An Instance From Germany – Bicycle Touring Professional

by jpc_touring-bicycle

In 2007 I traveled with my bike to Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. I flew into Frankfurt, Germany, cycled up the Rhine River, after which lower east towards Berlin. From there I traveled into Poland, south to Prague, after which west once more again to Frankfurt. Alongside the best way, I stayed with a number of strangers from the web site and lived with a German household close to town of Hannover.

Whereas on this journey, I each packed and bought numerous sheets of paper, which I wish to share with you now. I hope that by sharing this info with you it’ll assist you higher perceive what paperwork it is best to deliver with you by yourself travels… and it’d offer you some concepts for paperwork to pack and/or save that you simply won’t have in any other case have thought-about.

So, with out additional adieu, here’s a full checklist of the paperwork I introduced with me and bought alongside the best way as I traveled with my bike via Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic in the summertime of 2007.

Flight Data

Step one in any long-distance biking journey is attending to your place to begin. For me, my place to begin was Frankfurt, Germany/ I bought a round-trip ticket from US Airways and if I bear in mind accurately, the value of the airfare (together with free delivery for my bike) was simply $650 USD. Earlier than I left house, nevertheless, I printed out my flight info so I might have it with me on the airport as I flew from Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah to Phoenix, Arizona to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and eventually to Frankfurt, Germany. I might take this identical route on the journey again house.

Bicycle Baggage Coverage Printout

Earlier than I arrived on the airport, I additionally printed out the US Airways bicycle baggage coverage off of their web site. This fashion, I may present the coverage to the individual checking me in on the counter within the occasion that there have been any issues. It is a big tip for you for those who plan to fly together with your bicycle! If the airline you’re flying with says they’ll fly your bike without spending a dime on their web site, however you present up on the airport they usually inform you one thing totally different, there isn’t a lot you are able to do. However for those who present up with a replica of the bags coverage printed off the web site on the identical day that you simply ordered your ticket, and you’re prepared to struggle with the airline’s administration a bit, you’ll be able to normally get your bike to fly without spending a dime. However having this printout from the web site is a should! With out it you stand little or no probability of flying together with your bike without spending a dime.


For this specific journey via Europe I created an in depth itinerary of the distanced I deliberate to journey every day and the names of the locations I deliberate to spend every evening. Ultimately, nevertheless, I solely adopted the primary couple weeks of this itinerary after which threw it out utterly as I went off on a path in contrast to something I had beforehand deliberate on doing. You’ll be able to learn extra about creating an itinerary in your travels on this article.

Lodging Data

I additionally created a sheet that contained the contact info for the varied people, lodges and campgrounds I deliberate to remain at alongside the best way. This fashion I may contact these folks/companies if I acquired misplaced, or present the handle to folks on the streets who may then be capable to level me in the suitable course.

Contact Data

Along with the nightly lodging info proven above, I additionally packed a listing of contact info for my family and friends again house. A contemporary bicycle traveler may retailer this info in a cellphone, laptop computer pc, or different such machine, however on this journey, I merely printed out a listing of all my contacts and had that info inside fast attain for cellphone calls, emails and postcards that I needed to ship again house.

Vital Work Data

Not everybody touring by bike goes to be working on the identical time, nevertheless it one thing I do very often. As a result of I have to work whereas I’m touring, I additionally packed a sheet of paper containing my consumer’s contact info and different essential notes that I would want so as to conduct my work whereas touring with my bike. (This info has been blurred under to guard my purchasers’ privateness.)

E-mail Correspondence Printouts

Earlier than leaving for Europe I contacted various folks and requested if I’d be capable to stick with them for an evening or two. The Heat Showers checklist is a superb place to seek out folks seeking to host a touring bicycle owner. I contacted a number of folks from the checklist earlier than I left house they usually emailed me backwards and forwards previous to my arrival within the nation. With a view to be certain I confirmed up on the proper handle and that I remembered our e mail conversations (a lot of which had taken place months previous to my arrival in Europe) I printed out our e mail conversations so I may learn them an evening or two earlier than I arrived at every particular person’s house. This fashion I used to be capable of refresh my reminiscence with reference to who these folks had been, thus giving me one thing to speak about from the primary minute I arrived at their house.

Route Map

One of the used items of paper on my journey was a map that I had created that confirmed the route I deliberate to take and the areas of every metropolis the place I deliberate to spend an evening. I used this map each to remind myself of the place I used to be going, and to point out folks I met alongside the best way the place I meant to journey. As a result of I used to be in international locations the place lots of the folks don’t communicate English, this map was a pleasant and straightforward strategy to talk with folks although I didn’t communicate their language.

Boarding Passes & Declare Tickets

Under are my boarding passes for 2 of my flights with US Airways. Hooked up to the ticket on the suitable are my two baggage declare tickets – one for my bicycle and the opposite for the cardboard field containing my 4 crimson bicycle panniers.

Prepare Tickets

I did fairly a little bit of practice journey whereas I used to be in Germany and the Czech Republic. You’ll be able to see a few of my tickets within the {photograph} under. I discovered the trains in Germany to be extremely simple to navigate, on time and fairly clear!

Welcome To Germany Signal

In the course of the center of my journey I stayed with a household about an hour exterior town of Hannover, Germany within the metropolis of Helmstedt. Their daughter, Natalie, has stayed a number of instances with my mother and father in California, in order that they needed to reciprocate the favor by internet hosting me of their house. After I confirmed up at their home, I used to be greeted my a home-made signal that Natalie had strung up for me over the doorway . “Welcome To Germany Darren” is what the signal learn.

Notes From Natalie

Whereas staying with this German household was a number of enjoyable, it was additionally sort of unusual. Natalie’s mother and father don’t communicate English so I couldn’t talk with them… and Natalie barely spoke to me (both deliberately or as a result of she was simply caught up in being a teenage woman). Both approach, I might get up every morning to a observe that Natalie had left for me earlier than she went off to highschool. You’ll be able to see among the notes under. I held on to them as a result of, on the time, I assumed it was so unusual to be staying in a house with individuals who had been unable to talk to me, and the one individual within the household who did communicate English, solely communicated with me in notes slid beneath my door within the early hours of the morning.

Helmstedt Border Museum Data Sheet

Town of Helmstedt, Germany was as soon as a crossing level between East and West Germany. I visited town’s small museum and was educated on The Berlin Wall and the sheer quantity of people that tried to cross from one facet of the wall to the opposite. I used to be stunned at 1) how brutally these making an attempt to cross the wall had been handled and a pair of) simply how many individuals had been capable of efficiently cross from one facet to the opposite. If you’re ever in Helmstedt, Germany, this tiny museum is unquestionably value a fast look.

Helmstedt, Deutschland Newspaper Clipping

Whereas in Germany, staying with my non-English talking hosts, I used to be interviewed by the native newspaper. They requested me about my impressions of the nation and about my travels with my bike. The article that was printed refers to me as “not a typical California sunny boy” and is general fairly embarrassing. However, I did get some media consideration from my travels and I used to be grateful to the reporter and photographer who got here out to talk with me.

Letter From My Hosts

After I left my German host household, the mom wrote me a letter, which Natalie then translated and typed out on the pc. The letter says that they had been sorry they might not communicate with me and that they hope I used to be not bored. It says that there have been days when they didn’t communicate with me and days after they confirmed me so much – together with two automobile journeys to Poland. I used to be very grateful to have been allowed to stick with this household, however I believe they had been glad to see me go.

Transportation Tickets

These are a bunch of different ticket stubs for numerous modes of transport I used whereas on my journey. Trains, busses, and many others.

Contact Data For Folks I Met

Touring by bike offers you the chance to satisfy a number of new folks. Many of those folks, I used to be capable of trade contact info with and a few of them I keep up a correspondence with, even to at the present time. Under you’ll be able to see three random items of paper on which I wrote down or obtained the contact info of individuals I met whereas on my travels. I’ve blurred out their info to guard their privateness, however I believe you get the purpose.


Lastly, I packed and picked up a number of maps for my travels. The 2 maps on the left are ones I picked up within the cities of Hannover and Frankfurt. The map of the suitable is the principle map I used to navigate my approach via Germany, Pokand and the Czech Republic. This map is solely a standard driving map I acquired without spending a dime from my native AAA. It doesn’t present bike paths on it or have any type of further info. I used this map, along with a GPS to seek out and navigate my approach throughout Europe… and it labored simply tremendous.


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An Instance From Germany – Bicycle Touring Professional  
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