A slighter later alarm this morning (all of 15 minutes, so it wasn’t exactly a lie in) and we were packed up and on the road for 06:45.
I like setting off early, especially when navigating out of a city as there aren’t many people or cars around, so if I go down the wrong side of the pavement (which has been known), it doesn’t really matter.
Today’s route sees me join the EuroVelo 15. EuroVelo is an amazing network of seventeen long distance cycling routes connecting and uniting the whole European continent. In total, the routes stretch for 19,000km but today I’ll just be covering about 100km of it. EuroVelo 15 hugs the River Rhine all the way down to Koblenz, my next stop.
Once I managed to find the route and head south out of the city, it’s a great days riding. The path is a mixture of tarmac, some lumps and bumps, and some cobbles. The former is my favourite, for obvious reasons, but I’m just glad to be vehicle-free again.
25 miles and accompanied by “Marathon Talk” podcast, I reach Bonn by 09:00 for my second breakfast. Today’s second breakfast of choice is a banana and white chocolate Cliff bar. The weather is much more pleasant for cycling today – a lot cooler and cloudier. I’m just hoping to make it to Koblenz without facing a thunderstorm (it’s forecast but let’s just hope they’ve got that wrong).
At times this morning, I see myself zooming along at 15mph, which for me, on this trip, is unheard of. It’s a much happier day than Thursday and easy to navigate: as long as I have the river on my left, I can’t go wrong.
The EuroVelo slowly gets busier throughout the morning. My favourite game to play (not only on this trip, but in life) is to make up a life story about people I see. It provides me with hours of entertainment as there are plenty of cyclists and runners about. “Triathlon Tim” as I named him, inadvertently got himself into a race with me (he didn’t know this, obviously) but it was a classic case of the Hare and the Tortoise when this fit, young man came zooming past me, only for me to tootle past him later on when he was queuing for an ice cream. See ya later, sucker!
There were times this morning that I really did have to pinch myself; I was ticking along nicely, the scenery was so stunning, and it was just a joy to be on my bike. A couple of times I past groups of children on their bikes, all loaded up with various bits of kit. They were either adventurous families or school groups all making use of the EuroVelo system. It was great, as when passing them they all shouted “Hallo!”
I stopped for a coffee in a town called Bad Breisig, seventeen miles north of my destination. It was lovely just sat on the banks of the river. A friendly German couple asked if I could take their photo and we got chatting about my trip. They were rather stunned when I told them I had come from the UK and I was hoping to make it to Vienna!
After a leisurely stop, the great ride continued until about 10 miles outside of Koblenz. My GPX then decided to route me away from the river and through some busy (and ugly) towns. Such a shame, as up until then, the riding had been excellent. It was very stop-start and annoying going from pavement to road and back again.
The weather was also perfect for riding today – it was still hot but nowhere near as the 36 degrees we had over the past few days. And with that, by 2pm, I rolled into my Airbnb. Nowhere near as spacious as my first one in Tilburg, but it will do the job for one night.
After I showered, I headed off into Koblenz, mainly in search of a laundrette. Obviously, it was all in German and my very limited vocabulary was being a bit stretched here. Thankfully, Mergim, a friendly Luxembourger, could see I was a confused tourist and asked if he could help. Luckily, Mergim could speak six languages, so we chatted away and before long I had fresh kit ready to go. That will feel so much better in the morning.
Today felt a lot better after my “rest” (read: golden goose hunt around Cologne) day. I don’t have another now until I reach Nuremberg on Thursday, so let’s hope the next few days cycling are as good as this one…
306 miles down…694 miles to go