I had so many travel plans this year: I wanted to fly to Japan with my bike or cycle from Augsburg to Portugal. I was planning to take a really long break from everyday life. Then came the pandemic. So without further ado, I changed my plans, and decided to visit a dear friend in East Brandenburg instead.
I made the decision at the beginning of July, when I finally got my head around everything and realised two things: I won't be making a big trip this year, no matter where. Plus, there are currently no bikes available to buy which would be suitable for such a trip. Cycling is booming worldwide so almost all manufacturers have massive delivery problems. So, I took a look at my beloved everyday speedster which I also sometimes take on longer gravel tours and even the odd trail, and set about a super fast conversion to make it touring-ready. I wanted to set off by the end of July.
Meanwhile, in the evening, I sat at the computer with the multi-day planner from komoot open, planning my Tour. There were to be nine stages which wouldn’t completely test my limits but would still be a challenge. I had to weigh up whether I prefered covering more altitude or more distance in one day. In retrospect, I’m more than happy with my planning. The stage up the Rennsteig was a rather gruelling affair, but I knew that it would be before I set off. I was already familiar with the ascent to the inner-German border from previous rides – it's never fun.
On the way, I was once again able to see for myself how beautiful Germany is. The idyllic Donau-Ries district, the impressive limestone cliffs of Franconian Switzerland, the challenging but grandiose panoramas in the Thuringian Forest, the gentle meadows of the White Elster, the lake paradise between Leipzig and Wittenberg where the Ferropolis industrial museum was my personal highlight, the wild forests of Brandenburg and, of course, the metropolises of Nuremberg, Leipzig and Berlin which don’t allow for a second of boredom.
I did the Tour with camping equipment in my panniers and I also slept in accommodation or at friends' houses on the way. Camping is almost never a problem, except on the Rennsteig, where the Frankenwald trekking site was unfortunately fully booked (it's worth booking early). It is very important that you take enough snacks and water with you. Although I usually found an inn at mealtimes that kept my stomach full, I was often surprised by how far off-the-beaten-track you can be, even in densely-populated Germany. Time and again, fruit bars and crackers saved my life.
In the end, it took me ten days to ride from A(ugsburg) to B(rodowin). I miscounted by one day and took the opportunity to take even more breaks in a lake. The mixture of relaxation and sporty challenge was perfect and I was almost sad that it was over so quickly. When I got off my bike at the finish line, I was overwhelmed with joy to see a dear friend again and by the prospect of a well-deserved chill-out in the countryside idyll.
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Today I start with a bit of screwing because my (criminally assembled) luggage rack is sitting on my rear tire. What was actually a ten-minute affair turns into a gigantic act due to my underground multitool, which throws me back in my schedule by almost an hour. Despite the unsatisfactory end result, I drive off and stop at a bike shop on the way, where I can borrow a proper Allen key.
Milk is just useless. It's the second long-life milk that spoils me on this trip. For this reason, among other things, I only drink oat milk at home - it lasts much longer and tastes better to me (I'll save the sermon about animal welfare and the dying planet at this point). Unfortunately they are only available in a liter box and I don't want to lug it around.
I don't know if I should be happy or if I think it's a shame that my tour from A to B actually comes to an end today. On the one hand, I'm really looking forward to my girlfriend and the picture-perfect idyll of East Brandenburg, on the other hand, I have the feeling that I am only now slowly growing into this mode.