We call it the fairy-tale route. The Mosel Cycle Route meanders past some of Germany’s prettiest landscapes, best wine regions, cutest towns and most impressive castles. As the crow flies, it’s only 95 km between Koblenz and Trier, two of Germany’s oldest and most charming cities. But traveling along the cycle path more than doubles the distance as the route hugs every swan-graced curve of the Mosel. This is a very good thing. Most of the roughly 200 km journey is like being in a feel-good Disney film with a really fine wine by our side. Continue reading
The first leg of our cycling trip is on the Rhine Cycle Route from Bingen to Koblenz. Known as the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, this 65 km (40 mile) stretch is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It would be easy to knock off this short, flat distance in a day, but with dozens of hilltop castles, pretty towns and scenic views, it invites slow travel. The well-maintained bike path hugs the Rhine River and is car-free. At every bend there’s another castle towering over the endless vineyards. Little towns, dating back to Roman times, are directly along the route; they’re filled with gorgeous architecture, historic sites, tasty treats and wine and beer. If you missed my introduction to our Germany/France cycle tour, you can find it here. Continue reading
Back in June, I had one of my best weekends of the summer—a two day cycling trip on Washington’s San Juan Island. Just days before our departure I was perusing John Crouch’s Cycling the Islands. I was looking for an island within reasonable distance of Vancouver, with great cycling and scenery that wasn’t too large, too small, too mountainous, too flat, too busy, too quiet, too beholden to too many ferries…Bingo! With its stunning coastal vistas, pleasantly rolling terrain, good roads and courteous easy-going drivers, San Juan is a total pleasure for cyclists. Damn! To think that this island could have been ours (Canada’s). Continue reading
Mike and I recently purchased hybrid bikes. We’ve taken them for spins in the Vancouver area but this was their first test on a multi-day trip. We drove to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal (south of Vancouver), parked our car and boarded the ferry with just our bikes and brand new panniers. It was nice…this unencumbered feeling. An hour and a half later, in Swartz Bay, Vancouver Island, we rode off the ferry and directly onto the Lochside Trail. For four days and 200+ km, we rode the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails, passing along ocean and through forests, farmlands, wetlands, towns, and B.C.’s lovely capital city, Victoria. Continue reading
November, 2015. What do you do with 6000 km of unused railway lines? At the beginning of the 20th century, Spain had ambitious plans to connect its rural communities via rail. With the economic crisis brought on by WWI and then the Spanish Civil War, these plans fell apart. Many of the railway lines, in various states of completion, were never used. They lay neglected until the early ’90s when Spain introduced the Via Verde Program—transforming unused railway lines into biking/walking greenways. There are now over 2000 km of Via Verdes across rural Spain, with over 100 different routes. We had the pleasure of cycling the 36.5 km Via Verde de la Sierra, which links the villages of Olvera and Puerto Serrano in southern Spain’s Andalucia region. It is the crowning jewel of the Via Verdes and has won numerous awards for best greenway in Europe.
What do you think of when you picture Southern California (SoCal)? I’d guess that “the beach” is near the top of the list—that iconic SoCal beach scene immortalized by 60s tunes like California Dreaming and Surfin’ U.S.A.
So, on a recent trip, passing through Los Angeles for just one day, we decided to check out the famous SoCal beach culture. A really fun, and efficient way to do this is hopping on a bike and riding all, or at least a portion, of the 22 mile Marvin Braude bike trail. It’s also referred to as The Strand or The South Bay Bike Path. Continue reading
My son Alex turned 16 in March and we decided to give him more say in the “where to go during Spring Break” decision. I gave him lots of great options, hoping he’d pick a place like Morocco or Borneo. But no, he was set on Southern California; specifically Los Angeles. I can understand the allure for a 16 year old boy—beaches, babes, movie stars, and Mexican food (not necessarily in that order). So much for exposing him to exotic cultures, unless Venice Beach counts! To my dismay and delight, it turned out to be his “best trip ever”, and his parents had a pretty good time too.
What’s on the hit list for a 16 year old boy visiting LA? Continue reading