Dear BTG participants & followers,
here is the fourth newsletter of BTG 2019. It covers some “terms and conditions” of our event to make sure that everybody knows what he gets when registering for the BTG. We will also give you some information about legal considerations of Bikepacking in Germany. You might know that in Germany almost everything is regulated 😉
Self support and self responsibility
BTG it is not an organized event. Almost everything is arranged by friends for friends on a voluntary and non-commercial base:
- Scouting and recording the route and Points of Interest
- Administration of the website
- Providing a simple registration page based on non-commercial web services
- Finding a commercial site for rental of trackers and hosting a tracking page and getting you in contact with them so you can rent a tracker if you want
- Providing number plates that you can attach to your bike: Again with no commercial interest just to create some kind of group spirit
All of this is done by a group of bike enthusiasts in their leisure time. There is only one “official event” connected to the BTG:
- The pre-start meeting will be an official event for BTG 2019 participants led by Achim and Thomas. We will probably get a sponsor for the rental fee but we still ask for a €10 donation to cover the cost. We hired a spot inside the area of the public swimming pool of Grenzach that offers BBQ facilities, limited seating, washrooms and a place to pitch your tents or just bivy. The event ends with leaving the bath on Sunday morning. After that you are on your own responsibility.
The BTG itself has no entry fee and no trophies. As it is not an organized event we cannot be held liable for any case of damage, injury or even worse. You are responsible for your own safety. Please make it clear that you will follow a recommended track on your own behalf and responsibility and decide for yourself if and how you do it. Please inform your relatives, friends and lawyers about that as well.
Riding your bicycle off-road in Germany
The track crosses several national parks. We have reviewed and corrected all affected routes to follow national park rules. In these National Parks the track should therefore run on legal paths but we cannot guarantee that rules have remained unchanged since our last revision. So apply some common sense and follow the rules which are noted on signs whenever you enter a protected area.
Germany is a federal state and unfortunately every state of the federation has own laws as to where you are allowed to ride your bicycles. The most rigid rules apply in the state of Baden-Württemberg. After the start you will soon cross into Switzerland and after you return to the northern banks of the Rhine after approx. 50km you will ride through Baden-Württemberg until approx. km450. Details of the law can be found here:
The most important part is: You are not allowed to ride your bikes on ways that are less than 2 meters wide.
After about 150km you enter the hill range of Schwäbische Alb. We didn’t have a tape measure with us when we scouted the route but we are pretty sure that in some parts the trail is less than 2m wide. This especially applies to the so-called Albtrauf, which the route follows for a few kilometers. At a critical point, we offer an alternative track, which is on legal paths for cyclists, but by far not as impressive as the main route. Each participant should decide independently which way to use. The relationship between hikers and cyclists is often tense in some areas.
But again: Apply your common sense: Please meet hikers friendly and respectful and give way to them! In 99% of the cases this will do the job. Second: Only the top 5 or 10 riders will reach the Albtrauf on Sunday. The rest will be there on a working day… It’s up to you to make the best out of this.
Once you’re into Bavaria you are on safe ground. In all states except Baden- Württemberg riding on trails is legal, except for protected areas (see above).
Camping in Germany
Camping is officially prohibited outside public or commercial campgrounds. Period! It is strictly prohibited in nature reserves, e.g. National parks, biosphere reserves or biotopes. These areas might be checked by rangers and fines will be collected if they get you. Outside these areas things are a bit different: First of all bivouacing in the forest or on unused and not privately owned land is not considered camping and tolerated as long as you don’t pitch a tent. The same holds for sleeping in a hammock.
If you prefer to sleep in a tent: Ask the owner of the land if he lets you camp on his ground. Or apply common sense and find a spot out of sight of the next village, farm and road. Arrive late, leave early and leave no trace: Bury your poop and take your garbage. If you follow these rules you will be safe. Among bikepackers public shelter cabins are very popular places to stay for the night. If they don’t display a sign that sleeping there is forbidden, it is generally tolerated.
If you feel the need to light a campfire you should also be aware that campfires are generally forbidden outside official fireplaces. In dry summers special care is necessary before you light a fire. We have fire warning categories in Germany and when they apply, open fires are strictly forbidden. If you want to light a fire anyway: Stay away from trees and fields, clear the fireplace of vegetation, protect it by stones. It’s good practice to watch out for fireplaces that have obviously been used before. Have water ready to extinguish the fire and be sure to do so before you leave.
So that was the nasty part. But to sum it up: Be responsible for yourself, the people you meet on the trail and for the delicate nature that you are moving in and everything will be good. Behave in a way that will leave the BTG-route open to the next generation of bikepackers who will follow in your traces.
For those of you who didn’t receive our first newsletter for some reason we included a pdf-file that holds all of them.
That’s it for now. Enjoy your training! A bit more than 3 months to go to the start…
Achim & Thomas