• 07-18-2010
    Ride around Lake Constance (Bodensee) through Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    I’ve been doing a lot of touring lately as many of you may know from reading my recent ride reports. Apparently all of the pictures I’ve posted and the stories I’ve had to tell about my riding adventures inspired one of my coworkers to want to make a similar ride. A couple of weeks ago my coworker took his mountain bike down to Konstanz, Germany and rode around parts of Lake Constance (Bodensee). The Bodensee is a lake that sits on the borders of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. After getting back to work the week following his trip to Konstanz, he asked if I would plan a route and ride completely around the Bodensee with him. I agreed because it would give me a chance to ride through Germany, Austria, and Switzerland all in one bike ride. Once I created the route, it was more miles than he was expecting it to be. I was able to cut out a little over 20 miles from the ride, but the final route was still just over 108 miles. The furthest that he had ever ridden in one day was about 55 miles, but he was determined to attempt the Bodensee ride. The main factor of him deciding to press on with the ride is that the ride would be primarily flat with no major hills. Once the route was finalized, he sent out an email to everyone at work and asked if anyone would like to join us on the ride. We had one taker who had never completed more than 30 or 40 miles in a day. I had no idea if we were going to complete the ride because I had already told them that I didn’t plan on leaving anyone behind.

    Ride Report:
    The morning of the ride we had a few hiccups making it to the train station in Stuttgart, but we made it on the train on time. There were a couple more hiccups once we got to the train station in Konstanz, but we finally started the ride about 45 minutes after arriving in Konstanz. We arrived in Konstanz at 9:16am and the last train headed back to Stuttgart left Konstanz at 8:38pm. That gave us just over 11 hours to complete the 108 mile loop around the Bodensee or figure out that we couldn’t complete it and head back early.

    The weather was beautiful when we started the ride. I pushed the pace a little because we started off a little later than I wanted and I knew that they wanted to get random pictures here and there as well as stop for lunch about half way through. Other than starting about half an hour later than I wanted to, everything during the first half of the ride went almost perfectly. We stopped just over 20 miles into the ride for a quick regrouping and water bottle refill. Shortly after the stop we were off again with plans to stop between mile 50 and 60 for lunch.

    We stopped 52 miles into the ride for lunch and we had made excellent time so far. My coworkers were beginning to feel the effects of 4 hours in the saddle, but they were both looking forward to continuing the ride. After about a half an hour lunch break we were on the road again. Surprisingly my colleagues were able to keep up with a little faster pace for the 20 miles following our lunch break.

    After about 75 miles in, the winds picked up and it looked like it might start raining. Once the winds picked up I could tell that it took a lot out of one of my coworkers. Up until this point he was doing a pretty good job with keeping up the pace that I had been setting. It was just the opposite with my other coworker. He had been our anchor for the first half of the ride but he was able to keep pace after our lunch break.

    The sky opened up after about 80-85 miles into the ride and we got drenched. The rain continued throughout the remainder of our ride and it really slowed us down. I continued to try to take pictures, but after a while my camera stopped working properly because it got soaked with rain.

    Right at mile 100 one of my buddies took a spill because everything was wet and he took a turn a little too sharply. After making sure that he was okay, we decided to cruise for the remainder of the ride. After 109 miles we made it back to the train station in which we started. We had just over 30 minutes before we had to get on the train and head back home so we stopped by McDonalds and stuffed our faces. We were all soaked and shivering when we got back on the train.

    I have to say that I’m really proud of both of my coworkers for completing the ride because I know the last quarter of the ride sucked. The guy whose idea it was to do the ride in the first place has vowed that this will be his first and last century. My other coworker really seemed to have enjoy the whole experience, even the part that sucked, and wants to do more touring trips.

    Below are 40 of the photos from the trip, but I managed to take more than 150 photos before my camera stopped working from being wet. To see all of the photos I uploaded, go to the following link: https://s201.photobucket.com/albums/...ide/?start=all

    <iframe width='465' height='548' frameborder='0' src='https://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/40781658'></iframe>

    5:30 in the morning

    My coworkers bikes on the train (the Focus and the Riverside)

    My bike on the train

    Konstanz train station

    Everyone is all smiles before the riding starts

    Outside of Konstanz train station

    I think I found my next profession

    Our first quick refueling stop

    Hours from now we'd be on the other side of the lake looking back this way

    Back on the road again

    A pretty intersting water fountain. Why does the guy on the horse have on ice skates?

    Riding around the lake was a great idea! I'm glad I thought of it.

    Riding around the lake was a great idea! I'm glad I joined you guys.

    One of our possible cut out points. Anyone feel like catching the ferry back? No. Okay, let's keep riding.

    Schloss Kirchberg (Kirchberg Castle)

    Lunch break

    I split a pizza with one of my buddies

    We're still smiling on the outside, but we're starting to hurt on the inside

    A little out of focus. I snapped a lot of pictures without stopping.

    A restaurant (I think) on the beach

    The smiles are starting to turn into anguish

    One of the cities we rode through once we crossed over into Austria

    The border crossing between Austria and Switzerland (Austria side)

    The border crossing between Austria and Switzerland (Switzerland side)

    The rain will be here soon

    The rain has arrived

    The rain isn't going anywhere

    What's that guys? This ride is beginning to suck?

    One of the last pictures my camera took before it started malfuctioning because it got wet
  • 07-18-2010
    rodar y rodar
    Another nice one, Solomon. How long were you in the rain? It sure does look like it was pouring down! Congrats to all of you for hanging in there and squeeking in before the last train. Any plans for an overnighter? That would take away the need to hurry and catch your return ride.
  • 07-19-2010
    We were in the rain for about 2.5 hours. It seemed longer while we were in it. I'm just thankful that it was a warm rain as opposed to the freezing rain that I rode in on my way back from Munich. I'm sure that my buddies didn't see an upside to the down pour though. When I get back to the states next month, I may consider doing some multi-day trips. I'd really like to cycle across America one day, but that would be a few years in the future if I ever get to do it.
  • 07-19-2010
    rodar y rodar
    Another month? Damn, you`re getting short there! Won`t they be packing up your bike soon, or are you going to carry it with you? It seems to me that the married guys with apartments all got transportation appointments a few months ahead of their returns and had to live out of a duffel bag in the barracks after that point. Then again, that was a long time ago. I`m sure a lot of things are different now.

    Anyway two things about the riding that you`re doing and the riding you`re not doing over there. First, like I think I mentioned before, it`s great that you`re geting out and taking advantage of your situation. I was 18 when I got to Germany and was only interrested in booze, hash, and red light districts- totally wasted my time there, but I almost forgive myself for it. Second thing is that I doubt you`ll have much opportunity in the US for the kind of "inn to inn" weekends that are possible in Europe. Towns are more spread out here, so "light" touring, with just a toothbrush and a change of clothes require much more planning and seriously limit your options. Then again, I`m going on a western perspective- Florida and the rest of the east coast is likely a lot more similar to Europe than my stomping rounds in NV, CA, and south eastern OR.
  • 07-20-2010
    They should be packing up pretty much all of my stuff sometime early next month. I should know the exact date once I go to an appointment with the housing office next week. I guess for the last week or so that I'm here with no vehicle or bikes, I'll run back and forward to work.

    I'm really determined to continue to ride my bike once I get back to the states, but I know that reality will set in once I get there and it isn't nearly as easy as it is here to use a bike as your primary means of transportation. Either way, I have a few years of cycling under my belt and enough stories and memories to last a lifetime. Thankfully I've been getting pictures on the latest long rides that I've been doing. All I need to do now is do a couple of local rides so that I can take some pictures a little closer to where I live.

    I'm really going to miss this place.