If cycling in SE Asia, New Zealand and Australia became our “way of life in retirement”, then cycling in Germany has become our “vacation.” What a dream to cycle in a country where cycling is the norm…where the bicycle lanes outnumber the highways (at least it feels like it)….where the cars yield to the cyclists….where the number of safe and scenic cycling routes into town is more than I can count…where the bicycle parking places are plentiful and convenient…where men in suits and women in high heels use their Ortleib touring bags for their briefcases.
We’ve gone from being the minority and standing out like a sore thumb as middle-aged foreigners on bicycles, to being part of the majority and not even close to the age of many of the cyclists we’ve seen.
For the past two days we’ve commuted into town via bicycle from our airport hotel. Merging on to Cycle Route 4 felt like entering a freeway for bicycles. We’ve cycled to appointments, done some shopping, grabbed a sandwich, sat at a fountain, listened to accordion music and soaked up the summer vibe along with thousands of other cyclists.
I might even go so far as to say we actually blend in. As a matter of fact, a handful of people have struck up conversations with us in German. It could be Eric’s grey hair or my sturdy build or cute Byron Bay skirt but I prefer to think it’s the bikes.
Making the cycling experience even better is the long, sunny 15 hour days, cold pilsners, crisp white wines, grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut, brown bread, tasty cheese, and apfelkuchen with coffee.
I know we’re going to have a lot of fun enjoying this cycling “holiday.”