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  1. #1
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    Need your opinion on an upcoming ride

    I've completed the ride from Stuttgart to Heidelberg. I've uploaded pictures for anyone interested in seeing them.

    Heidelberg Ride Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    I posed this question on the Europe forum, but since I primarily post here I'd like to get your opinions as well. I've decided to ride from Stuttgart, Germany to Heidelberg, Germany on the Friday before Memorial Day.

    My first option would be to ride the Neckartalradweg from Bad Cannstatt to Heidelberg, which would be about 130 miles each way. I wouldn't have a problem riding the 130 miles there, but I would have to have my wife pick me up in Heidelberg, catch the train back to Stuttgart, or spend the night and ride back the next day.

    My second option is to ride the more direct route I've created using gpsies.com which should only be about 67 miles each way. By riding this route, I should be able to ride to and from Heidelberg in the same day and only have to rely on my wife for an emergency lifeline.

    Pros of option A:
    - The ride would be on an established cycle touring route with almost no automobile traffic.
    - I'd get to see about twice as much scenery.
    - The elevation profile of this ride would be easier than the gpsies.com route

    Cons of option A:
    - I'd have to be picked up, catch the train back, or spend the night.
    - I'm not sure if I'm up for riding 260 miles in two days, so spending the night may not be an option.

    Pros of option B:
    - I could complete the entire trip there and back on my own.
    - More adventurous because it isn't a pre-established touring route.

    Cons of option B:
    - The ride back wouldn't be as exciting because it would be the same route back.
    - More automobile traffic.
    - Possibility of not being able to complete the ride (depending on how accurate Google/Yahoo/Open Street maps are).

    Please share your thoughts.
    Last edited by Solomon76; 05-29-2010 at 02:53 AM.
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  2. #2
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    I think take the scenic (long) route and have your wife meet you in Heidelberg for dinner and stay the night.

    Train would be my second choice.

  3. #3
    weirdo
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    Carolina`s plan sounds like fun to me. Do you have an extra day? If not, (and me not knowing the routes at all) I`d say the out and back. I prefer loops to out and backs too, in general, but things really do look different in the opposite direction, especially since you`re talking about a single day ride and will be seeing each point at a different time of day.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your input guys. roder, I do have an extra day. It is a 4 day weekend for me, so the extra day really isn't an issue. Originally, I was leaning toward the out and back because I kind of felt bad about having to be picked up and not getting back home under my own power (kind of dumb right?). Now I'm leaning toward the longer ride there and having my wife meet me. She's excited about being a part of the evolution, plus it gives her an excuse to go shopping. So I'll probably go the longer route this time and try the out and back sometime next month. That way I won't be as disappointed if I can't complete the shorter route because of road closures or inaccurate maps.
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  5. #5
    weirdo
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    Cool- that your wife is looking forward to helping out and to a night on the town in Heidelberg with you it isn`t surprising. If you ever want to feel REALLY dumb about getting a ride home, try calling out of the blue to say you can`t pedal any more and you need somebody to drive three hours to pick you up "right now". I`ve done that. Nothing wrong with arranging for pick-up before hand.

  6. #6
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    You military? My dad was army and we lived in Kaiserslautern back in the day. I've visited Europe several times since then, and one of my goals is to spend three months cycling around at some juncture.

    European trains are phenomenal. I think your wife should take the train out and meet you, with a bit of your gear, so you can go light on the 135mile route. Stay an extra day in Heidelburg- I dimly remember the city, but it is beautiful, some historic WWII sites (bombing) and has a couple decent museums. Take the train back on the third day.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    ... try calling out of the blue to say you can`t pedal any more and you need somebody to drive three hours to pick you up "right now". I`ve done that.
    Okay, thanks rodar. Now I don't feel as bad about being picked up. However, I doubt that I'll spend the night in Heidelberg if I have my wife pick me up.

    Yes umarth, I'm military.
    Last edited by Solomon76; 05-18-2010 at 12:26 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Pictures of My Ride

    I've completed the ride from Stuttgart to Heidelberg. I've uploaded pictures for anyone interested in seeing them.

    Heidelberg Ride Photos
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  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Cool
    I was hoping you`d post a ride report! Can`t check out the pictures until I get home, though. Did your wife meet you there and drive you back? Came right home after all, or did you hang out there for a while?

  10. #10
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    Sorry for not posting a full report earlier. I was working on a blog entry, but I probably won't finish that until a little later. Here are the highlights of my trip.

    After deciding which route I was going to take with the help of mtbr members, I made a to-do list. The to-do list included charging my cell phone, charging 2 mp3 players, uploading maps to and charging my Garmin Edge and Forerunner, charging my camera battery and clearing the memory card, and charging the battery for my headlight. The night before I packed everything that I was going to take on the ride to include: My camera, an extra mp3 player, my Garmins, some trail mix, a light jacket, a pair of rain pants, arm and leg warmers, a semi-warm pair of gloves, and my Cygo Mitycross 350 headlight. I always carry 2 extra tubes, tire levers, a multi tool, and a pump on my bike. I chose not to carry too much more than I usually do on my regular commute because I could always use my wife as an emergency lifeline.

    After not really sleeping much the night before because of excitement, I got up early in the morning and got dressed. I ended up leaving the house about 6:45 in the morning. The first couple of hours were extremely easy. I averaged 15.25 miles per hour for the first 2 hours and that was with stopping every now and then to snap photos. After the first 30 miles or so, I started to run into a few hills which brought my overall average speed down a little but it wasn't anything that I wasn't prepared for. About 60 miles into the ride, I deviated from the route a little to ride around Heilbronn and grab a bite to eat. After about a 45 minute rest stop/lunch break, I got back on the bike and continued the ride.

    After getting back on the bike after stopping in Heilbronn, I noticed that I began to get a little irritable at a lot of little stuff. There had to be well over a million dandelion seeds blowing through the air right at face level and a few of them found their way past my glasses and into my eyes. I had to stop a few times to wash my eyes out with my water bottle because the dandelion seed fur was stinging my eyes. There was also the occasional suicidal bug that would aim directly for my mouth as I was huffing and puffing. Finally, what I found most irritating (because I was already tired) was the strong headwind I ran into from about mile 80 to about mile 105. The headwind more than anything else killed my average speed because on flats and slight down hills that I should have easily be riding between 16 to 20+ mph, I was only going 9 to 13 mph. Once again it isn't anything that I wasn't prepared for, but it meant that I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to once I actually made it to Heidelberg because I was racing the clock to meet my wife when I told her that I'd meet her.

    I ended up getting to the front gate of the base that I was going to meet my wife at the exact same time as she was showing her I.D. to the gate guard. She didn't see me behind her so once I showed the gate guard my I.D., I raced to catch up with my car and that is when I could really feel how much of a toll the 117 miles had taken on my legs. When I finally got off of the bike in the PX parking lot, I was completely spent. We didn't spend much time in Heidelberg. We hadn't planned on spending much time in Heidelberg because we have two small kids, but I wouldn't have been able to properly enjoy Heidelberg anyway because I was completely exhausted.

    If I ride back, and I probably will, I'll probably try the more direct route that I made on gpsies.com. I'll also probably take the train back next time. A train ride from Heidelberg to Stuttgart is only about 20 euro.

    Over the weekend I'll continue to work on my blog entry and hopefully it will inspire someone else to get out and enjoy the outdoors. I'm also going to go through the pictures I posted and write some brief narratives.
    Last edited by Solomon76; 05-29-2010 at 07:05 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Great pictures! Makes me reminisce about old times.

    I still vote train if you do it again. Just stay away from the D-Zug or else you will stop at every dorf and bach on the way back home (and there are lots). Also if you pick a faster one they should have a diner car. Hang the bike up, down a few pils and grab a bite going home. I rode the train a fair number of times and I don't think I ever sat in my section. I would normally spend the time in the diner enjoying the sites from in there.

    Also (big request) if you are ever in the area around Nellingen take some shots. The last time I saw my old kasern was either in late '95 just before I retired or in '98 when I went back over for a quick visit. What I saw looked like that documentary about life after humans. Front gate chained and locked, with weeds growing up through the pavement. Was a sad sight. I figure by now most of it is gone, but I would be curious what remains and what they built once they tore it down.
    Mike
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  12. #12
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    CarolinaLL6, I ride through Nellingen occasionally but I never knew that there was a base there. If you link the location of your old base on google maps, I'll make sure to get pictures of the area the next time I'm over that way.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    CarolinaLL6, I ride through Nellingen occasionally but I never knew that there was a base there. If you link the location of your old base on google maps, I'll make sure to get pictures of the area the next time I'm over that way.
    Appreciate that.

    Looks like some of the roadways have changed a bit but I think this was the basic location of the old Nellingen Kaserne. Immediately to the south and east of Scharnhauser Park. The cluster of north/south, east/west cross-hatched roads. There would have been the barracks for the various units like 2d Coscom HQ (beautiful, large WWII vintage building), then my unit HHC and our B Co 7-159th Avn Rgt, respective motor pools, etc. Believe it or not there were two medium-sized hangers with a small airfield there, too.

    Housing (wasn't a large housing area, but it was typical 3 to 4 story buildings with 3 stairwells) would have been just above the park.
    <iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&amp;source=s_q&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=&amp ;q=Ostfildern,+Germany&amp;sll=48.717158,9.278598& amp;sspn=9.612913,23.269043&amp;g=Nellingen,+Germa ny&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;hq=&amp;hnear=Ostfildern,+Essli ngen,+Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,+Germany&amp;showlabs=1&amp;ll=48 .717268,9.297202&amp;spn=0.018773,0.045447&amp;z=1 4&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&amp;source=embed&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=&a mp;q=Ostfildern,+Germany&amp;sll=48.717158,9.27859 8&amp;sspn=9.612913,23.269043&amp;g=Nellingen,+Ger many&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;hq=&amp;hnear=Ostfildern,+Ess lingen,+Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,+Germany&amp;showlabs=1&amp;ll=48 .717268,9.297202&amp;spn=0.018773,0.045447&amp;z=1 4" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>
    Mike
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  14. #14
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    I know exactly where that is! If you zoom in once, you will see a traffic circle. There is a Real department store directly southwest of the traffic circle. If you switch to satellite view, you can see the parking lot on the roof of Real. As a matter of fact, the first time I rode my bike to that Real it began to rain pretty good so I caught the train at the station directly to the west of the area that you are talking about. I had no idea that that used to be a U.S. military base. Check out the 100k bike ride that I did back in September of '08 and you will see that I rode right past that area. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/19167710 I still had absolutely no idea that it was previously a U.S. base. I will definitely ride back by there sometime over the next few weeks and take pictures for you.
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  15. #15
    weirdo
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    Very nice stuff! I see a river (Neckar?) in some of the shots- did you follow the same river for most of the route? And was that your first century? Oh, and is it easy for yo to load a bike onto a train there? Last one: Dang- are you going to open an electronics shop?

  16. #16
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    rodar, the route that I rode was the Neckartal Radweg which loosely translates to the Neckar Valley Cycle Route. The route begins at the source of the Neckar River in Villingen-Schwenningen and ends where the Neckar dispenses into the Rhine River in Mannheim. The entire route is about 410km (254.8 miles) and for the most part the Neckar River is visible the entire route. It made it really easy because as long as I could see the Neckar River (which was probably over 85% of the time), I knew that I wasn't lost.

    I've ridden quite a few metric centuries, but this was my first imperial century. I've been wanting to ride an imperial century for a while, but it was hard for me to come up with a local route without re-riding an area more than once.

    It is extremely easy to get a bike on a train here. A lot of the trains even have special cars or sections of cars specifically for bikes. I love the attitude the general public has toward cyclist over here. The mindset is so different here because I'd guess that over 75 percent of the people here cycle as a form of transportation at some point. In the states, we tend to look at bikes as forms of fitness equipment.

    Lastly, I love my electronics. The guys at work jokingly call me gadget man.
    Last edited by Solomon76; 05-29-2010 at 12:54 PM.
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  17. #17
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    I checked your route and it looks like you rode right past the old kaserne. On the eastern-most part of your leg through the town you almost hit Adlerstrasse where I lived.

    '89-'91 were the best of times. Maintained a BOQ room at the kaserne and lived with my gf in town. Usually biked to work and only drove if I was pressed for time or to remind the roaches that the reserved parking spot in front of our Bn HQ actually belonged to someone. lol

    No hurry on the pics. Just next time you roll through the area see if you can find the old 2d Coscom HQ building. It was considered an historical building so I'm sure it's well marked. It would have been near the south fence and maybe a bit west facing northward in the old area.
    Mike
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  18. #18
    weirdo
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    Congrats on the century! I have three under my belt now, but the longest was still less than yours at 108-point-something. I`m going for my first 200K sometime in the next few weeks.

    Yeah, I saw some signs in your pics that led me to that impresion, but I couldn`t be sure. My German was never much more than what I needed to order food, buy train tickets, etc, and I`ve forgotten most of that years ago. Have you been there a long time? Is your wife German?

    All those batteries do seem a bit crazy to me, though I would probably use a lot more of them if I were able to figure out how to operate that stuff. I can`t even operate our two-year old DVD player unless my wife is around to give me step by step instructions

  19. #19
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    The total ride was 117.5. Before leaving home, I guesstimated that it would be close to 120 miles. I've been in Germany almost 4 years. I transfer later this summer. I'm going to Florida next and I'm sure that I'll enjoy the weather, but I'm going to miss riding my bike the way I can over here. I'm trying to get as much riding in as I can before I transfer in a few months. Before I leave, I'll probably take the train to Schwenningen and ride the other half of the Neckartal Radweg. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to try the more direct route to Heidelberg to see if I can actually make it there with the route created on gpsies.com. And I'll continue to do local rides all over the Stuttgart area (including a trip to Sharnhauser Park to take some pictures for CarolinaLL6. No, my wife isn't German so once I leave I'm not sure when or if I'll ever make it back over here. Out of all the battery charging I did, I only ended up using 1 mp3 player which lasted the whole day of riding, my camera, and my Garmin Edge at the very end of the ride to get to the military base in Heidelberg. Well, my wife called my cell phone to let me know she was leaving but that conversation lasted all of 10 seconds.
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  20. #20
    weirdo
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    Good thing you`re taking advantage of being there! I got there a few months short of my 19th b-day, stayed for two years. I really regret not having seen and done more, but under the circumstances (young, away from Mom for the first time, magically legal drinking age) I don`t really blame myself for largely wasting the chance. If I were to get the opportunity again, I would do it much differently, but at that time, not a chance.

  21. #21
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    This conversation got me interested enough to browse around Google. Found a site that was put together by a local national that worked on Nellingen. I think I even remember him since there weren't that many R&U guys. His Web site is a little unorganized because every time I go to it I find more stuff I didn't see before. lol

    You can see the legend for the map half way down-ish on the History page linked below.



    History and old Map
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    Mike
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