This year we decided our first tour should be a bit tame, not have too much elevation, and be within Germany. I had a complete hip replacement surgery in February. My recovery is going well, but I still have a way to go to heal completely. Also, 10,000+ meters of climbing wouldn’t be a good idea, so this tour has just over 5000m spread across 21 days. Staying in Germany was a critical decision because of the COVID pandemic restrictions on hotels and camping sites. Both Christine and I are fully vaccinated, which allows us to travel throughout Germany with relative ease.
The planning was straightforward. Find a route almost due north from home. Avoid as many large cities as possible, and follow farm roads, trails, and paths for much of the route. Busy streets are sometimes unavoidable and are always a hassle to ride. Many drivers can’t judge the sideways distance needed to keep a cyclist safe, so we usually have that “brush with death” moment on tour.
For this tour, we have the same bikes as last year’s tours. I ride the Sonder Camino Force 1 Ti, and Christine is riding her Canyon Grail WMN CF SL 7. The Sonder is an excellent travel / bikepacking / light touring bike. I have it fitted out with a rear rack and two small Ortlieb panniers, and a collection of bikepacking bags. Unfortunately, Christine’s situation is not nice with the Grail. Her bike is not designed for touring (or bikepacking for that matter either), so we had to make some adjustments. First, we attached a Tailfin rack to the rear of the bike. Tailfin produces a minimal carbon fiber and aluminum rack system. Unfortunately, Tailfin has almost zero products in stock, so I had to bodge a pannier rack setup for her. The Canyon rides wonderfully and looks great, but there are few options for bags and racks, making it a poor choice for touring.