The last day of the tour!
I woke at 5:30am and read the internet until it was time to get up. We were ready by 7:30am and hoped that breakfast would be served, but there was no sign of it so we sat outside and waited for half an hour. The bikes were fine after their night under the balcony.
Unfortunately at 8:00am there was still no activity. It seemed breakfast would be later! We decided to leave (although I was really annoyed about this as it was one of the more expensive hotels and we had paid for the breakfast!) but just as we were wheeling the bikes towards the road a lady appeared. She said breakfast was at 9, and that it said it on the bit of paper in our room (which we didn’t have), and she then spoke to the manageress, an old lady of 84, who said they would get breakfast ready early. So we did in deed get our breakfast, and Klaus also had a long chat with the manageress who was the owner of this vineyard. She talked about the problems of succession after her, and also that the Königswinter area used to have 3000 people employed in the viticulture, now they just have 70.
We ended up leaving at about 9am and were heading towards Köln. We had three different tracks on our Garmins as we were doing a mix ‘n match of them.
The first track was the reverse of our ride a fortnight ago. We decided to use this track to Wesseling (before Köln) and after this we would head into Köln itself, continuing to Dormagen and then going cross-country home.
The first 5km were on the eastern bank of the Rhein but we soon crossed over.
We were approaching Bonn under blue skies.
It was easy to follow the outward route from a fortnight ago and we rolled well over the cycle path beside the Rhein.
Klaus and I both remembered stopping here with Simon and Joyce four years ago for a photo. This is the kilometre marker of the Rhein.
The route also turned inland at sections, but was overall good.
The final 4km to the centre of Köln were of course slower, and the final 500 metres was very tough. I knew that the Dom was up quite a lot higher than the Radweg, and that there were steps everywhere, so it was a bit of a challenge to find a slope. In the end we did, but had to crawl through hordes of people in order to make our way to the Domplatz. We wanted the one photo to show we had been here with our velomobiles!
The place was way too crowded so we turned to leave almost immediately. I tried to follow our route back to the Radweg as at least I knew I wouldn’t have to go down any steps that way, and Klaus took a different route on the roads. He ended up ahead of me and waited for me a little way along the track.
The road out of Köln that we first took was Kempener Strasse, so it looked as though we were going in the right direction! It was actually not too difficult to get out of Köln and the roads weren’t too busy, but there was a lot of stop and go with traffic lights. It was a warm day and when we sat stationary at the traffic lights it got very hot, especially with the heat rising from the asphalt.
After 60km I felt badly in need of a break. After an abortive attempt to find a bakery (large signposts for it, no bakery to be seen) we found somewhere just before they were closing. It was in the village after Heimersdorf; we would have preferred to stop in Heimersdorf as that is presumably the village belonging to our friend Ralf Heimers (he of the Sprinter fame).
We both chose the strawberry slice. There was no tea available as they had turned off the coffee machine, so we had cold drinks instead.
After we left the bakery my Garmin decided it wanted to give me turn-by-turn directions (i.e. it counts down till the next junction, tells you which way to turn and bleeps a lot). I have actually switched this off but periodically it turns itself on again for ten minutes.
What I hadn’t realised was that my Garmin decided to send me the wrong way. I turned off a nice fast road onto a woodland track… very bumpy, but following the purple line. Klaus was a little way behind me and he actually shouted at me and hooted to tell me I was going the wrong way but I didn’t hear it over the noise of the bumpy track.
There was a closed level crossing after 500 metres and I had to get out to press the button to request for it to be opened. Which it did, after two trains had gone past. I wondered where Klaus was and decided he was looking for an alternative less off-road route.
I turned the corner and there was more off-road. I didn’t fancy 2km of that and so had a look at the map on my Garmin. I then decided to phone Klaus to find out where he was, and he said he was following the track and I had gone off-track. A good look at my Garmin showed me it was the stupid turn-by-turn directions trying to take me a weird route – argh!!! In the end I rode back again to where I had turned off and caught Klaus up eventually.
After Dormagen I was beginning to feel a bit poorly from the heat, so Klaus found a McDonalds where we stopped. He had a burger but I didn’t feel like eating so just had my cold water. I didn’t want to linger there as it was full of kids (I am a misanthrope) and very noisy and bright. I had hoped for a relaxing Biergarten somewhere, but in Neuss and Dormagen that was not likely. But we would be going through Willich soon and that had possibilities.
We had 40km to go after we left the McDonalds and I just followed in Klaus’s wheel tracks and turned the motor up to 3 so I had to do less effort. The route was OK but there were lots of traffic lights so we were constantly stopping and starting.
Eventually we were out of Neuss and we saw the first signs of Kreis Viersen – the car number plates. Then we were approaching Willich and we decided to go to Landcafé Streithof which does good cakes.
They had something on the menu called an Eis Splitter Torte which I thought might be like Grillagetorte so I ordered it. It wasn’t the same, but was nice anyway!
Klaus had a ore traditional Strawberry Quark Cake.
As we decided to have a second round of tea/coffee I decided my meringuey cake wasn’t enough to fill me up after the tiring riding so I had a Fruits of the Forest Mascarpone cake too!
After a fairly long stop I felt refreshed enough for the last 20km. I followed Klaus through the Hoxhöfe route (which I find a bit twisty and turny for the Milan, but it avoids main roads) and we eventually rolled up outside our house at 17:30pm. It had been a long, long ride as our average speed was low.
We were welcomed by Poppy the dog whose hair had grown very long and who now looked like a teddy bear!
The tour was finished! Although it’s great being on holiday, we are both also happy at home and I was very pleased to be reunited with my shower and the washing machine.
Here are the statistics for all the rides on this tour:
And here is the ‘wheel’ showing where we went:
We have had a great time visiting friends and seeing other parts of Germany. We both find the journey between Kempen and Koblenz a bit of a chore so in the future would prefer to hire a van to take us to Koblenz and start from there, and the same for the return trip. We were both also impressed by Klaus’s climbing ability in a loaded Quattrovelo. He enjoyed it, although we both felt that the hot weather made it a bit harder sometimes. We also agreed that the shorter days we mostly had on this trip were a good idea because of the heat or possible rain – it’s a holiday, after all, not an endurance event.
Once again, two weeks spent in Klaus’s company the whole time, trundling our way around Germany. We had a great time, we make a great partnership and we are looking forward to our bike tour to England in September. Watch this space!
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