BiKeman 2000

During the early 70s I took to bicycle tours with Youth Hostels in 1974 and as soon as I had a somewhat decent bike (Peugeot PX8E) I went all over West Germany - Hamburg, Munich - and international in 1979 with the trip to Luxembourg.

International Biketour Spring 1980

After the InterRail summer of 79 I went back to Switzerland for a week or two. Sleeping in Youth Hostels was the only option then, outside still the occasional snow flurries. After criss-crossing Switzerland from Zurich to Interlaken I came to Geneve. A strong wind was blowing to the west so instead going east I asked about the next Youth Hostel ... found one in Lyon, France! Fellow travellers showed me a map and off I went!

Vierwaldstaetter See
Biketour in Switzerland
Route Nationale 7 for springbreak on the Riviera
turned into big loop
Jah Bernhard at its best
all along the Riviera!
could not leave these Rolls standing there
Jah Bernhard, MC 1980

In Lyon the Mistral blew with blue skies and the decision where to go next was easy. The Youth Hostel was not far from Route Nationale 7 which leads all the way from Paris to ... Menton! I copied a roadmap for the day and made the 240 kilometers to Avignon in eight hours, easy! Now it was out of the question to ride back north so I discovered Provence and Cote d'Azur by bike! In Frejus I met another travelling cyclist and we went along the Rivieras until Genova. Spring on the Riviera was marvelous, a pity I had wasted so much time with Switzerland.

Mediteranean Spring Tour 1981

Lesson learned, 1981 I put an effort in preparing the spring biketour and it worked out perfectly! I took german national road 3 south, passed through Switzerland and reached the Rhone quickly. More time this year I kept going south into Spain! The Costa Brava had exciting coastal roads but no Youth Hostel. After a few fresh nights outside I turned back north for the Cote d'Azur where I stayed in Frejus before going to Menton.

roads were tough in the south
The road to Spain
rolling under palm trees
Calella, Costa Brava
beachbreak in Monte Carlo
On the beach in Monaco
nomen est omen
San Bernardino, Swiss Alps

No taking the train in 1981, I went all the way up to Northern Germany by bicycle. A total of 3600 kilometers in 3 weeks, a good progression from last year's tour.

JahTours Summer 1983

1982 I lost the summer to the army ... but got good practise in short weekend trips. Then 1983 became the first year for Jah Tours International in Menton. In preparation I put serious training in my legs. Not serious enough as I learned on my first roads above 2000 meters. The air was thin and the summer heat was on. Col de Galibier northface was more difficult than I thought and I had to walk the steeper parts with my heavily loaded bike. The evening on the lake Serre Poncon was well deserved! Then I had a couple of mountain road options and took the easy way to the Riviera. I was greeted with a thunderstorm in the Var Valley. Like in a warm shower I kept going and dried up long before arriving in Nice for sunset.

These names became familiar over the years to come
Mountain Passes '83
Galibier northface was tough with all that baggage
Mountain Road '83
My biking friend this summer!
Lovely Girl on Bike '83
nomen est omen
Grand St Bernhard '83

JahTours summer 1984

Col d' Iseran, third highest in the Alps

Above Val d'Isere '84
Sometimes I had to push hard!

Up the mountain
The mountains in the back is the Mercantour National Park

Bonette 2802m (9000ft)
nomen est omen II

Grand St Bernhard '84

Thanks to my move to the more challenging Ruhrgebiet the '84 tour was much better prepared than '83. This year I made it over the highest mountain passes: Col d'Iseran at 2770 meters, Col de la Bonette 2802m with some minor ones thrown in: Mont Cenis, Montgenevre and Col d'Izoard. After a few days above 2000 meters I cruised down the Var Valley to find Menton with my friends and Jah Tours International!

JahTours Summer 1985

riding up the Col de Lautaret
Spectacular Mountains
First time on Cayolle
Gate to the Riviera

After experiences in Switzerland the bikeman avoided that country entirely. I also set new records for long distance biking, like Bochum-Baden Baden (450 km / 280 mi) in one day! This year I started easy with the high mountains: Croix de Fer, Lautaret, then Col de Vars and finally the Col de la Cayolle as the gate to the Riviera. Once in Menton I opened up the office, Jahtours was really big this year.

Tour de France 1986:

Paris by night
Tour de France I
Tour de France II

another famous place for a bike
Col de Tourmalet

The '86 biketour turned into my Tour de France - much like the real thing I circled my way from the North passing Paris, Tours and Bordeaux down to the Basque Country with Biarritz and Lourdes to tackle the Pyrenees mountains at famous Col de Tourmalet. Then I turned to the Riviera  Toulouse - Avignon - Aix-en-Provence to arrive in Menton. My Tour de France: 2500 kilometers, in 9 days.

Jah Tours summer 1987:

no heavy baggage...
Furka, Switzerland
light and safe travel
Bernina, Switzerland
but Suedtirol is tough
Stilfserjoch, Italy

The summer of 87 I was working near Munich and it became a weird year. I checked out the austrian Alps, filled the list with passes over 2000 meters quickly. Trips to Switzerland and Italy rounded up my knowledge of the Mountains. With little time at my hands I reduced my baggage for better performance. Daytrips of 200 to 300 kilometers were fun in the mountains!

my place behind Gunter's tent
BK on Camping St Michel
famous sign with familiar names
Mountains are fun!
Haute Provence
Col d'Allos, France

The Summer 1987 biketour started right after the middle-distance Allgäu Triathlon (1500m/90k/20k). From Lindau it took me two and a half days straight to Menton! As usual I was greeted by friends when I arrived. Bad news were that there was no more sleeping on the beach, I had to ride up to Camping St Michel and found a place behind GG's tent.

Bikeman .. Ironman! - 1988

After the years without the money now I also was short on time. No two weeks of springbreak ... but! Winds were favorable, so I took a week off and biked to the Riviera! 510 kilometers the first day, Bochum - Luxembourg - Dijon, then Lyon, Montelimar, Aix-en_Provence, Frejus, and on the evening of the third day I arrived, in ... Menton! Friends were waiting and it seemed unbelievable that I just biked there in three days! But I felt the roads, my hands were numb for two days ... And, as luck has it, on the way back north I rode straight into a cold front and spent hours waiting out snow showers in the Intermarche of Gap. My limited clothing approach showed its limits, the thin sleeping bag was not for cold nights in the mountains. After two and a half days I was back in Germany and took the train home. Five days on the road, five days in Menton!

after 1250 km in 3 days ...
Spring Biketour
still winter up there
Col de la Cayolle II

To continue the year of records, in summer 1988 I participated in the first European Ironman competition in Roth ... well, I did not qualify for the main event on Hawaii, but had a good race until it came to running the Marathon. My finishing time of 11h26 was not too bad.

3.8k swim/180k bike/42k run
1988 Ironman, Roth
Menton - Baden-Baden
celebrating 10 years of international biketours

During the Summer of 89 I was working near Stuttgart and only made it through the Black Forrest into the Alsace region of France a couple of weekends. Time became one of my scarce resources. Instead of Menton I visited the twin city of Baden-Baden!

New Horizons 1990..2001! My years in France and in the USA. In France of course I rode whenever I could but due to work commitments often only after hours or on weekends. Based in Paris I barely made it to Normandy, but several time crossed Paris on a calm Sunday morning to visit the other side, Fontainebleau or Rambouillet. Next, in 1994 I relocated to the Cote d'Azur, bought two new bicycles: the Rockhopper (my third mountain bike and the best one I ever), and a Trek 3100 for tours along the coast. I went up Cayolle a third time, made it past San Remo on daytrips and broke the 6 Minutes barrier for the Formula 1 circuit in Monaco (the F1 cars needed almost 1:30 at the time!).

Nancy - Karlsruhe

Nancy - Karlsruhe Summer 2005:

With growing family it is not easy to keep fit for more fun, in 2005 I find the hours on the road to get in good form for Tour de France from Nancy to Karlsruhe. This feat was done again in 2010 and I look forward to ride more kilometers on my new Trek 5200 OCLV.

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