Cycling

This is a short list of the major bicycle tours I've done in the last years. Until 2003 I just had a regular street bicycle, then until 2007 I rode a street racer of the Frankenstein kind, i.e. assembled out of all kinds of used parts my bike dealer could find (I was a poor student, y'know), and since May 2007 a proper street racer by Centurion.

Tortour (Bodensee-Lago Maggiore und zurück, August 1998)

Routenbeschreibung

  1. Romanshorn - Heiden - Teufen - Urnäsch - Wattwil - Rickenpass - Rapperswil
  2. Rapperswil - Einsiedeln - Schwyz - Göschenen - Hospental
  3. Hospental - Gotthardpass - Ascona - Verbania
  4. Verbania -
  5. - San Bernadino Pass - Thusis
  6. Thusis - Davos - Wolfgang
  7. Wolfgang - Wolfgangpass- Klosters - Bad Ragaz - Filzbach (am Walensee)
  8. Filzbach - Rickenpass - Wattwil - Wil - Amriswil - Romanshorn

In the summer of 1998, my brother was staying at a summer camp at the Lago di Maggiore (Italy) and therefore I hatched the plan to cycle down to his summer camp in order to cycle back to the Lake of Constance with him. But as it was my first major bicycle tour, I made all the beginner's errors such as taking way too much luggage with me, such as full camping gear. Needless to say, eventually we did not need most of it, since we stayed in youth hostels except for one night, where we slept below a highway bridge due to bad weather and our inability to locate a nearby camp ground.

Scotland (June 2000)

Routenbeschreibung

  1. Edinburgh - Arden
  2. Arden (JH Loch Lomond) - Luss - Tarbet - Arrochar - Ardgartan - Glenkinglas - Cairndow - Clachan - Inveraray
  3. Inveraray - Cladich - Portisherrich - Eredine - Ford - Garraron - Ardvaine - Kilmelford - Kilninver - Oban
  4. Oban: Ausruhen
  5. Isle of Mull: Craignure - Duart Castle - Strathcoil - Glen More - Balnahard - Knock - Killiechronan
  6. Killiechronan - Salen - Tobermory
  7. Tobermory - Dervaig - Calgary - Killiechronan - Salen - Craignure - Fähre nach Oban
  8. Oban - Connel - Pass of Brander - Ben Cruachan Power Station -Kilchum Castle - Dalmally - Glen Lochy - Crianlarich - Killin
  9. Killin - Lawers - Fearnan - Fortingall - Keltneyburn - Tummel Bridge - Quenn`s View - Pass of Killiecrankie - Blair Atholl/Blair Castle
  10. Blair Atholl - Calvine - Dalchalloch - Kinloch Rannoch - Bridge of Gaur - Rannoch Station
  11. Rannoch: Warten auf Oli und Jörg, Fahrt mit Zug nach Fort William
  12. Fort William - Banavie - Gairlochy - Burnakaig - Clunes - Loch Lochy - Kilfinnan - Invergarry - Fort Augustus - Invermoriston
  13. Invermoriston - Glen Moriston - Loch Cluanie - Glen Shiel - Eilean Donan Castle - Kyle of Lochalsh - Kyleakin
  14. Isle of Skye: Kyleakin - Broadford - Torrin - Kilmarie - Loch Slapin (bei Torrin)
  15. Isle of Skye: Loch Slapin - Braodford - Kyleakin
  16. Kyleakin - Kyle of Lochalsh, mit Zug nach Garve
  17. Garve - Black Water - Loch Glascarnoch - Strath More - Ullapool
  18. Ullapool - Ardmair - Elphin - Ledmore - Altnacealgach - Oykel-Bridge - Strath Oykel - Altass - Inveran - Culrain
  19. Culrain - Ardgay - Fearn Lodge - Dalnavie - Evanton - Culbokie -N. Kessock - Inverness

After a year of slavery (officially: national service) I went on a almost four week trip to Scotland. According to the travel books I consulted beforehand, June is supposed to be the best month to stay in Scotland, meaning the month with the least rain. Well, if the weather I had is considered dry in Scotland, I don't want to witness rainy Scottish weather, since it would probably mean drowning when stepping outside. So for three weeks I was greeted with a jolly "Aye, you haven't had much rain between the showers" when arriving utterly soaked and half frozen to death at the youth hostels. Well, crazy German bastard. That the locals don't use bicycles must have a reason... Well, I spent the first two weeks alone exploring mostly the coast North of Glasgow, till I was supposed to meet my friends Oli and Jörg at a place called Rannoch Moore, which is literally in the middle of nowhere. Since they missed the first train to this place, I had to wait another 24 hours for them arriving with the next one and we continued our journey from Ft. William onwards. However, since the weather turned from totally ugly to unbearable, we had to cut our plans down. Especially, our plans to explore the Isle of Skye was literally washed away by rain. One good joke on the side: While we were freezing to death in Scotland, record temperatures were reported back home...

Swiss Alps (Julier, Maloja, Gotthard, Furka, Grimsel and Brüning passes, August 2001)

Routenbeschreibung

  1. Friedrichshafen - Thusis
  2. Thusis - Julierpass - St. Moritz
  3. St. Moritz - Malojapass - Menaggio
  4. Menaggio - Lugano - Chiggiogna
  5. Chiggiogna - Airolo - Gotthardpass - Hospental
  6. Hospental - Furka Pass - Gletsch - Grimselpass - Meiringen - Brienz
  7. Brienz - Brüning Pass - Luzern
  8. Luzern - Zug- Rapperswil - Wattwil - Wil - Konstanz - Friedrichshafen

After a hard first year at university, I fled Konstanz for a week of cycling. However, I do not recall much of this trip, except that the Furka Pass was a very nice street with a splendid view of the Rhone glacier.

From Lake of Constance via Switzerland and the Loire and Ardeche valleys to the Provence (April 2007)

Routenbeschreibung

  1. Konstanz - Wil - Wattwil - Rickenpass - Rapperswil - Zug - Luzern
  2. Luzern - Brüningpass - Brienz - Interlaken - Thun - Bern
  3. Bern - Fribourg - Nyon
  4. Genf - Aix les Bains
  5. Aix les Bains - Annecy - Col du Chat -Vienne
  6. Vienne - Le Tracol - Yssingeaux - Retournac - Le Puy
  7. Le Puy - Aubenas
  8. Aubenas - Les Gorges d'Ardeche - Orange - Carpentras
  9. Carpentras - Gorges de Nesque - Sault - Manosque
  10. Manosque - La Palud sur Verdon
  11. La Palud sur Verdon - Grasse - Nizza
  12. Nizza - Monaco - Menton - San Remo - Finale Ligure

Gorges d'Ardeche, April 2007

I've always wanted to cycle from my hometown down to the Cote d'Azur in France. After having handed it, the time seemed to be right to do this. However, it was quite early in the year (start of April), so that a trip across the Alps was not yet possible -- most Alpine passes only open in May for traffic. So rather than going across the Alps, I had to go around them. The first three days, I cycled through central and western Switzerland -- Lucerne, along the Lakes of the Bernese Oberland to Bern and finally to Geneva.

Grand Canyon du Verdon, April 2007

After that, I followed the Rhone river into France before making some detour towards the Loire, eventually ending up in Le Puy en Verlais, which is -- as it turned out -- a major pilgrimage center on the Chemin de St. Jacques. So now I can claim that I've accidentally done the first 700 or so km of that pilgrimage path. Anyway, from there I cycled through the gorges of the Ardeche, the first climax of this tour. After quickly crossing the Rhone valley near Orange, I finally entered the Provence, again cycling through breathtaking gorges -- this time the Gorges de Nesque and the Grand Canyon du Verdon, Europe's Grand Canyon. Finally, I reached Nice and followed the coast into Italy, as I figured that it would be easier to take a train from Italy than from France. This was, however, a mistake, since Italian railway turned out to be on strike...

Quick Tour across the Alps (May 2007)

Routenbeschreibung

  1. Konstanz - St. Marghreten - Thusis
  2. Thusis - Via Mala Schlucht - Splügen Dorf - Splügen Pass - Menaggio
  3. Menaggio - Lugano

Carsten und Paul, Splügenpass, Mai 2007

The last two years in Konstanz, Carsten and Paul were my cycling buddies. We would usually go for a quick early morning tour (really early, in summer we'd leave at 7 am) before heading to university. Well, as a glorious finale of these activities, we hatched the plan to cycle from Konstanz once to Italy. Well, due to some external constraints (I had to leave for the Netherlands a couple of days later, Carsten being terribly busy with his solar cells...) we only had time for the shortest but most brutal crossing of the Alps: The first day cycling 160+ km to Thusis, i.e. just following the Rhine. However, even that became a major challenge, since it was raining cats and dogs on said day and postponing the trip was just not an option (remember, I had to leave for the Netherlands...). So we gritted our teeth and went. The second day we climbed up the Splügen Pass and descended into Italy, where we stayed in the town of Menaggio. The third day we only cycled 30 or so km to Lugano to catch a train back home.

Eifel and Hohes Venn (Germany and Belgium, October 2007)

Routenbeschreibung

  1. Maastricht - Slenaken - Eupen - Botrange (highest elevation of Belgium, 700 m) - Elsenborn - B¨tgenbach - Prüm - Gerolstein
  2. Gerolstein - Kelberg - Nürburgring - Blankenheim - Schleiden - Gemünd - Nideggen - D¨ren

After the first four months in a country, whose highest elevation is about 300 metres (top of the Euromast tower in Rotterdam), I really missed hills, not to speak of mountains. Well, the closest hill-like things you can find here are just a little less than three hours by train from Delft -- the Hautes Vagnes/Hohes Venn resp. the Ardennes which start just South of Maastricht. Well, that's where I went for a quick weekend tour in October 2007. Initially I wanted to cycle from Maastricht to Vianden in Luxembourg, but after making some detour to Germany and mistaking the scale of my map and realizing at 6 pm that it would be still more than 100 km to that place, I quickly re-planned the whole thing and stayed in the town of Gerolstein for the night. Thus, the second day I did not cycle through Luxembourg but Germany, but nevermind, hills where also abundant there.