My Philosophy

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when we have footsteps on the moon!"

Monday, 11 April 2011

Starnberger See

When I got the offer to work in Munich my first thought was "Awesome OKTOBERFEST!!!" but that was shortly followed by "I wonder if there will be some cool cycling around there?". A quick google maps search of the surrounding area made me I think more excited than Oktoberfest.

In my eagerness to go out and explore by bike I booked a cycling holiday to the Austrian Lakes (just east of Salzburg) in which I will be cycling between 50 and 80 kilometers (30 - 50 miles) for 3 days in a row. It had been a while since I went for a long bike ride so I wasn't sure how my beer and pastry filled body would cope with that kind of distance now so I planned a little excursion to test my limits.

The new bike will be covered in more detail in another post but here it is:

Trek 7500

Picking a destination was actually really easy. If you go to google maps and have a quick look at the surrounding area of Munich you will see a pair of really big lakes to the South West. I just knew that that destination would be an awesome place to end up and have a couple of beers by the shore. It didn't disappoint, but I was so surprised at how utterly amazing the ride there was! This is the route I chose (initially):

Originally the route would have been about 40km

The first part of my route I have done many times before as it is from Garching (north of Munich) and to the centre of Munich, that is the first part of my route to work when I can be bothered to ride in. Cycling in the city centre of Munich deserves its own post, so one will be prepared for that and I will skip ahead about an hour and a half to when I was south of the main part of the city and I could really start picking up some speed before the next set of lights. Here I was riding parallel with the river Isar.

At this point my energy levels were running a little low so I decided to find a good spot for lunch. After a ride through a very tempting beer garden I went a short way into a forest in the direction of the river. I knew that if I went to the beer garden that would be the end of my trip, and there was so far to go! So I went to the forest, waited until I had a view of the river and stopped for lunch.

It's hard to see but the river is down there!

which came into view a couple of times, but in order to ride alongside it directly I would have had to go down a very steep slope (like -15), which I normally don't see as a problem but that early in the bike ride I didn't want to have to cycle back UP that slope so I gave it a miss.

That turned out to be an incredibly good decision considering what came next completely out of the blue. After riding through a town I carried on straight but there was a short but incredibly steep hill just after it, all there was for it was to just get in a lower gear and ride until the burn in your legs in nearly unbearable, shift down and repeat. I didn't realise it at the time but the reward for getting up that hill was well worth the pain endured:

I got my first good view of the Alps (not from a car), I could feel my legs complain slightly after the hill so I stopped to take the picture and look around a bit then carried on, spurred and more energetic than ever with seeing the mountains. At a roundabout I saw a sign saying Innsbruck 109km, which gave me an idea - more on that another time I think.

I could not believe how motivational and inspirational it was cycling towards the Alps, I could feel them just get slightly bigger as I felt like I was hurtling towards them. It was also awesome that this part of the route was mostly straight cycle tracks and some rolling hills. On the rolling hills it was so easy to pick up speed that I was mostly going over 20mph UP the hills and a reasonable speed of 30mph on one of the downhill stretches here. Love it!

In fact I got so distracted with the speed and the Alps getting bigger (at least I thought) that I missed my turning! I went a full 2 towns further that I originally intended, but at that point I didn't care, I was able to eat up a lot of miles during this stretch. I even felt like extending the ride even further than my diversion forced. Changed my mind pretty quickly after a very short very steep hill, that wasn't exactly what I needed after 2 hours of riding and more than ever I was looking forward to a nice cold beer by the lake. On the way to the next town I felt like I was cycling through treacle so I stopped for 10 minutes for a drink and some more energy replenishment. This is what that place looked like:

The lake I was heading for was about 10k away from there and I decided I would have a Radler (lager shandy) when I got my first sight of the lake. When I saw it there was a really steep downhill to get there. I really wish I stopped to take a picture of this view and downhill section but I got carried away and just flew down hill at a 39mph. Was a little scared but the awesome disk brakes of my bike soon alleviated those fears.

no beer garden down here :(

The next track was a big challenge for my bike, the kind of situation where a mountain bike would have been at home but not quite my hybrid. Ah well, after a bumpy ride I came to this:

That sign means there is a Hacker-Pschorr beer garden 300m up that slope. It's hard to tell from the picture just how steep the slope is but it was VERY steep. Spurred on by the immanent appearance of a beer garden I started to make my way up the hill. By far the steepest of the day and guess what, didn't make it :P Got about half way before I stopped and had to walk it, which was hard enough!

I was disappointed that this beer garden did not at all face the lake, so I did not take a picture, but I had got my hopes up for the Radler that I sat and had that and a lot of water.

The last part of the journey was thankfully quite easy and before I knew it I was sitting here watching over the lake and eating I would say a well deserved ice cream.

So the stats for todays ride were:

Distance: 68.6km (41.5 miles)
Time: 3h 30 mins
Average Speed: 19.7kph (12.3 mph)
Max Speed: 68.3 (42.4 mph)
Calories: 3128

Check out the full stats here:
Feel free to friend me on Endomondo if you are also doing running/cycling!

Not a bad ride! Comments are always welcome, and congratulations for making it all the way through the long tedious blog :)

Viel Spaß homies!


  1. That's a heck of a long way, well done. As usual, you missed your turning LOL x

  2. Sounds like a good ride!!

    I think I am going to have to get back into riding so I can come on a cycling holiday with you sometime. Need to build my stamina up a bit though, I can normally only manage about a 15 mile ride in the Look Out.