Katja and Stefan Hartmann have done an extensive tour on their AZUB Ti-FLY X and Ti-FLY 26 electric recumbent trikes again. Like last year when they traveled Up and Down Through Germany.

This time they crossed the Swabian Alb, the Black Forest, the Vosges, and followed the rivers Saar, Moselle, and Rhine. Their goal was to see the Rhine, or Waal being swallowed up by the North Sea. They turned around along Maas and then the Rhine up again. 2700 km of pure fun. Here is the story split into two parts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022: Start! at the town of Kißlegg via Wolfegg, Alttann, Ankenreute, Gaisbeuren, Aulendorf, Musbach, Bad Saulgau, Herbertingen, than along the river Danube to Sigmaringen. Campsite with hundreds of children 😀, dinner at the restaurant Eichamt, very excellent, 90km.

Thursday, May 19, 2022: Over the former hill of the former French garrison, at the Hanfertal train station into the Laucherttal, followed that valley till Hermentingen, through the beautiful Fehla Valley on fine Alb gravel uphill through Neufra to Burladingen, holding right looking down on Ringingen, keeping left past the fantastic Salmendinger chapel, in the direction of the landslide from 1983. We slid down a ravine, hardly wide enough for the trikes, thunderstorm building up. Raced downhill to Mössingen, arrived at relatives’ house with the first downpour, wet all over. 65km.

Friday, May 20th, 2022: After a long breakfast and many laughs, we followed the advice of the locals and cycled to Ofterdingen via the old Rottenburg country road through the forest to Rottenburg am Neckar, then followed the Neckar cycle path upstream. Lunch on the way and ice cream in Horb. Then we turned into the valley of the Glatt creek in Neckarhausen, visited the moated castle of Glatt, then a difficult and steep climb to Lossburg, with a threatening thunderstorm, where we found a Hotel. 70 km.

Saturday, May 21, 2022: departure through the beautiful Black Forest to Alpirsbach, checked into the Hotel Rössle, lunch, city tour, visit the museum and monastery, and enjoyed the new organ by Claudius Winterhalter at an audition, it can be moved within the church on air cushions. Back at the hotel, we enjoined a fine dinner, and sunset on the balcony with white wine. 18km. 

Sunday, May 22, 2022: continue on the bike path downriver, first a lot of ups and downs, admired the beautiful Schiltach, then along the edge of the highway to Halbmeil. From there, on nice cycle paths to Gengenbach, whose marketplace was full of cyclists. Enjoyed a milkshake and admired the small streets.

My wife’s Shimano display showed zero kilometers instead of 7679 total after starting it after a break! Seems to be a common problem. What happened to Japanese perfectionism? Would be a higher price achieved selling the trike now😀?

Then another 25 km through the Rhine Valley to the campsite at the lake near Schutter. Registration empty. Chatted with a lovely couple from the Netherlands, then the friendly groundskeeper came. Nice meadow for the tent, dinner at the lake. 90km.

Monday 23.5.2022: Rest day on the campsite, breakfast in the restaurant, nice chat with the boss, moved the tent to a less lit place, tour around the lake, Kaiserschmarrn for lunch with light rain, lunchtime nap, biotope visited, accompanied by eight ducklings. 

We enjoyed ice cream and coffee and transitioned to aperitif, then dinner, which was eaten under a shelter in the rain.

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022: Woken up by heavy rain, fled to the restaurant and had breakfast with lots of laughter, packed up after the rain stopped, and said goodbye. Via Kurzell, Ottenheim up the river to the Gerstheim barrage, crossing the Rhine into France. Through Erstein, with a break in a cemetery, to Kautergersheim and Altorf to Molsheim, municipal camping, €11.54 😀, fetched at a Super U market Maredsous beer, cheese, olives, bread, and creme Brule. Eaten sitting on the trikes in front of the tent, watching as a thunderstorm came down on the Vosges ridge and sent us a cold wind. 56 km. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022: Pain au chocolat for breakfast, excellent Molsheim railroad cycle path to Saverne, their salads in a friendly brasserie. From here, we followed the channel cycle path Rhein-Marne, beautiful, especially the old part replaced by the boat lift is picturesque. Sandstone cliffs in a narrow valley and many friendly lock houses. A bike guide showed us a trike-compatible way around a metal trail bridge placed in the former channel. Crossed over the channel tunnel at Arzviller and left the Vosges mountains behind us. Down to Sarrebourg. Two alleged campsites turned out to be non-existent. Checked in at the Ibis Hotel. The restaurant was great, interesting menu, excellent wine, and entertained by some other guests. 70km.

Thursday, May 26, 2022: Breakfast with orange pressomat, start through an avenue of old trees, a stork’s nest on every power pole, crossed the Saar river, up the hill on a rough dirt road, through an old forest with large oak trees to the channel de Huileres de la Sarre, rolling downhill on an excellent tarmac path, near Mittersheim a lake to the left and right of us, we on the channel bridge right in the middle, friendly old lock keeper’s cottages, some of which have been inhabited again, few cyclists, a cute restaurant 100 m away from the channel, “Restaurant au pont Neuf”, the wood stove was already smoking when we rolled in, a friendly welcome from the landlord, wood-fired pizza and tarte flambée tasted excellent, the toilet was wonderfully retro, followed the channel further, the Saar came closer from the right. An Azub trike came towards us, what a coincidence it really was our Azub dealer from Bexbach, and we had a pleasant half-hour chat. Then we whizzed through Saaralbe, Saarguemines, Saarbrücken, and Völklingen, called in our arrival at the campsite in Saarlouis, and traveled the well-known path from 2020. Arrived tired at the roofed campsite, set up, and had dinner at an Indian restaurant. 120km.

Friday, May 27th, 2022: Start in Saarlouis, breakfast at a bakery, then, as always in Saarlouis, drove wrong three times, it’s too many Saar branches, GPS kept rotating, probably cloudy, troop with tandems came towards us, again a detour due to construction work, then full closure due to bridge construction, after exploring on foot, rode alternative path. After Merzig again, GPS couldn’t locate satellites, two kilometers back, cycle path signage is terrible, rain jackets were put on for a short sprinkle, then rode through the Saar loop, lovely couple took a photo on the same place like 2020, only 20 degrees colder, lunch again in the same place in Mettlach, further up to the chapel donated by Villeroy and Boch, then up came a rough MTB path for 200 meters, got through moderately well. Then I did not pay attention and crashed into my wife’s saddle bag. The holder broke. I was terribly angry with myself and patched it up. Near Saarburg, steeply up through a narrow tunnel to the beautiful Leukbachthal campsite, the friendly groundskeeper squeezed us in between two mobil homes, on the lawn of one absent long-term camper, sunshine, shopping for dinner at Edeka, eating it on the sun terrace, ordering new bags for my wife to pick up at friend’s place. Listened to a Spaniard’s evening recitative with his wife, 67 km.

Saturday, May 28, 2022: Cold night, curled up except for a breathing hole, woken up by the roar of birds. Breakfast in the Rewe car park, then we visited Saarburg and admired the waterfall. An excellent trip along the Saar to the mouth of the Moselle. Found a good way into Trier through the green area to the Porta Nigra, a nice guarded underground bicycle garage (2.5 €). Looked at Porta and Basilika and Liebfrauenchurch. Enjoyed sparkling wine with lemon ice cream while listening to carillons, left the city exhilarated and along the Moselle to the campsite close to Schwiech, pitched a tent directly on the Moselle, dinner in the ferry tower.  As we got back to our tent, we found ourselves surrounded by a motorbike group. They were nice, even borrowed us a power bank, 44km.

Sunday, May 29th, 2022: Nice breakfast in the ferry tower, leisurely rolling, had a brief rainfall at the Trittenheim ferry tower, many traces of the Romans, Noviomagus (Neumagen) with a replica galley ship unfortunately in the boathouse, but lunch in a conservatory with good goulash soup and bad tarte flambée. Continued to Bernkastel-Kues. Rented a barrel there on a nice campsite, as the nights were announced to be very cold, 5°. Lovely groundskeeper couple from Franconia. Pizza and wine from the campsite, the cold woke me up at night, turned on the heating. 57km.

Monday, May 30th, 2022: Coffee at the reception, then with the trikes to the Edeka, brunch. Parked in the old town and made an extensive visit. Shopping at Edeka for dinner and breakfast. Accommodation booked close to Eltz Castle, dinner cooked on a gas burner, salad first, then tortellini with sauce, yogurt for dessert, let the heating run through the night, at a comfortable temperature. 6km.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022: Delicious muesli again, read the news and observed a seaplane landing and taking off, washed the laundry, walked again to Bernkastel, explored missing corners, fine lunch with a cheeky waiter, talked to a policewoman who caught a truck damaging a house, chased over a slate hiking path up the vineyards, earned ice cream, visited Edeka again to buy supper, admired redwood at Villa from 1884, shuffled back in the middle of a group of children with stressed teachers, enjoyed evening sun, paid 170 €/3d barrel rent, supper with cheese and Tomatoes.

Wednesday, June 1st, 2022: Farewell to our barrel home. From Bernkastel we had to cycle 3 km next to a scary high-speed road, then a nice path without traffic, a break at a bakery with chocolate rolls, admired Thalbach with the ancient bridged gate, found a nice restaurant, delicious salad with trout filet, then there were a little fewer cyclists, historic Pündericher Railroad viaduct offered a few trains, camping in Zell, very friendly groundskeepers, power extension cables in pink borrowed for a deposit of 50 €, beautiful sanitary facilities 20 m away, beautiful place 2 m from the Moselle, shopping in the Zeller Büdchen and at the bakery over the narrow pedestrian bridge, nice mobile home neighbors, no greetings from cyclists in the tent next to us, cool night, but stayed warm with fleece clothing as pj’s. 56 km

Thursday, June 2nd, 2022: Woke up early, fog over the Moselle photographed through the tent entrance, just after the sun came up. Got up, had breakfast and packed up, answered questions about the trikes from neighbors again, slowly rolled on. Admired the double bridge from Bullay. It’s a good thing we didn’t want to go over it, it was very narrow, lingered for a long time because the spectacle of two trucks hugging each other was worth seeing. Not to mention the impatience and unreasonableness of motorcyclists and car drivers. Shortly thereafter, in Alf, had coffee at an Italian restaurant. Continued to Bremm and marveled at the steepest Moselle vineyards of the Calmont, including a via ferrata with hikers on it. Call from Hotel Balthasar in Müden that a room was free, so that was the goal for the day and a visit to Eltz Castle on Friday. Changed sides in Senheim and got a nice lunch in the Sunderhof restaurant. Polish pierogi and paprika sauce with the Schnitzel was delicate. Excellent trip to Beilstein, visited the monastery, and explored nice streets on foot. Kept going to Cochem. Steep up the hill there, admired the bus driver who has to go up there everyday. He asked us not to park at the turning point and doubted that we would be able to go all the way up, that was an incentive for us to get to the gate of the castle, but no bicycle parking space there. Made room for them, took part in a guided tour of the castle, very nice, great look. Down again and met the bus driver again, he praised our commitment. Then to Edeka, it was a bit crowded, but we had time. Beautiful cycle path to a closed ferry terminal, where we helped two Dutch cyclists with a lost valve. My wife always retrieves everything lost, we remounted them, they were very, very happy. Then the path got very rough, got better after 200 m, Pommerheld nature reserve, very jungle-like, interesting track, one-lane, MTB came from behind, who was surprised that we got through there, over the next bridge, then full speed to hotel Balthasar in Müden, 7 p.m. moved into the room, supper in the room, talked to nice cyclists over a glass of wine. 62 km.

Friday, June 3rd, 2022: At the breakfast, we chatted extensively with the cycling couple, the guy took Ti-Fly 26 for a test ride and was impressed. Hike to Eltz Castle over the local mountain, next to a trickle, over a plateau with a barley field, then back down to the Eltz creek and up to the castle. Guided tour was very interesting.  We walked back along the Eltz and ate the snack we had brought with us on a rocky outcrop. Back again over old, abandoned, and newly cleared vineyards. Beautiful view of the Moselle valley on Müden. Showers and dinner. 11km walk.

Saturday, June 4th, 2022: After breakfast, the hotelier also took a test drive on the Ti-Fly26 and considered buying one. Then we followed the Moselle again. Family castle of von der Leyen, the federal road was simply punched through the old buildings. On and on, the valley widened more and more. More buildings and people. Ate a little something in a small grill. Then along the shore into Koblenz. Changed the bank over the Europabrücke. Advance to Deutsches Eck memorial. Talked to participants of the street food market, shortly afterwards a couple asked about our trikes, but they had no time for a test ride. Back to the ancient Balduin Bridge, crossed over the Moselle for the last time. Found our path only after a long search because of a construction site. To Andernach, then Remagen with the well-known remains of the bridge from 1945, and on to Unkel. Left the Rhine there and followed the Unkel creek uphill. Beautiful and steep ravine, but now we were getting tired. Bumped over dirt roads, downhill and slightly uphill again, then our destination Meckenheim came into view. My wife found the hidden house key right away, our friends were away at a party. Everything unloaded, two bags emptied so I could go shopping. Got supplies for the Pentecost weekend at Lidl around the corner. Showered, ate and fell into bed. 120 km

Sunday, June 5th, 2022: Slept late, had a leisurely breakfast, watched the news, made laundry, adjusted the brakes and gears on the trikes, cleaned and waxed chains, pumped up my air shock and all tires. Rain showers kept coming, but harmless compared to hail and downpours at home in the Allgäu. Cooked lunch, made some calls.

Monday, May 6th, 2022: Cozy hanging around, My wife’s new saddlebags configuration arranged, axle bolts on the trikes tightened. Heavy thunderstorm, then sun again. The homeowners finally came back home with a friend, an evening with many stories and laughter ensued.

To be continued…

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