Day 9 – Monday 1st June
Distance: 68.97 miles; time: 6:03:20; Average speed: 11.3 mph; Max speed: 20.2 mph; Calories (according to Garmin): 4382; total tour distance 423.65 miles.
When I got up this morning I felt a bit weary of the packing/unpacking/washing of clothes/carting everything about and wondered when to call the tour a day and go home. The more the day progressed, the more I felt the time was right to head home, so that’s what I’m doing tomorrow – getting the train to the Hoek van Holland and the overnight ferry crossing, arriving home on Wednesday morning.
Anyway, I set off from Hatzenport this morning at nine and crossed over the Mosel as soon as I could to take the other bank (thus not retrace my steps of last week). The signage was very keen for me to cross over again and it became clear why – a large part of this route was just on the road with the cars without even a cycle track. That doesn’t worry me, of course, and it meant I made good time to Koblenz.
The cycle path around Deutsches Eck was buried under Imbiss stalls, little market stalls selling trinkets, beer stands and the like. Clearly making the most of Pfingsten, the place was heaving with people wandering around buying stuff. To avoid the worst of the crowds I had to go on a rather cobblestoney road which felt like it was shaking my fillings out of my teeth.
From Deutsches Eck southwards along the Rhine the cycle path suddenly turned into a woodland track. Very pretty, but some dodgy signage meant I lost my way a little and found myself attempting to ascent a pretty steep gravelly slope. As often happens in this situation with the trike, where the rider’s weight is rather more over the front wheels than the back one, I found my pedalling was just spinning the rear wheel. Fortunately a nice German chappie appeared and pushed me up the hill – at the top was the correct cycle path. Trices aren’t that good at off-roading, as I had previously discovered.
The route alongside the Rhine was rather nice – I saw a very impressive castle (can’t remember its name!) and watched lots of tourist ships and barges going past.
The world and his wife was out on the cycle paths today, walking and cycling with dogs and children in tow. It is quite difficult sharing the paths with walkers at times as they tend to spread out a bit and don’t always move to the left when you ring your bell to overtake them.
I arrived at Boppard which was the first major town south of Koblenz on the Rhine.
I stopped here for a drink and a rather fab strawberry gateau with cream, and thought about my plans.
I couldn’t decide whether to press on to Bacharach or Bingen, then travel back the next day to Bad Breisig or somewhere north, or to call it a day today. In the end I decided to turn round at Boppard and cycle back to Bad Breisig, a longish day but a nice ride.
I arrived at Bad Breisig at 5pm feeling pretty tired after six hours in the saddle. I returned to the same hotel, Hotel Anker, and they recognised me and gave me an even nicer room this time! After freshening up I went to investigate trains to Venlo (I have to go to Düsseldorf, then change to a train to Venlo) and it will be 27,70€, although the machine only takes cards and there is no ticket office. Not sure if my card will work, I shall give it a go tomorrow and if not I shall try to buy a ticket on the train. There was a choice of three different bicycle tickets, not sure of the difference, but the most expensive is 4,50€ and the cheapest 2,50€ so I’ll probably go for the pricey one for safety’s sake!
I then went to the posh hotel that has internet for guests (from where I am typing this) and worked out the Dutch trains, which will be 25,50€ and the bicycle ticket (which is 5,70€ I think), so I’ll be spending a fair bit on trains tomorrow. My father had phoned Stena line for me to find out if there were spaces on the overnight crossing tomorrow, which there are, and whether I can just roll up and buy my ticket at the harbour, which I can. So I will.
Tonight I shall have a good hearty meal at the hotel (the last one was very good!) as I’ve not eaten much today apart from a banana and the strawberry gateau and I’ve burned off a lot of calories.
Bad Breisig at dusk:
Met a lady with a wonderful 9-week-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy and had a chat with her about dogs in general and Weimaraner naughtiness in particular. Her puppy was still quite bitey and chewed some of my hair – I’m not too sure of the German commands for doggies but ‘Nein!’ seemed to work OK to stop the hair-biting.
I’m not particularly looking forward to the train journeys tomorrow but have decided it will be easier if I take the panniers off at the station and manhandle the bike without them on. As long as I don’t leave them on the platform..