Muenzenberg Bruchenbruecken-Muenzenberg
Nidda-Nidder RMV 9
Worms-Frankfurt Birthday Ride
3 Counties Tour Spessart Crucifixion/Resurrection
Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop Nieder-Erlenbach RTF
Trekking: Vogelsberg/Rhön
July/August Sept/Oct
Traverse de France Two days in the Vogelsberg

The last weekend in January, we've just had a couple of weeks of Arctic temperatures and snow - so I've been using my son's mountain-bike a lot. The snow has gone, so I decide to do a nice ride that I did last autumn: A jaunt to the ruins of the castle at Münzenberg. Alongside the River Nidda - which only 2 weeks previously had been frozen over - to Assenheim, and then with the "Rhine-Main-Pleasure 2" theme route (mostly farm roads/tracks in excellent condition), up to and round the mighty castle before heading back down to Friedberg to take the train back towards home.

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Having discovered a useful train connection I've moved my "starting point" for rides recently. A 5-mile ride to the station, hop on for 15 mins and I'm out in the Wetterau. In Bruchenbrücken to be precise. Now there's a name to conjure with. I wanted to cycle to Munzenberg again, this time from the opposite direction as there's a nice gentle 2-3 km hill up to the castle. Time to start getting the legs used to those long climbs! I added a little loop at the beginning to "recce" the local routes. I think I'm going to permanently move my starting point for when I ride out here.

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Another start from Bruchenbrücken. This time along the Nidda to the eponymous town (puncture stop, thank God it's started to warm up a bit on this crisp Sunday morning) and then over the steep hills into the valley of the River Nidder. First stop of the year at Cafe Frech in Ortenberg! Then along the Vulkan cycleway for 30 km or so before the long haul time up the hill back into Frankfurt. Slowly getting used to those hills again! By the way, the last 6 km on the map/profile are actually the first 6 km to the train station.

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I noticed signs for this new route from the local rail/bus company while out cycling by the River Main recently so I sent them an e-mail and they sent me a whole pack of free maps for their routes. Didn't prompt me to use the train this time mind! The start is only 20 km from home and flat most of the way. The RMV9 route mostly follows paths along little rivers and through woods to the pretty little town of Seligenstadt, then through more woods back to the start. This was a nice 100 km ride with sunshine and snow, and lots of wind on the last 30 km along the River Main. That should help get me fit for the re-branded version of our local "Everyman Race" on May 1 - my first target for the year.

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Early March and spring seemed to be making a tentative arrival - but my new bike, a Koga Miyata Word Traveller, had made a full-blown arrival. So what else was there for me to but start "riding in" the leather saddle and seeing what this little beauty can do? As you can probably see from the photo, it's basically a mountain bike made for travelling, and it weighs in at around 15 kilos (30-odd pounds, or around 2 stones in old money). I'd spent a few days riding without any panniers and was impressed with the stability. So at the first sign of sunnier weather I decided to show her the Rhine. Across the flat plains of Hesse's "Reed" region to the Rhine crossing at Nierstein, then down through the towns on the west side of the Rhine to Worms. I managed to find the town's only "Bed&Bike" hotel (they always have a secure lock-up for bikes) right away despite night having already fallen. Now that was a stroke of luck. A decent meal, a good night's kip and a hearty breakfast had me all set up for the return journey over the hills of the Odenwald. And what a hill I picked! Didn't know it would be so long and steep - not a minor consideration with 12 kilos of luggage "on board". A worthwhile climb with the "pass" covered in snow! Unfortunately the built-in battery in my camera was dead - it would have made a great photo. I must say that the new bike copes admirably well with every kind of surface - a real treat to ride.

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30th March - my fiftieth birthday. And what better way to spend it than going for a long ride. And especially in view of the fact that spring has arrived in full force today. I am initially tempted to get the road racer out, but then I thought it would be more fitting to show the Koga the Vogelsberg. Appropriate really as she was an early birthday present from my wife. And pedalling that extra weight is also good training! Little did I know that I'd be pedalling that extra weight into a head wind for 60 kilometres or so. Time for some "dental training" - grit my teeth and pedal! After about an hour the early morning cloud has lifted and the sun is out in all its glory. By the time I arrive at my favourite cafe for a well-deserved coffee, cake and ciggie it's 24 degrees Celsius, and if it weren't for the fact that I'll be heading into the woods soon I'd be worrying that I haven't applied the first sun cream of the year! The woods are full of spring flowers, the streams are fairly bubbling along (all that melting snow), and just before I reach the highest point of the ride I have to stop and push - through 300 metres of snow that hasn't melted yet (see photo). And then it's downhill all the way to the Kinzig valley and alongside the river with a bit of a tail wind towards home. I decided to take the train for the last 40 km as otherwise I would have been late for my birthday dinner.

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The weekend before Easter, the various members of the family are away for a few days and so it's time for the mouse to play ... Out comes the Koga Miyata and off I go on the "3 Laender" cycle-way. This route takes in 3 German states: Hesse, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria (the "3 Counties Tour" seems a more appropriate title than the "3 States Tour" given the plethora of new states that has appeared in Europe in recent years). I took the train out of Frankfurt at the start, saving me a flat 40 km ride as I knew I had to get over the "Radheim Alps" to join this circular route at Hoechst in the Odenwald.
While crossing the Radheim Alps the integrated compass on the bike's bell again comes in very handy - I soon realize that it isn't Jack Sparrow's compass but that some locals have in fact twisted the signpost around by 90 degrees, thus sending me off on a short circular detour! Once over these hills, it is all pleasant going alongside the pretty River Muemling until shortly after Erbach. Suddenly the path is mostly gravel-packed tracks through woods and is very hilly indeed. Well if it don't kill me, it can only make me stronger (and hungrier and thirstier ...). About now two things go through my mind: 1. An alternative to all these "world tours" people do. Being more of a fan of Europe, why not cycle to all the European Olympic cities (summer + winter)? 2. On a more pressing note. I've forgotten to pack my trousers! Buggered if I'm going to get to my bed & breakfast, have a shower then put my sweaty cycling shorts back on again. Trousers Grommit! Luckily I do manage to buy some in Hirschhorn.




Houses next to
the River Muemling


Himbaechl Viaduct
On the first day I specifically missed out a few of the so-called tourist highlights such as Michelstadt as I had been there once before. When out on my bike I prefer to ride rather than stop and take lots of photos, look for the perfect shot etc. And a camera is not really the ideal tool for capturing the complete atmosphere of cycling through beautiful countryside. Likewise it's almost impossible to photograph just how steep a hill is, what it means to make it to the top, or how exhilarating it is to cycle down steep tracks such as the one into Hirschhorn (it was almost a "single trail", real mountain biking, but with 12 kilos of assorted luggage in this case!). Hirschhorn on the River Neckar is very pretty, the most southerly town in the state of Hesse, but my thoughts are more on the nearest bakery, a well-deserved alc-free beer and a cigarette at last. Then it's up the hill to the next village and my guest-house for the night, a revitalising shower, a hearty meal and a good night's sleep after all those steep climbs.

More "touristy" photos of places along the route can be found using Google Earth and Panoramio.
To view Panoramio photos you require Google Earth. To ensure you can always see Panoramio photos,
activate the Panoramio button under "Geographic Web" in the "Layers" panel.

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Day Two starts with that most vital part of a day's cycling - a bloody good breakfast! You've got to hand it to these country folk, they know how to look after their guests. You always seem to get treated much better once you leave the beaten track. By nine o'clock I'm on the road and heading towards the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Mercifully no sign of any tired muscles after yesterday's efforts. It's a beautiful morning with lots of mist on the densely wooded hills as I ride back down into Hirschhorn and along the cycle-way next to the River Neckar. All very flat (as you'd expect!), which is just as well given the fact that it is mostly forest paths and farm tracks. After about 40 km I pass the site of Neckarelz concentration camp. It's in a residential area (and was at "that" time)! I make a mental note to read up on it when I get home. Dark thoughts accompany me for a while. Fortunately I soon recall the words of my grandfather (who spent six long years as a very young man fighting for the Allies and saw more things than he could care to remember, including many acts of barbarism by the allied troops): "There are good bastards and bad bastards on both sides!" While it often seems to be human nature to forget quickly rather than forgive easily, the world would be a better place if it we all forgave quickly while making sure we don't forget. Anyways, that's enough amateur philosophy, let's get back to the cycling ...
I soon arrive in Mosbach, a beautiful town, but being Saturday and a packed market day there is no chance of getting in any decent photos of the wonderful half-timbered buildings. I settle for a refuel instead: Delicious apple strudel and coffee. And then comes the bit I've really been looking forward to - the Odenwald Wanderbahn cycle-way, a disused narrow-gauge railway line/track (very little asphalt unfortunately) that gently climbs about 300 metres in height over 20 kilometres to the little town of Mudau. Once there I take a break at a pub for some French fries and a refreshing alc-free beer, it's 35 degrees in the sun after all. I get into a conversation with the landlord, and when I tell him where I'm heading he informs me that the road down to the valley of the River Main has recently been re-asphalted. This would mean leaving my intended route. But what the hell, being able to change horses in midstream is what travelling on your own is all about. After all the rough tracks in the past day and half it will make a pleasant change. The road is a beauty. 7 metres wide - so not much danger is likely to be posed by overtaking cars - and virgin asphalt that has just been waiting for me! The ten-kilometre downhill descent is a dream with relatively gentle corners. Later I saw I'd managed a top speed of 65 kmh here. So now I'm into the third state of this tour, Bavaria. I decide to skip the next "tourist trap", Miltenberg, as I've been there a few times before. I follow the cycle-way along the River Main, stopping to take a few photos and enjoy an ice-cream in Obernburg. Now the pressing question. Where shall I stay tonight? In theory I could make it home to my own bed by nightfall, but I've slept in that a few times before too. Departing from my intended route again, I decide to head over the River Main into the Spessart region. They have hills there too - in fact they have very little else. I reach a village after a steep climb and soon find a place for the night. Very comfy - and cheap. A double room with shower, TV, 2 alc-free beers, a pack of cigarettes, a great breakfast the next morning and tons of food to take for the day cost a mere 32 euros!

Church that was once
a city gate

Castle silhouetted
in the morning mist

Castle set on a
hill above the Neckar

The River Mud
(strange to English ears)

Impressive church

Woerth am Main
City gate

Woerth am Main
Impressive bit of

Obernburg am Main
"Alms Tower"

Day Three. After the fortifying breakfast I decide to head to a nearby Bicycle Museum in Heimbuchenthal. Closed for renovations alas. The route I'm taking now follows the pretty River Elsava, with little wooden bridges connecting people's houses to the village streets. As I climb the hills it's easy to see why the Spessart region is known as "highwayman country", it seems to be entirely made up of dark valleys and steep hills, and it's very sparsely populated. Every village seems to have a pub called the "Woodpecker's Arms" (should be the "Woodpecker's Wings" I suppose, but it wouldn't have the same ring about it in English). It's easy to hear why. I even spot of couple of them pecking away at trees, and I even see the odd heron or two. The people also seem to be a pious lot here. The Catholic influence is very clear to see. Almost every house has a recess in the wall accommodating a statue of the Madonna or a crucifixion scene. The number of wayside shrines is also mind-boggling. I've seen lots of these on my travels through Franconia and the Rhoen area. But here there seem to be almost as many of these shrines as houses. On a slightly blasphemous aside: A bit of the tour took in the Odenwald Madonna Route, which set me thinking and humming: “Like a virgin - Ridden for the very first time”.
A stop for coffee ("fuelling cyclists for generations") and a thick lashing of sun cream is called for when I reach Sailauf. You can tell it's a Sunday, the cyclists are out in force. Methinks it best to head into the hills again and get away from them all. Funny that. None to be seen once it starts getting hilly. Conscious of the fact that I have to get home at some point I head towards Seligenstadt where I can take the ferry over the River Main and back into the state of Hesse. The ferry is packed, as is Seligenstadt. Time for the first iced coffee of the year and then get away from all these people, and more specifically the cluttered cycle paths. This is where all those winter rides prove their worth (was it really only eight weeks ago that I was riding through the snow here?). I know the routes without having to consult a map, and don't have to contend with the masses wobbling along on two wheels.

Postscript: A great little tour. I'd recommend it to anyone who can cope with the hills. The state of the cycle-ways/tracks (pretty rough in parts) has confirmed that I did the right thing in getting a trekking bike for such tours. And it is only fair that I publicly thank my good wife for presenting me with such a wonderful birthday gift.
What would I do again? 1. Always seek out little villages if staying in bed and breakfast places - so much cheaper than towns and cities. 2. Always take my daughter's cheaper digital camera. It might not take such good photos, but it's nearly half a kilo lighter and does the job just as well at the end of the day.
What would I do differently? 1. Carefully lay out all my gear before packing it and then tick things off the list as they go into the panniers! 2. Take a careful passing glance at signposts to see if the hinges look broken/bent - I was lucky my bell has an integrated compass and was very sure of my intended direction of travel. As it was it merely cost me a 5 km detour with one repeated hill. Under other circumstances it could have been a very long and arduous detour. 3. Stop humming "Like a virgin"!

Easter, Good Friday to boot, so what could be more apposite for a Christian (which, much less appropriately, is my surname) than a little crucifixion in the Spessart? Off into the beautiful countryside with 5 others on racing bikes, all starting with a 20-minute train ride out of town from Frankfurt East station. Perhaps the most dilapidated station you'll ever see. If you knew no better, you'd think it was closed down. That was the only photo I took all day - too busy trying to keep up with the fitter, younger blokes on the hills. And too busy enjoying the views when things flattened out (those trees coming into glorious blossom!). It's hot to boot, average temperature of 25 degrees. So after some 70 km we take a break for some refreshment at a pub. It's amazing how regenerating a couple of alc-free "Hefeweizen" - a yeasty beer brewed with wheat, the best isotonic drink ever - can prove to be. Just as well as the highest point of the day comes next. We pass a couple in their forties on ordinary bikes heading up the hill. Best not to say "Good day". I know from personal experience there's nothing more dispiriting than having someone seemingly whizz past you going uphill, only to find they still have the breath to let out more than a groan. I mentally tip my helmet to them instead. My legs are crucifying me, but we are soon rewarded with an expansive panorama of the Kinzig Valley as we glide down through Waldrode towards home territory. Up over a hill - which mercifully now seems relatively small - and the familiar sight of Ronneburg Castle looms into view. Only two last hills to rub vinegar into the wounds. Let's just hope there'll be a resurrection ...

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Same train, different route,
same gorgeous countryside and hills

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What was "Rund um den Henninger Turm" - a one-day "classic" race on the Pro tour traditionally held on May 1 - has now been "rebranded" as the Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop following the loss of its sponsor. Like most professional races in Germany it also has an "Everyman" race. This year I was going to do the hilly course, but decided at the last minute to opt for the flat course instead. A wise move as with a couple of thousand entrants the tempo is always high and I'd have got left behind on the hilly course and never been able to get in with a decent group of riders. Fighting the hills and wind is something I can do on my own any time. This day is all about enjoyment and a fast time. And fast it was for me. With a time of 2 hours 16 mins for 74 km my average speed was just under 33 km/h. Never been faster over such a distance before.

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Sunday, 2 days after the big race. Legs itching to go again. Friday was actually Labor Day (why is it called Labor Day when everyone gets the day off?), but as it was more about fun for me, I decided today would be more about hard work. Get some more climbs under my belt in preparation for the summer. And there was no shortage of them today. Up and down like a bride's nightie. Mercifully there were 4 checkpoints on the route all waiting with lots of apples, bananas, muesli bars and drinks. And I'd taken the precaution of reserving a piece of cake back at the starting point of the event - just as well 'cos all the cake had gone by the time I made it back there. Gave me just the energy I needed for the 15 km ride home.

Trekking for three days in the hills
of the Vogelsberg and the Rhön

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Day 1: Frankfurt-Schlitz
The time had come to test my new tent and panniers on the trekking bike, and so one Friday morning I headed off into the hills of the Vogelsberg and the Rhön with a fully-laden bike. I'd spent the previous day (a very rainy public holiday) weighing all my gear and getting rid of any unnecessary ballast. Although this allowed me to reduce the total weight of the bike and equipment by a couple of kilos, the end result was still a good 33 kilos. Can I manage about 120 km of cycling every day plus camping/decamping/cooking? The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Today involves no navigation, riding almost exclusively on dedicated cycle-paths I already know - meaning I can concentrate on getting the feel of pedalling and steering such a weight.
An 8 o'clock start and the weather soon turns overcast - I'm glad I didn't jettison my windstopper when lowering the overall weight! Surprisingly it's pretty easy going despite the weight, and after an hour I arrive at the "Wartbaum", literally a watchtree (as opposed to a watchtower) and take a break for a few photos. Over a country road to the Vulkan Cycleway, and then it's lovely asphalt on a disused railway track for another 80 km or so. I make my customary stop in Ortenberg for refreshments (coffein doping and a cigarette) before passing Lißberg with the striking keep of its 13th century castle, and starting the long incline up to Hartmannshain - the highest point on this tour. Just before the top, I encounter a few drops of rain, not even worth bothering with a rain jacket. As luck would have it, this was the only rain I would encounter over the 3 days. Once at the top it's time for doping at the pub (coffee, banana and a fag) before heading downhill towards Lauterbach. It's fast going - one of the corners even has a big safety net to catch cyclists who go too fast and crash. Every couple of kilometres there are clear signs that this was once a rail track - the old railway buildings (still brandishing the names of the halt), with many of them now turned into pubs and cafes. Having cycled this path once before I'm ready to apply the brakes and stop to take a photo when Eisenbach Castle suddenly appears from between the trees. It really reminds me of Colditz. Lauterbach itself is really pretty, and as I'm making good time I decide to stop for more coffee and a bit of cake - and also slap on some sun cream in view of the fact the clouds have now totally disappeared. Another 20 km of pedalling and I arrive in Schlitz at my campsite for the night. And what a glorious campsite it is - with free entry into the heated outdoor swimming pool. Up goes the tent and it's time for a couple of lengths and a warm shower. Schlitz itself is a medieval jewel and I spend most of the evening riding round the outskirts of the town and wandering the cobbled alleyways with their half-timbered buildings.

The Wartbaum

Wooden soldiers
at the Wartbaum


Ilbeshausen -
Old railway building

Eisenbach Castle


Lauterbach -
River Lauter

Schlitz - Hinterturm

Day 2: Schlitz-Heringen
I wake early after a great night's sleep to find the campsite shrouded in mist - which mercifully is chased away as soon as the sun pokes its head out over the surrounding hills. And then comes a horrible moment: My Trangia, a meths stove, refuses to work for the first time ever in 15 years. I need my early-morning coffee, so I head off into the town to get a couple of cups - and manage to transport them on the luggage rack without spilling a drop. The day's cycling starts with a pleasant ride alongside the River Fulda to the town of the same name. The city fathers of this bastion of Catholicism seem to have decided that the good Lord will guide cyclists through the town. Not much use to a non-believer like myself. I need signposts. As a result I end up taking a major detour and climbing a very steep hill into the - admittedly pretty - suburbs. I am rewarded, however, with a beautiful vista over the Rhön. Time now for another dedicated cylcle path on a disused railway track: The Milseburg Cycle Path. 27 km long with lovely asphalt and a 1 km tunnel at the top of the incline. Really something special. The next stop is Tann, another little jewel of a town. Shortly after Tann comes the border with Thuringia. 20 years ago I would have been confronted by the Iron Curtain. No sign of it now. You can tell you're entering a slightly different world though: No use of the stiff and "polite" form of address when people talk with you, this was the "state of the workers and peasants" after all, and everyone was supposedly equal. I like this linguistic aspect, it's down-to-earth. The cycleway along the River Ulster is badly signposted though (no cash for that here) and at one point it's suddenly of an extremely poor quality, nothing but loose gravel. A glance at the map tells me why. I'm actually cycling on what was the border, this is the "death strip". Nearby is an old watchtower and museum, "Point Alpha", but I'll have to visit this and learn more about the history of the "East-West border" another time as it is still 40 km or so to my campsite for the night. The countryside here is dominated by the chimneys of old brickworks and a number of artificial mountains created with the waste salt from potash mining. "Kali" is the German word for potash, hence the nickname "Kalimanjaro" for Monte Kali, the largest of these veritable mountains (its highest point is 550 metres above sea level, and it's growing every day). After pitching the tent for the night and cooking myself some grub (the stove worked immediately!), despite the day's ride of some 120 km, I can't resist cycling up a very big, steep hill nearby. Again I am rewarded by a great view: The sun slowly setting behind this awesome salt mountain. Not quite Ayers Rock, but still an incredibly fascinating sight.

Fulda Cathedral

View over the Rhön
near Fulda

Tann - City Gate

Tann -
Evangelical Church

Tann -
11 Apostles House

Schleid - Chimney of
former brickworks

River Werra seen from
the Werra Bridge

View in the other
direction from the
Werra Bridge

Day 3: Heringen-Fulda
The day starts with the same nasty surprise as yesterday: The stove refuses to work. Then it dawns on me. I'd diluted the meths slightly before filling the special transport container. This is supposed to stop the flame being so sooty. I place the burner element in the sun for 10 minutes to warm the fuel and ensure it vaporizes more quickly. This does the trick. Bugger diluting the fuel for a game of soldiers. I can live with soot, but not without my morning coffee. Everything is packed and I'm on the road by 9 o'clock. Only 90 km of cycling today. After a few kilometres I head due west and have to negotiate a long and steep climb - but what great views. After an hour or so I arrive in the town of Bad Hersfeld. Time for some serious coffein doping and a thick lashing of sun cream before hitting the road again. And then comes the shock as I start to head south for the last 60 km of the tour: A very stiff headwind. Cycling into a headwind has never been my favourite pastime, and today is no exception. Not much point complaining though. Head down and pedal is the only remedy. The cycle path more or less follows the course of the River Fulda, which is flanked by woods and pretty meadows, and dotted with the odd village or two. After a couple of hours I decide to make a short detour into Schlitz to top up with coffee and buy a few postcards. At the cafe I realise just how hot the sun is once I'm out of the wind. I resolve not to curse the wind as it's probably rescuing me from seriously overheating. I'd actually cycled the route taken by my final 20 km yesterday morning so I knew what was in store for me: More than just one steep little climb as I head for my destination: Fulda Railway station and the train back to Frankfurt. Along the way I'm also prepared for a medieval watchtower near Lüdermünd, maintaining a silent vigil in the middle of a field. This time I apply the brakes in time for a photo stop. The wind is still unrelenting though, and I feel a sense of relief when I spy the spires of Fulda Cathedral in the distance. Just the climb up the hill to the train station and then I'll be able to put my legs up for an hour and a half on the train back to Frankfurt and a rendezvous with a refreshing and well-deserved beer ....

Cornflowers -
Fulda Cycle Path

near Lüdermünd

Traverse de France
(see separate page for rambling diary and pictures)

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With November just around the corner and having done very little cycling in recent weeks, it was time for an autumnal 2-day tour to the town of Ulrichstein, the highest town in the state, nestled in the hills of the Vogelsberg 600 metres above sea level.
Day One saw me following the R4 cycle-way, alongside the River Nidda from Frankfurt up to the reservoir near Schotten, a track I've ridden several times before, before tackling the hills to Ulrichstein. The first surprise of the day was the fact that an early section of the cycle track is temporarily closed (renaturation of the river), the second one came soon after: A really rough section of the track has been resurfaced, and it looks like more still is going to be refurbished. This is very good news as this is one of my favourite tracks in the winter months. The route up to Schotten itself is very gentle with only one steep climb - up to the reservoir itself. Thereafter, however, the going is very steep (and the track is not always asphalted). Not only is it steep - it rollercoasters. Up the hill, then back down, then up even further, etc. You get the idea. Always a little bit disheartening seeing those hard-earned metres disappear, in the full knowledge that that you'll have to reclimb them. Even more disheartening was the sight of a kid (he can't have been more than 6 years old) cycling away from me as I struggled up one of the hills. OK, he only cycled for about 500 metres and he had no panniers or any real weight under his backside, but it made me realize how quickly I'd got out of condition since crossing France in the summer. By late afternoon I'd arrived in Ulrichstein and having checked into my guest-house for the night and showered, I had time to take a look at the ruins of the medieval castle before it got dark. A very impressive place it is too with mighty trees and amazing views over the surrounding countryside. A sombre place as well, as it also houses a cemetery - from the Second World War. Most of the people buried here seem to be aged 19. Made me thank my lucky stars that I've never had to experience the horrors of war.
The next day I headed up higher into the hills, mostly through woodland and along mountain bike trails in search of the source of the River Nidda. Not a soul to be seen or heard for the first hour. Absolute bliss. I soon manage to find the source of the Nidda. Not that impressive, nothing more than a trickle of water - but then that was to be expected. From here I cycle on to the Hoherodskopf, the highest point of the tour, before heading towards Hartmannshain, where I join the Vulkanradweg for a fast downhill ride through the woods (the cycle-way is asphalted!) to Ortenberg and my favourite cafe for a well-deserved cuppa and piece of cake before tackling the final 50 km back home.

Tree in the grounds
of the Schlossberg

Ulrichstein - Schlossberg
seen from the south-east

Ulrichstein - ruins of
medieval castle
on the Schlossberg

The source of
the River Nidda