Main/Rhein 2009 – Spay to Bonn

Day 9 – Sunday 6th September – Spay to Bonn

Distance: 51.91 miles; time: 5 hours 06 minutes; calories: 3183

Best breakfast yet! We certainly like the Flair Hotel Alte Posthof in Spay, definitely one to choose if you’re ever in that part of the world!

We had allowed ourselves a bit of a lie-in and leisurely breakfast as we only had fifty miles to go today. We left at 9:15 with reasonable skies although quite a chill in the air. We both put on our armwarmers and kept them on all day.

We approached Koblenz through the woodland path in which I remember getting lost last time, with me cycling under various barriers which clearly aren’t designed to keep recumbent tricyclists out, and then hit Koblenz itself, which could be renamed Cobble-enz. They have cobbled all the pedestrian/cycling areas which keeps the speed down of cyclist but really got on Pippa’s nerves. The cycle route to Deutsches Eck (where the Mosel/Moselle flows into the Rhine) was closed off for building work so we had to lift the bikes up eight steps to get there by an alternative, cobbly route. We took the obligatory photograph in front of the huge statue of some German Kaiser, then headed for the bridge over the Mosel. I had to stop as the cobbles had shaken my mirrors loose and I had to renew the gaffer tape which has held them in position very well so far.

After the crossed the Mosel and carried on up the Rhine the path was variable. It was usually asphalt or inset bricks but tree roots had lifted it in places so it could be pretty bumpy. Being a Sunday lots of Germans were out and about so there was more traffic than normal, much of it slow and pootling.

We stopped for a cup of tea after twenty miles in Weißenturm; I was reminded of the strangeness of some German toilets which contain a little shelf so you can study your previous day’s food intake. They seem to be phasing them out but you still find them in odd old-fashioned places like our tea stop!

We continued on. I realised that I had today seen my first unscooped poops – the previous seven days of German cycling have seen loads of dogs but never any dog mess. Clearly the Rhine north of Koblenz is downmarket!

We passed a rather sweet Beagle which peered at me in a nonplussed fashion. I could see it staring at me in my mirrors as I moved away, about 200 metres. As which point I heard Pippa’s shout and saw the dog had started to run after me. It was on a very long lead and was racing along, so I stopped the trike and stood up to say hello to it (and catch it for the owner), but as soon as I stood up I clearly became uninteresting and it turned back of its own accord. I wanted to give it a pat!

The route wended around a bit under a road on stilts and at this point I caught up with two racing whippets on racer bikes (you usually see tourers in Germany, these were some of the first drop bar bikes we’d seen). I thought these two were women but Pippa assures me they were young boys. Anyway, I caught up with them and one saw me and I heard him/her say something to the companion. I saw Pippa had come up behind me so I waved her past to race them, I knew she’d want to! Off she sped, passing them, down on the drops, and they kicked back to try to pass her again, which they did eventually manage (she had two panniers on her bike, of course). I was doing my best to keep up but couldn’t get my trike above 20mph, I think it’s the weight of the panniers and all the food I’ve been eating. Pippa managed to do 26mph in her racing mode!

We stopped in Bad Breisig, one of my favourite little towns, for lunch in a pizzeria as drops of rain were beginning to fall. Oh no, rain! The cloud looked fairly small and in fact went away pretty quickly and we were left with mostly clear skies, although it still wasn’t that warm.

Our speed increased over the last 15 miles as we were ready to reach our destination and the cycle path was much better.

Seen on the ride today:
3 tandems
1 recumbent trike (delta, not tadpole)
1 recumbent bike
1 red squirrel (saw two yesterday)
A recumbent tricycle tandem by Hase. How on EARTH do they get that round some of the cycle path obstructions?Huh?

We arrived at our hotel in Bonn which looked rather seedy. Uh oh. But the receptionist was super-friendly, helped us carry our bikes down into the Keller which was the secure Fahrradgarage, she then chatted to us about local beer, restaurants and told us where to find the internet cafe. The rooms were actually very nice and we both had excellent hot showers and our last experience of washing our clothes in the shower, hurrah!

We plan to leave tomorrow probably by 8:30am to give us a leisurely ride to Köln (Cologne) where we will get the train to Mönchengladbach, then another train to Venlo, then a Dutch train to Rotterdam. We’ll cycle from Rotterdam to Hoek van Holland where our overnight ferry awaits us. Tuesday morning will see us enjoying a Manningtree Station Breakfast with our menfolk before Pippa gets the train back to London…

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