Christina/ July 21, 2020/ The daily grind

This sunday we shoot for the moon. The town-twinning cycle path Braunschweig-Magdeburg is scheduled for today. The three of us want to bike all the way to Helmstedt and from there go back by train. Well, sometimes everything turns out differently – and that what’s happened. The tour is branded by closed railway crossings, sweaty descendents and several differences in altitude. We did not reach Helmstedt that day, however, we managed to cross the Elm.

A bike in the cornfield
Looking for new bicycle paths I accidentally come across the town-twinning cycle path Braunschweig-Magdeburg. The track has been established on Octobre, 3rd 2016 – as a secret? As far as I am concerned I do not remember any inauguration party.

An information website on the path promotes the cycle track by stating: “Alongside the town-twinning cycle path you will find signposts at any important waypoints, marked by both, the path logo and directional arrows, ensuring easy bicycling and orientation.” Well, I wonder, whether the writer of these sentences did the tour himself. Just to make this clear right away: both, the signposting and the description of the stages within the brochure are in need of improvement. Unless you ride a combine harvester as a bicycle, than you can surely drive offroad through the cornfields.

The access to the cycle path is already described insufficiently. According to the rough routing map the track has to start somewhere close to the town hall of Braunschweig. Well, we start our tour at Riddagshausen and discover the first signs indicating the town-twinning cycle path close to Weddel.

Bad case of a closed railway crossing
The path from there to Bornum is easy to find. Leaving the country road there however we are facing some difficulties. The signposting to Helmstedt points directly into a cornfield. Hm, that reminds me somehow on cryptic navigation orders such as “Go straight ahead” when the road in front of you is closed. Well our decision here is half chance, it is either left or right. We go right and then left. A group of cyclists comes towards us, we therefore believe that our choice is correct.

We reach a closed railway-crossing. I jokingly say:”Hopefully this will not last as long as it does in Riddagshausen where you often have to wait for half an hour until the train comes.” A man with a rucksack stands at the crossing. He steps up to us. We wonder how long he has been already waiting. After a train has passed and we see cars passing the rails again it begins to dawn on us that something is wrong here. We move our bikes pass the gates. On the other side we spot a sign stating that this railway-crossing is normally closed and will only be opened upon notice.

That’s weired, especially for a signposted tour. At the next rural road we are faced again with a 50:50 chance to find the right track. We turn left. A jarring experience lays in front of us. The ascending slope is tremendous and together with the hot and humid air we gasp for breath on top of the hill. We have a look at our mobiles in order to find the right way. Oh, straight on is the way to Scheppau, which is wrong. That means we have climbed the hill in vain. However the drive down the hill to Lauingen is very nice and suddenly we realize that the towers of the cathedral of Königslutter can be already seen. Upon reaching Lauingen we notice the signposting again. We easily find the way to Königslutter. Now we need a rest from this excitement and effort.

Beware of the steep road

The way back leads us from Königslutter via the forest Elm to the Reitlingstal. Just having left Königslutter we test the strengths of our legs. The access to the Elm however is really tiring as we have to overcome 150 metres of difference in altitude on a very short distance. During the whole rise I dream of a cold shower. When two E-Bikes passes us by it is demoralizing to us. We clench our teeth and stand the effort bravely until we reach the Brunkelburg on the Kuxberg located in the south part of the Reitlingstal.

The way up and down is a gravel road unfortunately which is not very comfortable to roadsters. Leaving the Reitlingstal however we reach another tar road. Via Erkerorde, Lucklum and Neu-Erkerode we cycle to Sickte. At the end of the village we take the road through the forest and reach the city limits of Braunschweig. We travers Riddagshausen again. The length of the trip (65 km) combined with the differences in altitude (450 m) is in our systems. We are tired and are looking forward to a nice cold shower.

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