In den Schwarzwald ↑ all posts

In den Schwarzwald

I was up and in Strasbourg in time for first orders at the bike shop. It turned out that there was a nasty kink in the gear cable that was the cause of my problems, and that short of carrying spare cables and housing there wasn’t much I could have done to fix it myself. I was slightly concerned that this is the result of my expertly fitted handlebar bag (a camera bag, attached with string and cable ties) pushing outwards on the cable. I made some adjustments by adding another couple of cable ties, and got out of town.

Ten miles east of Strasbourg you start to reach the foothills of the Schwarzwald, and I began to appreciate having the luxury of low gears again. I passed through huge cherry orchards, and past fields of strawberries, dotted with workers picking them under little suntents.

I was in Germnay now and I quickly learnt that their idea of a cycle path can be anything from ‘guaranteed paved highway’ to ‘you should be grateful you have a cycle path at all, stop complaining’. I turned onto one of the latter variety, and within a few minutes had a puncture from the sharp gravel they had used to cover up the thick mud. I turned around and carefully worked my way back to the main road.

Although it looked like a major road on the map, the route from Oberkirch to Freudenstadt was surprisingly quiet, and made for really enjoyable cycling up the gentle gradient of the river valley. At Bad Pieterstal however things took a turn for the steep. For the next 6km the road wound upwards at 10-12%, huge switchbacks through the dark pine trees. This was by far the most difficult and sustained climb so far, and I was pretty pleased with the long and fast downhill section into Freudenstadt.