The main train station in Leipzig
Leipzig is a good train station for bicycles since no stair climbing is necessary. Almost every train except the intercity (fast) trains, has a bicycle car and lots of travelers had bicycles. I took an interregional train which went to Hanover (and then on to Bremen, it started in Dresden). At Hanover I took another interregional train to Hamburg. Hanover is also very well set up for bicycles, unlike Liepzig where the tracks end at the station, you do have to go down into tunnels to get between the tracks, but there are gentle ramps, elevators, and escalators to make that process easy. My only problem was with the assigned seats on the trains. The bike cars were at the front of the train. My assigned seats were at the other end. I had to remove all my bags, hang my bike in the bike car and then carry everything to the other end (10 cars) of the train at Leipzig.
When I got to my assigned seat, it was already occupied. The young lady sitting in it would have moved, but I just sat in another, nearby seat, Nobody seemed to care. When we got to Hanover, I started making my way to the bike car through the train, 15 minutes ahead of time. It was hot, the train was crowded, especially at the far end - assigned seating at work? - and it was hard, sweaty, work getting through the train with four panniers and a messenger bag. I wasn't sure how long the train would stop at Hanover, so I needed to be at the bike car when it did stop.
The train going from Hanover to Hamburg only stopped for five minutes. I, along with several other bicyclists, hustled to the bike car and helped each other get our bikes loaded. All the available slots were filled, and we finished as the train pulled out. This time I ignored my assigned seat and sat in the first good seat I found, about two cars down the train. The first two cars were smoking permitted. At Hamburg, we were all at the bike car ten minutes early and again everyone worked together to get the bikes loaded and off the train. I was the last to get off and I didn't load my bike on the train - that seems silly - I just put my bags on the platform, then got my bike, and loaded it on the platform. Several folks used an elevator to get their bikes up to the walkway which was above the tracks. I rolled mine down to an escalator, went up that way, then rolled it out into the middle of Hamburg.
I found my way, with some problems due to left turns on multilane roads with heavy traffic and to road construction into the middle of that mess, then headed up the Elbe through the port area. I caught up with some other bike tourists heading the same way. but they were also just trying to find their way up the river. Eventually I ended up at the Elbetunnel which crosses the river and decided to try my luck on the other side.
Dirk, of of my two new friends in Hamburg
bringing me my water bottles
Once again a chance meeting led to a wonderful evening where I got to know two really good people and to learn a lot about their world. Dirk and Susanne live on the southwestern edge of Hamburg. They moved there because she was pregnant and it is a good place for a kid. Dirk normally bikes in and takes the train home, but this day he forgot his wallet and didn't have his train pass, so he rode home. We met because of random chance, a very small random chance at that, but the three of us had a marvelous time together and, I think, will see each other again. I look forward to hearing about, and later meeting, their child.
The next morning, Dirk and I left at about 8 AM, It was going to be at 7:30 but Susanne came down to say goodbye and I forgot to fill my water bottles and none of us really wanted to part. I rode east and south and Dirk rode west and north. His street going east connects to a small road which parallels an autobahn south, then I took another road west to get to B75 going south. I didn't know how bicycle friendly B75 would be, but it turned out to have a good bike path all the way to Rotenburg some 35 miles to the southwest. I stopped to eat a second, larger, breakfast at Tosted. Near Rotenberg, the bike path left B75 and headed for Bremen, at least sort of...
Bike path to Bremen
The bike path on L133, the road from Zeven to Bremen