Bike tour Netherlands to Slovenia: begins!

October 11, 2023 · bicycle travel

The sun rises at 8 am this time of year, and I went out the door with it this morning. It was the start of a new adventure, a more extreme version of the short bike tour I did last year to Brussels. That’s right, I’m combining cycling and running, which happen to be the only things I do, by riding across the continent to a half marathon race in Slovenia.

That’s the goal anyway, I’m only on day 1 and this is my first time doing same day blog updates. No promises that I can keep it up!

In these posts I’m going to give a little overview and then share plenty of photo and video samples to impart an impression of what each day was like. The inspiration comes from the Slow Cycling series on GCN+, where author Jack Thurston asks former racers to slow down and enjoy the experience of touring.

Well, I've got places to be so I'm really going to have to gallop across several countries if I want to make the start on time, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy and share the journey!

Day 1

The day began on familiar roads as I quickly left the city and shot across flat farm landscape. In those first moments of the day the remains of the morning dew gives everything an extra sheen of softness. The grass looks like the plushest pillow imaginable; I couldn’t stare too long or I’d be tempted to dive in and take a nap. And the air shimmers with angled sunlight glancing through the falling leaves.

Quite quickly I left the flat country and entered Germany, spending most of the ride before Bonn skirting over the plateaus on empty farming roads with dips into the villages filling the valleys between hills. In one of those villages I had a snack at a bakery, ordering a sandwich and a pastry. German pastries are very different from French ones; they’re way larger and often drenched in sugar and toppings. I picked a raisin twist that was the size of my face, thankful that I can justify the calorie needs!

All of a sudden, about 90km in, I turned a corner and emerged right beside the massive Rhine. I knew I was going there, of course, but I had my GPS zoomed in to prevent missing a turn and it managed to surprise me. For the rest of the day I followed the river, retreading the route I rode last February. It was interesting to note some of the differences. First off, I’m going the other way this time. Second, the trees are still green and lush, unlike at the end of winter when their branches are completely bare.

Bonn, the capital of former West Germany, is famous for being the birthplace of Beethoven. But maybe nowadays it’s the capital of reading. I couldn’t find any free benches by the river (to finish my raisin roll) because they were all occupied by people with books in front of them!

Somewhat ironically, I ran out of water next to the second largest river on the continent. At this point I was only about 20km from the end and considered crawling the rest of the way, half pedaling and half coasting. Then I came across a row of restaurants and couldn’t resist the call of a cold Coke.

Strava link:


And unfortunately it’s at this point I find out that I can’t upload videos directly from my phone (has to do with Apple lagging years behind on iOS safari APIs, but my ranting about it being the new Internet Explorer would be a digression…). Instead I’ll only have screen captures to share but I hope you can appreciate them still!

Beautiful pillows of green
also green
Bakery Schneider, subsidiary of Bakery Arquebus
Bonn center, not pictured: another bird 💩incident
Don't forget Mr. Beethoven!
I mentioned readers, but there were also artists drawing the river
One of many ferries, this one had a long line of cars (bikes exempt from queuing!)
bike, river and castles, a Rhine classic
Town of Remagen
Also Remagen, isn't that cozy?
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