Our Tandem Trip Diary - 2011

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2 - 3 October 2011: Bacharach Mini Tour - Total 152 kms

Day1 - Dexheim to Bacharach: 77 kms
Day 2 - Bacharach to Dexheim: 75 kms

With the German holiday on October 3. falling on a Monday, we had a long weekend with a favorable weather forecast so we made a last minute decision to try a "mini tour". We figured that with a backpack and our regular bike bag, we could easily transport all we would need for one overnight, a regular clothes for the evening, a change of cycling clothes and snack packs for the trips there and back.

After checking the map we decided on a trip following the Rhine to the little town of Bacharach. It was pushing our limits a little, about 70 kms each way, but we thought that, with an early start and all day to get there, we could manage it. We were very lucky to get a hotel at such short notice, in fact we managed to find a hotel that is built into the old city wall and our room was in the tower that you see in the photo to the right.... the window immediately below the black roof was our room!

We set off at around 10:00 and made good time along the familiar route to Mainz. At the Fort Malakoff plaza, we stopped and had a snack and, as it was warming up, shed a layer of clothing. Leaving Mainz, heading toward Budenheim we ran into a muddy "swamp" where the sun obviously never reaches the path. We decided that it was prudent to dismount and carefully push the tandem attempting to avoid the worst bits. We stopped again at Heidesheim where we found a nice spot to sit and eat our sandwiches. With the exception of the "swamp" the bike paths were excellent and with the beautiful scenery and the golden October weather, we had a wonderful ride.
We past through Bingen, past the14th century Mäuse Turm ("Mouse Tower") set on a small island on the Rhine and began the last leg of the journey to Bacharach where we arrived, weary but in good spirits and checked in to the hotel. The room in the tower was even better than we had anticipated... one window looking out on the Rhine, another with a view of the old castle up on the hill overlooking the town and the Rhein, and yet another window looked out over the rooftops of the town. Travelling light, with just a backpack, we were very quickly unpacked and after changing out of the bike clothes, set off for a walk through the beautiful old town with it's pretty half-timbered houses.
Arriving back at the hotel, we ate an excellent meal at the Hotel's restaurant before retiring to the room for a relaxing evening. We had planned to watch TV but both of us almost immediately fell asleep, Tanja woke up at 9:00pm, shut off the TV and fell right back to sleep again. We both slept right through until the next morning. The 77 km ride and a full day in the fresh air wiped us out!
Downstairs in the restaurant for breakfast, we met all kinds of tourist guests... the Hotel was booked out! There were plenty of interesting stories being passed between the tables and we often had to stifle a grin at some of the visitor's views of Europe and of Germany! Packing our bag was completed very quickly... there are certainly advantages to travelling light! We were on the road by 9:00 and found the Rhine shrouded in early morning fog. This soon lifted as sun came through and the day presented itself with blue skies and bright sunshine.
The return journey was uneventful, this time we stopped at a "biker's" restaurant at Heidesheim where we were lucky to find a free table with a view of the river where we could enjoy a short rest with an ice-coffee as a refresher! We were able to use our Garmin GPS devices to find an alternate route bypassing the "swamp" and arrived home in plenty of time to put the washing machine to work and make dinner before enjoying a restful evening at home.
Although it had been a strenuous ride, we both were very glad that we had come up with this idea at such short notice and were happy to have had such a great trip this late in the year!




25 September 2011: Dexheim - Rheindürkheim - Dexheim
Total: 67 kms

It was our friend Britta's birthday so, as the weather had stayed nice, we decided to ride the tandem to Rheindürkheim to pay her a short visit and wish her a happy Birthday. Starting off it was sunny but quite cool especially in the shadows so Tanja was able to try out her new windstopper jacket..... and was pleasantly surprised at how well it kept her warm! It was a very pleasant ride following the Rhine river south, most of the way on really nice paved roads. Of course there were some stretches where the tracks were full of potholes but we were able to negotiate those without too much difficulty and arrived in Rheindürkheim in record time.
After a welcome "coffee and cake" break, we set off for home and although it was quite a long trip, were still able to make it back up the hill to Dexheim overtaking most of the "Sunday bikers" who were struggling up the hill, arriving home a little weary but still in good shape. It was nice to finally have a nice weekend where we could get out and ride the Tandem again!

24 September 2011: Dexheim - Mainz - Dexheim
Total: 50 kms

At last a weekend with good weather forecast! We decided to take advantage of the sunshine and ride the tandem into Mainz, killing two birds with one stone since, while we were there, Darrell went to the hairdresser and got a hair cut. In spite of the sunshine it was quite cool on the way to Mainz and, surprisingly, we didn't see much action on the bike paths, hardly any bikers, in-liners, joggers or walkers. Arriving in Mainz we found the streets full of Dortmund soccer fans arriving to watch their team play against Mainz in the afternoon, but fortunately they went a different way to us so we were able to make it safely to the hairdresser. After a quick trim we made our way back home again in good time. Since it had been quite cool, we drove back in to Mainz and bought Tanja a warm windstopper jacket and also an "under-helmet" windstopper for the cool fall days.

10 September 2011: Dexheim - Laubenheim - Dexheim
Total: 32 kms

As you can see by the date, we've been pretty "lazy" recently. The weather has been so bad and what with that and health issues we haven't had the tandem out since our last long trip in Zeeland. It wasn't exactly sunny but at least it was dry so we decided to go for a short ride just to keep ourselves from getting "rusty". We rode down the hill to Nierstein and then along the Rhine in the direction of Mainz. When we reached the Gas Station on the B9 we turned around and took an alternate route back. Not one of our longer trips but it was nice to get back out on the bike again

17 - 22 July 2011: Zeeland - Holland
Total: 342 kms

Zeeland is a small province on the south-west coast of Holland consisting of a chain of islands and peninsulas joined together by causeways, bridges and dikes. Our tour consisted of 6 biking days and the arrival and departure days.

Although the weather was not really all that we had hoped for, even the wind and rain did not dampen our enthusiasm or spoil the experiences that we had throughout the tour. Holland is really a biker's paradise, the bike paths were well built, clearly marked and signposted and a pleasure to ride. The people were extremely friendly and kind to us and once again we wined and dined in fine style every evening (to tank up energy for the next day.... that's our story and we're sticking to it.).

We added more detailed descriptions on the individual tour days for this tour also which you can access by clicking on the picture to the right of this text.

3 - 9 July 2011: Tour de Bodensee
Total: 291 kms

Inspired by the ongoing Tour de France, we booked our own mini-tour...... around the Bodensee in 7 days (in fact only 5 biking days since the first day is just arrival and the last day departure after breakfast).

The trip began in Konstanz and led us through Switzerland, back to Germany, on through Austria to Switzerland and finally back to Germany again. The weather was kind to us and we enjoyed sunshine, good food and superb bike paths.

We added more detailed descriptions on the individual tour days which you can access by clicking on the picture to the right of this text.

Sunday 12 June: Dexheim-Eisenbahnbrücke-Kornsand Ferry (Roundtrip)
57 km

We had bought ourselves new Heart Rate Monitors so that we could check to see how our pulse/heart rate was handling the bike riding. A trip to try them out was definitely needed and we decided to ride to the Kaiserbrücke but this time, to go across and ride back on the other side of the Rhine to the Kornsand ferry where we could cross over and ride up the hill to Dexheim.
It was easy to see that this was the Whitsun weekend..... the paths were full of bike riders!
Once again we reached the Kaiserbrücke and decided to push the bike up the ramp to the bridge. Quite a few bike riders passed us riding up the ramp, but none made it more than halfway up before having to dismount. At the top of the ramp we saw that the bike path across the bridge was quite narrow and with all the "traffic", other bike riders and pedestrians, we made up our minds to push the bike across, the tandem is just not as maneuverable as a standard bike!
The Main river flows into the Rhine right there, it was a great view from up on the bridge. It was pretty neat to be riding along the paths that we had always viewed from the other side. After a while we reached a sign showing a detour due to construction. We followed the sign, expecting to see further signs..... no such luck and we found ourselves going in the opposite direction to which our route was planned! After a number of turns that led to dead ends, we finally got our Garmins to route us round the construction sites and finally got ourselves back on track to the ferry which was doing a roaring trade with the Whit Sunday traffic.
The heart rate monitors added a new dimension to the trip, we were constantly checking and comparing our pulse rates. Both of us appear to be in the "healthy" zone....It will be interesting to see how this developes as we continue through the summer!


Friday 10 June: Dexheim-Eisenbahnbrücke (Mainz-Weisenau) and back.
49 km

The weather forecast had not looked very good so we hadn't planned a trip, but it turned out to be a nice warm day, and the forecast changed to show no rain until the evening. We decided to make a simple trip along the route to Mainz to the Kaiserbrücke in Mainz-Weisenau and back again.
As we went through the Vineyards, we noticed all the preparations for the upcoming Whitsun weekend, with tents and pavillions for the guests to enjoy some wine tasting. We made good time and, arriving at the bridge, thought that we really ought to try crossing the bridge. As it was getting late and the clouds were starting to gather, we decided to put it off until another day. We turned around and headed for home and just managed to stay ahead of the oncoming rain front and made it home safe and dry.


Thursday 2 June: Dexheim-Nierstein-Weingut Weyell
10 km

Tanja was not feeling 100% fit but with such fine weather, we couldn't just stay home so we decided to take a short ride down to Nierstein and sit beside the Rhine in the sunshine. Being a holiday, Nierstein was full of "bikers", the ice-cream parlor was definately doing a roaring trade! We sat and watched the boats (and the ducks) for a while and then headed back up the hill to Dexheim.
As we reached the village we saw the sign for Weingut Weyell and stopped by for a cold drink and something to eat. It was pretty full there too but we got lucky and found a free table. Tanja took the special, Schnitzel with Asparagus, while Darrell went with a "giant" Bratwurst and homemade fries..... mmmm, mmmm..... totally delicious!
The waitress wished us a pleasant ride and we felt just a little guilty when we admitted that we only had a few hundred meters more to go before we got home.
Nevertheless, we were glad that we took the opportunity to be outside and enjoy the beautiful day.


Saturday 21 May: Dexheim-Schierstein and back...
65 kms

We were planning to take the car and drive somewhere with the Tandem but after calculating a route to the Schierstein Harbour, we decided that we could handle the tour even starting from home in Dexheim.
The start of the trip followed the familiar route down the hill to the Rhine, through the Vineyards and then along the banks of the Rhine to Mainz.
In Mainz we crossed the Theodor-Heuss bridge across the Rhine. Riding across the bridges across the river is always a bit scary, since the path for bikes is quite narrow, and the tandem is not as maneuverable as a normal bike. Nonetheless, even though there were quite a number of pedestrians and other bikes we managed just fine, Tanja even managed to take a couple of pictures as we were riding across!
The paths on the north side of the Rhine were excellent. It was interesting to see the familiar paths we had so often ridden on the way to Mombach and Heidesheim from the other side of the river. After leaving Kastel, we soon passed through Biebrich riding right past the Palace buildings there. Shortly after we arrived in Schierstein, where we stopped at a small Ice Cream Parlour. We got lucky and found a table in the sunshine where we took a break and a nice ice-coffee before turning around and heading back the way we came. We were quite weary by the time we got to the last few kilometers and as usual, it was a long haul up the Dexheim hill.
Sixty-five kilometers were quite a respectable ride for a Saturday afternoon!

Saturday 14 May: Speyer-Germersheim and back...
44 kms

We managed to get going at a decent time and drove with the bike on the roof to Speyer. We were able to park right at the start of the bike path that we had planned and set off along a nice paved route. Although, according to the route planner, we were riding most of the way right beside the river, we only caught a couple of glimpses of it through the thick trees and undergrowth.
It was a pleasant ride, until we reached Germesheim where we had to go through the town for a while where the traffic was quite busy. Once through the town we found a nice spot beside the river where we could sit on a bench and eat our sandwiches.
After we were done, we decided to turn back and head towards the car. As it turned out, a good decision. The skie,s which had been partly cloudy when we left, started to to fill with dark clouds and the wind began to get stronger. We only had a few more kilometers back to the car, so we pedalled like crazy and were almost there when it started to drizzle. We loaded the bike onto the car and got ourselves inside. It only rained for a few minutes so by the time we got home, the bike was nicely dried off and we were able to pack it and the roof rack away before the rain got to Dexheim.

Friday 13 May: Dexheim-Gernsheim-Kühkopf-Dexheim
62 kms

Somehow the day got away from us and it was 13:00 before we had the bike loaded up and ready to go. We decided to postpone the planned trip starting from Speyer until another day. It would have required about an hour drive in the car so instead, we opted to ride from Dexheim to the Gernesheim ferry to see if the little kiosk was open.
The weather forecast had initially predicted rain, but we had sunshine and a clear blue sky although it was a bit cool in the shadows! Being a Friday, the paths were almost empty, only the occasional pedestrian or bike rider crossed our way. Arriving at the kiosk, we found that it was indeed open and they were offering a selection of simple country dishes. The first thing we wanted was of course a nice cold drink and as we were eating (Meat Loaf and homemade Potato Salad, and German Meatball Hamburger in onion gravy with french fries) we considered whether to turn around and go back the way we came or take on the longer trip by crossing the Rhine on the ferry and riding back along the other side of the river, across the Kühkopf nature reserve Peninsula to the ferry in Kornsand across to Oppenheim.
Since we were both feeling quite fit we took the long trip across the river. The Kühkopf can be a breeding place for mosquitoes so we raced through without stopping and escaped unscathed.
Although it had not been an overly strenuous ride, the last few kilometers up the Deheim hill left us feeling pretty pooped, and we were glad to get home to a nice cup of coffee before preparing dinner.

Sunday 8 May: Boppard-Koblenz
47 kms

The weather prediction was for another warm, sunny day so we finished our leasurely Sunday breakfast with a little more haste than usual so that we could load up the tandem onto the roof of the car and get on the road in good time. Driving slowly because of the tandem, we got off the autobahn at Boppard and made our way down the steep mountain roads. Negotiating carefully through the tricky hairpin bends we arrived by the river and were fortunate to find a parking space right next to the starting point of our planned route to Koblenz.
Starting off along the Rhine river boulevard, we passed by the romantic old houses, restaurants and Hotels of Boppard. Leaving the town behind we rode for a while on a broad bike path sandwiched between the highway B9 and the river, bordered by steep vineyard hills on either side.
After a few kilometers, the bike path took us through a couple of quaint little villages until we found ourselves riding directly along the banks of the Rhine. On either side of the river, the towns and villages with their Church spires and towers, turrets and city walls gave us plenty to look at (and take pictures of.....). Every few kilometers, a mighty castle would appear perched high on the slopes overlooking the river.
Entering the city of Koblenz, we stopped at a restaurant and sat in the sunshine on the terrace with a nice view of the river. After a cold drink, an ice coffee and of course the obligatory trip to the bathroom, we moved on feeling rested and refreshed, for the last few kilometers of the trip.
The boulevard became more and more crowded the further we went. After all it was fine weather and not just any Sunday... this was Mother's Day and people were streaming out to visit the Bundes Garden Show that is being held in Koblenz this year. Having reached our destination, we turned around and headed back toward the car. In direct contrast to the steep paths that we had ridden yesterday, this route was almost completely flat. With the nice warm weather, (about 27 degrees centigrade) and a light cooling breeze, it was a perfect day to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.
Arriving back at the car, we made the hour long drive back home and arrived just in time for dinner.

Saturday 7 May: Dexheim-Wörrstadt
39 kms

Perfect weather, but no destinations planned..... where to go?
Tanja suggested that we should try Dexheim to Wörrstadt and back. After planning the track, we were concerned that it might be a bit hilly but decided to give it a shot anyway.
We started off on the familiar path at the bottom of the vineyards leading out of Dexheim but shortly after our track turned right on to a new path that we hadn't been on before.
At first we went through open fields but soon found ourselves passing through little villages with narrow little streets and romantic old houses. The paths were mostly paved and it was enjoyable riding. In the heat of the midday sun, the temperatures were by now up around 30 degrees (centigrade), we reached the slopes up into the vineyards which as feared, were indeed quite steep. We managed quite well, our consolating thought being that on the way home we would be going back down. We passed by a new Wind Park that has just recently been built and shortly after reached the crown of the hill where we stopped to eat a sandwich and have a nice cooling drink.
Back in the saddle again, we reached the outskirts of Wörrstadt. The last 2 kilometers we had planned would have required us to ride on a busy road so we decided that this was not really a necessity and turned around to head for home.
The downhill ride through the vineyards certainly compensated for the long haul going up. Needless to say, we made it home in no time at all.

Saturday 30 April: Dexheim-Nonnenau Roundtrip
42 kms

Since our last attempt to do this tour ended with the "flat-tire" disaster, we thought we would give it another try. Once down the Dexheim hill, we took the Kornsand ferry across the Rhine and made our way onto the route which is mostly on paved paths through open fields. There was a stiff breeze which, as always, seemed to be blowing against us no matter which direction we turned.
This time all went well, we managed the detours around the various construction sites and arrived at the little ferry that took us across a small arm of the Rhine onto the Nonnenau peninsula. We were pleasently surprised to see that the scruffy little terrier who we had seen on the boat last year was still riding back and forth with his mistress, the ferry driver. He was almost ready to leave the ferry and come with us after some head scratching and leftover ham sandwiches on the trip across.
The ride across the peninsula passed once again through open fields until we came upon the main arm of the Rhine to our right side once again. The causeway back to the mainland was a really bumpy ride, but we crossed it without any mishaps, pausing to take a picture of a couple of swans foraging in the mud that the low water level had left.
The ride back to the ferry was uneventful, the last few kilometers with a tailwind helping us along for a change. Once back on the Oppenheim side, we made our way back up the hill and were actually home early and with lots of time to prepare our Saturday dinner.

Monday 25 April: Worms-Frankenthal
35 kms

With the 4 day weekend, we had left the Tandem lift on the car ready for action. It was nice to load up the bike and go without having to mount the roof rack and the Tandem carrier first. It was a relatively short trip to Worms where we parked the bike within sight of the Rhine bridge.
The first leg of the trip took us once again along the banks of the river and on turning inland to begin the loop back towards Worms we found ourselves cycling past a very large man-made lake called the Silver See. The water was a deep blue color and there were beaches for the swimmers and further out, windsurfers and even sailboats.
We had been a little uncertain while planning the return route. It wasn't clear on the map whether we would be on roads, paved trails or maybe even mud tracks. Just as we were congratulating each other for planning such a pretty route, the trail started to deteriorate until there was really no more trail at all and we were wading through a jungle. We could see the bridge that we needed to be on just up ahead and stubbornly refusing to turn back, we pushed our way forward until to our dismay, we came upon the guardrail of a fast 2 lane highway. Forcing our way through the foliage we followed the guardrail until we finally reached our bridge where we had to half carry, half push the tandem up a narrow stairway to reach the bridge.Once there we had to hoist the Tandem out of the jungle over the guardrail, under the interested eyes of an old German lady who was slowly cycling by. She was obviously impressed as she shouted "Bravo" to us as she passed by! Luckily that got us back on our route again and the rest of the ride passed uneventfully.
Every once in a while there has to be an "adventure" trip, just to keep life interesting !

Sunday 24 April: Main Tour, Diedesheim-Mainflingen
48 kms

Remembering that we had found the bike routes along the Main river very enjoyable, we planned a route starting in the Hanau area heading in the direction of Aschaffenburg. It was quite a long drive, about an hour driving slower because of the bike on the roof.
We passed by pretty scenery and villages along the way. As predicted the weather was beautiful so there were plenty of bikers, pedestrians and inline skaters about but the wide paved trail provided plenty of room for all.
Passing through a small village we saw a sign for an Ice Parlor with homemade ice cream. In the heat of the afternoon,an invitation that we just couldn't refuse. Strawberry Sundaes and cold drinks really hit the spot!
Shortly after we reached a really pretty promenade in Seligenstadt and continued on until we were just 13 kms from Aschaffenburg. Much as we wanted to go on, we decided that the additional 13 kms would be 26 on the round trip so we turned back and headed for the car again.

Friday 22 April: Rheingönheim-Outskirts of Speyer
40 kms

Good Friday.... weather forecast for the Easter weekend: Sunny, warm temperatures and NO rain! Perfect for biking!
Instead of going through the Trip Log to find nice tours, we decided to look for brand new routes that we hadn't ridden before.
We loaded the bike up onto the car and drove to the Rhine just south of Ludwigshafen and set off on a well surfaced trail along the main Rhine dike following the course of the river.
Knowing that we had a long weekend of biking ahead of us, we decided not to overdo it and turned back just a few kilometers before Speyer


Sunday 17 April: Dexheim to Weisenau and back
38 kms

Lazy Sunday, no real plans and lots to prepare for Monday morning. We didn't want to pass up the chance for a ride so we did a "there-and-back" to Weisenau. It's a nice ride, through the Vineyards between Nierstein and Nackenheim. There's the inevitable wait at the railway crossing, Murphy's Law.... there's always a train coming when we get there !
From there on the track follows the Rhine, in fact there's a trail that goes right along the river banks but we figured it was still a bit too muddy so we stayed on the paved trails through the fields on the other side of the B9 highway which runs parallel to the river.
It was quite windy and a bit overcast so we got to try out our new Windstopper jackets.
Arriving at Weisenau, we turned around and returned home using a slightly different route for a change.

Saturday 16 April: Dexheim to Gernsheim and back
54 kms

We got a late start, took our time over a freshly baked ciabata loaf for breakfast. The trip started down the hill to Nierstein, and then along the Rhine past the Oppenheim Sport Airport, and following the Rhine to the Gernsheim Ferry. There is a small kiosk there where we have stopped for a bratwurst and cold drink but surprisingly, it was closed..... still too early in the season. We had made ourselves ciabata rolls so we ate them and then headed back the way we had come.
We're getting pretty familiar with the Dexheim Hill..... sure it's a long haul but we know that we can handle it now.

Sunday 10 April: Nierstein-Heidenfahrt-Nierstein
77 kms

Last year we had ridden from Nackenheim to Mainz-Mombach and then later from Mombach to Heidenfahrt where there is an excellent restaurant right on the banks of the Rhine that makes a wonderful salad platter. We ambitiously planned to ride from Nierstein via Mainz and Mainz-Mombach to Heidenfahrt, eat lunch there and then ride back. We did concede to drive down the hill to to start the trip from Nierstein. This was going to be a pretty long ride so we decided to spare ourselves the long haul up the Dexheim hill on the way back!
We're getting to know the way to Mainz pretty well by now, it's a nice ride with paved trails all the way. Going from the center on out to Mombach is not so nice, the route is right through the industrial area and the bike track runs right beside a busy road. Luckily, being Sunday, there was hardly any traffic.
Leaving Mombach, we hit a badly rutted trail and had to be real careful not "run aground" with the long wheelbase of the tandem. We went a bit off course and found ourselves facing a stream that crossed our path. Luckily it wasn't too deep so we were able step across using rocks as stepping stones and carefully pushing the tandem through the water.
We reached the restaurant with no further mishaps. On such a beautiful day it was jam packed but we got lucky and some people left just as we arrived so we took their table. The salad was as excellent as we remembered it from last year with a delicious salad dressing. It's amazing how good a cold apple juice mixed with mineral water tastes after a long ride on a hot day!
We were only a few minutes away from where our friends Inge and Rolf live so on the off chance we gave them a call after we had finished our lunch.They were at home so we stopped by for a cup of coffee and a chat before hitting the road for home.
Needless to say we were pretty tired by the time we made it back to the parking lot by the Rhine in Nierstein where we had left the car. This turned out to be the longest trip we have made to date, 77 kilometers!



Saturday 9 April: Dexheim-Selztal - Alternate Roundtrip
34 kms

Since we had to do our weekly shopping trip today instead of Friday evening and in deference of the extra long trip planned for tomorrow, we went for a short ride from Dexheim along the Selztal Bike route. The full Selztal tour is quite long so we planned a shortened version which took us on a big loop back to Dexheim




Sunday 3 April: The "Flat tire tour" ! - Dexheim to Nonnenau
32 kms

After the long trip yesterday, we wanted to take a shorter, less strenuous trip. Looking through the Trip Log from last year, we saw that we had driven the bike down to Nierstein and ridden from there to the Kornsand ferry, which took us across the Rhine river where we rode a roundtrip to the Nonnenau peninsula.
We decided to do a repeat of that trip, but starting directly from Dexheim. To start with all was going well, warm weather, there were some detours because of ongoing construction but we had everything under control and were right on track when suddenly, bump bump bump..... flat tire ! ....and as if that wasn't enough, while trying to pump up the tire the pump broke.
so there we were, in the middle of nowhere, not a soul in sight and about 15 kilometers to get back to the ferry and humanity. There was no way we were going to walk and push the tandem all that way, so at a snail's pace we bumpity bumped our way slowly back until we reached the ferry. Once we got to the other side we chained the bike to the next lamppost and took a taxi home to get the car and drive down to pick up the tandem.
Lessons learnt..... new pump, new repair kit, and new Marathon Plus tires with a kautchuk lining which are supposed to be as puncture-proof as it gets.


Saturday 2 April: Dexheim to Mainz and back
54 kms

We had to wait for nearly a month until the weather allowed us a second ride. We decided to do the hill again and set off with no real destination in mind. After I noticed that my speedo was not working, we so we made up our minds that we would try to make it to Mainz to the Radgeber bike store and ask them to take a look at it. The weather was sunny and warm, already this early in the year and we made it to Mainz without any problems. Just after the Hilton Hotel, we ran smack into a Flea Market on the Rhine Boulevard. Riding through the crowds was no fun at all so we decided to cross the main road, earlier than we had planned. This turned out to be an excellent move and we were able to ride through a maze of side-streets with no traffic instead of riding (or pushing) up the B40, one of the main roads through Mainz.
We were pretty proud of ourselves as we pulled up at the Radgeber Workshop, in plenty of time before they closed! Of course we were pretty embarrassed when the mechanic told us that it was just the sensor on the bike spokes that had slipped out of place. The bike had been in for it's pre-season checkup just a few days before and it must have happened then. Oh well, you live and learn.... the main thing was we had had a nice trip to Mainz. 54 Kilometers was a bit more than we had intended so early in the season but we managed quite well and made it home in good shape, including the dreaded hill. As we had feared, it was quite an effort at the end of the trip but we arrived home weary, but triumphant that we had officially now mastered the hill.


Sunday 5 March: Dexheim-Nierstein and back
10 kms

To begin the the season we decided to make an attempt to ride the path down the hill to Nierstein and back. The ride down was no problem bur we had our doubts about the trip back up the hill.
In fact it turned out to be nowhere near as bad as we had thought, even for the first ride of the season, where we were still pretty unfit from the winter!
This is actually a major turning point for us.... up until now, we had always driven the bike down the hill so that we wouldn't have to ride back up it at the end of the day after a tiring ride, but we now know that it's not soooooo bad and from now on, can plan trips directly from Dexheim.

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