Day 4 - Altmühl and Taubertal Radwegs - CycleBlaze

August 30, 2019

Day 4

Herrieden to Weikersheim

I just realized that this is actually only the third day of cycling. I’m only getting four days of biking out of this. No wonder I’m not sick of it yet. 

Today is the day I had to be to my accommodations by 7pm. The lady I reserved the room with was quite clear about that. With that in mind, I opted to get up at 8am again. I woke up around 7:50 and checked my phone to see what time it was. I was expecting to see the line saying how soon my alarm would go off, but it wasn’t there. So I checked my alarm app. Oops. Forgot to set the alarm. Fortunately I was awake at the right time. 

Herr Maicher puts out a fantastic breakfast. Tons of bread and rolls, cheese, cream cheese type spread, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from his Gewächshaus (green house), fresh fruit, two kinds of juice, cereal, yogurt, tea, and probably a bunch of things I’m forgetting. He was very clear that it was all for me and that I should eat all of it. Periodically he’d pop into the breakfast room to chat. We covered a lot of ground, importance of eating healthy foods like garden vegetables, how there is a Liegerad (recumbent bike) store roughly 10km away in Ansbach (didn’t have enough time to go there), how nice it is to be retired because he used to spend too much time working, the weather, how unhealthy air conditioning is and how it messed up his son’s nose and gave him nose bleeds from riding in his car all day with the A/C on, and a lot of things I’ve since forgotten. Then he tried to get me to eat even more food. By the time I finished eating every last thing possible, it was 10am. So much for leaving by 9am....

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From Herrieden it was off in the direction of Leutershausen. City gate, a fairly worthless restroom in a room attached to the city gate (no sink, only urinals - hope you didn’t need more than that). While I was refreshing myself, a city worker came but with his big blower cleaning the sidewalks and blew leaves and dirt all over my bike. I walked out while he was mid process. “Oh sorry” he said as he went on his merry way leaving me to clean up my bike and myself. 

They were very proud of their heavily advertised and very sparse Pissoir
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Leutershausen city gate
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Kathy ParkeI love all the window boxes full of flowers that they have ... I wonder who waters all of those!
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Then there was basically nothing more to see aside from fields and some trees. I got off the route at one point because I had a shortcut I was taking to cut off the corner near Colmburg. I wondered why the castle kept getting bigger. I finally checked my phone and discovered I’d missed a turn. Even with gps giving directions I sometimes get mixed up. The track on the gps device is “purple” and easy to miss. There was no shortcut back to my shortcut and I wasn’t far enough along the official route to warrant continuing so I backtracked. My intended route, ironically, passed through the teeny town of Bieg which forms part of the German word abbiegen which means “turn” (if you missed the irony, I missed the turn to get to the town Bieg.  Alles klar?) Despite the missed turn, it was a rather peaceful ride. Very quiet. No traffic. 

Burg Colmberg. These are the moments that justify bringing a larger zoom lens.
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Quiet and peaceful
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Shortly after Bieg I acquired a travel buddy on his E-bike. He’s on his way partly along the Taubertal, same as me, with his eventual goal being to ride along the Main River to Bamberg and Bayreuth. He was also passing through Rothenburg today so we rode along together for awhile. We were on a bumpy stretch when I heard a “platsch”. My travel buddy stopped to pick up whatever had made the sound so I slowed down and finally pulled over thinking I’d grab a drink of water while I was waiting for him to catch me up. Except my water pouch was missing. Turns out it had rattled loose and gone flying. Had he not been tagging along I’d be without a water pouch for the rest of the trip. I would never have found it, even if I’d decided to go back. I lost him again briefly when we reached the big climb before Rothenburg, big meaning long and 9-11% grades. I waited for him at the top. Remember how he was riding an E-Bike?  He was walking it up the hill. Not kidding. Some E-Bikes only give power proportional to what you put out. I’m guessing that’s what he had, or his battery is running low.  Either way, I’d like to point out that I DO NOT have an E-Bike. I have a recumbent, a bike known for being agonizing to ride up hill. I rode up the whole hill. In one go. 

It was my plan to move fairy quickly through Rothenburg since I’ve been there two or three times before, and stayed two days the last time. I took a few pictures, ate some ice cream, popped in a few places for a brief visit, and was back on the path around 2pm having now done 25 miles of the route plus a 2 mile detour. That left me with roughly 23 miles to go. 

Rödertor in Rothenburg
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Rathaus
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Also Rathaus
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Plönlein Haus. All tourists photograph this Haus. I’m not sure why, but I took a picture anyway
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Rothenburg sits up on a huge bluff overlooking the Tauber valley. The ride down from Rothenburg is very steep and very fast. I felt bad for the couple walking their bikes up the hill to Rothenburg. I stopped on the bridge for a couple more pictures. The bridge has been rebuilt a couple times, but always in the original design of two decks of arches. It is paved in cobblestones and an agonizing thing to ride over. Very authentic though. 

Rothenburg o. d. Tauber
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The bridge
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There are very few towns of note along the Tauber Valley. I passed one castle, but it is privately owned so best I could do was sneak a picture through the gate. The first somewhat notable town the Radweg passes through is Creglingen. In order to reach creglingen, I had to ride up several steepish hills. The worst was a 9-10% grade. There may have been one that was even worse, but I’ve since forgotten how many and how steep they were. The human mind is remarkable in its ability to block out painful memories. I was, however, able to thoroughly enjoy the lovely scenery as I ground up all those hills at 3mph or so. 

There is some sort of palace thing in Creglingen that I rode all over town trying to get to. It turned out it was up a hill and I never did find a good viewing point.  There are also two little houses on top of the city wall that apparently were watch towers people lived in. I was also searching for a public restroom. Turns out one is in the bottom level of the tower closest to the river. They also advertise that groups of 2-6 people can stay overnight in the tower house, which could be appealing werethere more than one of me and I didn’t already have accommodations for the night. I have been in Creglingen before as well. I have two lasting memories of it: my German class went to some little chapel in the countryside not far away that had a wooden carved alter by Tillman Riemenschneider that supposedly is a big deal, and my friends in my travel group threw my travel teddy bear out the youth hostel window. Tragic. 

Romschlösschen
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Lindleinturm
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The other turm with public restroom and accommodations
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The hills calmed down after Creglingen and, in fact, the path was more downhill than anything the rest of the way. I made a quick detour through the town of Röttingen that has a partly rebuilt castle and a couple towers from the former fortifications. Then it was back to the peaceful countryside the rest of the way to Weikersheim. 

Fachwerk Haus in Röttingen
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One of the Cory gates in Röttingen
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View from one of the many hills I had to ride up
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You will recall that I was racing the clock today. I was concerned I’d never make it given how much I stop for pictures, pastries, and ice cream. I arrived at 6:15pm. Plenty of time to spare. Regrettably the big castle complex closes at 6pm so no wandering the gardens in the evening. Lame. They open again at 9am so I’ll have to go over there in the morning. I have 42 miles on tap for tomorrow and they are not flat. I need to catch a train back to Frankfurt and I’d rather not arrive too late because Sunday I have to get a new bike box at the airport and then pack poor Benny back up and hope Condor does better getting him to the US than they did getting him to Germany. 

Across the street from my hotel in Weikersheim
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Decorated Main Street for the procession in Weikersheim
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The town band
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The mayor and family in the coach
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Weikersheim palace
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The Rathaus
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Tauberphilharmonie
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This evening there was a parade of sorts that involved the town band marching down the street with the Lord Mayor and family following in a carriage. The lady at the hotel didn’t fill me in on what the occasion was so I have not the slightest idea why they were doing this. The town band is fine by town band standards. The irony is, a short walk across the Tauber River takes you to their massive new concert hall where the Tauber Philharmonic performs along with whatever guests they bring into town. I wandered over to check it out but didn’t stay long because a group of kids were hanging out there listening to loud rap music. The castle grounds also seem to be full of kids. The castle is definitely not being used now as it was in the time it was built. Part of that just seems sacrilegious. Plus, they get to wander the castle grounds right now and I do not. I’m mildly bitter. 

Tomorrow is the last day and we’ll see how quickly I can ride to Wertheim. I have a 5pm train I’d prefer to make. 

Today's ride: 50 miles (80 km)
Total: 149 miles (240 km)

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Steve Miller/GrampiesEbikes in Europe are all, by law, limited to pedal assist. Throttle bikes require special licences and are generally not much favoured. It is the Americans that seem to feel an ebike is a mini scooter, while in europe the ebike is a normal extension of a bicycle that gives you a bit of amplification of your own effeort.
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3 years ago
Ben ParkeTo Steve Miller/GrampiesInteresting. As a side note, the gentleman at the hotel desk in N├╝rnberg said a new law was passed allowing mopeds on bike paths. Hopefully that does not lead to more throttle assist bike usage and also to a lot of mopeds on bike paths. I did have a couple mopeds pass going the opposite way today. I found it noisy and a distraction from the otherwise very nice scenery.
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3 years ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Ben ParkeYes, the fly in the ointment for wonderful Netherlands is that they allow scooters on the bike paths. Those things really boot it, as you say, are noisy, and seriously dangerous. The next most dangerous things are young men on ultralight bikes racing along paths that also support pedestrians and doddery old folks on bikes, like us!
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3 years ago
Ben ParkeI guess at least you can hear scooters coming. Those race bikes sneak up on you and, whoosh. The doddery ones are fine as long as they keep a reasonably straight line as I poke past.
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3 years ago