Sunday, August 4, 2013

Autofreies Lautertal Kaiserslautern - Lauterecken

Before I moved to the area, I had read about something I thought was really cool: for one day in the summer, the local towns close down a highway and people can rollerblade or bicycle along it. In the Kaiserslautern area, it's called the Autofreies Lautertal Kaiserslautern - Lauterecken. 

I was in town so some friends and I decided to ride the route. I had some misgivings; we discussed that I might not be able to ride very far on the journey. I've basically spent this summer in school or being sick, so I'm not in good shape. I had been very sick with a sinus infection and finally finished up antibiotics this Wednesday so I haven't been in rare form since it messes with my lungs too.

Besides being a bit out of breath and huffing and puffing up some hills, I found the ride very pleasant. Of course, the good company offered by my friend really contributed to that. The weather was just gorgeous; it was in the low 80s with little humidity. 

We cycled along B270 from Kaiserslautern to Lauterecken. It was a festive atmosphere; along the way, many of the small towns had booths set up with food, the ubiquitous beer, and even some live music. Families, singles, couples, and even the elderly were enjoying the ride. We were whizzing down one hill and this guy who had to be in at least his 70s flew past us as he was sitting sideways on his bike. He smiled and yelled something goofy in German. Apparently he was enjoying himself!

I was ready to bail out around Wolfstein, but the guys convinced us to ride the 9 km farther to Lauterecken. I'm glad they did; it felt good to finish the trip to the end. We ate some sausages to sustain ourselves. I was quite done in by then so I decided to take the train back instead of biking back the 20 miles that we had come.

I paid just less than 7 euros to take the train back. It had a car set up for bikes; there are even these seat belt type things to wrap around the bike to keep it from tipping over. The trip took about 45 minutes and was completely jammed with bikers and families returning from the ride.

It was a great day and I'd definitely do this again next year...that is, if my legs don't hurt still! I didn't know that it was humanly possible for them to be so sore. Maybe next year I'll have time to train more.  

I was trying to get a nice picture of the end of the ride. Instead I accidentally got this!

Ah, a bit nicer.

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