Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

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Raybo
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Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Raybo » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:30 pm

On my recent bicycle ride across Western Europe, from Amsterdam to Passau, Germany, I took over 2000 photos. I have selected 88 of them to give a good idea of what the trip was like. You can find the photos on my website, which can be accessed by the link in my profile (click on my username to the right). Forum rules don't allow me to post a link.

I rode through The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a tiny corner of France, Southern Germany (Bavaria) and Austria. These are some pretty countries. In total, this trip took 26 days.

If anyone might be interested in riding (walking or driving) a similar route, I'd be happy to answer questions about travel through this area.

It was a great ride. One I'd recommend.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.


Zott
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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Zott » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:19 pm

Passau was one of the highlights of our trip to Germany years ago, actually West Germany as it was then. I still have a pair of excellent sandals I bought there, wear 'em with socks, of course. :happy Kudos on a great adventure!

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Slapshot » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:14 pm

What kind of bike do you ride, and what kind of tires?
This time, like all times, is the best of times if we but know what to do with it.

jef
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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by jef » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:33 pm

Spectacular inspiring photos. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by sleepysurf » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:11 pm

Incredible adventure and photos! You're an inspiration!

My wife and I are planning a Backroads biking vacation in Banff/Canadian Rockies next year!

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Calli114 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:29 pm

sleepysurf wrote:Incredible adventure and photos! You're an inspiration!

My wife and I are planning a Backroads biking vacation in Banff/Canadian Rockies next year!
I was just there a month ago and we saw the Backroads bikes and van on the roads! The weather was a little warm but otherwise perfect.

Lovely photos, OP.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Raybo » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:12 am

Slapshot wrote:What kind of bike do you ride, and what kind of tires?
I bought a new bike for this, and future European, tours. It is a folding bike that is quick to both assemble and disassemble and can be (relatively) easily packed into a Samsonite large suitcase. It is a Bike Friday New World Tourist. It has 20 inch diameter wheels and I am using Schwalbe 20" Marathons with a width of 1.75 inches.

The reason I bought a new bike for this trip is to leave it in the U.K. with in-laws. For future bike tours in Europe, I won't have to fly with the bike to London, but can simply stop there for the night, see my in-laws and pick up the bike for the next leg of the trip. Also, it means I will have a bike to ride when we are there visiting family.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by yukonjack » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:36 am

Magnificent as usual. How did you come to select your route and how did you locate the various bike paths? Also how does the folding style bike handle when fully loaded? Thanks for taking the time to post.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Raybo » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:52 am

sleepysurf wrote:Incredible adventure and photos! You're an inspiration!

My wife and I are planning a Backroads biking vacation in Banff/Canadian Rockies next year!
The ride from Lake Louise to Jasper is the best multi-day riding I have ever done. It is simply stunning scenery.

If you'd like to see what the riding is like, check out my journal of the ride starting here.

I hope you don't miss the wood-fired saunas.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Raybo » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:22 am

yukonjack wrote:Magnificent as usual. How did you come to select your route and how did you locate the various bike paths?
Planning a route is part of the art of bike touring.

Being involved in bike touring and maintaining my website have given me a good deal of knowledge about bike touring in various parts of the world. I know that Western Europe is criss-crossed with bike paths. There are mapping websites that only create routes using bike paths. Ultimately, it involves a great deal of research and a bit of luck!

For much of this route, I depended on the Strava heat map (http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#4/-148. ... /blue/bike). Strava hosts tracked bike rides from its huge user base and then collects all the year's routes into a single "heat" map that shows the most common roads people ride on in a certain area. That was the starting point for my route. It is an easy program to use and allows drag and drop tweaking of a route.

Normally, I would check any larger roads using Google street view. But, Germany and Austria don't allow Google to show street level images, so a bit more trust was needed there.

Many bike routes follow rivers. While I have a hard time not stopping and taking a photo of every river and stream I cross, I don't like riding down large rivers for any length of time. I have found that such rides become monotonous after while as the scenery doesn't change much day after day.

I wanted to see a few places, which put waypoints into the route: Aachen and the Hurtgen Forest, the Vennbahn bike path, Baden-Baden, Bodensee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Berchtesgaden.

Eventually, a route came together. After creating the route, I downloaded the GPX files onto a fabulous app on my iPhone called Pocket Earth, which is an off-line mapping app that allows me to see where I am without requiring a phone data plan.

Weather and serendipity might cause changes on the ground. I took a train up one climb to shorten a very long day. While riding toward Berchtesgaden, I came across the Mozart Radweg (German for bike path). After a bit of on the bike research, I followed it for the next 2 days.
Also how does the folding style bike handle when fully loaded? Thanks for taking the time to post.
The folding bike (Bike Friday New World Tourist) performed very well. It rides like a "normal" touring bike. I carried my load in rear panniers and tried to balance it with a large bag off the front of the bike. I really liked that I could mount and dismount the bike by stepping over the low top tube. In fact, I now miss being able to do this on my other, diamond frame, bike!

The only downside of the Bike Friday is that I can't seem to find a way to take my hands off the handlebars while standing still without losing control of them. When that happens, the front wheel twists and the bike falls down, usually scraping my leg in the process. Most of the over 2000 photos I took were taken while standing over the bike with both hands on my camera, while trying to insure the bike didn't fall over. It was a constant struggle.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by jesscj » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:43 am

Great photos! Looks like a great trip. My wife and I were in Bavaria in March and noticed those huts as well and were trying to figure out what they are for.
"Gonna Make It"

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by imbogled » Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:33 pm

I'm so jealous! Looks like an incredible way to get away and see the world.
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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Raybo » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:54 am

imbogled wrote:I'm so jealous! Looks like an incredible way to get away and see the world.
While I was sitting on a bench eating and watching cars and motorcycles zoom by, it occurred to me that the main difference between motorized travel and human-powered is the ability to stop wherever and whenever I want. This allows me to see and take photos of places that people driving by don't even notice.

When I am driving, I might see something interesting, but there is now way for me to stop in time, find a place to park, easily go back to check it out. On a bicycle, stopping is quick and I can simply stand there and look.

While bicycles aren't good at getting from A to B, they are a great way to see what is between A and B!
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by yukonjack » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:10 pm

Raybo wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:22 am
yukonjack wrote:Magnificent as usual. How did you come to select your route and how did you locate the various bike paths?
Planning a route is part of the art of bike touring.

Being involved in bike touring and maintaining my website have given me a good deal of knowledge about bike touring in various parts of the world. I know that Western Europe is criss-crossed with bike paths. There are mapping websites that only create routes using bike paths. Ultimately, it involves a great deal of research and a bit of luck!

For much of this route, I depended on the Strava heat map (http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#4/-148. ... /blue/bike). Strava hosts tracked bike rides from its huge user base and then collects all the year's routes into a single "heat" map that shows the most common roads people ride on in a certain area. That was the starting point for my route. It is an easy program to use and allows drag and drop tweaking of a route.

Normally, I would check any larger roads using Google street view. But, Germany and Austria don't allow Google to show street level images, so a bit more trust was needed there.

Many bike routes follow rivers. While I have a hard time not stopping and taking a photo of every river and stream I cross, I don't like riding down large rivers for any length of time. I have found that such rides become monotonous after while as the scenery doesn't change much day after day.

I wanted to see a few places, which put waypoints into the route: Aachen and the Hurtgen Forest, the Vennbahn bike path, Baden-Baden, Bodensee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Berchtesgaden.

Eventually, a route came together. After creating the route, I downloaded the GPX files onto a fabulous app on my iPhone called Pocket Earth, which is an off-line mapping app that allows me to see where I am without requiring a phone data plan.

Weather and serendipity might cause changes on the ground. I took a train up one climb to shorten a very long day. While riding toward Berchtesgaden, I came across the Mozart Radweg (German for bike path). After a bit of on the bike research, I followed it for the next 2 days.
Also how does the folding style bike handle when fully loaded? Thanks for taking the time to post.
The folding bike (Bike Friday New World Tourist) performed very well. It rides like a "normal" touring bike. I carried my load in rear panniers and tried to balance it with a large bag off the front of the bike. I really liked that I could mount and dismount the bike by stepping over the low top tube. In fact, I now miss being able to do this on my other, diamond frame, bike!

The only downside of the Bike Friday is that I can't seem to find a way to take my hands off the handlebars while standing still without losing control of them. When that happens, the front wheel twists and the bike falls down, usually scraping my leg in the process. Most of the over 2000 photos I took were taken while standing over the bike with both hands on my camera, while trying to insure the bike didn't fall over. It was a constant struggle.
Raybo thanks for the information. I am interested in getting a folding bike and was wondering how you settled on getting the Bike Friday brand. This would be my first folding bike so I am starting my research now. Thanks again for the wonderful pictures and travel writing.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by snowman » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:46 pm

Duckie wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2017 4:00 pm
Here's the direct link.
Is Raybo and Duckie the same person?

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Raybo » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:48 pm

snowman wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:46 pm
Duckie wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2017 4:00 pm
Here's the direct link.
Is Raybo and Duckie the same person?
No.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by denovo » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:34 pm

How many hours a day did you bike on average?

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Raybo » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:41 pm

yukonjack wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:10 pm
Raybo thanks for the information. I am interested in getting a folding bike and was wondering how you settled on getting the Bike Friday brand. This would be my first folding bike so I am starting my research now. Thanks again for the wonderful pictures and travel writing.
I wrote a "first impression" of the Bike Friday I bought that described the places I looked in my research. You might find it a good place to start: http://www.biketouringtips.com/showTipC ... tipID=2373
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by nedsaid » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:43 pm

Raybo, those were beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing. It makes me want to visit Europe again.
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Raybo
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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by Raybo » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:44 pm

denovo wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:34 pm
How many hours a day did you bike on average?
It depends on how you define "bike." For the most part, I left around 9:30 or 10 in the morning and arrived around 6pm. But, not all of that was "biking." Some of it was eating, some taking photos, some doing other non-riding things.

Looking at my daily logs, I'd say the wheels were turning about 5 hours/day.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Selected photos from my ride across Western Europe -- Amsterdam to Passau, Germany

Post by denovo » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:45 pm

Raybo wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:44 pm
denovo wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:34 pm
How many hours a day did you bike on average?
It depends on how you define "bike." For the most part, I left around 9:30 or 10 in the morning and arrived around 6pm. But, not all of that was "biking." Some of it was eating, some taking photos, some doing other non-riding things.

Looking at my daily logs, I'd say the wheels were turning about 5 hours/day.
Pretty impressive. I'll check your site when I have some time.

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