We are looking for volunteers for Taunus Bikepacking No. 7!

Would you like to help us with making the seventh edition of Taunus Bikepacking the best one yet? Open roles include Camp Coordinator, Ride Reporter, Driver and Dotwatcher. It’s a great opportunity to experience the event from behind the scenes. Find more information and apply as a volunteer under this link: https://forms.gle/LCUwoCXf85oym7Dh9

EDIT: Thanks a lot for all your applications. Interest was high. We have now closed the applications and are contacting all volunteer candidates.

The Ride Report: Taunus Bikepacking No. 5

These are the daily ride reports as posted on dotwatcher.cc during edition No. 5 in the summer of 2022.

Taunus Bikepacking No. 5 – Preview


Taunus Bikepacking is a self-supported bikepacking adventure in the Taunus hills of Germany. The distance is fixed at 1,000 kilometers, though the route gets changed every year. It’s a mixed surface ride on gravel, asphalt, trails and everything in between. The route is undulating and convoluted, taking in all of the hidden gems of the region. The fifth edition features the most challenging route so far. With more than 18,000 meters of climbing, it’s basically all up and down.

Taunus Bikepacking height profile
The course is very scenic

The weather always plays a big part in Taunus. You might not expect it in the middle of Germany, but on every single previous edition, riders had to deal with intense heat (except on No. 3, which was postponed to September). Extreme weather is almost a tradition. When it does rain, the trails can turn muddy very fast. The mixed surface and undulating terrain make the bike choice difficult. Check out The Bikes of Taunus Bikepacking for an insight into how riders are preparing their rigs.

Intense heat makes staying hydrated difficult

The ride starts Sunday morning and the finisher party is on the evening of the following Saturday. To make it to the party, riders have to cover around 150 kilometers a day, which is definitely harder than it might sound. The fastest recorded time so far is by Joseph Thomas with 2d 23h 10m. The field will spread out fast. Most riders are likely to aim for 5 to 6 days. Some will go faster and some will take their time. There’s enough to be seen along the track to make an extended holiday out of this trip, so it will be interesting to see how different riders tackle it.

Joseph Thomas

The start list features 70 riders from 12 countries. Out of these 70, there are 29 veterans, of which 19 are previous finishers. While there is unfinished business for some, others are just back for more fun. There is a tight community around this ride that is growing every year. Next to the athletic efforts, it’s the inspiring stories of camaraderie and adventure that come out of Taunus Bikepacking. There is much more to it than just how fast some people manage to finish.

Class of 2021

The women’s field is only small, but brings a lot of experience and grit to the start line. Miriam Hamscher is the local hero, living and training in Taunus. Elke Gutermann is a finisher of classic and hard rides such as the Grenzsteintrophy, Steppenwolf, Cherusker 500 and Tuscany Trail. Franziska “von den Socken” has extensive bike travel experience. She already visited many countries by bike, including a 8,000 kilometer trip through Europe. The female representation is completed by Sylvia Pietruska and Nina Kollrepp, who calls her own participation “madness” for a lack of bikepacking experience. We love that she is doing it anyway and are sure that her positive attitude will bring her far. After all, every experience has to start somewhere.

Jeanette Schönbein at inscription

Jacob Rozansky is an experienced thru-hiker from Florida and spends most of his life outdoors, but only bought his bike a few weeks ago. A lot of people say getting to the start line of an event is the hardest part. Seeing how he managed to ride his new bike across the Alps from Marseille to Frankfurt to get to Taunus, we’re not worried about Jacob. His youtube channel is worth a follow.

And then there’s the veterans. Fabian Köhler, Knut Faust, Johannes Reining, Jörn Brumm, Daniel Schleh, Benno Möser and Olaf Flechtner are all looking forward to their third start on this event.

Nobody is as experienced as Ken Kölzer and Thomas Metz though. Both riders are back in Taunus for the fifth time, having ridden all of the previous editions. Their experience is reflected in their cap numbers 1 and 2. Ken has 3 finishes under his belt, while Thomas has 2. When it comes to allocating the cap numbers, Taunus Bikepacking rewards experience and consistency over speed – the lower the number, the more starts and finishes that rider has. This means cap 1 through 29 are all veterans.

Femke van Kessel and Faruk Keles

Finally, some of the riders we might see riding at the sharp end – no pressure guys… 😉

Peter Batt rode into the top 10 at last year’s Race through Poland and more recently came in fastest at Rob Gardiner’s Wild West Country in the UK. He is a veteran of Taunus Bikepacking but was forced to scratch last year, so finishing will be his priority. Peter is from the UK but lives in Frankfurt, so he knows the Taunus hills very well.

Peter Batt

Fabian Wurm cannot get enough either. The rider from Siegen loves climbing, having just finished the Mittelgebirge Classique the other week. Similar to Peter, he was riding at the sharp end last year, but suffered from the intense heat of the first day so much that he was out early with symptoms of a heat stroke.

Fabian Wurm at the start of No. 4

Another rider that has already seen the front of this field is Stephan Wagner. Stephan was leading the third edition before eventually coming in third behind Olaf Flechtner and Ina de Visser. He’s most definitely one to watch.

Speaking of Olaf Flechtner – he is back for his third start after coming in first on No. 3 and a DNF on No. 4. Olaf knows how important it is to stay comfortable over long distances and has fine tuned his bike setup accordingly.

Olaf Flechtner

Matthias Fischer might be a rookie to Taunus Bikepacking, but has already proven several times how fast he is. The winner of the Orbit Gravel series and top 10 finisher of the Italy Divide is sure to aim for a top spot in Taunus, too.

These are just a few of the names to look out for during the coming week. There’s plenty of others that will bring the fifth edition to life with their stories and we can’t wait to get to know them better over the next few days.

Dotwatching starts Sunday morning at 8 am CET.

Day 0: Inscription

Day 0: Inscription

Riders have been signing in all day at the Taunus basecamp. With so many veterans of past editions, it’s a bit like a family reunion.

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There was live music at the local beer garden and so the crowd got infiltrated by more and more yellow caps over the course of the evening.

Festival vibes

After a few rainy days, the traditional heat has come just in time and promises to stay for the next few days. It looks like it’s going to be another scorcher.

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Most riders are now ready to camp down for the night. Some are still sitting by the fire swapping stories.

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After an early breakfast, the ride starts tomorrow morning 8 AM CET. Riders are setting off individually in one minute intervals.

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Keep an eye on those dots.

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Day 1

With the applause and cheers of the locals, riders set off in the morning individually in one minute intervals. After the first pedal stroke from the line, they were already climbing. This year’s course features some very steep climbs in the first fifty kilometers, so the field was reshuffled and spread out pretty fast.

Rosenweg Ruppertshain
Cap 2 Thomas Metz

While temperatures were still pleasant at the start, it quickly began heating up. Soon there were lots of salt-crusted jerseys to be seen and riders kept stopping at any opportunity to cool down, whether it be village fountains or water tabs on cemeteries.


Private organized support is of course prohibited, but there were already several examples of “trail magic”. This being the fifth edition, some locals already know how to support all riders equally by putting out water crates or even organizing feed stops.

Pizza buns

At the pointy end, after some back and forth, it was cap 64 Maarten Vanhaverbeke who established a lead over the course of the afternoon. As the sun was nearing the horizon, he was being chased by several riders including 25 Peter Batt, 9 Benno Möser, 29 Fabian Wurm and 30 Matthias Fischer. We caught up to Maarten at the Roman fort of Pohl. He reported feeling good and wanting to push on until he didn’t anymore, which would be “probably tomorrow”. He also said “If they want to catch me, they will have to work for it.”

Maarten Vanhaverbeke in Pohl

Maarten made it to CP1 first and bagged his stamp at 10.42 PM. He took a two hour break in a shelter between Rauenthal and Kiedrich.

Maarten at CP1
Maarten's rest stop

We saw Peter Batt in Bad Schwalbach last night grabbing a handful of Snickers just before the last shops were closing.

Resupply in Bad Schwalbach

They seem to have served him well. Peter pushed through the short night and is now riding in front. As the sun is coming back up again, he’s now tackling the climbs of the Rheingau vineyards. As many veterans know, these southward facing slopes without any shelter from the sun become a furnace in the afternoon sun, so he will be very glad to be tackling this section while it’s still early and cool.

There was one crash early on, caused by a little pug that darted out of a driveway and caught Cap 3 Fabian Köhler by surprise. He was able to push on with a scraped knee and noticed only later that the derailleur hanger was bent. With the help of a friendly stranger, Fabian was able to bend it back. None of this dampened his good spirits.

Cap 3

Cap 1 Ken Kölzer forgot his wallet at base camp. We’re not sure if he is now begging his way through Taunus or just living off the land. The cherry trees along the route are carrying fruit, so he should be just fine. He is not carrying cap 1 for nothing.

Scratch Report

  • Cap 6 Jörn scratched in Idstein with breathing issues.
  • Cap 47 Tobias struggled with his mindset and took the sensible decision to stop.
  • Cap 29 Fabian had issues with spoke tension most of the day, constantly having to stop and retighten them until he deemed the wobble in his wheel too risky and folded.
  • Cap 13 Stephan for yet unknown reasons.

Day 2

On any bikepacking adventure, life quickly boils down to the essentials. And so there were three main topics on everyone’s mind today: Mechanicals, sleep and the big one: food.

Mechanicals This ride is not only taxing on the riders, but their machines as well. Cap 8 Olaf Flechtner has some issues with his front suspension, but that doesn’t stop him from descending like a daredevil. Cap 50 Christoph Götz had to detour to a bike shop in Eltville to get a new rear tyre. This detour meant even more climbing meters for Christoph, as he then had to get back to the spot where he had left the route. Cap 53 Tobias Schulte is sheltering above the Rhein with a broken spoke, hoping to find a bike shop along the track soon.

Tobias Schulte

Sleep All our riders got through the night in different ways. Cap 30 Matthias Fischer simply took power naps whenever necessary.

Matthias Fischer

After some fast food from Idstein messed up his stomach, Cap 69 Michael Press had a tough evening, but eventually found rest at the Hauserbachsee campsite.

Michael Press at CP1

Cap 2 Thomas Metz enjoyed the silence on his cemetery bivy. Cap 42 Miriam Hamscher prefers playgrounds over shelters.

Miriam Hamscher

Cap 41 Patrick Das got cosy in the remains of an ancient Roman fort.

Sleep everywhere

Other riders prefer to nap during the day and ride into the night.

A nap in Presberg

Food Food is always a big topic on long rides. You have to take what you can get.

All the food
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Hydration is important too

Luckily, the Taunus locals keep supplying riders with generous gifts.

Trail magic
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As the second night begins, Peter Batt is steadily increasing the gap to his chasers. Only him and Maarten Vanhaverbeke have ticked off CP2 at the time of posting. Behind these two, it’s now Cap 17 Georg Stiebeling riding in third position. The riders are in for a real treat tomorrow as many are approaching the spectacular views of the Upper Middle Rhine valley.

The Rhine at Assmannshausen

Scratch report

  • Cap 58 Frank Wiessner, technical issues.
  • Cap 27 Markus Goetzke, saddle sores.
  • Cap 11 Rob Packham, exhaustion.

Day 3

Day 3

In the early hours of day 3, cap 16 Kristian Buljan was riding strong and constantly making up places near the front when around 4.30 am, he collided with a deer in a high-speed descent. Kristian was taken to hospital. Luckily he suffered only road rash. His broken helmet illustrates that it could have been much worse.

Kristian's helmet

Throughout the day, the bulk of the field was travelling along the stunning Rhine valley, where tough climbs are rewarded with breathtaking views at every corner. Many riders were battling with knee problems, saddle sores, exhaustion and the many difficulties the route throws at them, though the general consensus was that it’s all worth it. The area around Rhine and Wisper valley are very remote, with lots of wildlife and only very few resupply options. In large parts, there is not even phone reception.

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Views like these
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There is still a fierce, close battle for the remaining top ten positions as Peter Batt built on his staggering lead. With such a huge gap, Peter was able to finally slow down a little and enjoy a pizza in Brandoberndorf. He then rode into what will be his last night on the track. And what a night for it. Not only is it a full moon over Taunus tonight, it’s a rare “strawberry moon” lighting up the sky. Picture him riding through that scenery, towards the last big climb and behind that, the finish line.

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Scratch report

  • Cap 16 Kristian Buljan, wildlife collision.
  • Cap 66 Sandor Decsy, suspected broken ankle.
  • Cap 42 Miriam Hamscher, lack of motivation.

Day 4

Day 4

The first five finishers have arrived back at base camp over the course of the last twenty-four hours. After what he called a terrible night, cap 25 Peter Batt sealed the deal on his previously unfinished business and crossed the line as the first rider home. Astonishingly fresh, he didn’t look as if he had a terrible night at all though. Peter managed to complete the gruelling course in a time of 3 days and 49 minutes.

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After a beer, breakfast and a shower (in that order), you’d think he would have enjoyed some well deserved rest and sleep. Instead he waited around for the next riders to buy everybody drinks and swap stories by the barbecue until the late evening. Peter finally rushed to get the last train and is already back at work this morning.

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Cap 17 Georg Stiebeling and cap 64 Maarten Vanhaverbeke had leapfrogged each other for hundreds of kilometers. Maarten caught up to Georg at the beginning of the long climb to Großer Feldberg. This is a nearly twenty kilometer climb to the highest peak of Taunus. The summit lies about twenty-five kilometers from the finish line. As to what happened near the top of the climb, there’s two versions of the story. According to Maarten, Georg put in an attack and accelerated, so Maarten countered and the race was on. Georg states that his gearing simply forced him to push a bit more in order not to come to a standstill on the steep and loose gravel. In any case, the race for the finish line was on. Both riders went all out from here.

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Even though Maarten made it home with a nine minute gap on Georg, the time difference from the staggered start means that Georg is second overall while Maarten takes third. All three riders sat by the fire sharing beers and stories until the sun had gone down and the fourth rider approached.

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On his third attempt, cap 9 Benno Möser became the youngest Taunus Bikepacking finisher ever. The nineteen year old rider had already gotten far on his first attempt, but was stopped within 200 kilometers from the line by saddle sores and painful feet. In the second year, it was the effects of the heat stopping him from completing the course. This third time around, he battled with the heat, mechanicals and stomach issues, but paced himself well and pulled through to take fourth spot in 3 days, 14 hours and 16 minutes.

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The top five is completed by Belgian rider Filip Rousseau, who never even seemed like he was in a hurry and still posted the very impressive time of 3 days, 16 hours and 19 minutes. Chapeau!

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Scratch report

  • Cap 50 Christoph Götz, achilles problems
  • Cap 68 Andreas Hölderle, hand injury after an earlier crash
  • Cap 33 Jan Beuling, saddle sores
  • Cap 34 Herbert De Nijs, broken rear hub
  • Cap 30 Matthias Fischer, sleep deprivation and exhaustion
  • Cap 5 Johannes Reining, quote: “the amount of hurting body parts is just too high”
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Day 5

Day 5

This course takes no prisoners. Most riders out there are nursing some kind of injury at this point. Most prevalent are knee issues and saddle sores. The accumulated fatigue of riding consecutive long days in demanding terrain and hot weather also plays a big factor. Many people are talking about going through bad patches. It can be an emotional rollercoaster as much as a physical one.

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One of the few ones that doesn’t seem to be in pain is Sylvia Pietruska. She’s enjoying the adventure to the fullest.

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When we met him a few days ago, Marc Schnitzius was worried whether his knees would hold up. They did, he is now on the final stretch with his main concern shifting to saddle sores. Marc was spotted in various town fountains cleaning his bib shorts. Tobias Schulte has been riding with a broken spoke for hundreds of kilometers. Cap 69 Michael Press’s Di2 battery ran out eighty kilometers from the finish line and so he tackled the last big climb on a single gear.

After a full day of recovery, cap 42 Miriam Hamscher is back out on the track with her family to support the riders with encouragement and bags of candy.

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Meanwhile, the finisher list is steadily filling up. Patrick Das took sixth place, adding to the strong Belgian showing.

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Olaf Flechtner’s suspension fork failed early, which didn’t stop him from riding strong and finishing seventh.


Behind Olaf, a close race developed for the remaining places in the top ten. Artur Reimchen, Alexander Dimopoulus and Ronni Andersen all arrived within one hour, with Lukas Eger missing out on tenth place by an agonisingly close four minutes.


There’s at least ten more finishers expected on Friday to join the weary riders recovering and trading stories at base camp.

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Scratch report

  • Cap 23 Jonathan Höller crashed, resulting in a broken derailleur hanger.
  • Cap 45 Simon Ermert scratched at CP2. He enjoyed the ride, but simply ran out of time.

Day 6

Day 6

Even though the fight for top ten was decided yesterday, the riders on the course still have plenty of battles to fight. Battles against injury, heat, hills, mechanicals and more often than not, against themselves. Just like anyone, cap 1 Ken Kölzer experienced plenty of highs and lows over the last few days. The one thing that kept him going in the darkest hours was the number of his cap. The number 1 is earned with lots of sweat and awarded to Ken year after year for being the most consistent rider, with the most finishes. So in order to keep it for another year, Ken just had to finish. And he did.

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While the media team was pulling in a parking lot next to the course in Okarben on the hunt for Ken, a rider was already approaching, so they jumped out of the car, but to their disappointment it was just local pro John Degenkolb out on a training ride.

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Another rider that proved just how important reaching the finish is for him is cap 61, Jacob Rozansky from Florida. He was hit by a car on Winterstein by a driver who ignored Jacob’s right of way. Jacob smashed into the car window and was lucky to escape with wounds on hands and legs. Yet his only concern was the buckled front wheel which left him unable to ride on. After checking that he was allowed to accept a lift to a bike shop as long as he made it back to the course by bike, Jacob was brought down to the nearest town by the local police. He was able to buy a new front wheel and is now back on track for a finish in time for the party.

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The finisher count is up to 30. As more and more weary riders stream into the base camp, random events of the day include cap 65 Barry McWilliams being bitten by a big black dog in the Lahn valley.

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The most punctures were reported by Cap 63 Christoph Erbslöh with the count of six.


In the past few years, there were always a few people searching and cheering for riders on the track, sometimes offering them some food and drink. As long as it’s not exclusive to one rider but available to all, this doesn’t count as organized private support. However, this year the “trail magic” escalated somewhat. The riders reported a large number of dotwatchers along the track trying to flag them down, talk to them, ride along with them, sometimes even offering beds in their houses. While the moral support is always appreciated, some riders were overwhelmed by all the questions and generous offers and felt that some of it cost them more time and energy than it actually helped.

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Scratch report



A total of 33 riders made it back to camp in time for the party Saturday evening. The seven finishers of the day had just enough time to take a shower and relax for a few hours, while some of the earlier finishers had already recovered and brought their families. There was a bunch of weary riders sharing their stories while enjoying a barbecue and some beers.

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The base camp at The Eppstein Project had proven to be the ideal start and finish location. Not only were the owners very supportive, many other guests of the campsite had become fans and supporters of the riders throughout the week.

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As is custom on self–supported rides, there are no prizes for the faster finishers. Everybody’s equal. There was a gift for everybody though, as cap 65 Barry McWilliams had illustrated a fantastic map of the route for riders to take home and hang on their walls.

The map

The party lasted until the early Sunday morning. The next day, all attention shifted to the three riders remaining out on the course. They were far from forgotten, as everybody willed on their dots and sent messages of support. Caps 51 and 52 Nina and Thomas Kollrepp resisted the lure of their nearby house, sleeping in the woods instead. They hadn’t even brought a key just so they wouldn’t get any ideas. Sticking to the convoluted course can be mentally tough, especially for locals. While knowing the area certainly has its advantages, they are also constantly confronted with the demoralising detours the route takes. It snakes through the Taunus hills for thousand kilometers while never leaving the region, meaning you are never actually that far from base camp, or your own house if you’re local. This can play tricks with your mind. Thomas and Nina stayed strong though and kept true to the track. A friend of them had bet that they wouldn’t make it round, which was more than enough motivation for them to keep on pushing. The pair finished together on Tuesday afternoon.

Nina and Thomas Kollrepp

The prestigious title of lanterne rouge was claimed by cap 57 Elke Gutermann. The former ultra marathon runner treated the ride as recovery from a recent knee injury. She enjoyed sleeping outdoors, meeting the locals and riding her 26” MTB for eleven days. Elke even topped it off with a bivy on the slopes of Feldberg, the highest peak of the route, just under 30 kilometers from the finish.

Cap 57

Some stats: 70 riders from 12 different countries were registered for Taunus Bikepacking No. 5. 57 made it to the start line. 36 finished. One rider was disqualified for organized private support and 20 abandoned the ride early. There were a few crashes, the most serious ones Kristian Buljan hitting a deer at full speed and Jacob Rozansky being hit by a car. Both got away relatively unharmed, Jacob was even able to finish the ride after detouring to a bike shop for a new front wheel. The only broken bone was the ankle of cap 66 Sandor Decsy after an unlucky fall onto an inconveniently placed rock. He still managed to drive his car home to Hungary with a swollen ankle, where the fracture was confirmed in hospital. Cap 1 Ken Kölzer managed to record his fourth finish in five starts, securing him the prestigious cap number for another year. The fastest rider was cap 25 Peter Batt with 3d0h49m, lanterne rouge Elke Gutermann finished in 11d4h35m.

Taunus Bikepacking No. 6 is expected to start in June 2023. Watch this space.

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Meet the riders: Nina Kollrepp

Instagram: @___neyna____

Jetzt hat es mich mal wieder gepackt… das Fieber… das Brennen, mich einer schier unlösbaren Herausforderung zu stellen… 1.000 km/ 20.000 hm selfsupported durch den Taunus.

Eigentlich völlig wahnsinnig hier an den Start zu gehen. Aber aus meiner sportlichen Vergangenheit weiß ich: Bad ideas make the best memories. 

Zu mir:

– keine Ultra-Sportlerin!! Mehr Kopfsache!

– Ich vertraue auf mein Muskelgedächtnis und meine mentale Stärke, die mich in der Vergangenheit schon mehrfach zu Höchstleistungen geführt haben

– mäßige Erfahrung mit Overnightern

– sehr kurzfristig doch noch dazu entschieden, meinem Thomas (mr.t_bike-emotion) auf diese außergewöhnliche Reise zu folgen

– bin kein Planer – ich mach einfach mit

– mein Mantra auf steilen Bergaufpassagen: „…wenn Du nicht so langsam wärst, dann würde es nicht so lang dauern…“

Was ich mir erhoffe:

– neue Menschen zu treffen, die mit mir die Leidenschaft für’s Biken teilen

– neue Geschichten mit nach Hause zu bringen

– persönlich zu wachsen

– das TBP zu finishen (egal in welcher Zeit) 

Hope to see you soon!


Meet the riders: Ken Kölzer

Having missed none of the four previous editions I‘m still very much looking forward to the fifth one.

I may well know the challenges of Taunus Bikepacking, but changes to the route, meeting new riders and familiar faces, challenging weather and other surprises make it exciting every year.

My Salsa Cutthroat will be mostly unchanged for the third time. It‘s the perfect bicycle with drop- plus aerobars, mountainbike wheels and geometry, big gear range, many mounting points while being super comfortable. I‘m working on details though to make it even better.

Finishing and having fun will be my main priorities. No chasing records and sleepless nights for me. See you soon somewhere in the hills of the Taunus.

Meet the riders: Thomas Kollrepp

*erst seit ca einem Jahr Gravelbiker und Bikepacker

*kaum Erfahrung zum Thema Overnighter

*kaum Erfahrung bei Strecken jenseits der 150 Km

*bisher nur wenig Erfahrung mit Overnightern

Ich habe 2015 begonnen Sport ernsthaft zu betreiben. Neben Triathlon, Halbmarathon, Radrennen auf dem Mountainbike oder Rennrad (teilweise auch über 24 H) und Dirtruns, haben es mir besonders die Marathonstrecken auf dem Mountainbike im Rahmen der Stoneman-Challenges angetan. Diese Stoneman-Erlebnisse, die mich tief bewegt und oft an die Grenzen meiner physischen und psychischen Grenzen gebracht haben, zeigten mir mehrfach wozu ich fähig bin wenn ich es nur wirklich will.Ab und an stehe ich vor den Trophäen von Stoneman- Miriquidi, -Dolomiti, -Taurista und -Glaciara mit insgesamt 9 Steinen und denke an die anstrengenden und auch magischen Momente, die ich mit meiner Frau und guten Freunden teilte. Jeder Stein steht für jeweils eine Tour, ein emotionales Erlebnis und eine unvergessliche Geschichte.Dann kam Corona und sämtliche  sportlichen Jahreshighlights wurden nach und nach abgesagt. Besonders hart war die Absage des Radklassikers ” Frankfurt- Eschborn Radrennen am ersten Mai”. An eine neue Challenge beim Stoneman Arduenna in Belgien sowie an einen normalen Urlaub mit Frau und Kind war Aufgrund der Pandemie nicht zu denken. Eine neue Idee musste dringend her- irgendetwas neues!

An einem Wintertag an dem auch reichlich Schnee lag und das Fatbike nach einem Ausritt bettelte, lernte ich mitten im Wald Bernd Hallmann kennen.  Die Sonne schien, trotzdem war es recht frisch. Wir erzählten uns gegenseitig von unseren bisherigen Erlebnissen auf und mit dem Rad. Bernd erwähnte das ich mir den Film “Three Peaks and in between” dringend mal ansehen sollte. Nachdem wir zum Abschluss noch die Nummern tauschten, trennten sich unsere Wege (vorerst).Wenig später saß ich mit meiner Frau und einem Freund gebannt vor dem Laptop. Über ein Facebook Watch Event wurde der Film gezeigt, dem ein Interview mit der Protagonistin “Jana Kesenheimer” folgte. Wir waren sofort begeistert und konnten viele im Film gezeigte Emotionen sehr gut nachvollziehen, da wir uns in einigen Situationen selbst wieder erkannten. Die Idee, mit dem Rad ins Abenteuer zu starten ohne auf Einreisebeschränkungen sowie sonstige Pandemiebedingte Probleme achten zu müssen, gefiel uns sofort. Trotz erheblicher Schwierigkeiten durch Lieferengpässe , war ein passendes Gravelbike für mich relativ schnell gefunden. Die Packtaschen hatten wir auch recht flott zusammen und den ersten Abenteuern stand quasi nichts mehr im Wege.

*erster Overnighter an Ostern 2021: Im Biwaksack bei 2 Grad minus fast erfroren / 50 Meter neben uns wurde mitten in der Nacht ein Reh erschossen /Todesangst und kaum geschlafen.

*zweiter Overnighter: sehr idyllisches Plätzchen in Aschaffenburg gefunden und eingerichtet / wir wussten zunächst nicht das es sich dabei um den Drogenumschlagplatz Nummer 1 Aschaffenburgs handelt 

*dritter Overnighter: fantastischer Campingplatz mit kleiner und feiner Marina am Weserradweg / morgens stellten wir fest das wir direkt neben dem AKW Würgassen genächtigt hatten.

Letzten Sommer war ich dann 4 Tage und 500 Km alleine unterwegs und konnte weitere Erkenntnisse sammeln:12 Kilo Gepäck ist viel zu viel / schönster Overnighter an einsamen Strand am Main in der Nähe von Miltenberg / auf Campingplatz beklaut worden.

Über diverse Bikepacking Gruppen bei Facebook bin ich dann aufs Taunus Bikepacking gestoßen, das mich sofort in den Bann zog. Ich bin hier im Taunus groß geworden, lebte einige Jahre in Frankfurt am Main und zog dann mit Frau und Kind wieder in den Hintertaunus. Den kompletten Taunus auf einer einzigen Strecke besser kennen zu lernen reizt mich daher auf besondere Weise. Den inneren Schweinehund zu besiegen, Grenzen zu verschieben sowie eigene Komfortzonen zu verlassen und neue interessante Menschen zu treffen sind weitere Beweggründe. Trotz zweier gefinishter Stoneman Gold Touren (165 Km, 4400 Hm und 120 Km, 4100 HM die jeweils an einem Kalendertag gefahren werden müssen) halte ich mich selbst nicht für einen überdurchschnittlich durchtrainierten Sportler.  Vor den 1000 Kilometern durch den Taunus mit 20000 Höhenmetern habe ich jedenfalls ordentlich Respekt. Seit der Anmeldung wechseln sich die Gefühle Ehrfurcht, Vorfreude, Respekt, Entschlossenheit, Demut, Abenteuerlust und Neugier stetig ab. Zwischendurch beruhige ich mich mit dem optimieren meines Tourgepäcks und der allgemeinen Vorbereitung auf das Event. Über Facebook, Instagram und WhatsApp konnte ich auch schon ein paar der Fahrer und Fahrerinnen kennenlernen und zusammen ein paar Touren fahren. Bisher alles sehr cool, lustig und aufregend neu. Manchmal bietet das Leben auch unerwartete Überraschungen- jedenfalls staunte ich nicht schlecht als ich den Namen Bernd Hallmann auf der Teilnehmerliste entdeckte (manche dürften ihn und seinen Blog Jacominasenkel bereits kennen). 

Ich habe zwei Räder, die sich für das Event eignen würden wobei jedes seine Vor und Nachteile hat. Bisher konnte ich mich noch nicht zwischen Gravelbike und Fatbike entscheiden. In letzter Zeit ist das Fatty allerdings in den Fokus gerückt da die 1×12 Übersetzung eventuell geeigneter ist als 2×10 auf dem Gravel.An dieser Stelle bin ich für jeden Tipp sehr dankbar. Generell freue ich mich über Erfahrungsberichte, Ideen und Tipps zum Thema Minimalgepäck.

Ich freue mich auf den 12. Juni und bin auf Euch und ein großartiges sowie unvergessliches Erlebnis sehr gespannt.

greetz Thomas


instagram: mr.t_bike_emotions

Meet the riders: Miriam Hamscher

Hi, ich bin Miriam und wohne quasi direkt an der Strecke in einem Vorort von Hofheim. Ich verfolge das Taunus-Bikepacking bereits seit 2 Jahren und will 2022 auch mal mein Glück versuchen. Viele Ecken auf den Fotos und Videos sind bekannt, doch gibt es mit Sicherheit noch viel Neues und Schönes zu entdecken. Von der Strecke hört man ja nur Gutes! Vorab werde ich zum Trainieren schon mal den ein oder anderen Berg im Taunus erklimmen. Die Zeit ist bei mir immer knapp, denn Mann, Kind und Hund wollen auch beschäftigt werden. Ich freue mich auf eine neue Erfahrung! Pssst, mein Rad habe ich übrigens pünktlich vor Corona im März 2020 bei Hibike gekauft, haha.

Story by Sofie De Clercq – Taunus Bikepacking No. 4

Photo by Nils Laengner

Day 1

With a start at 8h57 there is plenty of time for coffee and cakes thank you Julia (Jesko’s mum), they were delicious !

Photo by Nils Laengner

The start line, one last chat with Jesko and of I go. I recognize the first 15km. Only one navigation mistake. That’s much better than last year. And I realise that the riding is easy, it helps to settle in. Temperatures climb and I stop at every fountain. There seems to be one every 5 km. It feels a bit ridiculous (it’s not that hot yet ), but soaking my cap in ice cold water keeps me in good shape.

New landscapes, sand, first break of many in the shade of a chapel, struggling up steep hills, even pushing becomes hard, and finally the ferry. I go for a quick round trip to Rewe’s salad bar, thank you for the brilliant tip last year Katleen, and for the first time I’m ahead of 2 riders. Norbert and Heike overtake me again while I’m in complete tourist mode eating my pasta salad by the ruins of a castle with some great views. Harder than the TPR, Heike says. Is that proof that memories are pretty selective ?

Pushing on to find a classy looking bivvy site on the edge of a forest with much more wildlife than I bargained for. Falling asleep only after having a talk with myself and shouting harder than some local deer partying on through the night. I am now fully aware of what a barking deer sounds like, and that snorting belongs to wild pigs. The next few days I might just read Jesko’s descriptions more carefully, “it’s not unusual to meet more wildlife than people here … “

108 km

Day 2

I love waking up with the birds. It must be one of the best parts of sleeping wild. My first thought is that I have slept. I don’t feel scared or worried anymore in the morning. Somehow I have managed to relax around 2 am. No problem getting out of bed today. I pack, have some breakfast and jump on my bike… because I remember an excellent bakery in Lorch. One more big hill, a brilliant fast descent, great views of the Rhein and there she is, the best bakery in the Taunus, in Lorch. The same lady as last year serves me. This time I get her to smile. I limit my stop to half an hour, all part of my strategy as the red lantern ?. I happily climb the next hill.

Norbert, Heike and the other riders at the back of the pack pushed on a lot further than I did last night and I will not see them again, which is a shame. I could have continued some more. Imagine my surprise when I stumble on Faruk after the first climb of the day. He’s riding on the most amazing bicycle, he doesn’t have a smartphone (a very conscious decision of his) but he’s dying to know how many riders remain behind. I have to disappoint. That’s it. I’m the last one.
He seems to lack some sugar and warns me that we won’t be able to resupply for another 60 km. I was blissfully unaware, but luckily I still have food from shopping at Rewe last night. He wolfs down my extra pastry from Lorch’s bakery. Ever the gentleman he offers to wait for me. I convince him otherwise and he speeds off as the sugar hits his bloodstream.

More events stand out that day. Around km 134, riding along the edge of a forest up on the plateau, I spot a giant rabbit hopping across the road. Yep, a huge rabbit, taller than a St Bernards dog, big floppy ears, little bunny hops, not a deer, fluffy … help me out … anyone spotted something strange ? ?

Later on, I spot a kiosk, shade and walkers sat on benches leaning against a church wall. It’s real, not a mirage. A guy calls out to me, come on lady, bring your water bottles, I’ll fill them up for you ! He sells Magnums and Apfleschorle. Heaven. Hey Bernd, this is the kiosk I told you about, I think it’s in Lykershausen.

Further on I run into Faruk again, walking next to his bike in the middle of nowhere. He’s got a flat and can’t find the adapter for his pump in his luggage. Not much later he catches me again, having knocked at the door of the only house around for miles and he got help. Brilliant bit of optimism and luck. What Faruk lacks in speed on the descents (his bike is a vintage bike with a small front wheel), he makes up on the flat. As a bike messenger he is a really strong rider and I’m pretty happy to let him go. Surely this time is going to be the last time that I meet another rider. But just in case, I wave him off with a hopeful see you later.
Finding a bivvy spot is easy. I sleep like a log.

108 km – in his write-up Jesko says this is the hardest part of the Taunus.

Day 3

Early morning start and an easy stretch along the Lahn. Short of water, I find a fountain in Bad Ems with some very salty mineralised spring water. Hmmm … a small sign explains it’s benefits for the intestines and mentions not to drink too much of it. Hopefully it won’t disturb my digestive system.

Nassau has an ED service station with a great breakfast. I stock up on cheese and egg sandwiches. Brilliant energy food. It’s not yet 7 am and the next stretch is a magic trail in the forest following the Mühlbach. Signs of wild boar again and surprise surprise, an hour or so later I stumble across Faruk having breakfast at the 250 km point. I’m sure he was 30 km ahead of me last night.

Later on (after having turned back for my spare bib shorts happily drying in the sun at km 250) Lissa publishes a photo of an ice cream on Instagram that makes my mouth water. I ask where, it’s in Nastätten. The image gives me wings. Still, a 20% hill with a castle on the top slows me down a bit and it is 5 pm before I find an Eiscafe in Bad Schwalbach. They’re busy, but I get a table and a fabulous strawberry ice cream. Coppa Italia. Little did I know that Italy were gonna kick Belgium out of the Euro. Eating the ice cream takes me to heaven and back.  Once I’ve finished, I notice a random cyclist. The owner of the Eiscafe promptly invites both of us to go and check out his gravelbike complete with bikepacking bags. He is a fan and a dotwatcher and explains the entire Taunus Bikepacking concept to the rather bemused cyclist. After a selfie of the three of us, I push on but quickly feel the need to stop again at the first forest shelter.

It is 7 pm and still hot. I need more fuel. A cheese sandwich, a couple of rounds of babybel cheese and a lie down with my legs in the air give me some much needed energy. I push on, without jersey (I hope the friendly villagers won’t mind the minimalist outfit) and really enjoy the fresh air and the fast rolling tracks of the remote valley of the Wisper. A beautiful shelter on the edge of the wood seems to be waiting for me. I loudly warn the deer to behave and fall into a deep sleep. 

125 km

Day 4

Breakfast is at Nastätten gas station. I love ED service stations but I don’t quite buy enough food and drink. God knows why.

Around 9 am I enter a forest that I remember. It’s a long climb but it’s easy. The forest feels majestic. The air is pure, magical. It doesn’t take much to imagine eyes following my progress. Benevolent, not scary. Again it’s only afterwards that I properly check the preview. The Hinterlandswald still has roaming wolves, Jesko says. What a place, what a privilege to ride here on my own. I regret the end of it, but the view on top of Espenschied is wonderful. My photos don’t really do it justice. And then it’s all downhill, well that’s what I think ?, to the vineyards of the Rheingau and yet another souvenir of a great bakery.

But the bakery never materialises and I run out of water. It’s hot and I start to struggle. There are lots of short steep stretches. I’m relieved to get to the town of Winkel and I leave the track in search of another Rewe supermarket.
A first shopping round for water and tomatoes … tomatoes (?) ! Outside I take the time to rehydrate before going for a proper shopping spree. The air conditioning is just what I need.
An hour later and I need to stop again. At 4 pm, after a deep sleep in the only bit of shade to be found under a single tree, I manage to extract myself from the vineyards of the Rheingau. The Rheingau is beautiful but today’s souvenirs are all about furnace like temperatures.

5 hours later, just as Lidl closes, I make it to the Beergarden at Niederhausen. I get a salty bretzl and a drink, watch 10 minutes of the England/Scotland match and find a sleeping spot just outside of town, apparently next to a parking lot ?. I forget that there is a weather warning for thunderstorms and that I meant to find a shelter for the night. Sure enough, the first rain hits as soon as I fall asleep.
Jumping up, I store my kit, hoping it’ll stay dry, I promptly tear my bivvy bag, limit the damage, sleeping soundly for the rest of the night.

110 km

Day 5

Up early with the birds after a good night’s sleep and rearing to go. My bed’s a little damp in the morning but no damage done. Just one more heavy shower in the middle of the night.

I skip the first bakery, it’s not very clear in my mind where the next one is but I’m too happy riding in the fresh air. Pushing the bike through high grass on some singletracks, I startle an early dog walker. Not surprising, I’m quite high up, close to a television tower, the views are brilliant.
Rationing of food and water seems appropriate. Again, I’m not very good at working out where I’ll find food next. Water’s becoming less of a problem. As soon as people start waking up, I ask. Nobody refuses. People even offer bottled water. It is pretty relaxed out here.

A second bakery arrives out of nowhere, saved ! Over coffee and pastries I manage to work out the next stop. Historic Idstein. Yogurt and strawberries. 30 minutes later I’m rolling again.
Today is truly effortless. I’m flying to the checkpoint, meeting Jesko and Nils on my way.

Photo by Nils Laengner

Bernd ( @dr_chain on IG) and his wife are waiting at the checkpoint for me. We have a great chat over lunch, I have a proper siesta in the shade and leave refreshed at 5 pm.  What a fabulous organisation, thank you all !

Massive electrical storms are forecast for the night. I receive some warnings on Whatsapp by concerned dotwatchers. I aim for a cabin in the woods. It turns out to be private. Nobody’s home, I use the covered terrace. Thunder and lightning all around. Heavy rain. Violent wind gusts. Impressive show. I’m safely tucked up.

95 km

Day 6

5 am, the storm has finished. But it hasn’t cleared the air, which remains heavy and warm. I’m in the Lahn Valley again, the riding is easy, but before I can fill up my water bottles, the route leaves the Lahn to go up over a pass. Reaching the top, I drink the last drops. I’m parched. Luckily a man’s returning home with his dog. He’s kind and he fills up my empty water bottles … with sparkling water.

The town of Diez is only just stirring when I arrive at 9am. Sunday blues ? Breakfast is just out of this world. Scrambled eggs and bacon, yogurt, fruit and honey. Coffee to die for. I feel a return to a more civilised version of myself. Sleeping outside for 5 nights in a row is really special but starts taking its toll. It may be time to spend a night in a hotel.  

The afternoon comes and goes, taking us around about every single windmill and poppy field of the Taunus. It is a stunning colour combination ? ! I make an early decision to book a hotel room in Schmitten. Check-in is possible till 10 pm. Plenty of time to get there, I think. There’s a long push your bike section though, and the track takes me high into the forest. I pick up the grunting of wild pigs in the undergrowth. Not a place to hang about. Still, even at my fastest pace, I don’t get to Schmitten before 9.40 pm. Phew, I made it ! The room’s perfect. 39 euros. I finish every crumb food left in my bags and go to sleep smelling of soap.

120 km

Day 7

My snack bag is empty, I wait for the bakers opening at 7.
I climb out of Schmitten to an idyllic forest track. Shortly after, I reach a majestic wooden observation tower. Another nature reserve. More windmills. This place is beautiful.

I go for a sugar lunch in Weilburg and buy dry cheese sandwiches for later. Weilburg is magnificent but I can’t find the shops. I’ll let this be a warning for next time … Can’t find the shops ? It means it’s time to eat decent food.
At this stage I’m a whole day faster than last year and I can make up another 12 hours if I continue moving swiftly. It is very much on my mind and I enjoy the ride.

Photo by Nils Laengner

A quick swim in a lake and I make it to Wetzlar’s health food shop at closing time. They let me in. I hurry and as a result I don’t buy near enough food.

It’s almost dark when I stop outside a village. The next part is a long stretch through the forest. I prefer sleeping on the edge of a wheat field. I don’t notice that the other side is uncultivated. It’s a field of wild grass, uncut. The hunt cabin on stilts should set off an alarm in my head. It doesn’t. A couple of wild pigs wake me up in the middle of the night. I don’t see them. But they are noisy and too close for comfort.

130 km

Day 8

Waking up with the birds, I set off for another magnificent tower, pushing my bike up a steep single to get there. It’ll be the first steep single of a whole series this morning.
I’m running low on food and can’t quite believe my luck when I find a service station. I’m disappointed to find only chocolate bars and sweets on the shelves. It’ll have to do. I use my last half breadroll to make a Kitkat sandwich, a trick I remember from long ago sailing adventures. It’s a small energy bomb that just about gets me to Brandobendorf for a party at the Rewe supermarket. It’s taken me 6 hours to cover 35 kms. Not my best stats ?.
For some reason or other, I had fancy ideas of putting in a really big day today. It ends up being the shortest one at 94 km.

Photo by Jesko von Werthern

I add a detour at the end to spend the night at Gästehaus Köhler. That’s definitely my best decision of the last 24 hours. The owner is waiting for me when I roll into the yard just before 21h. Having warned him by phone that I was arriving by bike, covered in mud, I don’t resemble his usual guests. Out of curiosity he’s looked me up and found me on the TB website. Impressed, he reserves me an absolute superb welcome. Sleep comes easy.

94 km

Day 9

Last day. Jesko sends a message to enjoy. I do.
Riding is easy again.

Breakfast. I raid the supermarket for a last breakfast sitting on some concrete steps by a bin.

Trail magic. A lovely couple wait for me with water, coffee, an apple and much needed chain oil.

Lost phone. I add some kilometres retracing my steps to recovering my mobile phone lost on the edge of the forest.

The last part. Happy place. I can’t feel stressed. My only worry is the weather forecast. A thunderstorm on the Feldberg and maybe 4-5 hours of rain. I take a siesta while the sun is still shining and watch the thunderstorm on the summit from my resting spot way below.

The highest point. Grosser Feldberg. The weather’s fine. The downhill is pure pleasure.

The end. Kapellenberg. Everything seems easy today. I don’t want it to end. It does.

Photo by Jesko von Werthern

Riding long distances. It feels like the journey is only just beginning. On the bike.
A good place to be.

Photo by Jesko von Werthern

Thank you all so much !

124 km

Meet the riders: Verena Zimmer

The start list for No. 4 is filling up quickly and the first rider profiles are coming in.

“I grew up in the small town of Ladenburg about an hour south of the Taunus, but I am now lucky to call the Brecon Beacons in beautiful Wales my home, with superb riding right from my doorstep.

This year I am returning to the Taunus, after taking part in No.2, and riding on the Taunus Teaser in 2020.

I enjoy the bivvying side of bikepacking at least as much as the cycling part, I am definitely tortoise rather than hare, and I love enjoying the views and the local food as I ride. You could say that for me, bikepacking is all about the three B’s: bikes, bivvies, and bakeries.

This song expresses really well how I feel about bikepacking – “Running to the Hills” by Dan Owen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FZa1-IqszE

Breaking out of these four walls, where do I begin
I’m breaking out of trying to make it in
I just want the wind and rain, time to waste with you
Let’s get out of here, get the sun clear blue

Baby keep on running, running to the hills
Let’s find our self some quiet, let’s find ourselves some still
Baby keep on running, running to the hills
I don’t wanna think no more, I just want to feel
Baby keep on running, running to the hills