I had finished yesterday’s stage of “School up! River down!” By noon, I had – now almost obligatory – once more lost my way. I followed a bike path sign, which obviously did not belong to the official Rhine bike tour – and suddenly I stood in front of the Murg, a tributary of the Rhine, without a bridge at that point. So I had to drive almost two kilometers inland to get back on the right track.

When father and son get lost

Shared path

In Karlsruhe I had arranged to meet my son Jan, who is temporarily working in the town of Stuttgart and wanted to accompany me for a while. We found ourselves, but then not the right way. We followed a bicycle sign, which led us to a pebbly path right on the Rhine, which was almost impossible to drive with a loaded bike. Not enough, we landed in an industrial area from which there was only one way out: back. We lost three quarters of an hour. After this misfortune we decided to switch to the other side of the Rhine which Jan had already rode by bike. A wise decision. Here we could roll comfortably. Asphalted and well signposted paths. No wind and only a short rain shower, the end of which we could wait for.

Achilles says hello

At the gates of Speyer

In the late afternoon our paths separated in Speyer. Jan drove back to Stuttgart by train, while I decided to continue cycling a bit further to the north at a moderate speed. After nine hours on the saddle, I decided to finish today’s stage. I could hardly have driven much further. Climbing stairs does not work so well, my Achilles tendons are stressed by the constant pedaling. My calves anyway. But otherwise I’m fine. Tomorrow morning, the next stage along the Rhine towards the town of Mainz is waiting for me. After a deep sleep, no matter how loud the three wedding companies may be. Let them celebrate!


16. September 2017 | 23:00