Tuesday 8 September 2015
This was our track for today’s ride.
The forecast today was a bit of drizzle at 11am and after that sunshine. Sadly the forecast was mistaken and we had drizzle and cloudy skies all day – didn’t really see the sun at all! But that is getting ahead of this report… first of all breakfast!
James is looking a bit bleary today as he twisted his back a bit yesterday sitting wonkily on the bed and had to do quite a lot of stretching and have a hot shower this morning to try to loosen up a bit.
We paid the hotel and were underway by 9:30am. James had packed his panniers carefully so that they were equal weights as he’d been struggling a bit to push the bike when it was loaded; despite this it was still a bit awkward and he was being careful of his back. The rack pack he had was a bit of weight higher up which perhaps didn’t help but was useful for storing all the valuables in so he could take it easily off the bike.
We headed first to the bank in Arnsberg for me to get some cash out. Some workmen standing near the bank were saying to each other “that bike has an electric motor” so I was pleased to tell them otherwise. Just leg muscle power for me!
We headed out of Arnsberg past this interesting sculpture.
Fairly soon we arrived at what was a very steep wooden bridge. I got halfway up the slope and then slipped backwards down again – clearly I’d have to walk it. This was tricky with cleats on as the wet wood was very, very slippery.
Here is the view down the way we came. James had also walked up and also struggled with slippery cleats on shoes.
Because of a sharp bend at the bottom of the bridge on the day down James descended VERY carefully. I went a bit faster but was being wary of my brakes as I rather wore them out on yesterday’s fast, wet, muddy descents. I need to fit some more brake pads when I get home.
Here is the view looking back at Arnsberg. Our hotel was next to that big tower.
Quite a lot of today’s route was in rather lovely riverside woodland areas, although these often had Schotter/loose gravel rather than asphalt, as here.
At Hüsten (part of Arnsberg) we discovered some Roman-style ruins. They were actually rather new-looking and I think part of some children’s group project from a few years before (there were four concrete paving slabs with children’s names etched in).
We stopped for five minutes for James to refine his pannier packing in the hopes that his bike would be a bit easier to manoeuvre when wheeling it.
Despite the weather forecast, as mentioned above, the reality was dark clouds and occasional drizzle or rain. James kept putting his waterproof trousers on and then removing them again 15 minutes later when it dried out again.
We had stopped at this station on the train on the way to Winterberg – I love its name!
We were starting to feel peckish so decided to stop for tea and cake at Fröndenberg. We found a café with nice pastries.
Fröndenberg was a rather lovely little town but we had 100km to do today and were only at 38km so needed to press on.
We made good progress after this point (fortified by cake?) and zoomed along a section which was easy to follow and generally good quality road surfaces.
Just after Dellwig we stopped for this sign – it’s the halfway point of the Ruhrtal Radweg.
We had a very long fast section through fields with occasional crossings of the Ruhr which was now getting much wider and seemed quite still at times.
We passed round the outside of Schwerte, a fairly large town. After that we had a diversion which we knew about (it was on the Ruhrtal Radweg website that I had seen last week). The diversion has been in place for a few years as it is also marked in our book – something to do with a collapsing cliff I believe.
Anyway, the diversion involved riding on two rather busy roads, the L637 and then the L675, which wasn’t particularly nice. We then passed through the industrial estate near Hagen at a place called Bathey, not very scenic for a few kilometres but we were soon back at the river and things looked nicer again.
At this point the Ruhr has considerably widened into a lake rather than a river – the Hengsteysee. Built into the hillside is the Speicherkraftwerk Koepchenwerk, a huge pumped hydroelectric plant.
Here is Alfie posing in front.
A little way around the corner near Herdecke we crossed the river again, this time on a bridge which also had railway tracks.
There was a sensible warning for cyclists – although I don’t think I can go over the handlebars like that on Alfie!
It was 3:30 and we were feeling peckish so stopped at the first place we could find – a random Biergarten which served Bratwurst and Baguette
And Frikadelle and baguette
I have to say I was expecting more than two pieces of Baguette – I was expecting a whole one!
James had a Radler but didn’t finish it so tipped it into his bidon (which still had the remains of a berry electrolyte drink). Apparently it tasted OK!
At Herdecke there was this wonderful viaduct.
This is the view towards Wetter from Herdecke – we had a long ride around the Harkortsee (which is the wide bit of the Ruhr river) enjoying the view and the smooth surface.
We had another 25km to go and time was marching on a bit so we put the pedal to the metal and covered the ground well, although my right knee (which occasionally complains) was giving me a few twinges. So I kept going steadily and didn’t over-exert myself on the uphills.
Near Vormholz we had a ferry crossing with a brand new electric-powered ferry which just had a tin for donations (we put 2 Euros in).
We passed a wonderful nature and wellness area (with a swimming pool with lots of flumes etc) which included smooth cycle paths as well as paths for inline roller skating. We passed a lady on an eletric Kettwiesel trike too – and passed her again after we stopped for this photo.
I nearly made it to Gibraltar!
We were now riding along the Kemnader See and once again h ad some lovely views. At Stiepel the river narrowed again and we saw lots of people out canoeing.
There were still a few challenges on the route, such as these gates (to keep cows in two connecting fields).
At our food stop I had phoned one of the hotels we’d researched last night to book a room – it was on the outskirts of Hattingen and looked good. As we crossed the road bridge into Hattingen we had a good view over the maize fields into the distance. The hills of the Sauerland have now gone and we just saw lower, rolling hills.
And we also got a good view of our hotel – An Der Kost.
We checked in with a very friendly proprietor and he showed us to our room, decorated in heavy red colours but with an excellent shower (with jets for your back and waist and hips – great for James’s back).
An Der Kost is in the middle of nowhere so we ate in the restaurant after our showers – we seemed to be the only guests here.
We had ridden 101.5km at an average speed of 15km/h which wasn’t bad with our heavy packs. Tomorrow we have just ninety kilometres back to Kempen but will be riding through lots of the very interesting industrial culture of the Ruhrgebiet. And the forecast is sunshine all day, so fingers crossed!!!