A review of the first TWAR x Komoot Women's Weekender
Together with Komoot and Taunus Bikepacking, The Women All Ride invited 25 FLINTA* to the first TWAR x Komoot Women’s Weekender on the Taunus Teaser route. Goal: To create a setting where everyone can try a longer bikepacking trip for themselves, supported by like-minded people. In this article, we share our experiences and impressions from the road.
The TWAR x Komoot Women's Weekender Taunus Edition - an idea takes shape
At some point during the Orbit Gravity Bike Festival, it came to the crucial conversation. Isabel, community manager at Komoot, Jesko von Werthern, organizer of Taunus Bikepacking and Johanna Jahnke from The Women All Ride, who has been working with Komoot for a while, found an intersection: we all want to bring FLINTA (women, inter-, non-binary-, trans- and a-gender people) together and onto bikes.
The plan was quickly made: together, we would invite 25 FLINTA on the so-called Taunus Teaser, a section of the actual Taunus Bikepacking route.
There were 333 kilometers with 6,000 meters of altitude to be covered through this beautiful and surprisingly diverse area in the middle of Germany, offroad and bikepacking style. We would start with a shared breakfast and hopefully roll across the finish line four days later, right on time for the final BBQ.
Jesko had divided the route into four manageable stages, each ending at a campsite. What we would actually do with the time on the road, where we would spend the night and what we would eat was left up to us. Ideal for finding out if bikepacking, sleeping outside and cycling every day is someting for the participants!
To the great joy of our organization team, the weekend was fully booked within a minute after the registration was released, and a waiting list was quickly created.
TWAR x Komoot Women’s Weekender - let's go!
And so, at the end of August, 28 people set off from the tranquil “Eppstein Project” campsite on their individual adventures through the Taunus on a wide variety of bicycles and high-summer tours.
It’s not as if we weren’t warned: the first 30 kilometers with three hard climbs were not typical for the 330 kilometers of the Taunus Teaser, we could learn in the preparation webinar and in the route description. From the base camp, where most of us spent the previous night, we already had to push the fully packed bikes towards the sky to the starting point next to a sheep pasture.
So it goes right away pretty up and down, thankfully through many forest sections on this hot midsummer day, over wild paths, stone-strewn climbs, dried grass, through narrow overgrown paths. And after 16 kilometers we only reach the village of Eppstein, the point where we supposedly started after all.
The loving markings on the ground, sprayed on especially for us by the route designer who rides a few hours ahead of us, distract us a little from the drudgery. There are pointers to the next water source at the cemetery, to the mountain sprint to the saving beer garden in Platte.
In Bad Schwalbach, in front of the supermarket, there is a big discussion: the campground at the end of the first stage seems to be fully booked. The small group that has formed around us in the meantime decides to follow the track a few kilometers further to the shelter at Hexenmüllerplatz. There we can wash off the hot day in the shallow stream, eye the kitchen equipment of our fellow riders and listen to the concert of the owls in our sleeping bag.
Before coffee we have to cross the mountain. But at least it is still cool in the morning. A large group meets in Kemel, the supermarket bakery is quickly converted into a breakfast restaurant, and what’s the story with the bloody knife hanging from the ceiling?
The second day has a lot of Hessian Tuscany in store for us, we go through the hell of Hohenstein (22%!), cruise along a wonderful hiking trail above a gorge, and always when we’re not expecting it, photographer Pia is ready with her camera or Caro with an ice cream.
At noon in Katzenelnbogen (most beautiful place name ever) there is renewed group advice: In the evening and at night it is supposed to rain. Our little group sets its sights on a hotel in Balduinstein, which lies 18 kilometers after today’s track end, somewhat off the track. Behind Obernhof we finally pick up speed for a few kilometers on the asphalt bike path along the Lahn, but the next hump in sweltering heat is already waiting. And it drags on. Drinks at the bakery in Steinberg come to our rescue.
The beautiful view of the Schaumburg is the last thing we see today from the track before we leave the track down towards the town, finally take a shower again, sit together with delicious noodles (but why are the portions so small?) and enjoy on soft mattresses the local fair noise.
Strengthened by the hotel breakfast and after a precautionary mending of a battered tire, we tackle our additional meters of altitude, turning back onto the track after two kilometers.
On this third day, something like a routine sets in. It goes up and down, it is dusty, we rattle over stone and rubble, shoulder our bikes over fallen trees. Again and again these nasty climbs, where we curse the route organizer, and at the top the forest tips us out and we are treated to fantastic distant views. Again and again we meet other riders, it has formed loud small groups according to riding style and preferences.
37 kilometers further in Limburg is not yet the time to eat, so we leave the beautiful town behind us and aim for Runkel, where we fill up the supplies for the night according to the route description and treat ourselves to a long break at the bakery. Like most, we want to do preliminary work for the long stage on day 4 and at least still cover the 18 kilometers to the next shelter.
Again a thankful stretch along the river before going up again. The afternoon progresses, up and down, we don’t find a shelter. Somewhere here it should be, right? Then we get the message via Whatsapp that the shelter is occupied by an event. What now?
Downhill to Weilmünster. Stuffed with rice and Thai curry, we are ready to make news plans.
Finally we try a lonely road southwest out of town. A hollow a bit off the road looks inviting and protected from strangers’ glances. The only “dangerous” thing seems to be the apples that occasionally plop into the grass around us, so we get ready for another night out in the open.
The final day. Our decision for the short-cut is made quickly. We definitely don’t want to miss the final BBQ at 3 p.m. with the chance to see the whole group again and exchange all the stories.
In Weilmünster, at the Sunday breakfast at the bakery, everyone who has spent the night somewhere in the area gradually arrives. We hear about wild boar visits and broken seat posts. In contrast, falling fruit in our spot was really harmless.
Lots of smooth asphalt on the R8 long-distance cycle route brings us quickly closer to our destination. Great joy at the surprise checkpoint: Pia, Caro and Jesko are waiting for us with snacks, water and a camera. All of a sudden a lot of riders arrive, so that we cover the last 18 kilometers almost in a group. A great last descent to Niederjosbach. The very last steep climb up to terrace 9 in the Eppstein Project, and it’s done. Radler for all!
TWAR x Komoot Women’s Weekender - Much more than a bikepacking tour
The second best thing at the finish is the shower, after we slept on the waterless meadow, and the last day got properly warm again. The best part is the conversations about what we experienced on the road, about challenges we overcame, about teams we grew. In the end, we can’t list all the “I did for the first time” anymore. And we all agree: we want more of this!
We would like to thank all of you for joining us on our journey and making our first TWAR x Komoot event such a great experience.
Many thanks to Isabel Riffel and Komoot for the great organization and the delicious culinary prelude and conclusion. Many thanks to Jesko for the track and the Taunus hospitality.
We are looking forward to next time!
And what do the TWAR collective members who came along think about the first event?
What was your challenge on the first Women's Weekender?
Since it was the first bikepacking adventure for me, the challenge started with getting the right equipment and continued with the packing. Thanks to my great bike friends network fortunately no problem at all. A developing cold and the decision to start a vegan diet one day before the event also come to mind.
In the run-up I was completely occupied with how to pack at the same time normal clothes for the evening and also stuff to stay on the camping site on my small bicycle. Over this I completely forgot that I should practice perhaps again riding offroad…. especially that I have to ride down the 6,000 meters of altitude again, I had underestimated a bit!
What was the most fun or enjoyable part for you? What was special for you about this event/ your highlight on the way?
What was special for me was the experience that you far too rarely “do things for the first time” and take advantage of it. Time somehow runs slower, perception is more intense and the connection with oneself, the other participants and nature is so lasting.
Definitely the togetherness in the group! From the very first moment there was a lot of honest exchange about what we had respect for, what we wanted to try out for the first time. It was never about who was going to get somewhere first or how fast they were riding! Instead, we helped each other with sleeping spot tips or just enjoyed the scenery together. That was great!
Was nimmst du für ein nächstes Event dieser Art mit?
Less planning along the route, because things often turn out differently, and trust that you will always find a place to sleep somewhere.
You can find the ridden stages on our Komoot account in this collection:
All information about the route can be found here:
Text: Eva Ullrich
Edit: Johanna Jahnke, Jule Wagner
Layout: Juliane Schumacher
Header photo: Pia-Sophie Nowak