Bad Orb is easy to reach by bicycle from Frankfurt, provided you feel up to riding a distance of about 60 km. Just take the regional cycling route R3, which follows the banks of the Main River to and through Frankfurt, and then goes up the Kinzig Valley starting in Hanau. From the R3 there is a five-kilometer cycling route going off to the right (east) to Bad Orb.
Like most of the regional cycling routes around here, the R3 is clearly signposted except in cities and towns, where the one crucial signpost tends to be missing just when you need it. The first time I tried following the R3 through the city of Hanau I took a wrong turn and ended up in a very tiresome place called Wolfgang, which is off in some other direction entirely.
Fortunately they have a train station there, so I just took my bike on the train for a few stops up the valley, to make up for lost time.
All the regional trains have bicycle compartments so you can take your bicycle with you to wherever you want to start cycling from. In the area served by the Rhine-Main Transit Authority (RMV) it does not cost extra to take your bike along, but in other parts of Germany you sometimes need a supplementary ticket for your bike.
The bicycle compartments aren’t always this empty, by the way. On a nice day you often get twenty or more bicycles in a train like this. On this particular day, when I was the only cyclist on board, I got off the train at Wächtersbach and rode to Bad Orb from there.
On my August 2007 trip to Bad Orb, I discovered that parts of the R3 can be impassable if there is high water and the Kinzig River overflows its banks. Fortunately, I met some nice people who could tell me how to get around the flooded places and up to higher ground.
When I came through again in 2009, I found that there is now an alternative “high water route” (“Hochwasserroute” printed in blue on one of the signs) in some parts of the valley.
My photos in this post are from 2004, 2005 and 2009. I revised the text in 2021.