Today was my last full day of cycling in Germany (tomorrow I will be catching the train through Holland, although there will be some cycling at both ends of that journey).
Here is the map of my progress through Germany.
And this is today’s route.
After a good breakfast (this Hotel was such incredibly good value!) I fetched Alfie from the luggage storage room and got ready to set off. I took my time this morning as I thought I had about 40 miles to do and I wouldn’t be able to get i nto the Ferienwohnung until 4pm, so it was 9:30am when I headed out from the hotel.
I decided to ride to the centre of Köln again, the Cathedral, and pick up the cycle path to Düsseldorf from there. The plan was to ride to Neuss (the other sidfe of the river from Düsseldorf) following the official cycle route and then head off cross-country to Kempen.
I passed this recharging station for electric vehicles.
And this giant ice cream cone on a building!
Heading for the Dom and my first view of the Rhein this morning.
There is the cathedral again!
I initially thought the riverside cycle path was closed but this was just some kind of water pumping thingie and I just managed to squeeze past on the left of the bollard.
I decided it was time for another photo of me in front of the Cathedral and saw a lady sittitng on the wall looking at the river so I stopped and asked her if she’d take a photo. She said that was fine and I started discussing how to use the phone when she said that her German wasn’t very good and did I speak English. Turned out she was from Yorkshire (now living in Norfolk)! So we switched to English and it was much easier all round.
Josette was waiting for the sculpture museum to open – she was on a boat tour and they had a few hours in Köln. She was happy to take some photos of me.
And was happy for me to take a couple of her too!
I had a nice 20 minute chat with Josette and then set off underway again, along a rather bumpy path.
The path crosses one of the dock areas.
A nice bridge for bikes and pedestrians!
I was now in Merkenich, the huge Ford plant. It took about ten minutes to cycle past it all.
I texted my brother-in-law who works for Ford and regularly flies to Köln for the day but he was in England today so no chance of popping in to say hi.
The route wasn’t touring-cycle friendly the whole time – this was a tricky set of barriers to navigate!
Once past Merkenich (which did seem to go on forever!) I headded out into more rural bits of the riverside. This was a lovely long, straight path which was smooth and fast.
The plan was to stop for cake in Dormagen, after 17 miles, so I detoured off the route to go intto Dormagen town centre. And I succeded in finding a cake!
From Dormagen I pretty much stuck with the official route until I got to Zons where I took the short cut along the B9. Here is the view of a bridge across the river to Düsseldorf – when I spent my month in Düsseldorf this bridge was just a mile or two away and I regularly went over it. It was a good sign I was getting to the end of my Rhein Radweg tour which had started in Düsseldorf (from where I caught the train to Konstanz).
I arrived in Neuss and then decided to set my Garmin to head for Kempen. I checked the route it had chosen – through Willich and St Tönis – which is what I wanted so I set off following the little purple line.
It recalculated a couple of times when I went wrong because of roadworks around Neuss harbour but in the end I found myself riding along a fairly busy road. After a couple of miles I began to be a bit concerned at the signs on the road – they weren’t for Willich but seemed more to the east. A check of my Garmin and it was clear it had recalculated my route to go through Krefeld, which is technically shorter but would be full of traffic lights, tram tracks and traffic.
So I put a waypoint in for Willich which forced it to route me that way (I should have done this at the beginning) and I headed off to the west (you can see the slight detour on the day’s map above).
This was riding along main roads but mostly on cycle paths and it was fast and enjoyable. The day had become a bit overcast but I was making very good time. I texted Gudula (who owns the Ferienwohnung) to say I expected to arrive at 16:00.
When I got to Willich at 2:30pm I thought it was time for some food so I found a café and had a roll filled with a turkey slice.
I’ve ridden from Kempen to Willich twice so was familiar with the route back – a whizz along some main roads to St Tönis and then out the other side to Sankt Hubert.
I passed these impressive windmills again.
The miles were counting down and I was nicely on schedule. It was good to revisit roads I had ridden three months ago in the snow – now the fields had barley and potatoes and asparagus all looking much greener!
I arrived at Ferienwohnung Bienenstock having ridden rather further than I initially expected.
Or for those metric types out there!
Gudula’s husband Frank was also there when he arrived and he pointed out I was two minutes early. I like to be punctual and thought that was pretty good going!
After my shower I had a cup of tea and chat downstairs with Gudula. She showed me something she thought would make a good present for James when he visits here next year – it’s a Gift Card for a local bakery which has the option of All You Can Eat Cakes!!!!!!!!
In the evening I cycled the 1.25 miles into Sankt Hubert and went to a pizzeria recommended by Gudula’s daughter Lara – Pizza Mama. The pizza was huuuuuuge!!!
I then went to the choir practice that I had attended when in Kempen in March. The singing seemed a bit harder this tiime, not quite sure why.
When I came out of the church (where the choir practises) it had started raining so I sped home at full speed, pretty much keeping up with a Smart Car that was taking Gudula home.
So that’s another 3ish miles to add to my total for today, which makes the whole ride total about 720 at the moment.
I have booked my ferry ticket for tomorrow night’s crossing and will probably meet chum Vince/Wunja for pancakes/poffertjes in Scheveningen in the evening before I head for the Hoek van Holland. It’s him that I saw at Hoek van Holland on my way to start this tour so it would wrap it up nicely to spend some time with him again.
I’ve really enjoyed my time in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, despite some of the weather. I’m also delighted that Alfie the trike has coped admirably with floods, mud and bumpy tracks and hasn’t needed any mechanical attention at all. Same goes for me I suppose, except for liberal application of cakes and pastries!