Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Second Autofreies Lauteral Bike Ride

Bike riders on the B270. Photo by J.

Sunday was a great day! Some friends and I grabbed our bikes (or, more accurately, 2 of the 3 bikes were mine ;) and headed out for the car-free day on the B270 road from Kaiserslautern to Lauterecken.

I did this ride last year with some friends (read about it here) and loved it. It's a day to enjoy the two-lane highway without the threat of motorized vehicles. Most people ride bicycles but we also saw rollerbladers, skateboarders, and even some unicyclists! It's a great day for all ages; we saw everything from grandparents to children along the route.

Along the way, there are food stands, oompa music dance parties, rock music parties, plenty of town fests, sausage and meat stands (lots of them!), booths with community information, and even bike repair stations. It's basically a 20 mile-long party. That's right up my alley!

We began at the Gartenschau in Kaiserslautern, the first stop, and rode along the river to join the B270. In Otterbach, we had the friendly Technisches Hilfswerk people adjust the bike seat on my old bike that J was riding and add air to my bike's tires.


Our next stop was at the hippie corner. Okay, it wasn't called that, but it certainly appealed to my inner hippie with an organic snack stand and a drum circle. We enjoyed some Holunder schorles (elderberry-fizzy water mixes) from the friendly ladies at the Bund Freunde der Erde stand, then proceeded to play drums with the welcoming drum instructor. Everyone was jamming!

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My friends were hungry after all that jamming so we made a meat-packed stop. M had saumagen, which is a very typical regional meat for the Pfalz (more info here). J. gleefully announced that Helmut Kohl, a former German chancellor who was from this area, always proudly offered it to guests. We snickered as it is not something that everyone would like; M's serving of it looked like a huge hunk of meat, but she did like it. I could imagine a few international guests choking it down and trying to appear to enjoy it.

Meat fest! From left, clockwise: steak, Rotewurst, and Saumagen. Photo by J.
The next stop was my favorite: we visited with a herd of Haflinger horses on the side of the road. I fed them some delectable grass that was just out of their reach and J played horse paparazzi.

A horse enjoying some of the grass I gave it. Photo by J.
We finished the ride in Wolfstein, stopping to eat some ice cream. Originally, we had planned to bike all the way to the end, Lauterecken, but a sudden downpour of rain divested us of that idea. We loaded our bikes onto the train (which became more and more cramped with bikers) and returned home. It was a great ride! Had the rain held off, we probably would have biked back for a total of 30 miles, but the 15 mile ride was also good. Even better yet was that I was barely sore afterward, a welcome change from last year.


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