Overwinter – Düsseldorf

Today was my long ride day, seeing as I don’t get a chance to do long rides during the week and I went to Arnhem yesterday.

Last night, after a bit of general googling and looking at railway timetables, I decided I would get a train somewhere this morning and then cycle back. But train to where?

As I like the section from Köln to Düsseldorf and I remember the Bonn section was nice (Pippa and I cycled it last September) I thought I’d get the train to Bonn. I then decided that was a bit tame and I’d instead get the train to a stop a little further than Bonn to give myself a few more miles. The train from Düsseldorf to Koblenz stopped at somewhere called Overwinter south of Bonn so that was to be my destination.

Now I have to say, I’m getting quite good with trains now. Firstly, I’ve learned how to decode all the information in the stations so you actually know where the bicycle carriages will be. Secondly, using my Trice with just the sidepods and not full panniers means it’s very lightweight and easy to pick up and carry up and down stairs. Thirdly, I’ve got the Düsseldorf to Koblenz train several times now so I know what sort of a train to expect.

The train arrived at the station at 9:58 and I got on, finding the bicycle space surprisingly empty (only five bikes, and all of those were getting off at Koblenz; not on their own, mind you – they needed riders to help them off the train. But it meant I could block them in).

Of course we then went through Köln and Bonn where more people got on and it all got a bit squashed and awkward. When we arrived at Oberwinter four people had to get off, with their bikes, so I could get out. They all got back on and I stood faffing with my flag (which had got a bit twisted with all the manhandling off the train) and then I heard a whistle – it was the driver, and he asked me if all was OK. I said yes, you can go, and off he went. And the rest of the train went with him, of course. It was now 11:15 and I was setting off on my 60 mile ride home.

Once I was out of the station (which involved carrying the trike downstairs and then discovering it wouldn’t fit out of the station door – I wrestled with the second door till it eventually opened. It would have been unfortunate to have to disassemble the trike to get out of the station building.

Anyway, I was about 100 metres from the Rhein Radweg so made my way there and filtered in with all the other Radweg traffic, of which there was a lot. This is because it is (a) Summer; (b) the start of the school holidays; (c) a Sunday, when all the shops are shut so all you can do is go cycling; and (d) a pleasantly warm day at 27 degrees.

The very beginning of this ride was in scenery more reminiscent of the Mosel with hills to the sides and vineyards and castles. It flattened out almost immediately, however, into scenery more familiar to me from this stay in Düsseldorf.

It wasn’t long at all before I reached Bonn which has a lovely promenade for cyclists, walkers and skaters. There were loads of in-line skaters around, including one pushing a Burley child’s trailer. I also saw, in Bonn, both a recumbent bike and a recumbent trike (not together) and also a Weimaraner doggie. I also saw Moby Dick.

Each kilometer of the Rhein has markers to show the distance from the source (which are also subdivided into 10 as well). You can’t always see them but I remember last September Pippa and I trying to get a photo of ourselves by number 666 which is just south of Bonn. But we couldn’t get near it. They must have moved it (or the path) as, after I took the photo of the marker across the river, I noticed it on my side too!

The section from Bonn to Köln is also pleasant and as lunchtime was approaching I stopped off at a Biergarten to have some soup and an orange juice, parking behind an upright trike. I set off again at 2pm.

I saw several more recumbents over the next 20 miles or so (my day’s total was 1 trike, 5 bikes, a Hase Pino tandem and a normal tandem). I saw everlasting bicycles, also several dog trailers with dogs in, dogs in baskets, and probably at least 50 kiddie trailers with children in. The Germans really do like their cycling as a family event. This lady had two jack russells in her basket – I asked her if the dogs liked going on the bike and she said they loved it.

It’s not all pretty on the route as there are some industrial bits – and this was one of ’em.

But soon I could see Köln in the distance – that huge cathedral again!

I arrived at Köln in due course, taking a photo of the bridge with the love padlocks as they were all glinting in the sun (although I don’t think that has worked in the photo, unfortunately).

I saw the Rhein Energie catamaran again which is a tour boat.

This is a bridge over a small harbour area north of Köln.

From Köln I continued north around Merkenich (the Ford works) again, although I stayed on the road rather than the cycle path as it’s like a ghost town on a Sunday and much easier riding.

I then stopped for a cup of tea and piece of Apfelstreusel at Wesseling

And went past this pretty church

I cycled for a long time along a bank which looked down onto huge fields of sweetcorn.

before continuing on to the Ferry at Zons.

The last five miles were on main roads directly back to my accommodation rather than faffing around on the cycle path round Himmelgeist.

Including my ride to the station this morning, I did 60.2 miles today. It was a good day and I’m looking forward to my Wiener Schnitzel which is currently in the oven…

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