Eager to get on the road, we started at 09:30, knowing the day would be hot. After leaving the village, the landscape is entirely farms and small forest sections. We stick mainly to farm roads and bike paths. The purpose-built bike paths in Bayern are usually outstanding and today is no exception. Smooth and wide in most places, with well-marked signage. After a short while, we know the heat is going to torture us all day.
Thalmässing is the first village we come to, and it has a lovely town center with a large memorial monument. Nearly empty of people and activity, we push on and head for our first stop of the day in Hilpoltstein. The town offered very little for us, so we pressed on and started the long segment on the Main-Donau Canal.
We have ridden several canals and rivers before. Canals are kind of like a cycling shortcut, blazing an almost straight line from point to point. The riding is flat, and the gravel is packed, making for a quick pace. Today we take it easy since there is no tree cover and roasting hot in the almost cloudless sky. We decided to stop about a third of the way along the canal to grab some shade in the nearby tree-line and eat our sneakily made sandwiches from the morning’s breakfast buffet.
There are a few holiday-making boats in the waterway, but hardly any commercial traffic. We can see the passengers fully masked sitting in the ship’s dining area and standing along the deck rail. I can’t imagine the discomfort of wearing an FFP2 mask all day on a boat tour. These canal tour boats are floating hotels, so the masking would be for several days, one might guess. We fully support mask-wearing in enclosed public spaces, but what we see seems mighty uncomfortable.
The canal route presses on and gets hotter. We have plenty of water and snacks; however, an oasis appears in the form of Ingo’s Imbiss. Perfect timing for a cold drink and some umbrella shade. Freshly restored, we veer off the modern canal and meet up with the Ludwig-Main-Donau-Kanal. This canal was built in the 1830s and has been abandoned for travel, but it still has many original locks and bridges along its length. The trail is in the shadows, and the temps are cooler as we head towards the end of the day.
Nürnberg is a terrible city to ride a bike into, through, or out of. It just is awful, not because there is a lack of bike paths or markers. These are in abundance. It’s because of the insane amount of car traffic, which seems to be much more than larger cities for some reason. I knew this a planned the hotel booking as close to the center edge as possible. The B&B Hotel Nürnberg-City was the first self-service hotel we have been to. I’ve had self-check-in in my past business trips but not self-service where nobody is working in the hotel. It was in an excellent location for us, and the rooms were nice. This night started the trend of leaving the bikes in a parking garage, which I hate. I want my bike in my room with me. Unfortunately, the chance to bring the bikes to the room is infrequent, so we navigate the elevator down.
After a quick stretch and shower, we head into the Altstadt and meet our dear friends from Hohenstadt. We scored a prime table at an Irish pub, outside and directly in front of the television to see Germany lose to France 1:0 in an epically boring, poorly played game.