I am in Schweinfurt, just about as close to the centre of Germany as it gets visiting the European education and product development centre for SRAM.
As it is my first time here I before I came briefly asked a couple of German friends about the place and took a quick look on line.
SRAM are here because this is the home of the Sachs bicycle parts business that they bought some years ago, and in turn Sachs is here because this is the absolute heart of German ball bearing manufacturing. A proud industrial heritage, a real engineering based city.
For those of us who are used to old industrial areas being indistinguishable from words like “grim”, “grimy” and “rust-belt” it comes as something of a delight to bike from the hotel to the SRAM site along beautiful water meadows beside the River Main, completely car free almost all the way including the access roads with good cycle paths.
Yes the factories are there, but commuters are mixing with groups of cycle tourists also passing through on longer excursions in a great environment.
There is much here to learn for the industrial towns of many other countries. It is little surprise that German cycling levels continue to rise year on year if even the most unexpected towns can be small slices of cycling delight.