“Tag der Arbeit”, May 1 - a crazy day to ride a bike in Germany - The Bartletts Bike the Baltics - CycleBlaze

May 1, 2019

“Tag der Arbeit”, May 1 - a crazy day to ride a bike in Germany

Well, it’s the 1st of May in Germany, known as “Tag der Arbeit”,  and what a strange and interesting ride it has been today.

We have seen hundreds of cyclists in huge groups on every trail and road we have ridden on. People of all ages and abilities and some people who probably shouldn’t be on a bike, judging by their level of inebriation. 

We saw groups of families with a barbecue on board and  their wee ones in trailers and the youngsters on their own bikes, young people with huge carts filled to overflowing with crates of beer and music blaring from a ghetto box, seniors who looked like this was their first time on a bike in a long time as well as a processions of motorized scooters. It was truly a festive day and we take our hats off to Germans who truly “seize the day” when they have a holiday mid week.

This collage shows the father, fully loaded with a barbq, charcoal and a trailer of food. His family are shown as well. He shared with us that he had ridden and camped across Canada, loved it, but feared the bears.
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These young girls were a delight. They truly got the spirit of the day and were selling felt decorations.
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An intersection in the forest becomes a scene for a small festival - one of many.
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This farmdog was so excited by the possibilities of affection and food dropped on the ground. Its tail never stopped wagging and the dog couldn’t stop moving.
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If you can’t beat them, join them.
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Curry wurst and a wee beer each.
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As the day wore on, we took more caution when approaching cyclists as some of them were pretty wobbly, weaving their own path. It seemed necessary for some cyclists to have the talent of riding with one hand  as the other hand’s task was to hold a bottle of beer.

The day is winding down and this group were pretty wild and out of it. We watched with horror as they stepped out in traffic, oblivious to the cars.
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We enjoyed interacting with and chatting  with many of the people we saw, but it was the young crowds with wagons full of crates of beer that we gave a wide berth to as the day wore on.

A more mellow approach to the day.
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All day, as we rode on the beautiful trails through the rural countryside, we could see cyclists in every direction and, at most corners, crowds congregated to share beer and have a gathering of some sort.

Red brick farmhouses with red clay roofs dot the landscape. This is quite different than other areas of Germany that we are familiar with.
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We took refuge in a Konditorei and had a delicious cake with a meringue topping.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesThis almost qualifies as a torte, but whatever it is it sure looks yummy.
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6 months ago
Half timbered barns are well preserved.
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Some people told us that it is tradition for all to come out on their bikes, even if they don’t ride often, to celebrate May 1st and the onset of spring. In this vein, many also decorated their bikes with branches with flowers. 

Truly it is a day we won’t forget.

Leaving Muenster  was, like any good experience, bittersweet. For us it has been a special place. There is much that tourists would enjoy  and Munster offers much, but for some reason, it is a well kept secret. That also makes it a unique place to visit.

We have had a wonderful time staying at this small hotel just south of Munster. Klaus, the owner, is a genial and generous host. We found a bottle of schnapps on our bike as a farewell present when we went down in the morning to pack up our bike. Danke Klaus!
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This is a view of part of the immense parking area for bikes at the train station in Munster.
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Crossing the river on our way out of Munster.
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The countryside, different architecture and colour of the barns and houses as well as interesting villages made for a good ride today.

Typical architecture for this region,
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Today we often saw self pick fields of flowers. The tulips are beautiful.
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 As we left Muenster, we encountered a young man heading out for a few days of touring. We continued to see him throughout the day, and when we reached the hotel in Gutersloh, he also arrived. It was like a conference of cyclists in the parking garage with  9 of us checking in at the same time. There was a couple from Belgium who are riding to Berlin,  a group of 4 men from Holland who are also riding the R1 route, us and the young man from Munster. We have been on our own since beginning our tour in Wesel and now that we are following the R1, it was a bit of a shock to suddenly see others who are out there doing the same thing. The primary topic of conversation was not about what we are all doing, but Trying to understand what we had seen today....and what is May 1 all about?

Today's ride: 65 km (40 miles)
Total: 537 km (333 miles)

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