Looking up river from as far as I got up the Weser

Today's ride was short, about 50 miles, because I worked till almost 11 AM on my last two ride reports. The fact that last night was hot - as is tonight - and that I didn't sleep well, also had something to do with my short day today. I had my window open to let in cooler air last night, but, along with the air, I got about two dozen mosquitos. Before going to bed, I closed the window and spent about half an hour killing mosquitos. I used a magazine about the German Police Museum and, sometimes, a technique suggested by Susanne the night before, which was to throw the magazine up to squash mosquitos on the ceiling. I killed at least two dozen, and only had a few bites during the night. Not a great nights stay at a hotel that wanted 63 euros for a very small room. Ah well, I did get it for 55, still at least 10 too much, and breakfast was quite good.

Riding up the Weser near the center of Bremen

When I did leave, I headed south towards the river: It was quite a ways - Bremen is a big town! Then I rode north along the river. Or at least I think it was north. Bremen seems to have some sort of disturbance in its magnetic field and my compass was doing strange things. Then I crossed the river and rode as far as I could up river on the bike path on the west side. That side has a lot ports and channels, so I knew I couldn't get far.

When that way was blocked near the north edge of town, I rode back along the channel that blocked my way - cobblestone road, but not too rough - and then headed west as best as I could determine. After a few zigzags, I crossed the Weserweg, so I tried to follow it north. That didn't work - poorly marked radwegs are useless! - and I soon found myself on another bike path heading east. There was a local rider ahead of me, so I followed him. I ended up in Hutching, which was basically where I wanted to go. I got confused about where I was because of my compass problems, and only after crossing B75 going south and finding a place to eat - right next to a defunct internet cafe - did I use my mapping software and my brain's pattern matching ability to figure out exactly where I was and how I should proceed. Then I crossed back to the north side of B75 - which was now an expressway and becomes an autoroute in a few miles - and headed west on what I thought was L887. Of course there was no indication anywhere along its length to let me know that it was L887, but it was in the right place and it fit the shape pattern for L887 shown on my map. Such is navigation in Germany!

I finally got out of Bremen, on l887, about two and a half hours after I left my motel. Some of that was deliberate radweg wandering, but much of it was due to the size of the city and the problems, for bicyclists, created by waterways and expressways. When, after about eight miles of mostly urban riding on sidewalks, I saw signs for Tiergarten and the road turned to the southeast, I knew I was I was on the right road. Before that I was prepared to back track/improvise if I lost l887. After that I only had to worry about B213, my chosen route to Cloppenburg. It look promising, but it could turn out to be unrideable. If I couldn't ride B213, navigation was going to be a lot more complicated - I think I would have headed, as directly as possible on K and L roads, east to the Netherlands.

The start of B213

It turned out to have too much truck traffic for riding on the road in Germany, although I have ridden similar N roads in France without any problems, but it also had a good bike path that lasted essentially all the way to Cloppenburg. This bike path was better than yesterdays bike paths for one reason: B213 has very few towns on it. The real bikepath problems - rough pavement, driveways and streets that create problems,dangerous design, and too many non-bicycling users - are problems in the towns, but usually not problems between the towns. This bike path had some parts that were a bit rough - one short section going into Wildeshausen was a dirt foot path through woods - and some problem in the two towns, Wildeshausen and Ahlhorn, but 95% of it was quite good.

B213 bike path separated from the road by trees

B213 bike path as the shoulders of the road - my favorite

Nearing Cloppenburg - crossing the Autobahn

The truck and car traffic on the road got very heavy after crossing the Autobahn. At that point, B213 becomes the main route southeast and, after Cloppenburg, it becomes an expressway. This section had today's one dangerous experience. I was cruising along at 15 to 16 mph, listening to the big trucks woosh past and checking what countries they came from. Traffic was heavy enough to give me a tailwind. I saw something strange on the path ahead. As I approached I realised that it was a slow bicyclist towing a two wheeled trailer that filled the path. As I got closer, I saw that the cyclist was an elderly man who only had one leg. Just as I was contemplating how to deal with this situation, a motor scooter blasted by me inches away and swerved over the two or three feet of grass and weeds onto the road to pass the man. I looked in my mirror and saw another motor scooter approaching at speed. I instinctively moved over to keep that one from brushing by me and decided to go around the fellow with the trailer. Fortunately I was able to delay just long enough so that I went over the grass onto the very beginning of a right turn lane and never had to go onto the regular lanes of the road. A car approaching from the rear blew his horn at me even though I never entered his lane - I waved him away - and I got back onto the path at the end of the turn lane.

I shouldn't have taken that grass strip as speed since the grasses/weeds were long enough that they could have concealed something that might have caused me to crash, and a crash might have left me in danger of being run over in the heavy traffic on the road. All of that is highly speculative. I would not have gone across that strip at speed if the first scooter hadn't shown me it could be done, if the turn lane hadn't been there, and if the second scooter wasn't approaching me rapidly from the rear. After the first scooter went around me, I had only a few seconds to decide and, foolish or not, I went for it. I don't know what the one legged man though when we zoomed around him. It must have been a bit disconcerting!

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