Since I recently aquired the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS in combination with Komoot route planning App, I was very excited to test it out for a longer ride. The route was planned for three days from Wittenberg to Meißen, Meißen to Zittau and back to Cottbus.
The bike used is an old racer with 650C wheels (which I installed a rack). Why this bike? It's geometry is not sporty enough, but the much longer chain stays (slower acceleration) give enough space for pack bags, and the longer clearance between pedals to the front wheel allow instant turn or stop due to unknown road conditions on the ride.
Day 1 Wittenberg-Meißen 140km
Taking an early train from Berlin to Lutherstadt Wittenberg, all quiet, no other bikes were on sight! Shortly before 8am, still sleepy headed I was already on the way- oh Elbe! The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt navigated me very smoothly through small villages Wartenburg, Bösewig, Pretzsch, Dommitzsch, Elsnig (mostly well paved or quiet streets!) After Mühlenberg (94km) there were more cobble stones (small too wild ones!!!) and construction sites which were muddy from the last night rain. Approachng Meißen, the view got wildly open with right side to the Elbe, vineyards on the left side hills. Meißen! a lovely little town on the hillside watching down the Elbe. This day ended with a nice glass of Meißener Riesling!
Day 2 Meißen-Zittau 124km
Leaving Meißen passing through Dresden, old market square, football stadium, great garden then further down the Elbe to lovely little towns Pirna (detour due to construction), Wehlen, Kurort Rathen. After Kurort Rathen the climbing starts.
Like a roller coaster ride!
The route around Kirnitzsch went into Saxon Switzerland National Park, gravel ground, it was pretty scary on a long steep descending on thin tires. Entering the Czech Republic into another national park?? Nice rock formations and the smell of pines. Following the bicycle route 3013 through more woods and deserted czech towns before entering Germany again. More steep climbing before Zittau, I was exhausted. The old town of Zittau was grand but empty. The town where the traditional bike/motor brand Phänomen! Refreshing Zittauer Bürgerbrau beer by the end of the day!
Wahoo Elemnt Bolt: poor receiving accuracy in the woods (at least 5m-10m precision error), and ascent/descent were definatly not precise comparing with the elevation data from Komoot.
Komoot: don't really know why the route left the main road into Saxon Switzerland national parks?
Bicycle setting: Gear ratio front 50/34 rear 12-23 does not handle an over 10% climb well, at least not for me :-(
Verdict: After all, it's a lot of fun, the road ahead unknown and unexpected, nothing is un-manageable!
Day 3 Zittau-Cottbus 152km
After a good night sleep in Zittau it's time heading home. Partly on the Neiße Radweg passing by Görlitz and later a combination of Brandenburg Tour, Frosch Radweg until Cottbus, a very smooth ride on nearly all well paved quiet roads through villages, woods, camping sites, lakes and massive corn fields. Before sunset I was sitting in the train heading back home sweet home.
Verdict: The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS is amazing. If you are an orientation dummy like me, it is definatly worth the investment. Though I got very much dependent on it, in another word, I trusted it too much, even started to talk to it on a solo long ride. The map on board computer is very simple, but clear enough. The battery seems to last forever. The Komoot App works great as well, but to change a route in between is not flexible, with a bit common sense it was not difficult to back to planned route once off the road.
Old racers are perfect for longer tours. Solid steel frames absorb the bumpy road conditions much better than the newer aluminium and carbon frames even with narrower tires. Unfortunately most of the racer frames do not come with eyelets for mounting racks or mud guards.
On the photos you see an old titanium frame from the 90`s with Tubus Vega rack using adapter sets from Tubus (Fußverlängerung 7,95€, Schellenadapter 5,95€ (different sizes available depending on the diameter of the seat tube) ). Be careful to protect the paint job when mounting the adapters on the seat tube, and it is ready to roll. The ride was extremly pleasant!