Velotour 2018: From Switzerland to Denmark

Yes, I did it! 1‘089 km / 677 mi with my bicycle and my trailer in seven and a half days! Over mountains and along rivers. With a total climb of 8’678 m / 28’471 ft. This was kind of a “training” for my huge tour next year and I am very glad, that I finished it as planned and with not too much butt stress.

Day 1

First day from Lucerne to Villingen-Schwenningen with half a dozen extremely steep climbs (1’864 metres / 6’116 feet). But the time used is okay, at least with 151 km / 94 mi I have reached my daily goal. Now I still have 1’004 km / 623 mi ahead of me. The destination for tomorrow is Bruchsal, a little bit north of Karlsruhe. There will be some hard climbs waiting for me again, but - at least theoretically - “only” 1’260 m / 4’134 ft altitude difference. And that’s just the foothills of the Black Forest!

Day 2

Second day from Villingen-Schwenningen to Bad Schönborn. A bit further than I had planned yesterday. Did I mention that the Black Forest is quite hilly? Today it was 1’790 m / 5’872 ft of altitude difference on 156 km / 97 mi in less than 7 hours. That went quite well today. Many avenues with fruit trees, I don’t need dinner anymore! Now I have “only” 834 km / 518 mi left to go. Hey, km are three digits now! Tomorrow there are again about 150 km / 93 mi on the plan, this time to Bad Nauheim. Now I have to wash my clothes quickly and then enjoy a nice “Radler” in the sunset…

Day 3

Third day from Bad Schönborn to Bad Nauheim. About six hours of continuous rain. I’ve replanned at short notice and drove more asphalt instead of forest roads. So it was only a rain ride instead of a mud battle. Therefore also 4 km / 2.5 mi shorter than originally planned. With the current total distance of approx. 460 km I am still above the daily target of 150 km. For tomorrow rain is announced again, starting from Wednesday the weather should become better. I let myself be surprised and not stopped by the little bit of water. The destination for tomorrow is Brilon, a little south of Paderborn. After the rain I went to a wellness hotel today. I’m about to go to the sauna, a massage and then a delicious dinner. Still 684 km / 425 mi…

Day 4

Fourth day from Bad Nauheim to Brelon. The hardest day so far. With 156 km / 97 mi one of the longest and almost continuous uphill. Mountains over mountains. Not as high as the Swiss Alps, but many of them! My legs like lead and my tongue gets stuck in the back of the trailer all the time. Oh yes, the trailer! If I want to go uphill at the front, it wants to go downhill at the back. I could persuade him with a lot of effort to follow me. Another day with a few smaller mountains, then I’ll come into flatter terrain…

Day 5

Fifth day from Brelon to Stolzenau. The mountains come to an end today. That motivates me. And day five of eight means half time over. With these thoughts I torture myself one ascent after the other. Then the descents begin. It gets noticeably flatter and the fat man, his bike and trailer become faster! Almost 160 km / 100 mi in one day – my Garmin wants to talk me into four days of rest when I arrive! Such a pussy! Especially now, when it’s getting really flat!

Day 6

Sixth day from Stolzenau to Stade. A quite short stage of only a little more than 140 km / 87 mi. It’s nearing the end of my journey and I don’t feel like jerking my bike and trailer through Hamburg, so I decided to ride to Stade at the Elbe. The way there was a cyclist’s dream. There were only climbs at bridges over railway lines and nothing hindered the view. The houses changed noticeably, red brick predominated and more and more thatched roofs. At the Weser I take the ferry. I’m the only one, costs me only € 1.50 / $ 1.70. That’s about 150 meters / 500 ft without cycling. I feel like a cheater! But I’m really powering and after six and a half hours I arrive at the Elbe! A smell of home! Only two stages left…

Day 7

Seventh day from Stade to Husum. The day started in beautiful sunshine but then it got cloudy very rapidly and rained for about two hours. But that was quickly forgotten, because the sun came out again and it was a wonderful ride. Today I made the 1”000th km / 621st mi on this trip! There were also two ferry trips in one day: In the morning with the Elbe ferry from Wischhafen in Lower Saxony to Glückstadt in Schleswig-Holstein and in the afternoon the ferry over the Kiel Canal near Burg. But I saved the trip through Hamburg. Actually a good day – but unfortunately a first defect occurred: One of the two springs in my seat post is broken! Before I start the last leg tomorrow, I have to go to the mechanic and have the spring replaced. Of course I don’t have exactly this spare part with me! This has to be on my list for the big tour next year. Fortunately there are only about 50 km / 30 mi to the Danish border tomorrow, I should be able to do that despite the repair time!

Day 8

Eighth day from Husum to Padborg. I have been cycling from bike shop to bike shop in Husum for a long time. Nobody has a spare spring for my seat post! Should it fail at such a stupid thing so shortly before the finish? Only about 50 km / 30 mi left and I’ve done it! I don’t accept a defeat, so I bought a new seat post in the third bike shop, adapted the saddle and the trailer mount and tackled the last 50 km / 30 mi! Now I want to know it, take hardly a break and therefore only a few photos. The lost time has to be made up again. At 1:40 pm I reached the border to Denmark! 1‘089.39 km / 676.92 mi in seven and a half days. As a reward I had a delicious Danish hot dog and then I cycled on to Schleswig without any pressure (no longer in tracking). With headwind. But instead of demotivating me he spurred me on. I wanted to know it again on the last day, even if this leg is no longer part of the tour, and with an average of 31.8 km/h / 19.8 mph I flew the 45 km / 28 mi from Padborg to Schleswig. Now I am looking forward to the wellness area in the hotel and then the next days to many old friends. I will also give the body some rest. Apropos recovery: Garmin gives way. He only suggests a 59 hour break, that’s more than that. How does he come up with these numbers? Tomorrow I will saddle up again and make a few visits…

Finish

Well, that was an amazing week! I have been riding 1’089 km / 677 mi with my bicycle and my trailer. It took me 55 hours, 43 minutes and 25 seconds (including all breaks), this corresponds to an average speed of 20.5 km/h / 12.7 mph. I climbed 8’678 m / 28’471 ft and burned 31’498 calories. Now I’m looking forward to my huge tour next year – I can’t wait to get back on tour again!

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