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Follow along on our rides

I use an app on my smartphone called LocaToWeb which uploads our actual GPS ride in real time. If you send me an email I can even add your t...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Gear: Click Stand

One problem with a Bike Friday New World Tourist is it has a very small kick stand and it is very low to the ground, causing center of gravity problems when you have a loaded bike.

Enter the Click Stand -- a light weight, foldable external kick stand. It is make of aircraft grade aluminum and folds much like folding tent poles or folding canes.

Here it is at work...

I've been playing with in this week, in my limited training rides. So far, it has worked very well, although I don't have the bike fully loaded.

One thing you have to do is clamp the brakes so the bike doesn't roll (I actually usually do this while touring). There are a couple of elastic bands you slip over the handlebars and stretch them to cover the brake lever.  This is also a bit of an anti-theft device -- if somebody tries to ride off on the bike they won't be able to until they notice the bass over the brake levers.

The click stand has many options. Mine is 11mm tubing but there is an even lighter one made of 9.5mm tubing. You specify the total length and whether you want it too fold in 4, 5 or 6 segments (more segments equals shorter folded length but fatter. The whole thing weighs a few ounces.

I went with the 11mn (The "Maxi") and 5 segments. Here it is folded...

If your bike doesn't have a kick stand or you have problems when loaded, I highly recommend you check out their website and give them a try.

Why Rostock?

I've been asked that by a couple of people. It is not known as a beer city. In fact, the bulk of the ride is thru the former East Germany (DDR) and in German terms is a bit of a beer wasteland. At least compared to Bamberg and Oberfranken.

It's a bit convoluted but I don't pay (or get paid) by the word so here goes...

About 5-6 years ago I had a tooth pulled and a dental implant, well, implanted. I wasn't really happy with the high pressure sale the dentist did (since switched dentists) so I went online and did some searches. One site that came up was a dentist in Rostock that had a deal if you needed a mouthful of implants. It required you spend a lot of time in Rostock and so he had a description of the town (obviously in its best light). It sounded a bit like Bamberg, without the breweries.

I didn't need a mouthful of dental implants so I moved on.

Fast forward to last year, when I was trying to decide what bike tour to do in 2014. It is the year I turn 60 so I was looking for something interesting. I considered riding down the Rhine from Basel, or riding around Lake Constance and then down the German part of the Danube. Then I came across a mention of a Berlin to Copenhagen bike trail. Research  showed that you rode to Rostock and then took a ferry across the Baltic and then thru Denmark to Copenhagen. Perfect -- I could visit Berlin, which has vastly improved, Beer-wise since my last visit (or so I've been told) and I have been wanting to go back to Copenhagen. Plus, I get to see Rostock.

Then my youngest brother -- who in his youth was an avid cyclist, said he'd like to come. He also has a Bike Friday New World Tourist (but with an 8-speed rear hub) and while he had some some long distance rides (like RAGBRAI) they were all fully supported and he had never done any kind of self supported tour. He also has never been to Bamberg in the summer time, only a few trips in the fall.

We were all set when the real world intruded. He has a real "day job" -- unlike me who is a lazy freelancer -- and also three kids (the youngest just graduated from Hight School). It ended up that he just didn't have the time to go all the way to Copenhagen. So we added a few days on the front end (Jena to Leipzig to Berlin) and decided to stop at Rostock.

So that is why the tour ends in Rostock. Oh, and there was a fare sale on Delta earlier this year so I managed to get a really cheap ticket to Copenhagen in September. so I will get to do that part, sans bicycle.

And one final irony -- last week I started having problems with the crown on the implant. I went to my new dentist and she said it will have to be replaced when I get back. Unless I can find that Rostock dentist.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Google Earth Videos of our Planned Route

Using Google Earth and QuickTime Player I was able to make "flyover" videos of our planned route. I think this is way cool. I'm keeping (higher rez) version on my laptop to watch each day before we ride...

Day 1 Bamberg to Lichtenfels

If you are wondering about Licthenfels to Jena -- that is courtesy of Deutsche Bahn.

Day 2 Jena to Naumburg

Day 3 Naumburg to Leipzig

Day 4 Leipzig to Bad Schmiedeberg

Day 5 Bad Schmiedeberg to Jüterbog

Day 6 Jüterbog to Berlin

This will be Sunday July 13. I am told there is a sporting event in Rio that people may be watching. We'll do a rest day there and play tourist.

Day 7 Berlin to Oranienburg

Day 8 Oranienburg to Fürstenberg

Day 9 Fürstenberg to Waren

Day 10 Waren to Krakow am See

Day 11 Krakow am See to Rostock

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Housekeeping Note

Back when I started this blog people had smaller monitors on their computers. So in making today's posts I decide to widen the format as most people have decent sized monitors these days. It doesn't really matter, except I went back and enlarged all the pictures going back to the 2012 Dunkirk to Vienna bike trip. So they are a bit easier to view.

Bike Trip Coming Up

In July three of us are going to ride from Bamberg to Rostock (on the Baltic coast). Well, almost. We are going to cheat at take the train from Licthenfels to Jena -- which is over the the big hills.

Originally the plan was to ride from Leipzig to Berlin to Copenhagen (with a ferry over the Baltic) but one of the group was time limited so we decided to stop at Rostock but add a couple of days on the front. Plus that gives us a bit more time in Bamberg, never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, my Bike Friday had a major frame failure. It is covered under the the lifetime warranty, but because they have a big backlog and are shorthanded the bike has been gone for a month. Add in travel before that and I am not in shape at all. So this may be a painful ride.

Below are the panned routes for the days. These aren't exact, but are approximations. For the Jena to Leipzig part I actually don't have any bike maps, so this is a bit of gamble. I am hoping we can pick up something when we get there.

Day 1

Bamberg to Lichtenfels (then train to Jena)

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

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Day 8

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Day 8

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Day 9

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Day 10

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Day 11

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