Molly on the Main

Our Route

We started in Bayreuth (Bavaria) and rode to Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate), passing across the lower portion of Hessen

400 miles from start to end

In places such as Bamberg, we needed to navigate through the city and across other bike routes. We weren't completely sure we were on the right route until we about halfway into the heart of town. This image is from the Ride with GPS mapping tool.

We consulted several sources of information to plan our trip, including these online resources:

The Main Radweg -
This well developed website provides many resources, including a helpful mapping tool and suggestions for bike-friendly lodging sites.

Ride with GPS -
This mapping tool works well with iPhones and iPads in its app version. Maps can be created online and downloaded to be used offline. The tools also allows the user to import routes from other gps resources.

Bayernnetz für Radler -
Another handy mapping tool, this covers only the portion of the route which lies inside the boundaries of the state of Bavaria.

And a book:

Main Radweg book from Bikeline - available via Amazon
The book provides good information for resources along the route and detailed routing explanations for larger cities.


Our preference is to plan our trip with expected dailiy mileage mapped out in advance and arrangements for lodging reserved for each night. This alleviates the worry of being "stuck" in a remote locale searching for a place to sleep and also gives us an incentive to complete the day's planned mileage, knowing that a warm shower and a fine pilsener are waiting at the end of the day. Our overnight spots on this trip were:

Day 1 - Frankfurt - Sheraton at the Frankfurt Airport (13.5 miles ridden that day)
Day 2 - Bayreuth - overnight with a friend (7.96 miles)
Day 3 - Bayreuth
Day 4 - Bayreuth (11.56 miles)
Day 5 - Burgkundstadt - Hotel Drei Kronen (34.62 miles)
Day 6 - Bamberg - Hotel Brudermuehl (40.66 miles)
Day 7 - Schweinfurt - Hotel Ross am Parkplatz (40 miles)
Day 8 - Marktbreit - stayed with a friend (51.89 miles)
Day 9 - Marktbreit (4.43 miles)
Day 10 - Retzbach - Hotel Vogelsang (29.21 miles)
Day 11 - Lohr am Main - Hotel Bundschuh (26.54 miles)
Day 12 - Lohr am Main
Day 13 - Dorfprozelten - Gasthof Stern (39.08 miles)
Day 14 - Kleinostheim - Gasthof Weisses Ross (44.16 miles)
Day 15 - Frankfurt - Sheraton at the Frankfurt Airport (57.04 miles)


Our packing list took into consideration the airline baggage limits. These will of course vary by airline and itinerary, but basically, for our plan, we identified these limits (per person): One checked bag weighing not more than 50 lbs (or 23 kg), one additional bag (containing the bike) weighing not more than 50 lbs, one carry-on bag, and one personal item.

Our touring bicycles, once packed in their travel bags, are very close to the 50-lb weight limit, and in fact, I could not include my pedals and some tools, or I would have exceeded the limit. These items had to be packed into my checked bag.

The checked bag contained all the clothing and other items I needed for the several days of riding, as well as items which I could not put in the bike bag (e.g. pedals, fenders, bike rack, tools, bike shoes, panniers, handlebar bag and its contents. It also included a clean outfit to wear for travel home at the end of the trip.)

My carry-on bag (a small backpack) included things that I wanted with me during the flight such as personal items, an iPad, neck pillow, noise-canceling headphones, identification, money, travel documents.

Finally, the "personal item" was a sport sack in which I packed my bicycle helmet, gloves, bicycle glasses and a few other items. The helmet could have been packed in the checked bag, but I was concerned that this bag might be too full and/or the helmet could get damaged if the bag was stacked or dropped.

The list:

iPad & iPhone, cables, dual plug
Plug adapters for Germany
Noise-cancelling headphones
Travel documents (passport, tickets)
ID and money
Backup lithium power supply
Neck pillow
Helmet, bike glasses, beanie & gloves
2 water bottles
Frame pump
Rags and nitrile gloves
Bike computer
Helmet light with charge cable
Taillight & charge cable
Swiss army knife
Long-finger gloves
Arm warmers
Additional coin batteries
Headband camp light
Duct tape/electrical tape
Small first aid kit
Buff (neck gaiter)
Radweg printed map book
Tube repair kit
2 tubes, tire levers
CO2 cartridges
Chain lube
Bike shoes
Bike shorts - 2 pair
Short-sleeve jerseys (2)
Long-sleeve jersey (1)
Socks (4 pair)
Bike tights (summer version)
Rain jacket
Toe covers
Fanny pack
Long-sleeve tech shirts (1)
Short-sleeve tech shirts (2)
Bungee cords
Street shorts (1 pair)
Capri pants
Long pants (stretchy-type)
Fleece pullover
Travel undies
Street shoes
Laundry soap
Camp towel
Bike lock
Spare ziploks
Clothesline and pins
Extra rearview mirror
Cable ties
Tools for bike assembly & disassembly
Clean outfit for flight home

Some of these items stayed with our bike bags and suitcase (stored at our starting hotel), but most of them were packed in the panniers and carried throughout the trip. This sorting out was critical so that we had the necessary items with us but left behind the ones we did not need again until the end of the trip, i.e., we did not want to end up carrying something like a neck pillow or a pedal wrench with us for 14 days!

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9 - Day 10 - Day 11 - Day 12 - Day 13 - Day 14 - Day 15 - Day 16 - Day 17 - Reflections - Our Route -back to home page