The RiDE Guide to GERMAnY AND AUSTRIA
Why ride in Germany? Or Austria, come to that? Why go to a country with a network of well-surfaced road that criss-cross beautiful countryside, between quaint villages? Where the locals are friendly and many speak decent English, where the food and beer are good and the summers are warm and dry? Why wouldn’t you want to go there?
The thing is, those who haven’t been seem to think the riding in Germany consists of handful of roads: the B500 in the Black Forest; the Nürburgring; and the autobahns. That’s so far from the truth. There are miles of brilliant roads in places most Brits have never heard of: the Odenwald, the Thüringerwald, the Pfälzerwald, the Bayerisherwald… Yes, there is a theme there: Wald means forest and a lot of the great riding is in heavily wooded hills and the further south you go, the bigger the hills become. By the time you reach Austria, you’re into proper mountains.
But there’s so much more to see than just the hills and mountains. If you like castles, you’ll never be short of a schloss to visit. Museums. Galleries. Vineyards. Automotive history… plus of course plenty of military history. And all the fabulously well-preserved (or, ahem, rebuilt) medieval villages and baroque cities.
So whether you want to cruise around soaking up culture or just ride around enjoying the bends, there’s something for you in Germany – and it’ll be something unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else in Europe.
How to use our GERMANY & aUSTRIA routes
All the routes described in this section are available as GPX files for sat navs, compatible with BMW, Garmin and TomTom devices, by clicking on the links on each page. To preview a route, click on the map link which will open it in Google Maps – but please note that if a road is closed (say, by snow in winter or by roadworks) the previews may not show the true route.
To download a route, simply click the “GPX file” link. It will be downloaded as a Zip file, which needs to be opened with Stuffit Xpander, WinZip or a similar application to get the GPX file you can use.
If you have a Garmin or BMW sat nav, we recommend using Garmin’s free Basecamp software to open the route: go to its File menu and select “import”. You need your sat nav connected to the computer, as Basecamp uses its maps. Occasionally, the route will appear as straight lines – don’t panic! Double-click the route to open it and select the “Recalculate” option to make it snap to the roads. Then select the “Send to Device” option in the top-left corner of the screen to install the route in your sat nav.
If you have a TomTom Rider, you can drag and drop the route straight onto the unit’s SD card – it will process the GPX file just fine. If you have an older TomTom, it’s worth going to the MyRouteApp website – TomTom’s new planning platform – and uploading the GPX file. You can then resave it to your computer as an ITN file, which older TomToms will process happily.
But I don’t have a sat nav…
You can still use our website to help you ride the routes. Open the preview links – or download the GPX files and open them in MyRouteApp – to see the roads we use. Then make your own road book of directions or mark the routes on a map, to make sure you get to enjoy these tours. To be honest, we’d always suggest taking a map with the routes marked on it, even if you do use a sat nav.