Martina and I play tennis in the same league and funny enough she even looks a little like the other Martina (Navratilova), just prettier. Needless to say, some of her shots are quite like the other Martina’s too, and in our last encounter Martina and her partner won against my husband and me in a hard-fought 3-set match.
After the match we had a nice relaxing chat and Martina mentioned that she and her daughter did a fabulous 1400 km biking trip last year, which ended up being one of her most exciting travel experiences and an amazing mother-daughter bonding opportunity.
Jennefer and her sporty mom, Martina
Originally from Germany, Martina is a very active Toronto real estate professional, probably in somewhere in her 40s, and Martina’s daughter Jennefer just finished her university studies and is off as we speak on another biking trip in Sweden. In the fall she’ll start another 5 years of academic studies in the Czech Republic.
Now you can read about Martina and Jennifer’s European biking adventure.
1. Please tell us a little about yourselves and your background. How did you come up with the idea for this biking trip? Please comment on the special t-shirts you both wore.
Jennefer had to do so some studying in a library. When we met for lunch she admitted having looked through the travel section and found routes for traveling in Germany and got the idea of biking bike though Germany.
For safety we looked for a buddy for her to go along. but while everyone agreed that it would be a great trip no one wanted to commit. One day Jennefer said: “why don’t you come along”? It was a nice thought but I was very hesitant. Packing light was not my strongest side and I was not sure if I could manage to bike such a great distance. But the idea grew on me and suddenly there was no turning back. We started to dream.
We informed ourselves about different bikes and found the best bike shop in Toronto where we bought our bikes and most of the other equipment as well. Over the following weeks we collected all the necessary stuff. We got the special Toronto bike shirt and wore it a lot during our trip, now it also serves as a constant reminder of our great tour whenever I wear it. We checked out web sites of bike trails, made our own training schedules and e-mailed a lot of thoughts back and forth to each other.
2. Please tell us about the itinerary of your cycling trip. From where to where did you go, how many kilometers did you cycle a day? How strenuous was it?
We started in Fuessen in southern Germany and rode for 14 days and 1400 to Flensburg. Some days we had to take it easy (heavy rain, food poisoning) but the last day we rode 180km. It was tiring; our muscles in our shoulders and legs were tight. Also we were not used to being on a bike saddle for such a long time and that resulted in some pain.
2. What type of landscapes, villages and towns did you ride through?
We started in the mountains and worked our way up north – where the terrain got a lot flatter. We saw the most beautiful places, and were so close to them all. Often we rode along rivers and could hardly believe that we were not dreaming. Every little village had a church in the centre, and the most beautiful flowers decorated the houses. At one point we encountered cows in the middle of the road. They were walking home from the field to the farm all by themselves. We were a little uncomfortable at first. Once the hills were behind us we encountered strong winds – especially around the “Nordsee”.
3. There were some mishaps with your luggage and your bicycles at the beginning of your trip. Please tell us about that.
The airline lost our bikes – they delivered them to us four days after we arrived– totally damaged. The bike store had little hope for us and thought we needed to order special parts which would take another three days But since the bikes were so new they managed to straighten out the wheels and repaired the other items as well.
The moment we biked our first meters we thought we were in paradise. The bikes felt heavy due to our lugguage and balancing them was something I had to get used to. At first my bike would tip even in standing position. But we got used to it so much that we could hardly steer the bikes once we took off the luggage. With time we became very efficient in loading and unloading our bikes. We had each two panniers and one bag on the carrier. We did not have a stand or holder to place our maps – which would have been a great advantage to have. Very early on our tour we encountered dirt roads and we felt sorry for our touring bikes. The first flat we got while pushing the bike towards a well to drink some water.