The forecast today was for a very hot day, so I decided being out on the bike would be better than sweltering indoors. In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure…
Anyway, I couldn’t decide whether to go to Venlo or not, as I may be going next week to visit a friend, so decided instead to go northwards on the Rhine for a 60 mile loop (akin to my Köln trip last week). 30 miles north of Düsseldorf is Duisburg which is somewhere I’ve never visited and I knew almost nothing about.
So I set off at 9:30am, having swapped my tyres round last night (the rhs one wears more quickly due to a bend I’ve put in the metal arm of the Trice). Unfortunately I was unable to get the buckle out of both tyres – normally I have a buckle in one when I swap them, but this time it was in both, and even pumping them up to 110psi didn’t pop them out (but nearly killed me); the Big Apple tyres are rated to 70psi max so it’s a bit exciting pumping them up this hard anyway.
So… no smooth rolling along asphalt today, with a bump per tyre revolution on both sides. I don’t have the buckle problems as much with normal Marathons, I need to investigate some ways of sorting this.
Anyways, so off I went – and here is the plot of my route.
The first thing to mention is that I left the Bikeline book behind which has maps and info. Fortunately I had used the bikeline book to draw a GPS track (I couldn’t find one on the internet, surprisingly), as I wouldn’t have had a hope of following the route otherwise. This bit of the Rhine isn’t well signposted – you have been warned!!!!
I had to make my way right through Düsseldorf from my home in the south so it was about six miles (and crossing the river) before I was out into the countryside.
The north half of Düsseldorf is very well supplied with bridges, with some very interesting designs. This one:
…had a most fantastic cyclists’ helter skelter at each end!
I quite fancied giving that a go but then realised it would involve cycling uphill. No thanks.
I passed a wayside pulpit. This should be an easy translation for most of you. Interesting lack of capital letters, however, which should be on both Kreuz and Hoffnung.
After 15 miles I began to think about a cake stop but nothing suitable appeared. Then I saw a sign for the Crefeld Yacht Club, Radfahrer Willkommen, so went down a side track to see what was there. About four fire engines were parked in a layby with lots of burly chaps wandering around checking various air compressors, etc, but that didn’t seem to hold out much hope for cake, so I carried on down the track and found the yacht club. I didn’t fancy eating there, looked a bit hot and small, so I went off on my bike again.
Which was a good idea as after I crossed over part of the docks area:
I found my way into the town of Krefeld which had a mighty fine café. Now which cake to choose…?
In the end I couldn’t resist an Erdbeerschnitte again – they are just so nice.
I sat outside looking out at the little square and feeling rather warm. The Schnitte and orange juice helped though.
As I left the café I realised that the signposts for the Radweg were significantly disagreeing with my GPS track. I dithered for a bit, cycled around trying to find some more signs, faffed a bit, then realised the signage wanted to take me over the river but I wanted to cycle to Duisburg on the left bank of the Rhine, so cycled to rejoin my route. My wanderings look rather like a drunken insect:
As it turned out, I would have done better to follow the signs and cross the river because the route north of Krefeld was pretty hard work. Signage wasn’t too good although my route was pretty accurate. I was away from the river almost the whole time which meant it was hot – the heat in the wind across the fields was shocking.
I saw this nice windmill somewhere (can’t remember where), but on a completely windless day nothing was happening.
A few sections of the route were shaded and they were quite a relief.
As I got near to Duisburg I realised that Open Streetmaps, which I had used to draw my map, hadn’t positioned the name marker for Duisburg in quite the right place – I was heading far too far north. So I gave up with my route and put a waypoint in the middle of a bridge over the Rhine and let my Garmin navigate me to it. Which it did, phew.
By now I’d done 34 miles on a really hot day and was desperate for some fresh water and some food. But I couldn’t find a thing. After another 5 miles I found a dodgy-looking Kneipe (pub) and went in. It was full of chaps smoking but they were very friendly and chatty and the barlady, who had no orange juice or mineral water to give me – only beer, which I don’t drink – filled my water bottle with water and ice cubes for me free of charge. I had a 10 minute chat with the chaps but was keen to get on as I was so hungry.
I remained hungry as I couldn’t find anywhere to eat. Correction, anywhere that was still serving food. This was Saturday at 2:30 in the afternoon and yet two places at which I stopped, a Stübl and an Italian restaurant, had both stopped serving food. Argh!
In the end I didn’t find a suitable stopping point until Kaiserswerth, about 10 miles from my destination (i.e. after 46 miles). By then I was completely worn out and had long drunk all the once-icy-but-now-warm water. I stopped at a fab looking restaurant which had views over the river ferry. By this time my appetite was gone as I was so hot so I just had an ice cream and an orange juice; the ice cream was bit (walnuts and 3 Kugel ice cream and cream and other goodies) but the whole lot came to 8,50€ which was a bit steep, but it was much needed! I filled my water bottle again.
From Kaiserswerth southwards the route became nice, with separate cycle paths across fields, none of this cycling beside busy roads that I’d had from Duisburg south. Spot all the Germans sunbathing on the beach beside the Rhine!
I could soon see the buildings of Düsseldorf in the distance and made my way gladly through the city to arrive back, having done 58 miles and really looking forward to my cup of tea. The lady also staying in my accommodation also went to Kaiserswerth today (by S-Bahn, not bike) and says she saw a thermometer there which was reading 37 degrees. It was the warm wind that was a real killer. The hot shower I had when I got home was just marvellous!
Rest day tomorrow, I think – maybe a short 10 mile ride but nothing further. And I won’t bother visiting Duisburg again, although both Krefeld and Kaiserswerth were nice, so perhaps I can do an alternative ride which takes the ferry between the two sometime…