It was the best of times, ... - Two Months of Rhine - CycleBlaze

June 25, 2022

It was the best of times, ...

and lovely!

What a fantastic biking day! We were in Colmar (thanks to you, Debbie!) and when I was planning the route, sticking to the Rhine, it would be a long day to Strasbourg (90 km) so I thought maybe a quicker route? So instead of getting back to the Rhine from Colmar, we chose a route that went straight north along some canals to Strasbourg. Wow! It was shaded, paved, and gorgeous!

We did start about 08:15, and it was 16 C, so the temp was lovely for biking. It was also shaded, as soon as we got out of Colmar.

about 8 out of the 72 km was on this packed gravel
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And quickly we were on paved cycle paths, and I had to get a photo of the corn fields. They are not in season now, but I suspect there is a big corn festival or something, because there actually were far more corn fields than grape fields.

paved path besides corn fields
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And then the trees started. The canals were stunning actually, and although the remaining photos are probably repetitious, we took many, many photos because....damn!

stunning views along the canals
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We saw practically no cars the whole day until Strasbourg, and very few bicycles. Now, the French are not known to get up early (avec quelque exceptions, Alain), so there were more bikes as the day progressed. But for the first several hours, just us and a  few dog walkers.

Then we came to the first barrier, the tree with multiple trunks was across the path (and I didn't have Bob's trusty saw), so we removed the panniers and lifted the bikes over. Thank goodness these aren't eBikes, they are heavy enough.

you shall not pass!
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oh yes we will!
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But then back to the repetitious, gorgeous canals. The entire way. Colmar to Strasbourg. Nothing. But. Canals. Wow!

we didn't get tired of the scenerey
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The had planted gum trees on both sides, about 10m apart. I have often thought that nature is wonderful, but some of the best views are a merger of human intervention and raw nature. This is a good example.

a little greenery
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We did come to another barrier (not pictured), with signs saying we had to take a detour. But the two Canucks would not be deterred, so we scraped by the signs, rode under the bridge still being constructed (Alain, the  French workers were still asleep), and continued on our way.

back on the other side, the view still perfect
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So we are only a few km from a city of 850,000 people, and look at this! In fact, we rode S to N though most of the city to our hotel, and had to navigate maybe 500m of roads. The rest were cycle paths, albeit not quite as pretty as this, but still!

getting into Strasbourg
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So why the Dickensian reference in the title? Because after a lovely day of riding, we went to the train station to buy a ticket for Monday's ride to Heidelberg. Yes, its in another country, but we are exactly 5 km from that country, so hey? Anyway, it cannot be done. After waiting 20 minutes on our number to be called, the lady spent about 10 minutes clicking away, finally she said "you should go to Kehl (the part of Strasbourg that is actually in Germany). They can do it there, I don't have the access". OK, so we get on a tram (good way to see the city), and after 1/2 hour are at the Kehl train station. We walk to it, and the ticket office is closed. It is 5:40 pm. Posted hours say they are open until 6:30. To put this in context, we had tried to buy these tickets in Colmar too, with similar result. We also have downloaded the apps from SNCF (French Railway), DB (German Railways), SBB (Swiss Railways), and have called on the phone German Railways twice for over 90 minutes of wait time. So we are a little annoyed.

Tomorrow, we may ride our bikes to Kehl and see if they have decided to be open. Give us good luck!

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Today's ride: 73 km (45 miles)
Total: 844 km (524 miles)

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Tricia GrahamThe only problem with that route is that there is not a single coffee stop along it
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1 year ago