I am currently in Germany with my trike again!
In fact, this holiday (with husband, dog and in-laws) isn’t particularly a cycling holiday, more of a holiday that might involve some cycling. And has indeed already involved some cycling.
It was an interesting challenge getting four adults, their luggage, one dog, her luggage and one recumbent trike in my car, but we managed it (with a roofbox).
There wasn’t room for Poppy the dog in the boot during the journey so she got to travel on the passenger’s lap!
We are staying in a Ferienwohnung (holiday apartment) just outside Koblenz in the area of Neuendorf which is north of Koblenz, across the Mosel river. It’s somewhere I’ve cycled past many times on my previous tours and the Wohnung lies directly facing the Rhein river with just a strip of grass and the cycle track between the apartment and the river. Except they are currently building some flood defences (18 ft deep!) which means that there are building works out the front. We are very near a crossing point over to the grassy area, though, so it’s not a problem.
Our accommodation also includes free bicycle hire and so James, Jenny (mother in law) and Peter (father in law) have some German bikes of varying quality. Jenny has done barely any riding for decades so yesterday we had a gentle pootle out to Deutsches Eck, three miles away, to get the hang of it.
Here are Jenny and Peter in front of Kaiser Wilhelm II
And here is James pontificating upon the Rhine.
After all that energy expenditure we needed to stop for an ice cream and crepes.
Then on the way home we stopped off at the supermarket and bought a few odds and ends, variously distributed amongst the bike rack carriers and my sidepods on my trike.
Today (Sunday 16 September) I decided to make the most of the good weather forecast and go out for a bit of a ride on my own. I had downloaded a couple of possible routes onto my Garmin and set off, deciding to do a bit of the Mosel river and then the other side of the Rhein.
I headed off at 9:30am on Alfie towards a rather misty Koblenz. This is a now-familiar route as I’ve ridden it four or five times already this holiday. It’s a bit more complicated than normal due to the flood defences building work which means they have rerouted the cycle path but we have managed to find a suitable alternative!
I joined the Mosel cycle route and headed off south-west. I came across the first (or last, I suppose) lock on the Mosel with one of the huge KD tour boats in it.
I stopped to dip my toe in the Mosel before beating a retreat as a swan headed purposely towards me.
I carried on around the bend in the Mosel before arriving at the Kurt Schumacher Brücke at Metternich where I crossed over. This is the view from the bridge.
I then wound my way up the other side of the Mosel towards the centre of Koblenz. I’ve done this particular bit of cycle path many times previously, including two years ago with James and the Wowbaggers, where we stopped at a rather unusual café for food. I saw the café again this time but as I’d only done a few miles I carried on.
Once again I reached Deutsches Eck, this time carrying straight on round going south along the Rhein and passing under the new cablecar from Koblenz which goes up to Ehrenbreitstein fortress.
I then continued on the familiar route but this time enjoying the fact that the riverfront area refurbishment has been completed and it’s all lovely smooth asphalt. As it was a Sunday there were loads of people around walking, cycling or just faffing.
The Rhein route crosses a small bridge (bridge number 2 on this journey) to the spit of land Oberwerth which has lots of very posh houses on it. Then I carried on a short distance before reaching the Horchheimer Brücke (railway bridge) which crosses over the Rhein with the road bridge beside it but separated by just a few dozen metres. This is looking north towards Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein fortress, the golden coloured huge fort on the mountain on the right.
I was now in new territory, having not cycled this particular bit of the Rhein before.
I headed northwards again with a vague plan to ride until the next bridge, then cross back to the west bank of the Rhein. I knew there were a couple of bridges not too far away so this should work OK.
It was great to get a view of the newly-completed Koblenz waterfront from the other side of the river.
In fact, I was enjoying riding along so much that I wasn’t quite paying attention to the Garmin and the signage. Fortunately I was looking vaguely where I was going and managed to stop before disappearing into the drink at the end of this spit of land.
I had failed to notice the signage for the cycle route as there’s a mini marina here. So after getting a good look at the scenery I turned round and went back to the cycle path.
Here is a very traditional Rhein view – a huge barge with some nice buildings in the background!
It’s not so surprising that I missed the turn-off of the cycle route and ended up on the spit of land. This is where I had to go to follow the Radweg!
It wasn’t too bad in the end as this is actully recumbent-friendly. I pushed the trike up before me, walking up the steps in the middle with the front wheels either side.
In a few minutes I was once again opposite Deutsches Eck. There have been lots of photos of this bit of land as I have now seen it from all three sides of the Rhein/Mosel confluence.
And just a bit further along I was opposite the Ferienwohnung where we are staying, it’s in the middle group of houses in this photo.
This is looking back at the cable cars over the Rhein.
This is looking ahead up the Rhein past the apartment and church – what a beautiful day!
This bit of cycle path was really nice, right next to the river with the railway and then the road squeezed in before the steep hills. The route was rolling in places but good fun.
Soon it turned inland, passing under the railway line, as I wended my way through the town of Vallendar which seemed very well supplied with supermarkets (all shut as it is Sunday). This was mostly cycling along the main road which was fine on a Sunday but which could have been a bit traffic-heavy on a weekday; the Rhine route this side of the river isn’t generally recommended by the books and I guess this is why.
The route headed towards Bendorf from Vallendar and I knew that this was where the bridge crossing the river was. It’s sometimes difficult to find how to get up onto the bridges (which are very elevated and the road often starts quite a long way back from the riverside) so I wasn’t too surprised when the route started doing odd things, heading up steep slopes and away from the river. The bridge is also the road bridge for the A48/E44 motorway (there is a cycle path alongside it) so I knew it might be a bit awkward to get there. Looking at the map now it’s clear that the route had to wend its way around, underneath and alongside various motorway slip roads, but eventually I arrived at the bottom of the ramp up to join this bridge cycle path. It looked like this.
Oh dear, that clearly wasn’t going to work!
I had a good look at my Garmin and there wasn’t an alternative way onto the bridge and I didn’t think it was safe to try to get round the closed road – not to mention the thought of carrying Alfie up all those steps. So it was on to the next bridge at Engers which I knew was about another 4km. Which isn’t far, but I was hungry and wanted my lunch which was back at the apartment with the others (who had texted me to say they were on their way back and would be home shortly).
I had no alternative but to carry on so I pedalled on, bypassing a huge factory area and going inland from the river to do it. The route quality was reasonable and I was making a better average speed than before but it was still pretty slow compared to my usual speed.
In Mülhofen the route turned back towards the river and I rode alongside it, enjoying the scenery, for another mile or so before I saw the bridge in the distance. It was a rather spindly-looking railway bridge with some weird towers at either end.
I had to do some weird routing to get up to the height of this bridge but the signage was good, fortunately (it said Koblenz and Andernach, both of which were on the west side of the river so I knew the signs were right).
I headed up onto the bridge and discovered it was rather narrow. No problem, it’s unlikely to change width as you go along.
But then as I got to the first tower/turret thingie I discovered it had an S-bend in it.
I had to get off the trike to negotiate this!
The bridge continued very narrow and with a wooden slatted base through which I could see the river. I made sure my phone was safely stowed in my sidepods with the zips shut as I didn’t want to lose that in the drink!
The view whilst crossing was lovely – see the fishermen standing in the river.
You can see from this picture how narrow the bridge was – this cyclist was following me but I did have to backtrack earlier when I saw a cyclist coming towards me; I went back to the turret and he was able to squeeze by. Fortunately I didn’t meet anyone else when crossing.
When I got to the turret on the other side a slightly shady-looking character starting chatting to me, asking me how much my trike cost (I was wheeling it at this point as it was another of those S-bends that I couldn’t ride though). I hedged a bit and got back on the bike before saying that this trike wasn’t new and that they varied in prices. He was probably fine but I thought it best not to tell him how expensive they are in case he fancied helping himself to my trike!
I was now on the correct side of the river and at Kaltenengers. I’ve cycled this bit of the Rhein several times before so it was surprisingly familiar. I zoomed along at a pretty good pace and increased my average speed fairly well.
From Kaltenengers I made my way to Sankt Sebastian (where the others had cycled to today on their shorter journey) and then continued south round the container port and then I took the direct road (rather than the cycle path) to Neuendorf.
I got back whilst the others were still eating their lunch so I made better time than I had thought when first coming across the closed bridge.
The afternoon involved some bike fettling. James sorted out the gears on one of the hire bikes (and did a few bits to the other two) and I started trying to discover why the rear wheel of my trike has a slight bump when I cycle. I noticed it on some of the very smooth paths, as if I had a bit of something stuck to the tyre, but the tyre was fine. I couldn’t see anything wrong and all the spokes looked OK so in the end I decided to deflate the tyre, re-seat it and reinflate it and hopefully that might have fixed it (if the tube was slightly weird due to a pothole or something). I shall find out tomorrow!
I did take the opportunity to give Alfie a good clean!
No cakes were consumed today (shock horror!) but I did manage a rather nice dessert after my evening meal.
Distance travelled: 27.46 miles
Time taken: 2 hours 46 minutes
Average speed: 9.9mph
Maximum speed: 25.4mph