and she snapped a few pics

Training in the rain

In case you’re wondering why the blog has been quiet, I was away for a while. Then I had to sort through photos, get ready for new courses. All in all, life is busier now than when I was working. It’s also taken me a while to get my head around how I would write this post. We did a lot of research before we cycled the Romantic Road in Germany, and I wanted to bring something different.

There are lots of options to choose from. You can find lots of options for fully supported or partially supported bike tours of the Romantic Road. Most of these split it into two sections, north and south. Because we bought folding Dahon touring bikes, we were looking for fully independent cycling. Here are some links that might be helpful:

Both sites provide links to organized tours. The second one also provides a cycling map that you can download for your smart phone. The instructions are in German but fairly easy to figure out.

We also knew that we wanted to arrive in Munich for the start of Oktoberfest. That means even MORE planning. Book your flight early, and then find your accommodation. Be prepared for it to cost three times as much as off-peak. And in case you didn’t know … Oktoberfest starts in September and ends in October.

Learn some German. It will go a long way, especially if you want to travel independently. The Goethe Institut offers great classes, but so do many colleges, universities and even school boards. Practise what you’ll need to know.

Train, train and train on your bicycle. Once we’d decided how many days we were going to cycle, I wrote down the distance for each day on a blackboard in the kitchen. Every day I cycled the distance so that I would know how my legs were going to feel. Once I’d done it once, I started loading up the bike and doing it again. Train in the rain, train with the wind in your face or blowing you sideways. Find hills to climb and explore trails you’ve never ridden. You need to train not just physically but mentally too.

Decide what clothes you really need. We wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. There’s no point in bringing it, carrying it on your bike, if you’re not going to wear it. My clothing was dictated by the colour of my dirndl. Since it was black and pink, everything was going to have to match my black shoes. After a lot of cycling in the rain I learned that nothing will keep you dry if you’re cycling all day. So other than a cheap rain poncho, we brought none of our rain gear. Instead we relied on merino wool to keep us warm and dry quickly.  In case you’re interested here’s my packing list:

  • pink pashmina wrap (good for dressing up a plain outfit)2013-09-08 15.50.24
  • black/white reversible dressy top
  • red long sleeve merino wool top
  • tankini cycling top (with built-in bra)
  • three merino wool t-shirts
  • black merino racer back (doubled as PJs)
  • black racer back cotton top (with built-in bra)
  • grey skort
  • grey hoody jacket
  • two sports bras (one merino),
  • 4 pairs quicky dry undies
  • carabena clips (for pannier bags)
  • bungee cords (in case clips broke, but we didn’t need them)
  • merino wool sleeves (which doubled as leg warmers)
  • 3/4 sleeve quick dry top
  • black convertible cargo pants
  • dark grey pants which convert to capris
  • multi-colour silk wrap skirt (can wear it multiple ways)
  • 3 pairs cycling shorts (ended up wearing only one because it was longer)
  • flip flops, dress shoes
  • black compression socks (for the flight and doubled as socks with the dirndl
  • 3 pairs cycling socks
  • facecloth (you won’t find these in Germany!)
  • rain ponch
  • one pair of earrings, necklace for dirndl
  • bike helmet, bike gloves, bike mirror
  • large purse

electronics & other stuff:

  • DSLR camera
  • battery charger for camera
  • manual for camera
  • extra memory for camera
  • notebook, pen

All of the above fit in our carry on. We sent the carry on bags inside the suitcases to Fussen. We decided to only wear our Bavarian clothes once we were done cycling. So in my carryon was my Dirndl, blouse and a push-up bra. We had made arrangements with the Gasthof in Fussen to send our luggage ahead. We thought it would be like Canada and take a week for it to get there. We had researched the cost to leave them at the airport in Frankfurt. It would have been about 200 euros and would have meant unpacking and reassembling the bikes at the airport. This way we had a few days in Wurzburg to assemble the bikes and make any necessary repairs. It only cost 19 euros to send the two suitcases and they arrived the next day. The Gasthof did not charge us for storage.

The next post will deal with our actual trip.