FORUM – Daniel Kromm is medical student, blogger – and a passionate bicycle rider. The 24-year old works as a personal and parkour trainer and lives without a car. “I own several old bikes since I like to refurbish them”, Dani says. Racing bikes are his favourites and he likes to go on extended tours. His parents live 160 kilometres from Erlangen, where he goes to university, and he often takes the bike instead of the train. For the Ethletic forum, the cycle trip expert give some beginners’ advice on how to love vacationing in the saddle … especially in late summer and fall!
How it all began
The first bike was invented in 1817, back then it was more like a walking bike for children.
On the other hand the plane was born with the legendary flight of Otto Lilienthal in 1891.
Meanwhile a lot of things changed. A life without bikes became unimaginable for most of us. More than 80% of the households have a bike and each german has in average 1,8 bikes at home. Unfortunately a lot evolved in the flight industry as well. Flying isn’t only accessible to the military and the super rich.
That’s why last year 80 million people took off from Germany. Sadly that’s a new record.
But we start to realise that it doesn’t make sense to travel around the world if we don’t know our own country. We are familiar with all oceans and seas around the globe, but we can’t name the rivers we live next to. Besides that, you have to sit for hours at the airport, afterwards in the plane and finally you have to wait a long time to get your luggage, again.
Often the first day is wasted due to the hustle and bustle of the people and the overpriced fast food.
Is this my perfect vacation?
No. And that’s the reason why I often take my bike and ride into the nature, like more and more Germans do. It’s so easy to relax on kilometer long roads through the woods. Besides that, you do something good for your body, your soul and the environment as well. But where is the charm in such a tour? How do you prepare properly and is this for everyone?
How do I plan a bike tour?
First of all you have to decide how long you want to be on the road and where you want to sleep. Most travellers prefer their tent but it’s also an option to stay at a hostel or hotel.
Afterwards it’s time to pack a light tent, a sleeping bag, a mattress, a camping cooker and some food.
Be careful and take as less equipment with you as you can, because you have to carry every gram with you.
Another tip is to put as much weight as possible on your bike, so you ease the weight from your shoulders.
Let’s go! But where?
When riding the bike the most important thing is not the destination, but the journey towards it. That’s the reason why you should spend some time researching for a beautiful landscape which is worth to discover. You can ask your friends for some tips. Often the most important advices come from people who have already been there. Of course you can look online for some bike tours in your surrounding areas as well.
Ecosia will be happy to help you. Another option is to use a Bike App which are most of the time for free or you can take a look at a bike navigationssystem. If you choose to stay in hostel or hotels remember to keep an eye out for some on your way.
Finally it’s time to ride!
It’s up to you whether your tour starts directly from your house or you have to take the bus or the train first. You are now finally on your path and you are driving towards the sun. But where exactly is the charm in this? Why do more and more people go on bike tours? Well, I tried to explain this from my point of view:
When you are on the road with a bike, you are riding 20 km/h which is not too fast and not too slow to get bored. Meanwhile you have plenty of time to enjoy the landscape and it’s beauty.
You see the flowers bloom, the birds doing circles in the sky and the rabbits hiding in the fields. It’s the smell of the blossoms in your nose, while you feel the sun on your skin and the wind on your hair. You ask people for the right direction and end up bying self grown cucumbers from their farm.
New dishes meant to be tried and you will see the stars like you have never seen before in your city. It is the morning dew on your feet when you brush your teeth at sunrise and the chirping at night, that motivates me to get out again. These are the moments that make it all worth, when you leave the daily struggle at home and all the electronics for making experiences you have never thought of.
You get closer to nature and you strengthen your decision to protect this wonder, by living a sustainable lifestyle. In addition to all of that it’s also very satisfying to look at your covered distance at the end of the day and knowing you did it on your own without any exhaust.
You and a bike tour?
I think a bike tour is for everyone, at least if you don’t fall over on two wheels. You can choose and regulate the difficulty on your tour.
There is no limited time until you have to be somewhere, there is nobody who commands when you are allowed to take a break and when not and no one is there who is telling you which hill you have to bike up and which one you can walk.
Obviously there is no need to start your biking tour with a 30-day trip through Europe. Even if tents aren’t something you are into you can start with hostels. So there isn’t really any situation where you shouldn’t try it. You won’t regret!
It isn’t only good for your soul and your body but it’s also something good you do to nature by taking the bike and not the plane.
Enjoy! All the best,
Photos: Daniel Kromm
Editor: Annika Langhagel