Large and varied – this description not only applies to Bavaria, but also to its range of mountain biking routes. Lovers of endurance sports who want to cover distance will find what they are looking for here just as much as pleasure mountain bikers and lovers of challenging singletrack trails. The Franconian Forest is amongst the still relatively unknown top spots.
At 795 metres, the Döbraberg is the highest peak of the Franconian Forest. “Anyone who lives at the edge of the Alps like I do is really excited about that, of course,” admits Eva Bärtle with a grin.
Encouraged by a friend, she nevertheless packed her bike in the boot and has driven to the North of Bavaria for a weekend in the far north of Bavaria, approximately 40 kilometres north of Bayreuth. Here, seven circular routes with distances between 29 and 56 kilometres ensure 300 kilometres of biking fun with climbs of more than 8000 metres here, on the Rennsteig and in the Döbraberg-Rodachtal-Steinachtal triangle.
People say that there are no mountains in the Franconian Forest, only valleys – for mountain bikers that means a wonderful variety of ascents and descents.
“We chose the most technically demanding route, the Döbraberg Circular Route (Döbrabergrunde), which is just under 45 kilometres long,” continues the sports therapist from the Allgäu. “Wow, that was exhausting!” For in the Franconian Forest, according to the locals, there are no mountains, only valleys – so a lot of going up and down. And the route was also technically challenging, says Eva.
Not just because she did the fun trails with banked curves and triple jumps along the way, but also because of various levels and stones on the trails which require complete concentration. “The experience of nature is also totally intense!” She enthuses about the aroma of the forest, the smell of earth and moss, the feeling of helping oneself to oxygen by the tablespoon.
When you finally reach the viewing tower on the Döbraberg, you can enjoy a sweeping view over forests and fields, peace and the feeling that your hammering pulse will sink back to a normal speed again.
A little later comes pleasure of another kind: a bite to eat on the terrace of the Bischofsmühle, a guesthouse with a long history as a sawmill. Dorothea Strössner is the fifth generation to serve top quality Franconian cuisine in the magnificent half-timbered building. “You just have to make sure that you do not overdo the refreshments and then feel too heavy for mountain biking – everything is incredibly delicious,” is Eva’s conclusion. And after also doing a Rennsteig Circular Route (Rennsteig-Runde), 20 % of which consisted of trails, with her mountain biking friend the next day, she has become a convinced fan of the Franconian Forest.