Trier: The Oldest City in Germany is an Underrated Gem


Electoral Palace in Trier

It’s not a place that’s on the itineraries of many  visitors to Germany. Google top tourist attractions in Germany, and Trier is often absent or way down the list. Berlin has the cool factor, Munich has Oktoberfest, and Heidelberg oozes romantic charm. Perhaps it’s a branding issue. Trier’s unique features should place it much higher on Germany’s must-see lists, especially for history buffs. During our cycle trip, we spent a “rest day” in Trier and discovered a city with remarkable history, incredible monuments and laid-back joie de vivre. Here are some of the amazing things we learned about Trier. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Cycling Germany’s Mosel Cycle Route: Koblenz to Trier

IMG_8367We 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

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

Cycling Germany’s Rhine Bike Route: Bingen to Koblenz

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The pretty town of Rhens on the Rhine

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

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , , | 41 Comments

Cycling Weekend on San Juan Island, Washington: The Island that Could’ve Been Canadian!


Wonderful cycling on San Juan Island, Washington

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

Categories: Biking, United States | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

Multi-day Cycling on Vancouver Island’s Lochside and Galloping Goose Trails


Selkirk Trestle, Galloping Goose Trail—C.Helbig

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

Categories: Activities, Biking, British Columbia, Canada, Places | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Cycling Southern Spain’s Award Winning Via Verde de la Sierra


Biking alone the Via Verde de la Sierra—C.Helbig

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.

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Categories: Activities, Biking, Places, Spain | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Only One Day in SoCal? Bike the Marvin Braude Trail

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Marvin Braude bike trail at Manhattan Beach—C.Helbig

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

Categories: Biking, United States | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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