Bicycling?

I was wondering how strenuous the bicycling tours are? Has anyone participated in the one through the Black Forest? Who provides the bikes?

Comments

  • edited August 2018
    We are going on this tour next summer. I had the same question. How long and how strenous are the bike trips? I think Tauck provides the bikes.
  • edited August 2018
    We haven't taken Rhine Enchantment but the past April, biked on the Blue Danube which I suspect may be similar.

    We had the opportunity to take 4 bike rides- two along the river and two in towns. I did the longest one, a 26 mi. one-way trip from from Engelharszell to Aaschach. We met the boat which had gone ahead, in Aaschach. My wife took the short one, a 7 mi. round trip from Durnstein to Weissenkirchen and back. The town rides were in Bratislava, Slovakia and Budapest, Hungary. We didn't do either of those but friends did. Biking is big in Europe. You will see many people riding bikes (to work, etc.) in towns and cities. The bike paths are excellent in Austria and Germany and well maintained.

    Long trip:

    • The river boat had about 12 bikes, but ours were supplied by a local bike trek company. They were very nice multi-speed (15?) bikes with good shifters, hand brakes, and comfortable, adjustable seats.

    • On the long ride, a chase vehicle met us in several locations, just in case- but no one whimped out. Total time, excluding stops and two ferry rides, was about 2.5 hrs

    • I'm just shy of 70 and swim for exercise, but was not in shape for a 26. mi. bike ride. I spent a few months training before the trip. I got to the point where I could bike 26 mi. without stopping, averaging 8 - 12 mph.

    • The peloton stopped 2 or 3 times for rest and bathroom/water break.

    • Our group of 20+ eventually spread out into 3 groups- the rabbits (mostly younger adults, some actually wearing Spandex : ) ), me in jeans (bad choice), then the slow group (one of which was a TD). Due to bends in the Danube and long stretches between stops when everyone caught up, there were times I couldn't see either group.

    • We had two bike monitors/leaders who continuously cycled between the tail-end-charlies and the rabbits, passing me in the process. This was not a leisurely bike ride, but I made it. Actually my legs weren't sore at all the next day.

    • Both long and short trips were on excellent bike paths and fairly level- they follows the river and there are few minor elevation changes. Based on the photos I saw when I Googled "biking the Rhine," it looks like the paths there are much the same.

    • My wife who exercises but doesn't bike had no problems with the short trip- unlike the long trip, this one was more leisurely and more focused on the scenery. They stopped at a pub Weissenkirchen for a drink before returning.

    • Our friends who took the city bike rides said they weren't physically demanding either- again sightseeing was the focus.

    As to your specific bike trips- call Tauck, they will have more info- distance, level of difficulty, chase vehicle, etc.. As I understand it, these bike trips are a fairly new addition to Tauck river cruises so they may still be working out the kinks. Everything on the long trip wasn't as organized as it should be, e.g. chase vehicle didn't have water, we weren't briefed on the route, etc. But a number of us including the TD gave good feedback so I suspect it will be much better the next time.
  • Good summary Alan. We have some bike trips in the itinerary for the Budapest/Amsterdam cruise that I'm looking forward to next summer.

    FYI, Tauck has had bikes on board I believe since they started river cruising but for sure since our first cruise in 2014. In Avignon the TD led a group on an option ride during a free afternoon there and the same on the Seine last year when we spent the day near Giverny. They weren't on the itinerary just options presented while on the tour. (For those who haven't been on a river cruise, the TDs add alot of little activities that don't appear on the official itinerary - talks in the lounge, a trip to the market with the chef, a stretching class on the sun deck, etc.)

    But I do think they are adding more bicycle activities to itineraries. Interesting that they are also using rental bikes which makes sense so they can adjust the numbers easier than just relying on the limited number on board.
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