Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Preamble - Preparations and initial Itinerary

Only 36 days till I put the bike and bags on the plane and head off to Berlin. The packing list is created, the bags mostly packed and the bike is clean, lubricated, and ready to go. This weekend I break it down and pack it into the bike box for safe transport.

This isn't the first time I've been to Berlin but more on that trip in a later post.

The goal is to only take what I think I'll use, because there is nothing worse than getting to the end of a ride and realizing you've been pushing around stuff you haven't looked at throughout the trip. 

Unlike previous trips where coins were counted, this is going to be credit card travel. Not that I plan on being extravagant, but I don't plan on roughing it unless in the mood. 

There will be camping because it may be more convenient at times, but no cooking. I have no patience for food preparation and I'm going to Europe, as much to eat the local food as anything else. 

The electronics includes a Nexus 7, a Garmin 800 GPS, a Sony RX-100 Camera and a solar charger to keep the Garmin grinding out those directions. I'll have paper maps, but I hope to use the downloaded OCM (Open Cycling Maps) on the Garmin GPS for turn by turn directions. My navigation skills are pretty good, but I'm not opposed to getting lost from time to time.

I'd be naive to think it won't rain a significant part of the time so special attention was paid to rain gear.

The initial plan is to meet John in Berlin on Thursday, August 1st and putter around for 6 days, when I head off, alone, for points west to Wolfsburg...or via a detour to Dessau to see the Bauhaus museum. John is a good friend from London, who is an expert traveler with vast experience but without Berlin on his list, till now.

My plan is to re-visit Wolfsburg where as a 14 year old kid on a Eur-rail pass, I got to see VW Rabbits being assembled. Then on to the Ruhr valley where extensive bike trails take one through Germany's industrial past. Some of the venues have been preserved and turned into parks and music venues. After the Ruhr, then on to Wuppertal where there still exists a monorail which I first became aware of in the film Farenheight 451. Years after first seeing it, I learned that the system built in 1901 was still in use moving commuters around.

From Wuppertal to the Rhine and then to Switzerland (and to the Cern museum in Geneva where they tell me the tours are fully booked, but I'm persistent and I'll be on a bicycle. Maybe luck will be with me.)  Switzerland to France and I drop into Nice to meet Linda on or around September 12.

The route over the Alps is a bit vague at this point. Apparently there are some hills. I'm hoping the ADFC office in Berlin will help me with routing. ADFC is the German bicycling club. They're used to crazy people doing long distance rides and have lists of approved accommodations all along the major bike routes in Germany.

It's clear from this post that I'm also going to need to figure out a wireless keyboard. There is no way I could type this much on the Nexus 7 glass. I will be receiving e-mail along the way; at least this is the plan.