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Moviing to Germany

Old 09-22-04, 04:37 PM
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P. B. Walker
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Moviing to Germany

I'm in the process of moving to Germany. It's a move for a job within my current company. I'll be there anywhere from 1 to 5 years... possibly longer. I'm planning on taking my new mountain bike, and a new road bike. I was wondering if anyone could offer any tips or things to think about in a move like this, in regards to my bikes and equipment.

Also, if anyone has knowledge of what the cycling is like over there, any information would be greatly helpful. I am going to be trying to find a place to live that is within commuting distance of where I will work because I'd really like to get back into commuting by bike. This is assuming there is a place to shower where I will work. I am also hoping there is a bike trail network there.

I'll be in the Landstuhl/Rammstein/Kaiserslautern area if that's important.

Thanks... PBW
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Old 09-22-04, 05:00 PM
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Biking in Germany is so far ahead of anything I've seen in North America that you are gong to have a blast. There are detailed maps for every part of the country (Deutscher Fahrradclub, I think) with dark colors for the roads that are good for bicycles, and light colors for the ones you would want to avoid. And the longer routes -- the Rhine Valley, Taubertal and so on -- are beautifully signposted along dedicated bike trails and along quiet roads. I lived in Frankfurt for five years and spent a lot of weekends on the road. We'd load our bikes on the train to travel to one city, ride to a village and spend the night in a Gasthaus (small hotel) there, then ride on to another city and get the Sunday afternoon train back. I didn't even own a car for the first 3-1/2 years -- my 20-minute ride to work was exclusively on bike trails.
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Old 09-22-04, 08:00 PM
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I would drop Nathank an email. He's an expariate in Germany too, and he could really help you out. But he definitely hasn't been around for a while, which is why I suggested dropping him an email instead.

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Old 09-23-04, 04:25 AM
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the german radweg network is amazing... i wish the us would catch on. i haven't ridden anywhere in the states that compares. there are seperate bike/ped paths everywhere...
sounds like a PCS move... 98th ASG area, right? i am in 1ID north of wuerzburg. as far as equipment, all i can suggest is some light rain gear, lights, a bell (required.. du musst klingeln!) and if you ride road, a 4-season tire like continental's would be good. i have not driven a car in over 3 years, and had no problem whatsoever in getting around germany! you can walk your bike right onto any train, and theft is not a real problem. one of the best things going is the one meter law-- cars cannot pass within one meter of a cyclist.
not far from the area you are going is altmultal, one of the largest destinations for cyclists in germany. there are thousands of km worth of paved bike trails in the area. the rhein and main rivers also have their own networks of trails. if you mountain bike, head up to kreutzberg- awesome monk beer and great offroad.
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Old 09-23-04, 04:37 PM
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This really sound sweet! I almost can't wait to get there.

I've been thinking of buying a few extra supplies and bringing them with me just in case (extra tubes, tires, chain, cassette, lube, chamios cream, etc).

I have a set of lights right now (Performance brand, not great, but they do a decent job) unfortunately the recharger is 100v, not 220. I was thinking it would be best to buy a set of lights there so I can get a recharger that works on their system so I don't have to use a transformer just to charge my battery. I'll probably bring them with me just in case... can't hurt.

I'm not in the military so not a PCS. It's a move with my company, but I'll be working on an air station.

I am bringing my new Seven Mountain bike and currently purchasing a new road frame. Unfortunately, the frame probably won't be finished before I leave and they will ship it to me when it's done. I shouldn't have a problem finding a good bike shop that can build up a road bike, correct?

I remember Nathank... I'll try him if i get a chance.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-23-04, 05:02 PM
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Most German bikes come equipped with dynamo lights, so getting a new charger may not be that easy -- you may have to use something that runs on ordinary throwaway batteries. I used to find that a lot of biking stuff (shorts, computers) was much cheapr in the States, but that could have changed. I bought a bike there and sold it when I left. Still regret it sometimes. It was a great runaround 12-speed bicycle in a nice slatey charcoal color.
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Old 09-23-04, 10:53 PM
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finding a good bike shop is no problem at all. i live in schweinfurt, which is pretty small, and there are about five bike shops there. i have found rolf at hoffmann radsport to be friendly and knowledgable. they know high-end bikes, and the service is amazing. i would trust them to build a set of wheels for me any time- and that says alot. the exchange rate right now sucks, so stocking up is not a bad idea. i bought my cannondale when the exchange rate was really good (the euro had only existed for about a month at that point), but those days are over. this summer i bought a set of continental 3000 (kevlar gatorskin 4-season, kinda fancy for conti) and they set me back $50 american each... and they are made in germany! it is harder to find good deals, but in most cases, what you pay extra for is outstanding service.
don't fret over the 110/220 thing. you can get one large transformer and run it with a power strip. i think i own a kilowatt worth of transformers... a few dollars will get you a small one that will fit in your pocket with enough load capacity to run a charger.
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Old 09-24-04, 09:44 AM
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According to Nathank, the biggest problem with many German bicycle lanes is that they are to the right (curb side) of parked cars, which sounds great until one approaches an intersection or driveway and is forced to violate the most fundamental principles of safe vehicular ("Effective") cycling. Similarly, visitors from the Netherlands have been impressed by the freedom enjoyed by cyclists in San Diego, despite admittedly scary moments at our relatively few cycling-hostile intersections (high-speed free right turns, merges, diverges, etc.).

My answer is still to integrate bicyclists into traffic flow and to calm traffic at merges and diverges, for the safety of all road users.
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Old 09-24-04, 10:28 AM
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that is true, the the lanes are to the right of parked cars, but mainly in the busy areas. you can still blast down the open road in the more rural expanses. there is alot of controversy over the american style "door zone" bike lanes. there is no ideal bike lane configuration other than those closed to motorized vehicles!
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Old 09-24-04, 11:52 AM
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I am in Munich and posted the following on another thread- it might be useful:

I live in Germany and can advise you a bit about cycling here. The cycling paths are usually mandatory. If there is a blue sign with a cycle on (see the link below) it then you are supposed to use the path and you can be fined for going on the road. Legally the sign has to appear at every intersection for the cycle path compulsion to apply. You are supposed to use the cycle path on the right of the carriageway unless the path is specifically signed as being a two-way path in which case you can use the path in either direction. If you are cycling on a path that runs on the left of the carriage way (even where legal) be VERY careful- they are death traps as drivers dont expect you to be cycling in this direction. The German drivers are quite considerate on the whole and try quite hard to avoid hitting pedestrians and cyclists but they do make mistakes like anyone.

You do not have to wear a helmet if you really don't want to but your bike should be kitted out with a bell (electric horns and such like are illegal), wheel/pedal/rear reflectors and dynamo lights (unless you have a racing bike weighing less than 10 kg in which case you are allowed to use battery lights). In any case, if you have a bell and any lights at all however you are unlikely to be stopped by the police.

You are not supposed to cycle on the pavements (unless you are under 10 years old) but as long as you do it slowly at walking pace you are unlikely to run into problems (ha ha)

Dont forget that in junctions not controlled by signposts that the person coming from the RIGHT has priority. So if you are cycling down a long street you might have to slow down at each intersection.

You are of course not allowed to cycle on the autobahns (which have no speed limit-so would be a bit hazardous) and other prohibited roads will be signposted.

With regard to accidents I am told that there is a priority system for determining fault where pedestrians have priority over cyclists and cyclists have priority over cars. So dont just go mowing down the pedestrians if they wander on to the cycle path as you might end up being sued.

the regulations for the use of bike paths is summarised here (in German)

http://bernd.sluka.de/Radfahren/rechtlich.html

Oh and as far as I know there are no hand signal laws in Germany.

hope this helps and have fun

if you need any more tips let me know
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