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‘A velo’ in Alsace

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While I’m always up for a climbing sufferfest in the Dolomites, the Sierras, Mallorca(or
anywhere else that can deliver some triple-chain-worthy grades), sometimes it’s nice to
switch off the slow twitch muscles. Try Alsace when your legs need a break.  ‘A velo’ you
can meander narrow roads winding through stunning vineyards where the only vehicles
allowed are Lilliputian-sized tractors. Feasting on yeasty, sweet Kugelhopf for breakfast is
ample fortification for the pleasant rides from village to village.

The riotous combinations of colorful flowers dripping out of ridiculously overloaded flower
boxes is almost overwhelming: each village trying to out do the next in the “Village Fleurie”
competition. And wine tasting in Alsace is the antithesis of of Napa: no gift shops selling
corkscrews and glittery t-shirts from China; no silly poseurs in stretch limos waving around
credit cards and buying overpriced cabs. You are likely to find yourself in a tiny room
surrounded by piles of old receipts where Madame may have just come in from cooking lunch for
her vineyard staff.  Nonetheless, you will be greeted warmly and the tasting will be unhurried.  While tastings are generally free,  it is customary to buy a bottle.

If you weary of stress-free cycling along the Route des Vins sampling aromatic
Gewurztraminers, Rieslings and Pinto Gris, there is always the nearby challenge of  the Grand Ballon d’ Alsace to channel your inner Eddy Merckx….I never wanted to leave the tranquil vineyard paths on this trip: the Grand Ballon will have to wait for another day.
by KLB

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