Friday, November 27, 2015

Wertheim, A new town joins the Romantic Road Part I

Wertheim am Main, lying between Würzburg and Frankfurt am Main, has been attempting to join the select club of members of the Romantic Road for over ten years. It has finally achieved its aims and is now a member. The route of the Romantic Road is now changed. It runs west from Würzburg to Wertheim which lies at the confluence of the Rivers Tauber and Main and then follows the Tauber Valley south towards Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Wertheim itself is an interesting mediaeval town and well worth visiting. What this change means for cyclists is that the cycle route will be extended. I am not too sure how, but there seem to be two options:
  • Follow the Main cycleway for about 6 hours downstream towards Frankfurt am Main to Wertheim through Karlstadt, Gemünden and Marktheidenfeld, and then take the ADFC Five Star Tauber Valley Route.
  • Climb over the hills between Würzburg and Wertheim which appears to take about three hours. 
Myself I would go for the longer flatter option as the Main Valley is spectacular in this section and it's less work. 
There is, of course, nothing to stop you taking the old route out of Würzburg. It is an interesting series of ups and downs with a former Jewish community house and a pilgrimage chapel on the way. At the moment the weather is inclement and we will wait until the spring to check out the new signposting. We will then write an addendum to the Romantic Road guide.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bike Hire in SW France

Bike touring in France is getting better year by year and I was interested to come across a bike hire company in Southwestern France. Bike Direct offers a good range of touring bikes, tandems and accessories at reasonable prices ( We have cycled in this area and it was very enjoyable.
Bike hire is offered in the Charente (16), Charente Maritime (17), Dordogne (24), Gironde (33), Deux-Sevres (79), Vienne (86), Haute-Vienne (87) and from 2015 in the Vendee (85). - See more at:

Bike hire is offered in the Charente (16), Charente Maritime (17), Dordogne (24), Gironde (33), Deux-Sevres (79), Vienne (86), Haute-Vienne (87) and from 2015 in the Vendee (85). - See more at:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Moselle Valley News

The cycleway along the Moselle Valley near Metz in Lorraine, known by the French as la véloroute "Charles le Téméraire" (V50 Moselle Saone) has been extended to Moulins-lès-Metz. This means it is possible to cycle on quiet roads or cycleways from the French-German-Luxembourg border to Moulins-lès-Metz. After that our feeling is that it is better to cycle up into the hills as described in our book: "The Riesling Route".

Friday, November 06, 2015

Mannheim's battle with the bicycle

To take one of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epigrams about Cologne slightly out of context, but still on the Rhine: Mannheim, Germany, whose "…pavements are fanged with murderous stones", has problems with bicycles. Agreed the first trip by the hobby horse, the forerunner of the bicycle was made in the city. To this day local school kids follow his route one day of the year and there will be major big time celebrations in 2017 two hundred years after the day when Karl Drais swung his leg over the not very comfortable seat of his invention and propelled it and himself to a pub in Rheinau, at that time a nearby village, now a suburb of Mannheim.
However after that Carl Benz built a cycle car, but still a car and his wife nipped off to Pforzheim in 1886 to come back the next day. The age of idly sitting about during individual travel was upon us. The Daimler company, successor to Carl Benz, still builds buses and lorry engines in Mannheim. The next Mannheim inventor in this area of technology was Heinrich Lanz, initially an importer of American and British farm equipment who developed the Bulldog tractors, propelled by a semi-diesel motor. Mannheim can truly be said to be a pioneer city for individual travel, both motorised and unmotorised.
Is it a bicycle city as is repeatedly declaimed by the city fathers? I doubt it. There are some good cycle paths and there is an active cycling community, but it is still major fight to cut down space on the roads for motorists. Without this there will be no real improvements for cyclists.

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