Three months, twelve weeks and eigthy four days of riding bicycles in super depressing, muddy and rain-washed-out roads of Dortmund has finally come to an end! Spring has been spotted all across Dortmund and so I spend the last two dozen rides or so riding around the greater Dortmund area with only one goal: capturing every single sign of spring with my camera! Today I’m all set up to share the first results in my brand new photo series about spring 2023 in Dortmund!
The entire spring series has been a work in progress for years. Make sure to check out the complete work right here: Urban Photography
Is it too late to wish everyone a happy new year? It probably is … however, today’s quick update is supposed to be a summary of my first 8 weeks of cycling in 2023.
The picture above shows my offseason offroad machine: The Breezer Radar X, basically a non suspension 29 inches wheeled mountainbike with drop bars, on which I spent all of my outside time in the super cold, dark and wet time of year. The highlight so fdar has been the 100km tour I did early in february, mainly for the strava badge, but also because I felt good enough to do so. Put together with my daily bicycle commute to work, I did about 40 rides this year and crossed the 1000km mark a week ago. I think I’ve never pedaled so far this early in any year before, however, if I want to reach my season goal of 10000km I’ll have to “eine Shüppe drauf legen”. This is what you tell everyone, who is obviously not doing enough right now around here.
After an incredible long period of time of constantly trying to ride bicycles further and further, it was finally about time to reach for a magical three digit km distance. I spend a handful of hours to plan a route that would fit my skills and would also lead me across some new routes and places. The perfect area for such route proved to be western of Dortmund, close to the heart of the Ruhrgebiet and also right along the most important river of that area named the “Ruhr”.
A midweek day would be best to go for that route, due to less traffic (bicycles, pedestrians, runner etc.) along the route. This might sound a bit hard and misanthropic, I know, but there’s a simple thought to it. Most bicycle paths in the Ruhrgebiet are build on either old railroad tracks from the coal mining time in the 20th century or placed right along rivers and channels like the “Ruhr”. One thing these places have in common is, there’s not enough room for huge wide bicycle paths at all, which means, the bicycle paths are actually just wide enough for one lane in either direction. On weekends, when most people don’t have to work and thus have time for spare time activities, traffic is at a maximum on the bicycle paths in the Ruhrgebiet, especially when the weather shows its best side. A lot of traffic on the cyclepaths means a lot of time and energy wasted with waiting behind and overtaking slower participants in traffic. Of course, I wanted to finish the route as easy and fast as possible, that’s why a midweek day was perfect for the route.
Time to look on the ride itself in detail:
Like always, I started at the university of Dortmund, then sneaked my way through the western suburbs to get to the first cyclepath of the day: the “Parkway Emscher Ruhr”. This cyclepath offers cyclists a connection between the “Emscher” channel and the “Ruhr”. It’s partly graveled and often sneaks around large roads and much frequented places by using hidden backroads and in my case got me straight to the city of Bochum, where I ended up looking for the entry to the “Springorum Radweg”, only to find the first detour of the day.
The entry to the Springorum Radweg was blocked, because the one and only bridge leading to it is currently under construction. And just like this, the first 100km loop ever gets 5km longer. However, once I made my way to the Springorum Radweg, I was able to finally make some km’s. My brand new Fuji SL-A ran super well and fast along the paved railroad tracks of the past.
Once I left the Springorum Radweg behind me and entered the Leinpfad right next to the Ruhr river, it started raining and it shouldn’t stop for the next 50km … anyway, the Leinpfad is a great cyclepath too, even though it’s way older and even more narrow than any other cyclepath around. It’s so cool to ride along the river for endless km’s, with the water not even one meter away from your bike. Thus, time went by super fast and the km’s did as well. Thirty kilometre later, at around 80km. the last challenge of the day showed up right in front of me. The serpentines up to the Syburg memorial and ruins. This is one of the hardest and longest climbs around Dortmund, especially after 80km’s, but the view from the top of the hill is absolutely worth the effort, even on a rainy day like this.
However, enjoying the view was really hard that day, because I was so out of breathe, that I really needed to take a break right in front of the memorial. Climbing up to the Syburg was the last real challenge of the route. The ruins are the highest point around Dortmund, so the last 20km’s back to the university were just downhill almost all the way. When the tall buildings of the university showed up right in front of me, I knew I made it. The first 100km ride of my bicycle career was a real challenge, especially the last 25km’s. At the end of the day, I managed to ride 105,85 km’s in 5 hours and 20 minutes, which is round about a 20km/h average. It felt great to see the triple digit distance on the screen of my smartphone at the end of the day and I already planned the next long rides for the weeks ahead. So, there’s still a lot of things left to discover!
P.S: Check out the full Video on my YouTube Channel, if you interested in more footage from that day
Sunday, the last day of every week, the highlight of any week for most cyclists I know, and still…I don’t feel too delighted on every sunday ride for various reasons. I mean, there might be great reasons for riding on any given sunday, just like I wrote in the last blogpost,“Why Sunday is the best day for cycling!”. However, if sunday is the perfect day for cycling, then why do I feel so angry and unhappy most of the time, when I return home from a sunday ride? Well, I’m going to answer this question today! Here are some reasons for why I don’t like to go cycling on sundays:
–Popular places in town are so crowded by people!
On a sunday ride I usually like to do a quiet ride, with places and routes, that are impossible to visit or ride during the week, because of traffic or construction work for example. However, everyone who ever tried to visit the Phoenix Lake or Phoenix West in Dortmund on a sunday afternoon knows, that it’s best to just stay away from those popular places, too. It’s noisy, overcrowded by people, the traffic is insane and it’s just no fun to ride bicycles in such environments.
-Sunday is the day after Saturday!
Saturday afternoon and evening is party time! That’s a worldwide phenomenom. Party time in summer time, means it’s outdoor party time, which leads to outside garbage, broken bottles and shards all over the town. As a cyclist on a sunday ride, you have to be so aware of shards and other garbage, that just waits to cut your tires wide open. There’s no time to enjoy the views at all, because of all the threats on the ground.
The german word for unexperienced car drivers, who don’t drive cars on a daily basis, but like to drive on sundays to visit places for a walk or do a weekend adventure, because traffic is low and the streets are free. They are not necessarily bad drivers in terms of skills, they just drive cars differently compared to commuters or daily drivers. As a cyclist on a sunday ride, you always have to be prepared for unusual driving and be ready for an unusual reaction on your bike. Keep your eyes on the road, there’s no time for enjoying views and landscapes!
-Long rides on the weekend take a huge part of your weekend time!
Spending the larger part of the weekend on your bicycle means you’ll miss every awesome roadbike race on TV. Of course, you can watch the highlights later in the evening, but it’s only live once. They don’t give you all the expert insights in the highlight show and there’s also no time for all the historic buildings and background knowledge to the race’s region and culture. Besides, you’ll probably going to miss or at least be late for every summer BBQ with family and friends. It’s a shame, but you always have to estimate carefully on what’s more important to you. Luckily, there’s the good old german summer. Heavy rain and strong winds in combination with a nice summer storm can have a huge impact on that decision from time to time…
Of course, not everything’s bad on a sunday ride. I had a lot of great sunday rides on the bike, roadbike as well as gravel and mountainbike and I know, that sundays are perfect for outdoor time on a bicycle. So, you shouldn’t take this article too serious. However, maybe you’d like to read about the great and awesome things of a sunday ride instead, here’s the link to the last blogpost:“Why sunday is the best day for cycling!”
In a world that is ruled by schedules, intervals, speed and efficiency, sunday is the only day of the week to do whatever, whenever and however. Some people like to relax all day and only switch between bed and couch, some people are finally able to do their favorite outdoor activity. Whatever it is … Sunday is the day, that everyone can rely on!
Since this website is all about cycling, I’d like to write about the reasons, that make sunday the perfect day for cycling:
Sunday is the most quiet day of the week …
… perfect time to aim for a relaxed ride around town, take a timeout on places that are crowded and noisy all week long and start seeing the city from an unknown side. Noone is going to make a huge fitness progress from a ride like this, but if you take this day as your recovery day, you can discover your city from a totally new side and prepare your body for next week’s interval training hell.
Early Birds will get the trophy!
On sunday mornings, cities are absolutely deserted. The traffic is super low, roads are empty and if the wind is on your side, this is the perfect moment to smash the strava segments, that you’ve aimed for a dozen times at least. Most of the time, you won’t have to break for pedestrians or dogs and there are just a handful of cars, that’ll try to do an insane cutting move or whatever. So, what you’re waiting for? Let’s go and get that trophy!
Endless Time on an unscheduled day!
Thinking about sundays always feels like standing on a rooftop, looking at an wide open area of free space. There are cities, but the roads are empty, there are forests and offroad areas, that I don’t know yet and far in the distance, there are huge mountains covered in fog, so there’s no possibility to see the summit from where I’m standing. There are dozens of possible rides on a sunday and sometimes it’s hard to decide on where I want to go, however, sunday is the only day of the week to scout some new roads, paths and trails, so make sure to take this chance every single week of the year!
Personally I think, sunday’s the perfect day to do a huge ride around Dortmund and districts, that are just too busy during the week. It’s so cool to do a ride across the harbor or even the city centre, because there’s just a super low amount of cars and not a single truck around.
However, what about you? Why do you think sunday is the best day of the week to do a ride on your bicycle? If you’d like to write about that, feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below this blogpost!
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