We loved our last Airbnb in Oberheimbach. We were so comfortable and our host was outstanding. Having the fully stocked kitchen saved us, or we would have been eating one of our two emergency backpacking meals.

Today was our big climb day. We had been looking at it for months, wondering if we could make it work. The hill profile just looked so steep, especially for the first huge long one. We left our Airbnb around 8 AM. I had told myself it would be OK if we had to push the bike for the next couple of hours to get to the top. We did push for the first few hundred feet to leave our Airbnb and get around a big truck but then we were able to start and remain riding most of the rest of the ride. The first super-hard, long climb took us a little over an hour in our lowest gear, but we were able to pedal to the top. There was still a lot of climbing that was going to happen the rest of the day, but the rest of the climbs were all shorter and interspersed with descent. This first one was just uphill the whole time (roughly 4 miles), and it felt so good to be at the top of that segment. (There was one insanely steep 15 % grade thing we did have to push up later, but thankfully it wasn’t too long.)

Our bike computer has an algorithm that identifies hard climbs based on the grade and the duration of the grade, and when we get to them it gives us a heads up display showing the instantaneous grade and remaining distance. We’ve named them C.O.Cs, climbs of consequence. Some days we have zero. Some days we have a few. Today we had 18. 

This turned out to be an exceptionally beautiful day. We were mostly in remote areas and on small farm roads and occasional bike paths. Because we are at a higher elevation the temperature was a little bit lower, and it was nicely overcast the entire day. We even got a little bit of light rain, which was refreshing. In all, we climbed a little bit over 4000 feet today. 

Around noon we stopped at an Asian restaurant in a larger town and had vegetable fried rice and vegetable chop suey. It was really good and it was what our bodies needed. We also had two large Cokes, which probably isn’t what our bodies needed, but it was what we were feeling in the moment. We drink so much on the bike, but after a while, your body just gets tired of the taste of water and you need something else. It’s especially refreshing when we can get something cold. Most of the time within an hour all the water on our bike is warm.

Komoot generally does a great job of routing us. And today was no exception, except at the end. That was a big exception. For some reason it thought we might enjoy a downhill mountain biking course as we needed to shed a few thousand vertical feet over a short distance. We did our best to reroute and pick our way through a beautiful vineyard. Luckily, we were able to stay on mostly paved roads and make the descent. It was quite steep, at times well in excess of 15% for sustained periods. I think we pretty much burned out our rear brakes. We tried to go as slow as possible, given the weight of our bike with us and our gear on it. If we got going fast, there was gonna be no stopping us. Gratefully we made it safely to the bottom. We were able to finish our ride with a calm, meandering path along the beautiful River Moselle to our Airbnb, which is on a medium-busy road between the towns of Lieser and Bernkastel-Kues (Germany).

As far as Airbnbs go, this is kind of the opposite of the one we had last night. There is no kitchen, so there are no opportunities to cook for ourselves here. We unloaded our bike and rode a mile or two down to a grocery store and purchased things we could eat without cooking. We ate them in the backyard as we looked at the beautiful vineyards on the other side of the river from us. While this Airbnb isn’t perfect, we are grateful. We sent our tent and sleeping bags with Matt yesterday, so it was Airbnb or nothing.

Other random notes from Natalie:

Slow hard climbing is much better than riding in a road with fast traffic. Much! One small segment today we had to get on a pretty fast, busy road, with no shoulder on the pavement, but luckily the area next to the road had been mowed, so we were able to push the bike there.

We did stop mid-morning in a small town for some pastries and an ATM. More places in Germany want you to pay with cash. 

We are grateful for bike path signs, even though we have great routing software and two bike computers. It’s reassuring. One of our favorite ones is just a small green bike with an arrow. It makes us smile every time we see it, our little friend, green bike.

Today’s route have very few bike travelers. Maybe we are not the only ones who shy away from big climbs…. 

We encountered some absolutely beautiful hilly vistas, small mountains, small towns nestled between them, dark forests – different from our other days.  

We rode 50 miles today, but our average was much slower than other days. We are now only about a 40-minute car drive from Matt and Jessica and family! (Of course it takes much, longer on our bike, haha, but that’s part of what we’re here for.) We are excited to see them at the end of our ride tomorrow!

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Pete and Natalie




We use slowcomotion to view the world from the perspective of our unique tandem recumbent. We love exploring countries using the path less traveled. This blog captures many of our memories.

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