Planes, trains, boats, bikes and zeppelins

A lot can happen in one week.

Lake Constance is bordered by three countries: Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The Euro Bike Show; the everything bicycle trade show, held in the Lake Constance area is 5 convention halls of EVERYTHING bicycle. Parts, clothing, cycle trips and many manufacturers. Our goal was to meet manufacturers of electric bikes and ascertain if products purchased in Europe would be warrantied in the United States. The bottom line is one manufacturer met our specifications, re: warranty and component quality. Haibike, a relative newcomer to the US market, had an exceptional product and introduced us to a store owner.

There was free time amid this bike shopping event. Room for a few good German beers, some schnitzel some history lessons. Konstanz, the town, is located on its namesake lake, and is physically abuts Switzerland. It is a lovely German town, with medieval buildings intact and traditional German architecture, pedestrian malls, and small outdoor cafes. The original buildings survived the war. You know why? Because the town fathers told everyone to keep their lights on; bomber pilots could not tell the difference where Switzerland ended and Germany began, and in an abundance of caution, left the town completely untouched.

The other side of the lake, Friedrichshafen, was leveled for two reasons: it was Germany, and it was a military/aviation center. The first zeppelin in the world took off from there in 1900, and remains one of two places in the world where they are built today. (The second place is the US Navy). Aviation attracts aerospace engineers, who attract experts in structures, electronics and engines, etc. Friedrichstafen (and zeppelins) attracted a brilliant engineer named Claude Dornier. The museum exhibits his aircraft designs, the work of the Dornier company and aerospace products of the Airbus Group. A MUST SEE for the aerospace person in our life, David. It was a very impressive museum, and even I sense how complex/brilliant the work is.

The museum is co-located on Friedrichshafen airport. Well the aerospace person would just go take a look, and then you having coffee with other pilots, a couple phone calls are made and then you are climbing into the right seat of a Cessna 172 preparing to fly over Lake Constance. Yep David gets to fly in Germany. (Life is good). We were able to see the Swiss alps in the distance. The Rhine River coming out of the foothills and drain into Constance (the lake). (You can see how they built the silt-way so far into the lake). Lovely Constance (the town) from the air, and Lantau both parts of cycleway around the lake. Austria was so velvet green.

Then, after all the aviation, OUR BIKES WERE DELIVERED. We celebrated with a beer on the lakeside, and an announcement on Facebook. We named them Hansel and Gretel because they were born in Germany. Like “kids on Christmas morning” we smiled as our first ride was on the cycle way to the local therme in Meersburg. A therme is a large hot springs pool open to the public, and where you can soak, swim or relax.

I guess we needed an afternoon of relaxation, because we and our electric bikes are off to the French wine country. Remember: pedal, pedal, sip, sip.