Saturday, June 28, 2014

City Night Line and Inter-City

City Night Line: why is "die Deutsche Bahn" making it hard to book a bicycle ticket?

The 25th of June, after I've written a post about booking a ticket, I've noticed a small problem in the booking process. All of the Inter-City trains for the next day were already booked full. I could've traveled without a bike but taking it with me was the point of it all. After looking at every possible connection I could have taken, I've found the following website.

Site of CNL regarding transportation of a bike or tandem

Translated: "Bicycles are carried free of charge, but you have to have an international bicycle ticket."

FREE but you have to buy a ticket from us.

The text refers to a 'Bahnschalter' (ticket counter). You have to buy a ticket at the ticket counter (costs a fee!), which also implies that you have to reserve this ticket within Germany. A tourist who stays for 2 weeks has to make a reservation for this service. When it is booked full, he/she has to find another way to travel long distances. The only option that comes to mind would be to rent a car.  

Edit: just found a long distance CNL reservation option {click this}. Call the number to reserve a spot on the train weeks beforehand. Booking on the internet is impossible at the moment though.

"0180 6 99 66 33 (20 ct/Call for German landline calls, Calls from other networks and mobiles may cost more)."

So basically you'd have to make a reservation per phone.

Now I'll show you everything you'd have to watch out for.

searching train in Germany with possibility of carrying a bike

I have marked the link to Angebotsberatung. They have hidden it a bit. A direct link can be found here: You can find ticket at half the price.

If you have looked up a connection, it is possible to check the box at "Fahrradmitnahme im Zug". Let's look for a connection.

City Night Line connection from München-Amsterdam centraal

Here you see the Sparangebote and the Normalpreis. Let's book the ticket by clicking "Verfügbarkeit prüfen".

Ohne anmeldung buchen weiter

After this step, it should've initiated the financial part. Instead, it showed me this:

Hinweis Bahn Bicycle Ticket Train Error Internet Booking

So this page is telling me that I can buy this without a bicycle ticket.

The website is saying the following:


Sehr gehrte Kundin, sehr geehrter Kunde,

leider ist für diese Fahrtmöglichkeit eine Buchung der Fahrradkarte im Internet nicht möglich. Sie können ihr Ticket jedoch ohne Fahrradkarte jetzt buchen.

"* Info on how to contact them *"

Im Internet können Sie Fahrradkarten unter den folgenden Voraussetzungen buchen:

Ihre ausgewählte Fahrt
- enthält ausschließlich Züge, die die Fahrradmitnahme erlauben,
- enthält einen Fernverkehrsanteil,
- enthält keinen Nachtreisezug,
- enthält ausschließlich innerdeutsche Strecken,
- beginnt frühestens einen Tag nach dem Buchungstag"

Making sense of the Bahn train search tool

I'd have to ask one silly question at first: Why did I check the box that asks me if I want to take my bike with me?

On the internet, checking a box that is telling me that I agree with something, mostly has huge effects, as it is making me agree with 5 papers of dense judicial jargon. On the Bahn website, it has no other function than to filter out the ICE and Thalys. Anyway, the page is telling me that I cannot book a CNL-ticket or international tickets online. That doesn't only mean that I can't book a direct connection from Germany to the Nederlands over the internet. It also means that booking a bicycle ticket over the internet for a German night train is impossible as well. My question to the Deutsche Bahn is the following: why isn't there a possibility of booking tickets for international - and night trains over the internet? It would make things a lot easier for tourists.

I was actually quite frustrated by this all, decided to take my train to Köln, and then to Mönchengladbach without buying a bicycle ticket.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Departure: tomorrow at 6:22

I have done the things I needed to do today, such as packing the little things I carry and booking my ticket. I am fully equiped and ready to take the train to Belgium. My train will depart tomorrow at 6:22 from Regensburg to Mönchengladbach. From Mönchengladbach, I'll cross the Dutch border with another ticket, as I cannot book my ticket in one go due to differing policies of Germany and the Netherlands regarding the transportation of a bike (I've tried to book it but it failed).

I will keep you guys up to date.

Cheers mates. 

Edit: everything went different as planned

Fixed it! Mended my bike, repaired my gear change and bought essential equipment

The day of departure is coming closer and I presume that I have acquired all the essential equipment. I've bought a decent bicycle pump, repair-kit and a good lock.

Yesterday, a friend and I have fixed my back-wheel, as 2 different spots on the tube were punctured. Afterwards we've also repaired my gear change, which didn't go into third gear. The only thing that needs to be done now, is for me to buy a ticket and get to Belgium.

Here are some photos of the operating table.

photo disassembling the bicycle repairing cycle
I've made this picture to remember how the chainwheel looks before deconstructing the bike.
gear change mending repairing tire change
The chair was used to hold the bike while we dislocated the backwheel.

Bike ambulance repairing locating holes
Let us hope that this thing is just a precaution, as I have no clou how to use this without having all of my tools with me.
In theory, I would only need a pump (which I have), water to locate the hole, 2 spoons and this kit. However, we have dislocated the wheel with a (15) spanner and had a bucket of water to locate the hole. I do not have a spanner, nor will a carry a bucket from Eupen to Regensburg.

Hmmm... Problems for later I guess?

Gear needed to fix a bicycle footpump pedalpump
Repair-kit, bicycle pump and it has a lock. Everything that is needed.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Goal: From Eupen to Regensburg

Time to seperate the boys from the men. If 80 km is possible in one day (I could have gone further to be honest), then it is also possible to spread 645 km over a week or so. The thing I noticed today, is that even though it was exhaustive, I do not have sore muscles today. I feel quite fit. There is just one thing that bothers me today, and that is that I've forgotten to put sunlotion on yesterday. Oh well...

Biking through Europe

The plan is to:
  1. take my bike on the train to my mother in Belgium.
  2. I'll stay there and spend some time with my mom.
  3. Subsequently I will take the train to Eupen.
  4. After arrival, I will depart on my bike in Eupen with Regensburg as the ultimate goal.
  5. As I am a spontaneous kind of guy, I will not plan beforehand where I will rest and sleep.
  6. I will document the whole trip with pictures, videos and a log.
  7. My experiences will be shared with the world on this blog, as it might be useful to people who are also interested in biking through Europe.
  8. IF there are problems on my way to Regensburg, I COULD take the train to Regensburg. However, I can only come up with a few unlikely reasons why I would do that. A sprained ankle, an accident or another unexpected occurance one can't foretell.

Sometime next week, I will travel to Belgium between Sunday the 29th of June 2014 and Tuesday the 1st of July 2014 [edit] Monday the 30th of June. I am already very exciting about this and I will equip myself necessary utensils. I'll buy my ticket today, after I've done some research with regards to the cheapest and best ticket (bicycle on train, best price, etc.). Edit: I will have to negotiate a good time to travel with my girlfriend. We are invited to a birthday party and it would be cool, if I could stay long enough to party before departing to Belgium. It will still be Sunday or Monday.

Note: as you can see from the crossed text, I am quite flexible. Never make plans you cannot change!

I've also made a picture of my bicycle, as it might be interesting for you to see my gear. I do not really care about a good bike. The important thing is that the bike is sturdy and comfortable.

Hole in biketire
As you can see, I have a flat tire. I will fix it today.

cycle gear low quality spirit is what counts
This bike actually looks quite good on this picture. It is quite bad though in comparison to the real cyclists' bikes.

The difference between me and 'real' cyclists is that I am not wearing a helmet, nor do I have special clothing, gear (reflectors EVERYWHERE, odometer, heart rate monitor, etc.) or other things that are totally redundant. Yesterday, I wore a jeans with a normal t-shirt and it did not bother me at all. I would have preferred trainers, yet I did not have them in Eschenbach. I find it ridiculous to think that this special gear is needed to ride a bike. The Germans, from what I can tell, are really taking cycling too serious. "Oh, you can't ride a bike without a helmet. That is waaaay too dangerous." or "Wearing special clothing makes me go faster and makes me look like a pro-biker." or "Aren't you having X brand? Are you tired of living? What if the wheel suddenly dislocates while you are going 20 km/h?". Do not forget that reflexes have to be trained. I think that too much (or any) protection also gives a false sense of security. While being overly protective on a bike, it is possible for these people to drive 230 km/h on the 'Autobahn' while talking on the cellphone.

My point being: the thing that is needed to be safe on a bike is COMMON SENSE. Just be cautious in the way you cycle and you'll be fine. Ofcourse there are fools on the road and even though you are cautious, other people who aren't can be a danger to you. But isn't this danger the same for all traffic participants?

Common sense also means that, if you are going downhill from a mountain and forest with sharp rocks, trees and other objects, a helmet and additional protection do make sense. I have no problem with protection but there is a discussion going on in Germany about bikers being obligated to wear a helmet.

Nuff said. I'll fix my bike tube now and buy a ticket for next week. You'll be kept up to date.

Cheers mates.

From Eschenbach i.d. Oberpfalz to Schwandorf

Going on an unprepared trip through Bavaria

I've spent a night in Eschenbach i.d. Oberpfalz and, for reasons unknown, I have decided to take a bike of a friend and cycle all the way home the next day. There wasn't really anything that needed to be done today, so I've given in to the impulse and got on the bike. The route "From Eschenbach i.d. Oberpfalz to Schwandorf" was more or less a spontaneous trip without much preparation.

80 km is the biggest trip I've taken up until now. Using the pictures I have made on my way to Schwandorf, I can explain the route I have taken. Neither the quality nor the quantity of pictures was optimal. The sole purpose of these pictures was for me to remember the trip, as I easily forget details to a story.

For my next trip, which I have already planned, I will put more focus on pictures and I will write more about the route itself. The long-term plan is to map good routes, to make recommendations for cyclists (hostels, hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing spots) and to take notes of the routes I am taking.

Radfahren von Eschenbach nach Schwandorf
This was the route I've taken. I am not sure if this was the exact route, but it is a good estimation.
Radweg von Eschenbach nach Schwarzenbach
This is a picture I've taken on my way from Eschenbach to Weiden.

Radweg vorbei Schiesslweiher in Schwarzenbach
This picture was taken while biking passed the 'Schießlweiher'. The German word 'weiher' means pond.
Radfahren in Schwarzenbach
Schießlweiher in Schwarzenbach.

Fahrradweg zwischen Schwarzenbach und Weiden
Somewhere between Schwarzenbach and Weiden...

Rost lenker altes Fahrrad
I do not have a nice bike, as you can see from the rust on the handlebar. Then again, people who assume that one needs expensive and high quality gear to ride a bike over long distances are taking things too seriously.

Radweg nach weiden durch den Wald
A cycling road between Schwarzenbach and Weiden. Right through the forrest with some small changes in altitude.

Radfahren Bundesstrasse
Here you can see that the path leads next to the 'Bundesstraße'. A Bundesstraße is a road with a 100 km/h speedlimit. Cyclists are allowed to cycle there as well, even though it is quite dangerous.

DETOUR: if you are cycling over Weiden, you are making a detour as I did. To plan this tour without a detour, please take a look at the bottom of the page. I have made a quick tutorial for a different route.

Bike lane from Rothenstadt to Luhe and Luhe-Wildenau
This is somewhere between Weiden and Luhe. I am not sure where it is but I am guessing that it is in 'Rothenstadt'.

Bayern Radfahrweg langweilig
Landscape.  Boring.

Die Straße von Luhe nach Wernberg
If I am not mistaken, this is on the way from Luhe to Wernberg-Köblitz. 10 minutes after taking this picture, I've gotten a flat tire. Had to walk for half an hour until I've found a farm, where I have asked the farmer if he had something to inflate my tires. Fortunately he did.

radfahrweg naabtal Oberköblitz
On this picture, I have found the beautiful 'Naabtalradweg'. Naab is a small river, tal means 'valley' and Radweg means cycleway. I am guessing that this is Oberköblitz. Not sure though.

Unterköblitz weg neben Naab
I can tell from this picture that I was on the right side of the Naab. That means that this would probably be 'Unterköblitz'.

Radfahrweg von Unterköblitz nach Iffelsdorf
Between Unterköblitz and Iffelsdorf.

Naabtalradweg asphalt straßenpflaster
This is pretty much proof of how awesome the Naabtalradweg is. The road is not always like this. Sometimes it is a dirt road, sometimes it is pavement like this and sometimes it is old asphalt.

German climate soil and vegetation
What kind of shock would it be for a Syrian refugee to be looking upon this green paradise.Walking or cycling for hours passed so much vertile land.

village of potheads unfunny
The sign says "Iffelsdorf".

Mais in Deutschland
A field like any other. I guess that is corn, right?

Natur in Nabburg fast da
I am almost in Nabburg.

Einen Storch, dass mit einen Bulldog gekämpft hat
A stork. No idea why this was so interesting at the time. The stork was picking a fight with a tractor (which was left of the stork and not visible on this picture).

Bad ass stork doing his thing.

Schild von Nab burg
Entering Nabburg. My tire has almost deflated once more and I was already close to riding on the rim. This made it clear that I would not reach Regensburg without fixing my tire.

Nabburg schaut echt schön aus
Doesn't Nabburg look nice?

Radfahren durch Stulln
After inflating for the second time, I was biking towards Stulln.

Schlechteste Fotograf in Deutschland
The road. As you can tell, I have a knack when it comes to taking pictures.

Fast in Stulln
I already see the Stulln sign. Woohoo.

Bayen fahrrad
Getting closer...

Stulln schild
And I've reached Stulln.

Gasthof Bodenstein in Stulln
This is a Gasthof in Stulln. The people here gave me directions and let me use their bicycle pump. It was really needed, as it was deflated for the third time.

Gasthof Bodensteiner in Stulln is ideal for cyclists
Because of the friendly people here, I'll give them some publicity.

Zimmer Bodensteiner bier radler freundlich
They offer rooms and a cold beer (or Radler, which is beer with lemonade). The people are nice and this stop is perfect for cyclists. I was really in a hurry because my bicycle tube was running out of air in short intervals. That being said, I have not taken any pictures of the following villages I have passed: Grafenricht, Schwarzenfeld, Irrenlohe and Richt. I have asked a farmer in Richt once more if he got a tool to inflate my bicycle tube. 

Biking in Schwandorf, Ettmansdorf, krondorf and Richt
Even though it was only 4,6 km, I did not reach the destination without fully deflating my tube.

Familie Holler Schwandorf
The sign says: "Fischgarten Schwandorf".

Es gibt auch Büsse von Richt Schwandorf
I think this is from Richt to Schwandorf.

Schandorf Nature road
Almost there...

Zug Schwandorf Regensburg
I have finally reached the trainstation and I took the train to Regensburg.

Zug Schild Schwandorf
I would have cycled all the way to Regensburg, if it wasn't for the bike giving up on me.

DETOUR INFORMATION (not cycling via Weiden)

For people cycling over Grafenwöhr (US army base), Freihung and Amberg, I'd recommend taking another route. I'll explain step by step how you can take this detour:

Step 1: open google maps to find a good estimation

To learn more about using google maps and planning an estimation of a cycling trip, visit this page.
You should take note of the cities you'll pass: Grafenwöhr, Hütten, Kaltenbrunn, Freihung, Größschönbrunn, Ammersricht, Amberg, Kümmersbruck, Lengenfeld, Theuern, Ensdorf, Rieden, Vilshofen, Schmidmühlen, and so forth.

Step 2: look for actual bicycle paths

Do not try to look for German tourist sites like this. You can click on the map on the right and it will open the map you see below. I think it only shows the circular bike tours. I am not interested in any of that. The only time I cycle and end up on the same spot is when I'm lost. It never happens deliberately.

I have noticed that it doesn't show neither the Naabtalradweg, nor Donauradweg. The Five Rivers route is the one we need though.
In stead of the tourist website, I use this website. You do not have to know German the use it the way I do. Just follow the instructions below the screenshots.
After opening the link to ADFC, you should hover over Regensburg (#67). If the corrects route lights up, you can click it and another window opens.

Route 67 consists of 3 paths along a river. You'd have to look at all three of them to see if the bicycle lane is nearby your estimation of the route.

A new page opens with details of the cycle lane. Now click on 'Sehenswert' (points of interest) to see which POI's this bicycle route passes . The cities are always mentioned there.
You can see some familiar cities on the list of the Fünf-Flüsse-Radweg ("Five Rivers Route"), like Regensburg (destination), Kallmünz (look on the last google map I've posted) and ofcourse Amberg.

You can take the bicycle lane from Amberg to Regensburg.

Other Related Keywords:

Wernberg, unterköblitz, Richt, ettmannsdorf, Krondorf, Schwandorf, bike lane, Schwarzenfeld, Irrenlohe, Schwarzenbach, Stulln, luhe, wildenau, rothenstadt, naabtalradweg, naabtalradfahrweg, naabtalfahrradweg, oberköblitz