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Day 2 - Offenburg to Speyer

Day 2 - Offenburg to Speyer

Today was difficult. First up my green luggage strap broke, the one I used to secure my bag along the length of the bike. I spent 30mins before I started coming up with a reliable workaround.

Mat Hollingsworth
Mat Hollingsworth

5 min read

Today was difficult. First up my green luggage strap broke, the one I used to secure my bag along the length of the bike. I spent 30mins before I started coming up with a reliable workaround.

I battled hot, dry, headwinds for most of the 8.5-hour ride. Long sections of the trail were on loose gravel. The sun was relentless and the path had minimal shade.

New luggage strapping method

Ended up not using the vertical strap, but secured the front to the end of the rack just near the rear brake.

Offenburg to Kehl then Rastatt

My route getting from Offenburg to the Kehl , on the Rhine, had some mistakes in it so I had to improvise, which involved carrying my loaded bike on my shoulder up a flight of stairs beside a highway overpass. I eventually made it to the Rhine. The landscape south of Karlsruhe along the Rhine is generally pretty unremarkable; it's flat and industrial with only the occasional factory dividing the horizon.   I also had a strong headwind for much of this section. Fortunately another couple was headed my way so I was able to catch a tow for some of it.

Rastatt to Karlsruhe

This section was far more interesting, though by now it was getting quite warm. On of the biggest challenges is the heat combined with the wind. The path has almost no shade, and very few places to buy or refill water. I passed a sign just before Illingen promising food and cold drinks, so I detoured down to the boat club only to discover that it didn't open for another 3 hours. I continued on Au Am Rhein by which time I was out of water. I stopped at a sports ground and unsuccessfully searched for water. Eventually I found 'Andi's Anglerhutte' and bought 2 x 700ml bottles of water for €6, such a rip off but I'd have paid double that in that moment. While Drinking my water a group of about 200 senior citizens road past.

Au Am Rhein to Wörth

Karlsruhe is a super industrial city with factories, quarries and steel mills everywhere. I arrived in Karlsruhe feeling pretty good considering, I was 105km in to the day and had about 45km to Speyer. At the Rhine there was a train station, so decision time, bail out and get the train or push on? I was pretty tired and sore but I decided to push on.  I had to cross the Rhine here, which involved pushing my bike up 2 steep flights of stairs over a loch and then down two on the other side. Once I arrived in Wörth I was out of water again so I stopped at a servo to but water and a sandwich.

Wörth to Speyer

Some of this section was quite pretty but I was hurting pretty bad from about 30km until my destination. I was moving at a snail's pace. Everytime I built up momentum a gust of wind would knock me back, eventually, I just settled into a slow and steady pace. Every at 5 pm it was still hot and windy, I poured about 2 litres of water over myself during the last hour and each time it would dry within 10mins.  The around Sonderheim the path deteriorated badly. They were doing construction so rather than the paved path I had been on I was now battling loose sand, sharp rocks and potholes. Fortunately, this only lasted about 4km but I seriously consider bailing at this point.   Finally, I made it past Gemersheim where I started to get a second wind. Arriving in Mechterheim I noticed everyone was quite festive. There were street stalls setting up and German flags everywhere. Arriving in Speyer I realised that Germany was in the world cup final as the suburban homes erupted with shouting, horns and bells and Germany scored its goal.