Dear BTG riders,
today we want to give you some information to help you plan and prepare for the BTG 2018.
It is a nice tradition that most participants meet and get to know each other in the afternoon before the race. In the last two years we chose a barbecue hut in the Basel city forest for the meeting. Based on the current number of registrations we expect 60 participants this year, which could be a bit too much for a small barbecue hut. But do not worry, we will find a solution and inform you in time. So if you have the time, come to Basel on Saturday, the 30th of June and spend a nice evening with us.
East of Basel there are some barbecue huts and bivi spots that you can use for overnight accommodation. Their positions are included in the POI we provide you along with the GPX track. Of course you can also stay in hotels or hostels. We can recommend the Hotel Alfa in Birsfelden. There is also breakfast on Sunday morning. Nearby is a youth hostel: http://www.youthhostel.ch/de/hostels/basel-st-alban.
Basel can be easily reached by car, train or even plane. We assume that most people arrive by train. It’s best to book a ticket to the station Badischer Bahnhof (Basel Bad Bf). From there it is only a few kilometers to the starting point near the hydropower plant Birsfelden. Because the bicycle spaces in the long-distance trains (Intercity) are subject to reservation, it is advisable to buy the ticket early enough. Gerhard, who plans to ride individually in May, told us, he already booked his ticket and saved a bit of money by choosing the station “Weil am Rhein” as destination. Please try for yourself.
On the other hand, getting away from Cape Arkona is not that easy. The train station closest to the Cape is Sagard, a little further then Sassnitz. From there you can take a regional train to Stralsund and from there on to the whole world. Experience has shown that in summer it is often not possible to get a bike seat in an Intercity train. On weekends you usually get away only by regional train. If you can estimate your time of arrival, it would be a possibility to book a return ticket in advance (which would be in line with the BTG rules).
The GPS track will be released about a month before the start. As described above, it will contain a lot of POI. These are mainly shelters, supermarkets and gas stations for re-supply. In southern Germany there are many primitive shelter huts in hiking regions, which were built by regional clubs as weather protection for hikers. There is no host, no service and no fee. On our weekend tours, we often use such shelters for an Overnighter. If you behave properly and leave no garbage, an overnight stay is usually tolerated. So while you only need a sleeping bag in the south, there are not so many shelters in the north. Therefore, it is recommended to bring a bivy sack or a small tent. There are also campsites and hotels along the route. We want to leave it up to each participant to find out about these places. At this point the self-support begins. Further information can be found in our route description at http://www.bikepacking.com/routes/bikepacking-trans-germany/
The track was compiled on the computer using “Garmin BaseCamp” and a custom software. The map used is Open MTB Map (https://openmtbmap.org/). These maps are free of charge and work well on Garmin GPS devices. You should get a routable map of Germany as well as of the border area to the Czech Republic and Poland at an early stage and familiarize yourself with the navigation.
More about legal issues of bikepacking and survival in Germany in one of our next newsletters.
All the best, Thomas & Achim.