Despite the heat last night we slept well. It was very quiet up the valley out of Bacharach.
Breakfast would be served at 8 so we decided to get ourselves completely ready and cycle down to breakfast (in the hotel in Bacharach) and to head off on the road after breakfast without returning to the guest house.
The velomobiles had spent the night in the garage with a 5 litre Mustang for company, but we got them out in the fresh air.
As you can see, the Guest House is quite small but had six rooms and we found it fine. The price was fair and the breakfast was also good.
After breakfast I brushed my teeth and then it was time to set off on our journey to Drachenfels, the penultimate day of the tour.
We were effectively retracing our route of Sunday week ago so we knew what the road surfaces were like and how long it would probably take us. We were in no rush, and the only difference was that we knew there weren’t many good food opportunities near Drachenfels (all a bit pricey) so we would pop into a supermarket in Bad Honnef and buy salads for dinner.
It was a beautiful day for cycling, temperature around 21 degrees and a blue sky. There was also a bit of wind that was refreshing.
We were back on the Castles & Wine route.
We were also riding mostly on the cycle path as it is good and wide here, although we did have to overtake some wobbly cyclists on a more narrow bit. We also kept overtaking two different chaps on bikes, and then we would stop for photos and they would leapfrog us again, only for us to catch up with them a bit down the road.
We had to stop for photos of course.
I’m looking cheerful below!
We rode through Oberwesel, Loreley, St Goar, Bad Salzig, Boppard (where I took a wrong turn and we had some fiddly stuff to get back onto the route), Spay and then as we approached Brey I noticed this rather familiar sight!
From Brey we left the cycle path and went on the road, as on the outward trip. This avoids the appalling cobbles in Rhens. We were then following the path beside the B9 into Koblenz, occasionally actually riding on the road. This does seem to be a good way into/through Koblenz, although once again we did a detour to find cake.
The detour (led by me) ended up beside the Rhein as I thought that was the best spot to find somewhere to eat. We found a lovely looking beer garden but they only opened at 11 (it was 10:40) and the lady was quite unfriendly about it. I didn’t fancy waiting 20 minutes.
So we rode on along the Rhein, I accidentally went onto the pedestrian (not cycle) bit which ended up with some steps, so I had to get out and push. I noticed that the lift handle rope on the back of Millie has partly dislodged the rear brake light. I was a bit concerned about this when Anna fitted the rope; for the short-term I stuck the brake light down with some Leukotape but I will make a longer rope holder so it doesn’t bang on the brake.
Eventually I found a decent café and we had a very friendly waiter who chatted to us about cycling, once he had provided us with the crepe and Käsekuchen of course!
There were lots of barriered sections, it turns out there would be a marathon run a bit later in the day. We were lucky we had missed the closure of the cycle paths!
After about an hour’s break we headed onward, crossing the Mosel. Klaus was nearly taken out by a guy riding the wrong way along the cycle path and completely not looking where he was going. It was a pretty close thing! It’s not that Emily is hard to spot. The guy, when Klaus pointed out he was on the wrong cycle path, compounded his error by placing his bike in the road (on the wrong side of the road). He should just have slowly ridden/wheeled along the pedestrian section of that bridge. His wife was following him too, let’s hope they made it over the Mosel alive.
We then rode through Neuendorf where I holidayed three or four years ago, then made our way to the Koblenz industrial estate. This had been a fast bit of the route on the Sunday when we came through heading to Bodensee, but on a Friday morning it was a rather different kettle of fish. It was very busy and not very relaxing! We used the cycle paths as much as possible but they were pretty bumpy, although the roads too were in a bad state. There were a few dangerous junctions with poor visibility when using the cycle path and crossing a main road. We survived, but it wasn’t very relaxing!
This industrial estate section avoids a bend in the Rhein and going through Sankt Sebastian, Kaltenengers and Urmitz. However, on a busy day it might be better to do the longer route as it would be more picturesque and peaceful!
We rode through and then headed around Andernach. This was fairly fast, but one day I will have to properly visit Andernach as I think it is a rather nice town. All we got to see was the historical city walls!
We rode through Namedy and then Brohl. Between Namedy and Brohl we had to go under the railway again. Klaus went first, as there is a 90 degree blind bend to go up the other side. It was much nicer for me as I knew he would have informed anyone coming that I was on my way. I almost got round the bend in one go too!
From Brohl we headed to Bad Breisig; we had stayed here four years ago and I haves also stayed here at other times, but always taken the cycle path on the riverside. Our track routed us along the main road which was good on the way out but we missed a turning under the railway and so ended up having to go a long way parallel to the railway on the ‘wrong’ side and eventually having to climb up a bit as the road swooped over the town to cross the railway. As Klaus said, a few extra metres of climbing is OK!
By this point our GPS track was right on the riverside cycle path, so all we had to do was make our way there. We could see roads leading to the river on our Garmins but it’s not always so easy! The first road Klaus pedalled down… no luck, stairs at the end to the cycle path. The next road I was ahead and looked down – no, there was clearly a handrail for a staircase. The third road looked more hopeful as it actually had a cycle path sign pointing that way. So I headed down it, although it was Schotter (compacted earth/stones, not asphalt).
At the bottom was a 90 degree bend…
Spot the hand rail in the picture above. But Klaus had also seen some kind of slope… yes, there was a way down to the cycle path for bicycles.
This was a very steep slope with the bonus that if you completely lost control of the Velomobile it would go for a swim in the Rhein. It was very tough for Klaus with Emily’s weight (luggage) as she wanted to roll down faster than he could safely walk with cleats. My rope on the back of Millie was very good in this situation, but it’s tough to walk down such steep slopes with SPD Click Shoes.
But we made it back onto the path and it was time to carry on.
We passed these cormorants sunning their wings – on the SPEZI tour four years ago Klaus got the nickname Cormorant because of his black waterproofs when he stuck his arms out. He also on that tour got the nickname Mr Grumpy which has stuck rather more!
I’ve done this path loads of times, but it’s much quicker in a velomobile. It’s also much bumpier – as Klaus said, you feel a bit seasick going over all the tree roots, falling down the potholes and being vibrated by the brick or cobbled surfaces from time to time.
There was this nice bridge though where the river Ahr joins the Rhein.
The next town was Remagen and we had decided to stop there for a spot of lunch. We found a café and sat down, enjoying a warm lunch and a chance for a cuppa. Shockingly the restaurant didn’t have any cakes for dessert!
We remembered the Drängelgitter at the end of Remagen from our journey in the other direction so didn’t get into the velomobiles before negotiating this obstacle.
We had only 12 or so km to ride, it was 3 in the afternoon and getting pretty warm. From here I could see the Drachenfels mountain and also the ferry that we would take from Rolandseck to cross the Rhein.
We arrived at the ferry and I noticed I was reflected in the windows of the bridge/cockpit at the top.
This ferry is good value!
The guys taking the money said to us, “did you make it to Bodensee?” They had remembered us from our journey last week. We told them we had indeed.
In Bad Honnef we stopped at a Netto and bought some salads, bread, olives, Vla and chocolate for dinner. Very healthy! We then rode the final 4km to Drachenfels, arriving again at the Weingut Pieper. And hooray, today we didn’t need to wash our clothes as tomorrow we will be home!
Here are the statistics for today.
Klaus from Köln had told us about a very good old bakery in Rhöndorf, Café Profittlich, so I decided to walk there for a cuppa and perhaps cake (I hadn’t had a cake today). But when I got there, almost an hour before closing time, they said they were closing early due to the heat. So no cake.
I walked back past all the vineyards – the grapes are starting to show!
I also noticed outside our room a facsimile of an old map. North isn’t quite north on it (the top is more north-west) but it was interesting to see Kempen and some other place names that we know, but others spelled very differently (Murs for Moers, Stralen for Straelen, Lyn for Linn, Duysburg for Duisburg etc etc).
We ate our salad sitting out on the balcony and enjoyed the restfulness of this guest house.
Tomorrow we are trailblazing a new route as we didn’t fancy doing the same ride back again. We will take the risk of riding along the Rhein to Köln and will then head home from there. Perhaps we will try to get a photo of the velomobiles in front of the Kölner Dom, although on a Saturday morning with tourists everywhere it might be a bit of a challenge! But we should be early-ish so hopefully the cycle paths won’t be completely chockablock. The route was planned using the online software Komoot so we will see how it copes with velomobiles and their limitations!
We’ve been talking a lot about touring and the differences with velomobile touring and trike touring. We cover much more ground with velomobiles, most days being at least 100km, some days up to 150. With the trikes 100km was the maximum and we were usually around 70-80. But in some ways trike touring gives you more opportunities – you can ride on more cycle paths, there are fewer issues with parking (partly because the bikes themselves aren’t so expensive if something goes wrong), and you probably see more due to the slower speed, plus you are able to chat more easily. We are both still a bit deafened from the wind noise in our ears from fast cycling. I think we can both imagine in a few years’ time touring again on trikes for that different feel. It also helps that you can get a train one way and so don’t need to do a round trip but can do a straight line!
But we have really enjoyed our tour so far, over 1500km with another 100km tomorrow.
Here is a full list of all the blog postings on this tour:
Day 1: Kempen to Drachenfels
Day 2: Drachenfels to Walluf
Day 3: Walluf to Speyer
Day 4: Speyer to Appenweier
Day 5: Appenweier to Bamlach
Day 6: Bamlach to Koblenz (CH)
Day 7: Koblenz to Konstanz
Day 8: Konstanz to Tettnang
Day 9: Tettnang to Bad Buchau
Day 10: Bad Buchau to Eislingen
Day 11: Eislingen to Gündelbach
Day 12: Gündelbach to Viernheim
Day 13: Viernheim to Bacharach
Day 14: Bacharach to Drachenfels
Day 15: Drachenfels to Kempen