Düsseldorf – Erkrath

All was quiet in Duesseldorf as I left the house at 8:15 this morning. Presumably most Germans were sleeping off their hangovers after the footie disappointment, and no-one as yet seems to have removed their flags. This was a house I saw just round the corner from where I am staying.

Today I decided to follow yet another downloaded route from GPSies.com, this time a shorter route (22.5 miiles). The route goes to the town of Erkrath and then does a bit of a loop before returning back to Duesseldorf.

It was yet another sunny morning – the temperature reached 33 by lunchtime – and lovely cycling weather. I set off cycling north-easterly out of Duesseldorf which involved more on roads than normal, but they were surprisingly quiet.

Once again I was impressed by the cycle facilities – there was a dedicated cycle path on both sides of this underpass which was raised higher than the road so it felt very safe.

After four miles I was out in the countryside.

The cycle paths on this route were all pretty decent (except for one short stretch, mentioned below). There were also some on-road sections but the roads weren’t at all busy. The surfaces are generally good in the countryside; the towns can be a bit potholey but no worse than in England.

As I approached Erkrath I realised I was going up a bit of a hill. This was somewhat of a surprise as the whole point of cycling in river valleys is that it’s flat; however I was clearly leaving the valley and having to work much harder to get up the hill. When I reached the top, however, the view back to Duesseldorf was rather nice.

I cycled through a bit of Erkrath which seemed a nice enough town, although it was too early for the shops to be open (only just after 9am). The route then wended its way under the railway line and then – horror of horrors – a shocking hilly bit!

This was probably one of the biggest climbs I’ve done on the trike. It wasn’t massively long or unfeasibly steep, it just felt like it went on for ages. I tried to take a photo of one of the tight corners but I’m not sure if you can see the steepness.

I was moaning at myself for not checking the elevation profile before I downloaded/used the route. When I got home I downloaded my track – as you can see, there’s a big lump in the middle. It was great fun going down the other side but hard work on a hot day on a recumbent trike getting up to the top.

Still, once I got onto the top of the hill it was nice and flat and very countrified.

I crossed over one of the Autobahnen (the A3, a whopper) and decided to photograph it – it seemed rather busy this morning.

I was really looking forward to the descent of the hill but when it came there was a bit of a disappointment – the cycle path, which I was on, turned into a shared cycle and bridle path, and wasn’t asphalted. It was rather bumpy! I should have followed the cyclist who turned onto the road with me at the junction before but didn’t take the cycle path…

(Sorry about my feet and trusty SatNav in shot there!)

The bottom of the hill turned out to be in Erkrath again, so all that hard work could have been avoided! Still, it was interesting to see the Rhine valley from up high, but I think I’ll give it a miss next time!

I did the 22.5 miles in 2 hours 15, so was back at home by 10:30 which gave me time to do yesterday’s washing up before settling down to some work, then going off to my German lessons.

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