It’s supposed to begin with training, except that didn’t happen for me. I’ve done nothing, zippo, nein! What was I thinking? I used to ride a thousand miles in preparation for one of these trips, and I was a lot younger then. It’s a good thing it’s flat. It’s a good thing that Jeff’s been training. Mostly, it’s a good thing we’re on a tandem. I know I’ll be able to keep up with him!
It looks like we’re bringing a lot — 4 suitcases and 2 -carry-ons– but it’s actually quite minimalist. Most of it is bike, trailer and tools. Everything else easily fits in a single suitcase. You’ll notice that we’ll be wearing the same clothes in all our pictures. It’s all we’ve got! High tech clothing and a commitment to daily hand washing is the only thing that gets us by
We landed in Frankfurt, bleary eyed, and took a short 20 minute train ride to Mainz, which will be our starting and ending location. Mainz isn’t a big tourist attraction, although it does have the Gutenberg Museum. We’re staying in a nice hotel, across from the train station, in a somewhat gritty section of town. Having left Holland 10 months ago, it all feels very familiar. We look forward to getting into the daily routine of cycling.
It was a rough start. The bike didn’t go together happily, Jeff was sick as a dog from his chemo a couple days ago, and getting out of Mainz was no fun. It’s noisy, congested and industrial; perhaps not our best choice of launching cities. We made it 40K to Bingen, a dumpy town on the Rhine, with a castle and not much else. Our decision to go for the cheap room has made us vow to give up on that cost containment strategy. Jeff had to be rescued from his shower when the automatic lights left him in a pitch black bathroom with scalding water.
The next section of the Rhine, from Bingen to Koblenz is reputed to be some of the finest cycling in Germany.