It was the dog’s fault! An Overnighter to Rügen

Der Hund war schuld! Ein Overnighter nach Rügen // It was the dog's fault! An Overnighter to Rügen

We’ve had a dog for more than two years: Merlin is a double-doodle and complements our family splendidly. So far, however, he has been more of a minor obstacle in my cycling activities. But this time I owe him a wonderful end-of-year tour: from Hamburg to Rügen.

We have booked a holiday home here for the turn of the year and want to start the first days of the new year in peace. And the dog comes along, of course. But then we realise: the new car hasn’t arrived yet and the old car is too small for the five of us with our luggage. So one of us has to walk or ride a bike. And somehow that was just what I needed, because it meant I could take part in the Festive500 (500km between 24 and 31 December), which I had always wanted to do. Thanks, Merlin!

But the weather was anything but inviting: heavy storms and rain were forecast. However, I was supposed to have a tailwind. And a little rain wouldn’t hurt either.

So I quickly strapped the Overnighter gear onto my bike, put on new tyres and off I went. As usual, I used the CXB route planner, which finds wonderful gravel routes based on BRouter.

I had 345km ahead of me, but I didn’t want to ride it in one piece, instead I wanted to take an overnight stop at the Baltic Sea coast. From Hamburg, I rode past Lübeck towards Wismar and further along the coast towards Rostock.

My hope for a tailwind was partly fulfilled, but I had to ride at the edge of the wind again and again, or fight a shifting wind in the forest and in rain cells. An average of only 23km/h shows the challenge. In addition, there were muddy dirt roads and soggy forest tracks, which were a real challenge for the G-One Overland tyres (which is also ok, because they are not built for mud and heavy wetness).

For the night, I looked for a halfway wind-protected spot and lay down in my OR Helium bivy sack. I wanted to put it to the test anyway. And that’s what I got in the form of heavy rain and wind. So I had to close the bivouac hood, which led to so much condensation forming inside that my sleeping bag and clothes got all wet. What a bummer. With such humidity, a bivy sack naturally reaches its limits. So did I, and at 2.30 a.m. I decided to move my camp to the table of a neighbouring picnic site.

I actually wanted to do that right from the start, but for the time being I relied on the bivouac test. There I slept on – without a bivouac sack. The rain had subsided and the strong wind dried the sleeping bag. It was good that I had an inner sleeping bag with me, as always, which provided sufficient warmth in the strong, chilly wind.

6.30 a.m. the alarm clock rang – late for long distances, but sufficient for the short remaining distance to Ummanz on Rügen, where I wanted to arrive at 3 p.m.. After a great breakfast in Warnemünde, I bypassed Rostock to the north and rolled into the rising sun along the sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea. Wonderful!

I decided to cycle north to Stralsund via Graal-Müritz, Ribnitz and Barth, even though this meant some battles against the storm. But I got my fill of the Baltic Sea and could experience the transition from sandy beach to Bodden landscape.

GDR prefabricated buildings and St. Mary’s Church in the sunshine welcomed me to Stralsund. A little later, I rolled over the Rügen Dam onto the island. I can understand why Rügen is so popular with cyclists: a very well-developed network of cycle paths and a rustic landscape. Especially in the western part of the island it is still very wild and you can imagine how it must have been 100 years ago and more.

I am now starting the new year in this wonderful solitude and nature. And maybe I’ll cycle a few more kilometres here before I go back again. But this time by train from Stralsund.


The route in detail

Day 1


Day 2

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