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The good is often so near - Biking at Hunsrueck

With Tobi Woggon and Dennis Stratmann on a castle tour in the Rhine Valley

Tobi and Dennis, two good friends, have been to many bike spots around the world. In their own country, however, there is still some catching up to do and so the two decided to go on a bike trip to the Middle Rhine Valley and explore the Hunsrück. An ode to the local trails!

 

Get me out of here!

May 2020. I have been sitting at home (near Bamberg in Northern Bavaria) for weeks. Here and there, I have been riding my home trails alone. What I am supposed to be doing right now is riding through the Italian Alps or going trail searching in a Nordic country. No such luck! I am condemned to stay at home. With as little contact to other people as possible.

 

But it is not only me, everyone, basically the whole country is staying home. The borders are closed, as are the airports, shops and bike parks. Due to the Corona virus – causing major restrictions all over the globe.

My phone is ringing – it’s my buddy Dennis Stratmann: “Hey, do you feel like going on a little bike trip to the Rhine valley? Regulations now permit to meet with a few people outdoors and I could really do with taking a bike trip somewhere different. I know the Rhine valley from a hiking vacation with my family. There must be cool trails there.” So, a few days later, I set off in my camper van to meet Dennis in Oberwesel.

With the camper in the Middle Rhine Valley

As I drive through the Middle Rhine valley coming from the South, I feel like I have left Germany through a worm hole. The road winds beautifully along the banks of the Rhine, which is framed by steep rock faces and rugged cliffs. Over the centuries, the river has slowly but steadily eaten its way into the rocks, shaping the landscape. Here and there an old castle or fortress sits on top of the cliffs - like a watchman watching over the valley and the river.

 

About 140 km further up the river is where I grew up. As a teenager, I came to this area often or went mountain biking in Boppard. At the time, there was already a small bike park there. To be honest, back then, I probably didn't appreciate the beauty of nature, which now fascinates me so much.

Punish me

When I arrive in Oberwesel, Dennis is already waiting for me at a small campground and points to the castle, about 200 m further up. "Let's go up there, just a quick ride, it's only 200 m in elevation and with our e-bikes, we'll be done in no time."

 

Okay. But how can I put it... somehow I left my e-bike at home and only brought the regular bike. The whole time, I felt like I had forgotten something…

So we set off - Dennis, who glides effortlessly up the mountain with his e-drive and I, gasping for air, trying to keep up with him, powering up the trail. The mountains here along the Rhine may not be particularly high, but they are seriously steep. Well, a little punishment never harmed anybody.

Winding through the forest

When we set off early the next day to explore the region and do one or two trails, the first thing we do is climb up to Schönburg castle, which is enthroned on a cliff above Oberwesel. From here, an overgrown and rocky trail leads below the castle wall and then along the edge, so that you always have a great view of the Rhine river until it turns steeply right into the forest. If I had been shown pictures of the trail, I would have guessed that it was in Liguria or Southern France, but certainly not in Germany.

 

We stay on the narrow trail, which winds through the forest. It only goes up a few meters and down a few meters at a time, but still, it is quite demanding and exhausting.

Dolce Vita at the Rhine

I noticed a small restaurant on the ledge and I persuade Dennis to stop there for a quick cappuccino. If the trail feels like Italy, why shouldn't we feel the same way? And a cappuccino raises the Dolce Vita barometer among any bike team.

 

No sooner said than done. As we sit under a large lime tree next to a house that has withstood every wind and weather for centuries, we let our gaze wander over a breathtaking panorama. And suddenly our order changes, from cappuccino to tarte flambée and a bottle of rosé.

 

"Because hey, if we can't leave the country, then let's just enjoy life at home. "

Text: Tobias Woggon

Fotos: Dennis Stratmann

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