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Judith and Neil Forsyth are British, pensioners, keen cyclists and hill walkers. They live in the Rhine Valley near Heidelberg. Judith worked for many years as a teacher in a British high school; was an instructor for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and so was invited to Buckingham Palace, led expeditions to wild and unmapped parts of Norway and sang in a choir that undertook international tours. She came to Germany and then worked as a teacher of English as a foreign language, a university lecturer and a copy editor for a German scientific publisher. Neil worked in the nuclear industry in the UK and Germany, then migrated in his late forties to work in the publishing department of a German learned society. His life was not as adventurous as Judith’s, although he did once sip a pint of bitter standing next to Lord Snowdon, was introduced to Mrs. Thatcher and ghost-wrote a speech in English for a provincial president in Germany.
They started writing cycling guide books largely because when Neil came to Germany over 30 years ago, he fell in with a group of cyclists. He started cycling again after a break of about 20 years and enjoyed it. Judith lived in the UK at this time. On hearing that he had taken up this activity, she decided that he had a death wish, but was persuaded to try touring when they finally got married and she came to Germany. Their first major tour on a fairly new seven-gear touring bike (his) and a three-speed mail order clunker (hers) was along the Danube from its source to Vienna. It was exhilarating in spite of dreadful weather at the start and a stomach disorder at the end. They then started to look farther afield and discovered that there were few books in English about cycling in Germany. They also noticed that some of the German cycle guides appear to have been written using a car for major portions of the trip. They thought this was a bit off (more than a bit, actually) and that there was room in the world for cycle guides researched on bicycles. At the time both of them were working in scientific publishing and had found out a bit about book publishing. Over a couple of years they chatted to various souls in the publishing business about a series of cycle touring guides. There was absolutely no interest, so they decided to publish them themselves. They founded Bergstrasse Bike Books.