Münster is a city in North Rhein-Westphalia, and is known as Germany’s bicycle capitol. The Mrs. and I had planned to spend the weekend there, checking out the city and touring on our bikes to a couple of the castles in the surrounding region. In fact, around the city is one of the ADFC’s cycling routes known as the “100 Castles Route”, which is divided into four quadrants with Münster in the middle. What an excellent cycling destination.
Except, it didn’t work out that way. Sometime ago my knee began to give me trouble that I’m not sure was due to riding, but was certainly exacerbated by it. The Mrs. had her own affliction as well, having played volleyball a little too vigorously a few days prior and injuring herself in the process. So neither of us were able to commit to a weekend of riding, but our reservations were still in place, so we went to Münster anyway. At least neither of us felt like we were holding the other one back.
Being in the bike capital of anywhere and not being on a bicycle is much like being the designated driver at the pub: you can’t help but feel like everyone else is having a much better time than you are. I’m familiar with this feeling however, as the first time I visited Portland, Oregon and Amsterdam, I was also without a bike. So I relegated myself to just looking at them as we walked by.
Münster, like many bicycle-heavy cities in Europe, seems to be reaching what I call the “bicycle saturation point”. This is when every possible object you can lock a bicycle to, whether designed for such or not (most cases not) is occupied by a bicycle. As a reference, Amsterdam has exceeded this point, and that’s why they dredge bikes up out of their canals every year.
The Mrs. and I walked around checking out the shops, cafes and cathedrals, stopping for a flammkuchen. We visited the Pablo Picasso museum. We ate at a Mexican restaurant.
It was all very pleasant, but in a place where a bike-lane promenade encircles the city, I still couldn’t help but feel like it would be best experienced on a bike. So, we decided we would have to come back when we were not in such states of disrepair.
For more information on Münster (in English), you can visit the city’s official website here: http://www.muenster.de/en/cycling_capital.php
- Bicyclist Abroad