Last week, I wrote about the bike tour in the Black Forest, near Breisach, Germany. It continues here...
When an e-bike comes in handy
Near Bad Krozingen, a spa town, our group headed toward a vineyard located a the top of a steep hill. For about 70% of that day, I tried to use the minimum setting for the e-bike. It provided enough exercise to start sweating. But luckily with the power of the e-bike, it was no sweat, pun fully intended.
Once we reached the top, a whole panorama of the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald (Lower Black Forest) region spread out before us. The vineyards, bountiful with Riesling grapes ready for harvest, carpeted the hilltop. The elevated land of the actual Black Forest, lay in the watery haze about 15 miles away.
After descending the vineyard hill, our group pedaled on through mostly flat surfaces, past towering sunflowers and harvested golden fields of grains and grass. We finally arrived at our lunch break spot, Staufen, a town dominated by castle ruins on another round vineyard covered hill.
Biking to the edge of the Black Forest
Parking our bikes in hotel back lot, we walked into the main cobblestone street. Our restaurant served mostly traditional German dishes, but I chose pasta. After all of the meat-centric food I had all week, this was a welcome meal.
Jake and Tanya then told us that if we wanted to skip dessert, we could climb up to the castle ruins, where we would be rewarded with the best view of the day. I joined two other women and a man, taking our e-bikes.
That proved to be a wise move, because although we could have easily hiked it, the bikes zipped up the hill, and we all arrived there in two minutes max.
The castle is now just a series of massive sandstone walls that hint at a glorious past before repeated invasions finally destroyed it for good. Even more than the vineyard in Bad Krozingen, the higher hilltop in Staufen showed off even more of the valley and rolling plains below. The Black Forest’s mountains were now just a few miles away, cloaked in several shades of deep green.
Even more when an e-bike helps
Here’s a tip if you are riding down a considerably steep hill on a e-bike. Unless you have above-average strength, don’t try to walk it down. Two of us had a tough time trying to prevent the bike from taking us down with it. Even though we tried to ride it in spots, the grade just seemed too slanted to ride safely down. We somehow managed to get down without incident, but that was probably the toughest part of the whole ride for me.
With the motor assist, my fellow travelers and I could easily enjoy the scenery of this legendary area. At the end of the ride, we stopped at an inn. Here we entered wooden shed with picnic tables covered in a plastic red and white checked covering. On two of the tables were platters filled squares of kaserie cheese, rye bread, wheat and butter crackers. Clear bottles of water lay next to them, along with a green bottle of apple Schnapps.
Honestly, I don’t like Schapps of any kind, and that was especially true after biking nearly 20 miles. But I deserved a little celebration after this long but highly enjoyable trek. It didn’t matter that it was drink I didn’t care for. The buzz in my head took away some of the tiredness, and it helped me to sleep well. On my bike trip through the Black Forest, it was more fun than the imagined walk of my childhood.