Bikepacking through the German countryside.


taking the long way home

Hi ! I am Pam and here is a story of one of our adventures.

I have been growing up at the foot of the black forest. Now I live in Berlin. I visit my parents once or twice a year. It takes me around 6 hours to cross the length of Germany with a high-speed train. One day I had the idea to travel the 900 km (560 miles) with a singlespeed bike instead.

So I did. And a puppy and later my Mom joined me.

A woman and her dog on a bicycle tour across Germany.

During the winter months I planned the route and assembled the bike.

A custom build singlespeed touring bicycle.
A singlespeed mountainbike.

I don't like derailleurs and have been building and riding singlespeed bikes for the past 15 years. My inspiration for this build came from early mountain bikes – like the one speed junkyard bikes of the Larkspur Canyon Gang. I got a handsome oldschool steel frame and turned it into a sturdy, low tech and easy to repair touring bike.

A heavy loaded singlespeed bicycle.

I was curious about doing a long distance tour with a singlespeed. Not many people are doing it. Even though I had to push the bike uphill a couple of times – I like traveling like this. One speed for cruising is enough.

A happy dog sitting in a box mounted to a bicycle rack.

Six weeks before the tour a puppy joined my life and became a member of the cross country travel team. She is a great copilot and even better backseat alarm.

Riding through an old German village.

We left the big city behind and started zigzagging between towns. We pedaled up and cycled down, and sometimes more than once around.

A dog snuggled into a bivy bag.
Swimming with a fearful dog in a lake.

We snuggled up tight on dark, chilly nights. We followed cold roads, fought headwinds and rain. Stinky and sunburned we jumped into rivers and swam in crystal clear water on blazing summer days. We rode on hot roads while thunder rumbled and lightning hissed above our heads.

A dog with a swollen snout who had tried to eat a sky raisin aka a wasp.

We endured bug bites, sore butts and boredom. And Madame Dog learned that wasps don't taste good.

Dogs playing rough.
A yellow wasp spider in a field.

We met mild friends and wild monsters. Or was it wild friends and mild monsters instead?

Staring into the flickering flames of a campfire.

Every evening the road ended somewhere and somewhere a bed needed to be found.

Camping in an urban environment behind an old building.

We slept out under the stars and on cold riverbanks. A picnic table and a walnut tree put a roof over our heads. We stayed at a trashy campground and laid our sleeping bag next to a smelly compost pile. And some nights, because of buzzing mosquitoes and busy freight trains rumbling along, we slept nothing at all.

Sleeping in a garden shed.

People were kind to us. At the end of a long day in the saddle and with the sun settling down Elke offered us a bed in her little garden shed.

A little German inn.
A dog sleeping inside a nice hotel room.

Sometimes we rented a room at a small inn, where we enjoyed the luxury of running water and a hot shower, that washed away the dust of the day. We rested our heads on soft pillows and fell asleep between pristine white sheets. Heaven is a simple clean bed.

My Mom riding her bicycle.

After riding 13 days in solitary, we picked up my Mom and her heavy loaded bicycle at the train station. Together the three musketeers rode into the sunset.

Having a picnic on the biketour.
The little green tent.

Prior to this tour my Mom had been camping once. At the age of 18 she spent one night outdoors with her friends.

Being a total camping newbie, she bought a tent for 20 bugs and expected it to be a spacious thing. It is pretty small and we had to leave our gear and our saddlebags outside.

Wild camping on the banks of the river Rhine.

But the tent kept us dry during rainstorms and its stealthy camouflage worked great for wild camping.

My Mom's heavy loaded bicycle.

My Mom's old ladies' bike packed everything and the kitchen sink. My tough Mama traveled 240 km (150 miles) like this. Her bicycle rack was overloaded and wobbled. But her faithful bike didn't buckle. She cursed every hill and yelled at me for going too fast. If you ask her now, it was one of her best times of her life.

An old fruit orchard on a hill.
Me and my dog riding together on my bicycle.

After 18 days and hundreds of kilometers the three of us reached our destination. We made it home and were greeted by my Dad.

A happy dog relaxing in the sun.

We are grateful to the people who gave us cold water, free beer and a smile – and a save roof for the night. Thank you!

An adventurous bike tour with my dog.


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