Touring In Germany

ROTARY CYCLING IN GERMANY, 20th-24th May 1998

Rotary International have a cycling club which holds a touring run and a world championship road race every year in different countries throughout Europe. Carole and I attended the UK weekend in August Ď97 at Cheshire and enjoyed it, so decided to make our first visit to Germany for the tours in the Algau / Lake Constance region in South West Germany. The flight was delayed 45 minutes because of congestion with the inward flight from Amsterdam; with just 10 minutes to catch the transfer flight to Munich it was a sprint through the airport. We made it to Munich, but the luggage didnít. We were told that it would be transferred by taxi when it arrived and they would contact the Hotel. Arrived at the hotel, no message; no luggage; no bike. One of the organisers phoned the airport but although they confirmed that the cases had now arrived they refused to send them until next day - he informed them that there would be a huge claim as I would have to buy equipment. He organised a local bike shop to open early, and I bought shoes, shorts, hard hat, mitts, cleats, etc. I hope the claim is successful as I spent a fortune, but saved KLM the expense of a new bike as one fellow cyclist gave me his as he was riding a tandem for the first 2 days with his wife.

There were 100 attending, with 15 non-cyclists who had sightseeing arranged for them. The cyclists were split into 5 groups and went from 85 miles a day to 45 miles. Each group was accompanied by 2 cyclists from the local cycling club of Wangen, and also had a back up van, with a mechanic and the sandwiches for lunch. We went by quiet country lanes or by cycle lanes most of the way - the cycle paths in Germany are well surfaced, unlike the UK, and not covered in broken bottles. The scenery was that of rolling landscapes, with Lake Constance being the focus. All the routes close to the shore at the lake are cycle tracks with no cars allowed, so there were lots of cyclists around; I have never seen so many, but the standard of cycling ability required great care in overtaking manoeuvres. In September there is a an Audax run round the Lake with 9,000 cyclists starting from 5 different points trying to complete the 220 Km around the Lake.

The social side of the event was good with a Bavarian evening in a local brewery, and the final evening was a reception in Wangen's Historic Town Hall, where I was introduced as the person who had travelled furthest to the event. It was a very international event with 12 from the UK, some French, Belgians, lots from Holland, Germany, and Austria.

South West Germany is beautiful cycling country, and I would recommend it to any of our members.

Graham Gerrard

 

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