[ blog » 2020 ] Mini-Tour Tübingen → Heidelberg, Heidelberg → Tübingen (by Philipp Gesang, location: home)

After canceling all vacation for this year this is the first, ultra-short tour of the season. Originally I should have been on the road twice already by now and the lack of form compared to last year – the final days of my trip down from Scotland to Germany – was painfully obvious. Luckily, the route I had chosen for the 150 km trip from Tübingen to Heidelberg did not even come close to the average British country road in terms of steep short climbs.

Great cycling weather, relatively mild temperatures compared to the last weeks, just enough sun to not require a thick layer of sunscreen.

On the way to Heidelberg, the Würm valley was the first attraction, a scenic, gentle downhill all the way to Pforzheim. From there it was mostly boring roads with rather heavy traffic until I reached the foot of the beautiful slopes of the Rhine valley in Bruchsal. Since the ride wasn’t overly challenging till then I rounded it off with the ascent of the Königstuhl (567 m), as is tradition for cycling in HD.

To add some variety on the way home I decided on the route via Karlsruhe. I had done the ride there from Heidelberg and back a couple times while at university and it is still every bit as flat, straight, and boring as I remembered! After confirming this fact I headed for the mountains which hit me with full force just when I was about to leave Pforzheim. Instead of taking the longer route along the Würm again I chose the more direct trajectory through the hills – which ended up being the ascent of just one hill from 260 to 500 m. A grueling climb with some very steep sections, so lots of fun to be had.

Apart from getting my touring fix I was also testing my new “bikepacking” style setup at this opportunity. Overall I’d say the concept is an acceptable compromise: The saddle bag shakes quite a bit when standing on the pedals which adds noticable instability. The handlebar bag can be a bit annoying to attach with all the cables and mounts getting in the way, plus it can only accommodate so much stuff before it gets in the way when riding on the drops. Also, the raised center of gravity negatively affects the handling of the bike. These are minor inconveniences though if the objective is to carry enough stuff to get you through multi-day tours. After all, the fully loaded bike weighs as much as my unloaded tourer. Granted, I didn’t pack a tent, I just carried a change of street clothes in the front bag and mostly food and tools in the rear. But even with two or three additional kilos you’ll get around way faster than on a classical touring setup. Definitely something that should be made a habit.


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