Monday 7 September 2015
The breakfast was good and we were on our way by 9:30am, dressed in our waterproofs. Well, James had normal trousers on but I had gone full waterproofs due to the forecast of a day of rain.
The forecast was correct – we had rain or drizzle for probably 75% or so of the day, but it didn’t matter as we had a very good day’s riding, 70km in total. Here is our track for the day.
German chum Olaf had warned me that the beginning of this ride wasn’t very recumbent-friendly. I wasn’t sure if this was because it was hilly (which it was) or if it was because it was off-road (which it was), but we decided we had to really ride the entire Ruhr route so had to find our way to the source… which was up a hill.
This tiny channel, about 30cm wide, contains the river Ruhr. We dropped a stick in it to try for Pooh Sticks – perhaps we will find the stick at Duisburg in a few days time.
And just a few metres on the Ruhr crosses the cycle path and so we both forded it. Remaining dry (apart from the rain).
The rain was steady most of the time with occasional extra rainy moments. We were both getting a bit damp despite the waterproofs and there was a lot of muck thrown up onto our bikes despite the mudguards. I have to mention here that James had made some extra-long mudguard flaps (out of a bit of the plastic packaging that my venetian blinds came in) and they worked really well at reducing the water that flicked onto his shoes from his front wheel.
This bit of the route was quite steep downhill which was interesting for James with rim brakes in the wet. I pulled ahead on the downhills, he was always way ahead on the uphills, so for this section we weren’t generally riding together as it was pretty much always either up or down.
As we passed a mill on the way into Niedersfeld I spotted some tail fins of aeroplanes visible over a fence. We went for a closer look – it was an exhibition of soviet-era planes that you could pay 1€ to visit (going through a turnstile). Of course we only had 2€ coins so paid double but decided it would make an interesting break in our ride.
I was amused by this misspelling!
After half an hour or so looking around the aeroplanes (which were rusting away quietly but still interesting for all that – the Russian and Czech planes looked remarkably agricultural!) we continued on in the drizzle.
We caught regular glimpses of the Ruhr which was rapidly getting bigger. We also crossed it regularly on a series of different little bridges. There were lots of sharp downhills as well as uphills. The uphills reminded me of why I love living in the Niederrhein area – it’s flat! I am SLOW up hills, particularly with luggage and in the rain.
Some of the downhills were surprisingly steep!
This one, into Assinghausen, was great fun – I reached 52.17km/h but had to use the brakes as I approached the town. Going at that speed and then braking a heavy trike with heavy rider meant that there was a very strong eau-de-disc-brake-pad wafting around for the next few kilometres.
After Assinghausen we went through Wulmeringshausen and then had to cross the railway at a level crossing on the way into Olsberg and it was a bit of a challenge!
There were more ups and downs after Olsberg and Bigge. We passed a town that James originally read on the map as ‘Nutter’ but disappointingly it was actually Nuttlar. Eventually we arrived in Bestwig where several tributaries join the Ruhr. We went over the bridge and had a nice view down to a church.
After Bestwig we rode past Velmede and then arrived at a section on the map which had a chevron in bold type – we soon realised why! It was so steep that James had to walk up and I was in first gear (out of my choice of 33).
At the top we were rewarded with some views over Sauerland.
The scenery was very reminiscent of when I rode the Sauerlandradring last year. Although we hadn’t ridden as far north that time the climbs and descents were familiar!
There was some interesting writing on the path on the way into Meschede but I couldn’t read it well enough to make sense of it.
At Meschede we stopped for lunch. It was pouring as we got into the town centre so we were dripping wet when we walked into the bakery. We were restored by a baguette, hot drinks and a shared cake.
We stopped for about an hour in Meschede. This had originally been a possible overnight town if the previous riding had been too hard but we felt able to continue the 25km to Arnsberg as it was only two in the afternoon.
After Meschede we had some rather off-road sections.
There were also a few slight amendments to the route as displayed in our Bikeline book and on the GPS track that I had downloaded from the official Ruhrtal Radweg website. There was decent signage generally, including this one that I had to pose beside.
As we rode through Freienohl I spotted this rather unusual decoration on this building – a boat!
The boat had the marks where a label had been removed – Dehler. We realised pretty quickly that this must have been the factory for these yachts – James sails with several people who have Dehlers but the company obviously stopped production here. In the yard beside the factory we saw lots of moulds just lying outside getting ruined. Hanse now own Dehler and have their factory in Griefswald on the Baltic.
We were amused by this sign – is it to warn you of sea monsters? Or not to fly a spinnaker-sized kite?
In Oeventrop we passed a huge glider centre and there was also some kind of artwork thing going on in the village with decorated wooden chairs hanging on fence posts – here are just a few of them.
We arrived in Arnsberg in yet another rainstorm, having waited for 10 minutes under a tree in the hope that it would subside but got bored and rode on eventually.
We hadn’t pre-booked a hotel but had researched a little bit last night and headed for Altes Backhaus which turned out to be in the pedestrian zone up a VERY steep cobbled road which James had to walk up and I did lots of wheel spinning on the way up.
Here is the rather attractive hotel.
After hanging up our wet things to dry (the room now looks like a bomb has gone off) we went for a meal in the hotel which was very pleasant.
Our plan for tomorrow is to ride to Hattingen which is near Essen and almost exactly 100km away. The weather looks to be a bit better which is a relief – just a small amount of drizzle around midday. It will be nice to cycle without a waterproof jacket on!