bikepacking, surly, surly ecr, germany, black forest, bicycle touring, bicycle touring apocalypse, travel, photography
Packlist for this trip was my most minimal so far...  

Packlist for this trip was my most minimal so far...

 

clif, clif bar, rude health, trangia, packlist, bikepacking, cycling, cycling gear, blog, bicycle touring apocalypse
Mo sleeping like a baby...

Mo sleeping like a baby...

Waiting to disembark.

Waiting to disembark.

My sixth coffee of the journey.

My sixth coffee of the journey.

bicycle touring, cycle touring, bikepacking, germany, canon, canon 6d, photography, photooftheday
surly, surly ecr, giant, giant hybrid, skoda, skoda fabia, skoda fabia vrs, thule, thule roof rack
Loading up the bikes.

Loading up the bikes.

surly, surly ecr, trangia, knards, frame bag, wildcat gear, bicycle touring apocalypse
We had moved a matter of metres before Mo's intense desire to read a map got the better of him....

We had moved a matter of metres before Mo's intense desire to read a map got the better of him....

...once again fondling his map....

...once again fondling his map....

The Black Forest

     Last winter I finally succumbed to my lustful infatuation with the Surly ECR. My obsession had reached breaking point. As my girlfriend slept beside me, completely unaware, I would deviantly browse the web on my phone. However, fantasising was no longer enough, I had to have one. Hence, last year my affair with chromoly steel was finally made public…my ECR had arrived…and I have never looked back!

     Like all my purchases, the Surly ECR was not going to be a shiny toy I rode on a few dry days during the summer. Instead, this two wheeled monster would allow me to embark on the epic singletrack rides I’d been dreaming of. Consequently, it wasn’t long before I was planning my first Bikepacking tour, Germany's Black Forest.

     This ancient woodland was a key protagonist in my History degree, but don’t worry I won't bore you with the specifics…AD 235 - 84…ahum…also known as the Third Century Crisis saw the Roman Empire almost self implode as a result of endless imperial depositions and more internal fragmentation than the Kardashians.  The Black Forest had long been home to various Germanic tribes and it was during this period that the barbarians took full advantage of imperial dissension (…see the opening scene of Gladiator...historically inaccurate…but still great!). The Roman army was drastically overstretched and thus military force alone was not going to appease the Germanic tribes, but all was not lost! Play the music…not sure what…something cheesy from the 80’s and bring on the bureaucrats…and a highly fictionalised script that does nothing more than highlight my complete and utter lunacy.


Bureaucrat: “ Oh hey Mr Barbarian…what a fantastic beard you have there…truly a thing of beauty…oh and what a lovely wooden hut, it reminds me of the imperial palace…just don’t ask me how…ahum…so yeah me and the boys…the imperial senate…have been thinking. We could obliterate you and your possy with sheer military force…but we’re the Romans son…we hate fighting…our empire was built on love, flowers and star dust. Hence, we’ve come to offer you an alternative…did I say how much I love your beard…seriously great work! Anyways, as you know the Roman Empire is basically perfect. The cities are paved with gold, money grows on trees, all the women are well fit and dig the filthy sodden and unshaved look, every day is a debauched fairy tale…oh and when you join you get twelve months free Netflix or Spotify…now listen I know what you’re thinking, textbook sales jargon, but you’re wrong! After all, why would I lie, it’s not like I’ve come here today in total desperation because our military forces our completely exhausted and internal strife has led to widespread famine and civil unrest…no no no…my friend, last time I checked my fellow countrymen were naked…eating cheese…drinking wine and burning excess currency…”

Barbarian: “ grunt “

     Honestly, my historical prowess puts the great works of Tacitus and Ammianus Marcellinus to shame and best of all I bare this immense talent with a truly inspirational humility. I don't like to brag, but I’m undoubtedly the greatest historian to have ever lived and probably the best looking…Anyway, it was after this completely accurate historical encounter that many of the barbarian leaders were made provincial leaders and local officials. This solution may have appeared sensible at the time, but in the long term it resulted in further fragmentation and gradually led to the formation of many of the European countries we know and love today. So there you have it, you expected a cycling blog, but instead were bored senseless with an abbreviated and completely ridiculous account of Roman and Germanic relations in the third century AD. My apologies. In other words I was quite excited about immersing myself in this ancient woodland. Obviously, I would need a barbaric companion, someone who laughs in the face ofdeath, willing to sacrifice his life for mine, someone with a degree of common sense to compensate for my complete cluelessness…this lunatic was of course Mo. Now, those of you who haven’t read my John O’Groats to Lands End blog will not be familiar with this mythological hero, but he is, indisputably, the brains behind some of my most epic trips. If I’m honest, I wondered whether he’d answer the phone after LEJOG almost killed us, but to my shock, he did…and bloody hell did he regret it!

     I may have a lot to learn, but one thing that had definitely sunk in after LEJOG was making the bike as light as possible. The length of the UK left both knees and achilles in bits and was the result of a brutally heavy pack list and inadequate gearing. Hence, I replaced my Raleigh’s compact double with a triple (…in preparation for Italy ) and began an expensive process of replacing cheap heavy equipment with lightweight purpose-built gear. Moreover, I left my Ortlieb panniers in the shed and instead put together a Bikepacking set up with the help of Wildcat Gear, Revelate Designs and Carradice. The result of all this bankruptcy was dramatic and my huge 24” Surly ECR fully loaded with gear weighed a mere fraction of my set up for LEJOG. For once, I had done something right, get in!

     Neither of us had any idea how long the trip would take and therefore decided to book the ferry one way, with the intention of booking our return upon completion. However, deep down, we both knew we would probably end up hurtling down some mountain pass, completely out of control, screaming, before plummeting off the side of a cliff like some fleeing Bond villain. Thus, it made more sense to save our money for pizza, cakes and chocolate before our untimely demise. We loaded the car, ate a monster pizza and disappeared into the night. Neither of us had slept the day before and faced 48 hours without sleep, but twenty coffees and more excitement than my little brother on Christmas morning meant that none of that mattered. The sense of adventure, driving into the unknown, through the dead of night and into the gradual light of day is all part of the experience. Further still, it’s the perfect opportunity for some serious music appreciation…Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam…..the list goes on and on!! Hitting the road, with one of my best mates, listening to great music, taking in the scenery, stuffing our faces and chatting about anything and everything…perfection. That said, one thing did slightly concern me. As we travelled further towards our destination the temperature continued to drop. It may have been the early hours of the morning, but minus four in France seemed a little off . Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about the rapidly dropping temperature for too long, because something far more catastrophic took place. I give you….bike roof racks + low French toll station barriers = TOTAL DEVASTATION. Now, my immersion in Zeppelin, croissants and good company was all very well. However, when Mo is explaining that the new IP address system has enough numerical variations for every grain of sand on every planet in the galaxy, well, your concentration does tend to take a leisurely stroll. Hence, the first I knew of my truly horrendous mistake was the almighty crunch and smattering of Thule components on my windscreen. DOH.

     At this point the sensible thing was to pass through the tolls and pull over on the hard shoulder…so, blinded by panic, I got out in the middle of the road and in a state of caffeine fueled consciousness assessed the damage to my Surly ECR whilst desperately hoping Mo’s tourer had taken the brunt of the impact. Luckily the Surly ECR’s 29 x 3” Knards had done a monumental job in cushioning the blow, selflessly protecting Mo’s bike to my disdain and doing an almighty amount of damage to the toll barrier. I figured it was best at this point to deal with the situation like a sensible adult. Thus, I exercised my years of experience on GTA San Andreas, jumped in the car and made a run for it…repairs would have to be made elsewhere. After laying low for several months we decided it was time to assess the damage. With the use of cable ties, bungee straps and of course gaffa tape we were soon back on the road and if anything we’d improved the Thule carrier. Whereas before the rack glided through the air silently and securely, our dodgy repairs rattled precariously ensuring there was literally no chance of forgetting about the bikes again…I give you:

“ The new Thule Rattle Tat Tat carrier. Have you ever felt the bikes were just too secure? Too silent? You need the Rattle Tat Tat. With the Rattle Tat Tat speeding is not an option as the bikes will simply fly off the roof …#safetyfeature…Whilst the relentless rattling ensures your trip is a constant blur of panic and stress, preventing tiredness behind the wheel…..#yetanothersafetyfeature….and even conversations about the universe won’t cloud your judgement….#nailedit “

      Hence, with the superlative Thule Rattle Tat Tat shaking uncontrollably, we continued on our journey. After another six hours of getting our heads around the new IP address format we had arrived. The first port of call was locating a safe spot to leave the car. Now, as a recommendation I would suggest locating a quiet residential road (…preferably one that’s not on fire or riddled with gangs). Obviously, do not leave anything of value on show and maybe throw some rotten vegetables on the back seats as a deterrent. A designated parking lot is always the best option and far more secure. However, for someone like myself…i.e. the equivalent of a medieval peasant…the often extortionate prices can be a significant dent in my pizza trust. So we found a spot just ten minutes ride from the start of our route, loaded up the bikes and began our epic trip through the Black Forest.

     At this point you’ll be pleased to hear that my literary drivel takes a back seat and instead I invite you to indulge in my visual feast below…so sit back…crack open a beer…chocolate milk…or whatever takes your fancy…make sure you’re stocked up with crisps, popcorn and ice cream…remove all your clothes on a webcam and send all footage to my personal…jokingggg…leave all the stripping and indecency to me…Enjoy.



"....oh one last time can't hurt....."

"....oh one last time can't hurt....."

The Wildcat Gear Tom Cat, an awesome option for the Jones H-Bar.

The Wildcat Gear Tom Cat, an awesome option for the Jones H-Bar.

bikepacking, germany, black forest, bike crossing, photography, bicycle touring, cycle
....Mo cycle's ahead...thinking about the creases in his map....

....Mo cycle's ahead...thinking about the creases in his map....

We followed the infamous " Bike Crossing " route for the majority of the trip.

We followed the infamous " Bike Crossing " route for the majority of the trip.

These often precarious watch towers are a familiar site in the Black Forest.

These often precarious watch towers are a familiar site in the Black Forest.

The very tasty www.stemcaptain.co.uk clock, a great use of wasted space!

The very tasty www.stemcaptain.co.uk clock, a great use of wasted space!

Mo modded his Giant hybrid for the trip...

Mo modded his Giant hybrid for the trip...

As always my trusty Klean Kanteen Classics came along.

As always my trusty Klean Kanteen Classics came along.

bikepacking, cycle touring, bicycle touring, bicycle touring apocalypse, germany, black forest, travel, adventure
cycling, cycle, bike tour, cycling tour, bicycle touring, bikepacking, bicycle touring apocalypse, travel, adventure, black forest, germany
Our first night camping in the depths of the Black Forest. This was my first trip using the Hilleberg Nallo and I was seriously impressed!

Our first night camping in the depths of the Black Forest. This was my first trip using the Hilleberg Nallo and I was seriously impressed!

The Revelate Jerrycan providing handy additional storage.

The Revelate Jerrycan providing handy additional storage.

This included some new 29er Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres.

This included some new 29er Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres.

Another beautifully made product from Wildcat Gear, the Lioness, a very handy 2 litre storage pack to compliment the Mountain Lion harness

Another beautifully made product from Wildcat Gear, the Lioness, a very handy 2 litre storage pack to compliment the Mountain Lion harness

...here we go again.

...here we go again.

camping, hilleberg, tent, surly, surly ecr, ecr, knards, cycling
surly, surly ecr, ecr, wildcat gear, knards, 29er, fat bike, trangia, klean kanteen, surly pannier
There was something truly enchanting about the Black Forest.

There was something truly enchanting about the Black Forest.

A quick breakfast courtesy of Clif Bar.

A quick breakfast courtesy of Clif Bar.

surly, surly ecr, fat bike, bikepacking blog, bicycle touring apocalypse, travel, adventure,  bike trails, bicycle gear, 29er, 29er mountain bikes, bicycle touring, bike tours, bike routes, bike route, bike touring, surly, pannier, ortlieb, steel frame,
My custom Wildcat Leopard frame bag.

My custom Wildcat Leopard frame bag.

bikepacking, cycle touring, bicycle touring, cycling, germany, black forest, photography, canon, canon 6d, portrait, landscape, dslr, photo, photos, go pro,
Enjoying the view...

Enjoying the view...

My trusty Klean Kanteen Classics accompanied me on the trip. However the gruelling conditions and constant inclines meant the two 800ml bottles were often inadequate. Thus, for my next trip I'm going to increase my rig's water capacity.

My trusty Klean Kanteen Classics accompanied me on the trip. However the gruelling conditions and constant inclines meant the two 800ml bottles were often inadequate. Thus, for my next trip I'm going to increase my rig's water capacity.

bicycle touring, cycle touring, bikepacking, germany, black forest, bicycle, bikes, mountain bike, cycle gear, road bikes, road bike, raleigh bikes, bicycles, bike parts, mountain biking, bike accessories
Another look at Wildcat's front storage option the Lioness.

Another look at Wildcat's front storage option the Lioness.

bicycle touring, cycle touring, cycling, bikepacking, travelling, adventure, nature, wild, camping, hilleberg, hiking, lost, forest, fire, camp, swiss army, leatherman, sleeping bag
The Black forest has numerous shelters along the walking/riding routes. These huts may be basic, but they provide a valuable camping alternative in severe weather conditions.

The Black forest has numerous shelters along the walking/riding routes. These huts may be basic, but they provide a valuable camping alternative in severe weather conditions.

The Surly ECR was unstoppable throughout the trip.

The Surly ECR was unstoppable throughout the trip.

A close up of the beautifully crafted Wildcat Gear Lioness. I used this front storage to carry all my cooking equipment including my Trangia stove, Light My Fire Titanium spork and the Soto Helix Coffee Maker.

A close up of the beautifully crafted Wildcat Gear Lioness. I used this front storage to carry all my cooking equipment including my Trangia stove, Light My Fire Titanium spork and the Soto Helix Coffee Maker.

Surly's almighty 29 x 3" Knards didn't concede a single puncture and provided excellent grip on wet mud, gravel and snow.

Surly's almighty 29 x 3" Knards didn't concede a single puncture and provided excellent grip on wet mud, gravel and snow.

surly, surly bikes, knards, fat bike, 29 x 3, bicycle, cycling blog, bicycle touring, cycle gear, disc brakes, fat bikes, fat biking, adventure, travel, review
germany, black forest, cycling blog, cycling, adventure, bicycletouringapocalypse, review,  touring bike, touring bikes, bike gear, adventure cycling, ride, bikepacking, cycle routes, touring bicycles
surly, surly ecr, bikepacking, fat bike, knards, trangia, cycle touring, bicycle touring, carradice, carradice longflap camper, brooks, gopro hero
The kind people at Rude Health sponsored me with some of their amazing Pumpkin, Peanut and Beetroot bars.

The kind people at Rude Health sponsored me with some of their amazing Pumpkin, Peanut and Beetroot bars.

The Trangia 27-8UL/HA made cooking a doddle even in freezing temperatures.

The Trangia 27-8UL/HA made cooking a doddle even in freezing temperatures.

Finding water wasn't a problem in the mountains!

Finding water wasn't a problem in the mountains!

At 5am, after a night of extreme cold ( 1100m above sea level ) and little sleep, we decided to hit the road. However, things took a sinister turn along the seamlessly harmless mountain path pictured above. I decided to run ahead with the bike in order to get a shot of Mo who was following close behind. However, I was unaware that alongside the path the knee deep snow was hiding a stream. As I raced up the track my foot slipped off the hidden bank and I tumbled backwards with my bike into the brook. Fortunately it was not very deep, but I was completely soaked. It was at this precise moment that I was made aware of just how vulnerable you are in such brutal conditions and how quickly you can get yourself into trouble. The weather that morning  continued to worsen, with temperatures as low as -5. It wasn't long before I found myself pushing my bike into a blizzard. The result of such prolonged exposure to the cold would make itself known the following day when I was hit with completely debilitating flu.

At 5am, after a night of extreme cold ( 1100m above sea level ) and little sleep, we decided to hit the road. However, things took a sinister turn along the seamlessly harmless mountain path pictured above. I decided to run ahead with the bike in order to get a shot of Mo who was following close behind. However, I was unaware that alongside the path the knee deep snow was hiding a stream. As I raced up the track my foot slipped off the hidden bank and I tumbled backwards with my bike into the brook. Fortunately it was not very deep, but I was completely soaked. It was at this precise moment that I was made aware of just how vulnerable you are in such brutal conditions and how quickly you can get yourself into trouble. The weather that morning  continued to worsen, with temperatures as low as -5. It wasn't long before I found myself pushing my bike into a blizzard. The result of such prolonged exposure to the cold would make itself known the following day when I was hit with completely debilitating flu.

surly, surly ecr, fat biking, knards, snow, singletrack, woodland, black forest, germany, gopro, helmet, trangia, bicycle touring apocalypse, bicycle
Midday temperatures barely reached 0 degrees...

Midday temperatures barely reached 0 degrees...

Our first few nights camping in the mountains had taken its toll on both of us. Whilst, a wave of blizzards and torrential rain that day had left all our gear completely saturated. In the face of yet another blizzard and nowhere suitable to camp we decided to throw in the towel and stay at a hotel.

Our first few nights camping in the mountains had taken its toll on both of us. Whilst, a wave of blizzards and torrential rain that day had left all our gear completely saturated. In the face of yet another blizzard and nowhere suitable to camp we decided to throw in the towel and stay at a hotel.

germany, black forest, bikepacking, bicycle, bikes, mountain bike, cycle gear, road bikes, road bike, raleigh bikes, bicycles, bike parts, mountain biking, bike accessories, racing bikes, cycling gear, touring bike
Mo's pimped out Giant Hybrid. The Schwalbe Smart Sams were a seriously tight fit!

Mo's pimped out Giant Hybrid. The Schwalbe Smart Sams were a seriously tight fit!

Following a ski route.

Following a ski route.

surly, surly ecr, jack mac, explorer, black forest, germany, travel photography, adventure, cycling, cycle touring, bicycle touring, photography, canon, canon 6d, photo
Quick energy boost courtesy of  Torq Bar.

Quick energy boost courtesy of  Torq Bar.

surly, surly ecr, carradice, germany, black forest, carradice longflap camper, snow, camping, bike tour, fat bike, pannier, surly nice rack
knards, disc brakes, surly, surly ecr, bikepacking, bicycle touring apocalypse, cycling blog, travelling, adventure
Welcome to my kitchen...

Welcome to my kitchen...

...I love the Trangia's compact design!

...I love the Trangia's compact design!

Making good use of the super compact Soto Helix Coffee Maker. This super lightweight cone is perfect for bicycle touring and has to be one of the best options for minimalist Bikepackers who can't live without their coffee.

Making good use of the super compact Soto Helix Coffee Maker. This super lightweight cone is perfect for bicycle touring and has to be one of the best options for minimalist Bikepackers who can't live without their coffee.

fat bike, surly, surly ecr, giant, giant hybrid, bicycle touring, cycle touring, adventure, snow, singletrack
My GoPro Hero3 Black Edition was always ready to shoot!

My GoPro Hero3 Black Edition was always ready to shoot!

Bulking not sulking!!!

Bulking not sulking!!!

Possibly the best feeling ever!

Possibly the best feeling ever!

Mo got out his pornography....shortly afterwards I was asked to leave the room.

Mo got out his pornography....shortly afterwards I was asked to leave the room.

Stocking up on doughnuts at Aldis.

Stocking up on doughnuts at Aldis.

 
Axiom do a fantastic range of trunk bags.

Axiom do a fantastic range of trunk bags.

knards, surly, surly ecr, ecr, fat biking, cycle touring, bicycle touring, touring, adventure, travel, cycling gear, touring bike, touring bikes, bike gear, adventure cycling, ride, bikepacking, cycle routes
mo, giant, giant hybrid, ortlieb, axiom, trunk bag, snow, black forest, germany, bicycle touring apocalypse, cycling blog, bikepacking blogt
skiing, black forest, germany, bikepacking, cycle touring, bicycle touring apocalypse, cycling blog, blog, reviews, cycle gear, surly, surly ecr, ecr, fat biking, singletrack, adventure, cycle, ski resort germany
bicycle touring apocalypse, jack mac, jack berry, bicycle touring blog, cycling blog, cycle review, germany, black forest, photography, canon, canon 6d, photo, travel, adventure, cycling,
...take a seat.

...take a seat.

black forest, germany, bikepacking, cycling, giant, giant bikes, giant hybrid, cycling, blog, review, photograpy, bikepacking routes, bikepacking germany
Big sky.

Big sky.

Coffeeeeeee.

Coffeeeeeee.

gopro, gopro hero 3, gopro hero 4, be a hero, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, cycling, cycling blog, travel, adventure, review, black forest, bikepacking, woodland, singletrack, helmet, mtb, mountain biking
surly, surly ecr, ecr, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, cycling blog, knards, 29er, brooks, carradice, gopro, gopro hero, gopro hero 3, germany, black forest, singletrack, mtb, travel, adventure, fat bike, fat biking, bicycle touring apocalypse
Howl at the moon...

Howl at the moon...

Surprise...surprise...Mo's found another map.

Surprise...surprise...Mo's found another map.

bikepacking, germany, black forest, cycling gear, touring bike, touring bikes, bike gear, adventure cycling, ride, bikepacking, cycle routes
surly, surly ecr, knards, carradice, carradice longflap camper, 29er, gopro, germany , black forest, bikepacking blog, cycling blog, travel, adventure, canon, canon 6d
Chocolate Shortbread sandwich. Booyah!!!!

Chocolate Shortbread sandwich. Booyah!!!!

Taking in the view.

Taking in the view.

surly, surly ecr, fat bike, fat bike blog, bikepacking blog, cycling blog, photography, canon, canon 6d, germany, black forest, klean kanteen, wildcat gear, wildcat, travel, review, cycle gear, reviews, bicycle touring, cycle touring
The Hilleberg Nallo 2 took a night of torrential rain in its stride.

The Hilleberg Nallo 2 took a night of torrential rain in its stride.

The Surly ECR was simply incredible and never failed to put a smile on my face!

The Surly ECR was simply incredible and never failed to put a smile on my face!

....Mo realising we're nowhere near the top, despite climbing for over an hour.

....Mo realising we're nowhere near the top, despite climbing for over an hour.

Trees.

Trees.

The Surly Rear Rack may be heavy, but it's incredibly durable and a great fit too the ECR.

The Surly Rear Rack may be heavy, but it's incredibly durable and a great fit too the ECR.

A close up of Wildcat's Tom Cat.

A close up of Wildcat's Tom Cat.

germany, black forest, lazer helmet, fuji camera, panasonic, bicycle, bikes, mountain bike, cycle gear, road bikes, road bike, raleigh bikes, bicycles, bike parts, mountain biking, bike accessories, racing bikes, cycling gear, touring bike, touring bikes, bike gear
surly, surly ecr, brooks, brooks saddles, jones bar, jones h bar, klean kanteen, klean kanteen classic, trangia, trangia stove, knards, surly knards, 29 x 3", 29er, fat biking, singletrack, mtb, mountain biking, carradice, carradice longflap camper, wildcat, wildcat gear, travel, germany, black forest
germany, black forest, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, cycling, cycling blog, woodland, singletrack, mtb, mountain biking, camping, photography, canon, canon 6d, portrait, landscape, dslr, photo, photos, go pro, video, photographer, fuji, leica
Finally found somewhere to eat after a solid day of gruelling mountain ascents.

Finally found somewhere to eat after a solid day of gruelling mountain ascents.

Bikepacking so far off the beaten track was bliss. We took regular stops to fully appreciate our beautiful surroundings. Nature really is a healer.

Bikepacking so far off the beaten track was bliss. We took regular stops to fully appreciate our beautiful surroundings. Nature really is a healer.

The Jones Loop bar was incredibly comfortable and a pleasure to tour with.

The Jones Loop bar was incredibly comfortable and a pleasure to tour with.

surly, surly knards, surly bikes, 29 x 3", carradice, carradice longflap camper, germany, germany black forest, black forest, surly pannier, pannier, singletrack, road, touring, tour, tours, travel, UK, dream, passion
wildcat, wildcat gear, tom cat, stem captain, stem captain clock, garmin, garmin gps, jones, jones h bar, lioness, mountain lion, surly, surly ecr, ecr, 29er, fat bike, cycling blog, bikepacking blog, touring, photography, canon, canon 6d, klean kanteen, bicycle touring, bicycle fat biking
On top of the world!

On top of the world!

 
adventure cycling, ride, bikepacking, cycle routes, touring bicycles, road bicycle, cycling holidays, bike tour, road cycling, bike trails, bicycle gear, 29er, 29er mountain bikes, bicycle touring, bike tours, bike routes, bike route, bike touring
You know you're at high altitude when there's signs to check your pulse!

You know you're at high altitude when there's signs to check your pulse!

Winter Wonderland.

Winter Wonderland.

We may have stopped for the day, but I was really suffering. The flu was now at its worse and I could barely keep my eyes open. On the bike I was sweating buckets despite the freezing temperatures, off the bike my sodden wet layers meant I would shake uncontrollably with the cold. I struggled to eat, became increasingly dehydrated and soon felt unsteady on my feet. Thus, that night we decided that camping simply was not an option and instead found a cheap hostel for the night.

We may have stopped for the day, but I was really suffering. The flu was now at its worse and I could barely keep my eyes open. On the bike I was sweating buckets despite the freezing temperatures, off the bike my sodden wet layers meant I would shake uncontrollably with the cold. I struggled to eat, became increasingly dehydrated and soon felt unsteady on my feet. Thus, that night we decided that camping simply was not an option and instead found a cheap hostel for the night.

The next day I was still in a bad way. I can emphasise the sheer physical and mental struggle of climbing steep mountain roads with the flu ( I lost a stone in just over a week ). However, with the constant support of Mo I battled through and eventually made it to our destination for the day. It was a particularly cold night and we were turned away from a campsite because the owner was concerned we might freeze to death...always reassuring! Hence, we made our way to the nearest hostel and kipped down for the night.

The next day I was still in a bad way. I can emphasise the sheer physical and mental struggle of climbing steep mountain roads with the flu ( I lost a stone in just over a week ). However, with the constant support of Mo I battled through and eventually made it to our destination for the day. It was a particularly cold night and we were turned away from a campsite because the owner was concerned we might freeze to death...always reassuring! Hence, we made our way to the nearest hostel and kipped down for the night.

Hot Chocolate and cake....

Hot Chocolate and cake....

...followed by a huge pizza in the next town!

...followed by a huge pizza in the next town!

HEAVEN. VALHALLA. ELYSIUM....in other words, a good find!

HEAVEN. VALHALLA. ELYSIUM....in other words, a good find!

germany, bikepacking, tbt, webstagram, photo, photography, bikepacking, cycle touring, cycling film, cycling documentary, bicycle, canon, canon 6d, travel, adventure, black forest, surly, surly ecr
Huge dam in the mountains.

Huge dam in the mountains.


     So there you have it. Once again Bicycle Touring Apocalypse has lived up to its name. We are, after all, a brand, with staunch moral values and a tireless drive for the complete opposite of perfection. That said, I believe on this ride, I may have exceeded all expectations, making a monumental hash of just about everything and almost freezing to death. Needless to say, I’m very proud.


A very road worn Surly ECR. After taking this photo we began a long descent through the mountains before levelling out and riding towards our final destination.

A very road worn Surly ECR. After taking this photo we began a long descent through the mountains before levelling out and riding towards our final destination.