I wanted to ride to Dacau, some 40 km east of Erding, so I talked with hosts about routing and was told about the bike paths between here and there. They really are quite nice, as are the little roads running through the countryside. I had a nice, 60 km or so ride, but didn't make it to Dacau because I couldn't find the bike path out of Garching, a relatively small town north of Munich. The fact that I can't speak German and that I was still pretty groggy contributed to my getting lost multiple times trying to go east from Garching. No big deal, after a good (Italian) lunch in Garching, I headed back to Erding and, after cleaning up, took a two hour nap. Now I can work on the computer with out my head regularly nodding off to one side or another!

This is a bike path in Erding, running along the river.

There are bikepaths almost everywhere, although not in the center of town. That has those cobblestone streets I experienced yesterday and lots of Barvarian charm. It also has lots of bicyclists and lots of street places to eat and shop.

Downtown is characterized by several bell towers, one of which I rode through on my way home. Another bonged the hour, very loudly, as I was looking for a place to eat supper this evening. I ended up eating at a fancy ice cream place. Yum!

This mornings breakfast was coffee (or tea), cheese, bratwurst, and bread. It was kinda heavy , and I kept tasting it for too long after I had eaten it. It lasted well for riding - I didn't eat lunch till 1:30 - but it isn't my favorite kind of food. The fancy Italian restaurant on Rathaus Plaza in Garching was a welcome, if somewhat expensive, relief. Food is going to be a problem for me on the eastern part of my tour. I really don't want all that sausage and cheese as part of my regular diet!

The plaza in Erding with no bicycles and another tower

Riding out of Erding on a bike path next to a minor road was great. I am struck by how quiet it is here. The noisiest things are the birds and there are a lot of birds. I heard and saw song birds, owls, and, I think, a huge stork nesting on top of a tree.

A small town just west of Erding

Signage on the road - this, and other traffic information signs are pretty much the only signs on the roads

The most amazing thing, for me, was the number of bicyclist I saw today. I'm sure it was more bicyclists than I've seen in the last year, including my ride across Canada! Since today was a holiday (actually a Holy day) and the weather was beautiful, there were literally hundreds of bicyclists on the bike paths I rode. A few of them were riding road bikes and going fast - I was only passed by two bikes all day - but most of them were riding City bikes at about 10 mph and some of them were even smoking as they rode!

Looking in a bike store in Erding - lots of City and Trekking bikes, a few mountain bikes, and a few road bikes.

Check out the handlebar setup on that lead bike and the cigarette in the mouth of the third rider

Today was a good introduction to riding bike paths in Germany. A whole new way of touring! I did see a few bikes that were set up for lightly loaded touring. I don't know if they were actually touring because of language and cultural differences here. Casual interaction between bicyclists is much less than in the US or Canada. This seems to have to do with the more reserved culture. Very few bicyclists returned my smiles; mostly they were very straight faced. Every German that I have interacted with has been nice, but I had to strongly establish that I wanted to interact before they acknowledged my presence.

This is a car and motorcycle loving culture - I saw a lot neat cars today.

My host is a car and motorcycle collector and enthusiast. He has more than a dozen cars and half a dozen motorcycles, some from the 20s and 30s, and some only a few decades old. He has been collecting and restoring them for at least forty years. He told me until about 15 years ago (I think..), Germans rarely rode bicycles. Then he said his car club (he was president) started pushing the use of bicycles as transportation. I assume that the federal government was behind this effort. It certainly was successful and it certainly has improved the quality of life here. Of course, for me, that included listening to the sound of a Ferrari as it accellerated away from me after I got off the street and onto a bike path in Erding . Not as nice the birds, but very nice indeed!

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