Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bicycle Hire in the Eifel Hills Part I

The Eifel is the range of hills in the west of Gemany on the Belgian border bordered by the Rhine to the east and the Moselle to the south. They peter out into the Rhine Plain between Aachen and Cologne. The area is largely unknown outside of Germany, which is pity because it offers pleasant cycling made more easy by a system of trains and connecting bus routes to help one get up to the higher bits. In all fairness these services are very useful. The Eifel hills are 500-600m high whereas the Rhine and Moselle Valleys are about 100m above sea level. There are a surprising number of bicycle hire centres.

Erft Cycle Route
The Erft runs for about 110km from the North Eifel in Blankenheim at over 500m to Neuss on the Rhine opposite Düsseldorf. There are a good rail connections from Köln (Cologne) and Trier. If you hire a bike from somewhere on this route you can take it back by train. In addition to decent cycling the route offers prehistoric fossils, Roman remains and mediaeval town centres.

53947 Nettersheim
Bicycle Hire in the Naturzenrum Eifel
Urftstraße 2-4
T: +49 (0) 2486 1246
F: +49 (0) 2486 203048
eMail: naturzentrum@nettersheim.de
www.nettersheim.de (in German)

Fahrradshop Nagelschmidt
Bahnhofstraße 1
T: +49 (0) 2486 1000

53902 Bad Münstereifel
Schmiko Sport
Kölner Straße 13 (In the railway station)
T: +49 (0) 2253 543877
F; +49 (0) 2253 543878

50321 Brühl
Radstation Brühl
am Bundesbahnhof 2a (Either at or very near the railway station)
T: +49 (0) 2232 950761
F: +49 (0) 2232 950826

41515 Grevenbroich
Radstation Grevenbroich
Bahnhofsvorplatz 1a (In front of the station)
T: +49 (0) 2181 122685
F: +49 (0) 2181 122695

41462 Neuss
Radstation am Hauptbahnhof Neuss (Either at or very near the railway station)
Further Straße 2
T: +49 (0) 2131 6619890
F: +49 (0) 2131 6619899

Friday, March 20, 2009

Burgundy, bikes and b&b

We have mentioned Gites de France, the excellent French system of B&Bs before and we recently used the website to find accommodation. We went to Burgundy on Tuesday to see relatives who were driving through and took the chance to spend a couple of days there. We both enjoy cycling in France, because it is a fairly empty country apart from the major conurbations. There are lots and lots of very quiet roads rather than the cycle routes the Germans go in for. We can use the white roads on the 1:100 000 IGN maps in France and in addition these excellent maps for cyclists and walkers show a number of byways. These are often unsealed, but can be used by anyone apart from racing bike riders. Visiting France is good for us as well because we are studying French at present at the local Volkshochschule. On this trip we booked into a chambre d'hote with table d'hote in a village near Beaune. We had a jolly time before dinner catching up on the events of the past few months over a bottle of Burgundy and practising our French over the excellent dinner putting the world to right. The advantage of table d'hote is that one eats with the family and needs to talk French. The family in this case was a single lady and two dogs. The dogs said but little. They were incredibly well behaved. The house had two guest rooms and had a large garden with a swimming pool. The house backs onto a small sports field. It is near the church. There is no restaurant in the village. We can recommend it for an overnight stay or for a few days.
The address:
Guardiola Laurence
2 Rue des Tilleuls
21250 Courgengoux
T: (in France) 03 80 26 66 08
eMail: auxgourmandises@club-internet.fr

Monday, March 09, 2009

Newsletter 2007/2008 (somewhat late)

Bergstrasse Bike Books Newsletter 2009
Looking up our records I’m horrified to see the last time I reported on our activities seems to be 2006. Tempus has definitely been in fugit mode.
Don’t panic, there is no blow by blow description of life at Forsyth Towers but we did think it useful to confirm that we have not yet called in the bailiffs or hung up our cycling undies for good. It maybe that each of us is trying to fire the other one or send them on a government training scheme, but the messages are not getting through.
2009 has been chilly (coldest night so far -17 C) and rather snowy, limiting our biking to quick trips into town, so thoughts turn to adventures past and possibilities when spring steals over the horizon. We are still producing and selling all our cycling books and sales of our ‘Cycling in Switzerland’ guide published by Cicerone in April 2008 are going strong. Our costs have continued to rise. The value of the pound against the Euro and the Dollar has slumped to such an extent that we’ve finally been forced to increase the prices of our books. See our web site: www.bergstrassebikebooks.com for an update on prices and postage charges. Our books are available in the USA from:
Russell Guy guy@omnimap.com
Omni Resources http://www.omnimap.com/maps.htm
International Map Specialists Tel.: 800-742-2677 (USA only)
P.O. Box 2096 Tel.: 336-227-8300 (International)
1004 South Mebane St. Fax: 336-227-3748
Burlington, NC 27216-2096 USA

Despite our status as pensioners and occasionally needing the attentions of doctors for this and that we remain active, mostly walking in the winters and cycling in the warmer months. Neil’s Lymphoma continues to be monitored and seems to be regarded as stable by his medics. Both of us enjoyed a strenuous snowshoeing week in the Alpes Maritime over New Year, see www.space-between.co.uk if interested.
After two seasons cycling in Switzerland, sometimes in horrible conditions of rain and snow (see picture J in Gotthard mist), combined with writing and extensive checking of the Swiss guide we did not make any new long tours in 2008. Instead we revised and also revisited parts of our Riesling Route so we could reprint with more colour, price and route updates. We were especially delighted that the canal route between Sarrebourg and Lutzelbourg has been given a tremendous new look. The abandoned Marne au Rhine canal has been dewatered and is now a nature reserve with a fantastic smooth cycleway alongside. We also tried and tested some more French B&Bs and found those chambre d’hote offering table d'hote - i.e., evening meals with the hosts to be excellent value for money, if you are prepared to brush up some French (see picture of breakfast spread). For more information look up our blog (2008 archive - French B&Bs) which contains not only comments about our cycling activities but also includes information about new routes, accommodation costs and bike hire.
We try to help potential visitors to Germany or neighbouring countries find information on maps, cycleways or accommodation whenever these come our way, by chance or redirection from CTC or other cycling organisations. Mostly these questions are easy but sometimes we are amazed at the unusual routes or challenges people give themselves - Europe to Israel via Turkey springs to mind - and no we couldn’t suggest anything very much.
A new venture for us was cycling along the Romantic Road in September with a group of US/Canadian cyclists. Despite some cultural differences in interpreting touring by bike and rather indifferent weather we think they enjoyed the experience and we still keep in touch with many. Their preferred road bikes were not suitable for parts of the route so there were several modifications including taking to the Via Claudia Route south of Augsburg and into Füssen. This runs through pretty, dreamy villages on quiet roads approaching the Alpine foothills. We had already cycled some testing parts of the Via Claudia in Switzerland and Italy the previous year. Discussions are underway with the Romantic Road Tourism Organisation about leading a group using touring bikes and following the route directly, so contact us if you are interested.
Winter is also a time when we print supplies of books ready for the springtime flood of enquiries and orders (we hope). We try to avoid those nasty moments when we are out of copies of this and that, with both printers claiming to feel tired or completely out of toner. Please do continue to buy our books, but do be patient if they take a few days to arrive.
It is hard to remember that we’ve now lived here more than four years, and yes, the attic guest room is up and running, the exterior of the house is now an eye-catching primrose and the garden doing quite well when not buried in snow and ice (see veggie patch picture). Somehow we find time to socialise, go to French classes, help keep our town tidy and managed to visit the UK, Spain, Italy and France last year. We’ve not finalised any longer cycling tours yet for the warmer months but may return to Belgium and the Flanders route or possibly Berlin to Copenhagen which appears to interest many people.
We hope you have a good year, despite gloomy economic prospects and enjoy some excellent cycling, whether for work or pleasure.
Best wishes,
Judith and Neil

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bike Hire in Saarland

The Saarland, a tiny province in the far west of Germany on the Luxembourg/French border, is a good place to sample both German cycle touring and start a cycle trip beyond its borders:
The River Saar with its towpath offers a connection north to Trier in the Moselle valley, and south via Saar Coal Mine Canal to reach the Vosges and Strasbourg.
The Saarlorlux Cycle Route connects Luxembourg, Metz, Saarbrücken and Trier and crosses parts of Lorraine, Luxembourg and Saarland.
The Saarland Provincial Tourist Office has a website in English with information about cycle routes and a list of Bed and Bike accommodation where cyclists are made especially welcome.
Saarbrücken has excellent rail connections to Paris and Frankfurt and even an airport with some international flights.
For once there is no shortage of bicycle hire outlets.
The provincial tourist office also has a list of bike hire facilities in German (http://www.tourismus.saarland.de/urlaubsfinder/aktivurlaub/1474_DEU_tzs.php) which may well be more up to date than this one.


Fahrrad Schwarz
66740 Saarlouis-Fraulautern
Tel. 06831/80472
open: daily 9:00 - 12:00 und 14:00 - 19:00, Saturdays until 14:00
Bicycle rental, sale, repair, service, spare parts and accessories

Diakonisches Werk an der Saar Fahrrad-Service-Station Saarlouis
This church backed organisation offers work to the unemployed and training to those without an apprenticeship. The bikes will not be new, but reconditioned. They will be reliable and none the worse for this.
Donatusstr. 13
66740 Saarlouis-Roden
Tel. +49 (0)6831/87592
Open: daily 8:00 – 16:00,
Fridays until 14.30
Bike rental, no repairs, guaranteed secondhand bikes for sale
Bicycles can be delivered from the Saarlouis railway station to your holiday start point.
Office/workshop on the railway station
open: daily 8:00 - 17:00
Friday until 18:00


STADT-RAD - Fahrradverleih
The above mentioned Diakonisches Werk an der Saar, the city of Völklingen and the provincial government set up a bicycle rental service in July 2006. This can be found very near the railway station in Völklingen in the GLOBUS Passage, Rathausstraße. It is open from Monday to Friday: 10:00 - 16:00
Tel.: +49 (0) 68 98 / 50 31 74 or 29 62 32
Basic Charge: 3 Euro/day, each day afterwards 1 Euro,
Weekends (Friday-Monday): 5 Euro
Bike deposit: 20 Euro

Homburg (Saar)

Kirchenstr. 7
66424 Homburg (Saar)
Tel.: +49 (0)6841/ 31 88
Web Site: www.stadtrad-homburg.de/ (in German)
This bike shop offers repair, service, new bike sales in addition to a bicycle rental service.
Open: Monday - Friday 10:00 - 18:30
Saturday 10:00 - 14:00


Zweirad Schellhase, Hauptstr. 194, 66773 Schwalbach
Tel.: 06834/52079 Fax: 06834/51684, eMail: info@zweirad-schellhase.de
http://www.zweirad-schellhase.de/ (in German)
This bike shop offers repair, service, new bike sales in addition to a bicycle rental service.
Open: Monday - Friday 08:30 - 12:00 14:00 - 18:30
Saturday 08:30 - 14:00
November - February closed Wednesday afternoons


U. Hoffmann Fahrräder, Bicycles Service, Rental
Von Boch-Liebig Str. 5
66693 Mettlach
Tel.: +49 (0)6864/303
Fax: +49 (0)6864/594

Nennig (Moselle valley)

Verkehrsverein Nennig e.V. (Tourist Office in Perl-Nennig)
Bübinger Straße 5
D-66706 Nennig
Tel.: +(49) (0)6866 · 1439
Fax: +(49) (0)6866 · 1278
eMail: info(at)nennig.de
Website: www.Nennig.de (in German)
Bicycle hire 10 Euro per day with a reduction after three days.
Open: April to October: Monday - Friday: 10:00 - 12:00 nnd 14:00 - 16:00
November to March:
Monday and Tuesday: 10:00 - 12:00
Wednesday - Friday: 14:00 - 16:00 Uhr


Fahrradfachhandel Schulz + Schade,
Vorstadtstr. 45,
66117 Saarbrücken, Tel.: +49(0)681-52676,
Internet: www.schulz-schade.de
This bicycle shop offers electrobikes in addition to a number of touring bikes.

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