Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

SW Germany to Utrecht, Netherlands

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

SW Germany to Utrecht, Netherlands

Old 01-02-19, 10:46 PM
  #1  
alias5000
Raised a new winter bike
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario
Posts: 464

Bikes: HP Velotechnik Streetmachine GTE, 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4, 2012 Cannondale Road Tandem 2, 2007 Trek 6000, Circe Morpheus

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
SW Germany to Utrecht, Netherlands

Hello everyone!
I am currently roughly drafting out a tour that my GF and I will hopefully be able to do this year: southwestern Germany (Tübingen) to Utrecht in the Netherlands.
CGOAB has been a good resource, friends have helped out, and maybe you all also have some thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on this? I'm mostly looking for things we 'should' do, things we could do along the way and hints, if other options would make more sense.

Se here we go:
We have about 4 weeks for our vacation, reserving 2.5 for the actual tour sounds like a reasonable maximum. We'll be bringing our Cannondale Tandem across the Atlantic by plane (Never done this, 0 experience with it, but I read it can work). Land in Stuttgart (via Amsterdam), return from Amsterdam. Daily average mileage should not exceed 60km, otherwise the tandem team will not be a happy team anymore. Also, we want to see stuff! People, nature, animal and plant life, history, culture, fun...
If both our bosses give a final agreement, we'll be on the way in the month of May.

Approx. route idea:
Leg 1: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124236
(Tübingen - Karlsruhe via northern black forest Murgtal)
Some saunas seem to be waiting along the way. Was considering a more southerly route (Freundenstadt, Kinzigtal, Offenburg, Strasbourg), but that does stretch the route quite a bit...
Strasbourg is beautiful, I have been there 2-3 times before.

Leg 2: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124408
(Karlsruhe - Koblenz, roughly following the Rhine, possibly with a few train shortcuts between Koblenz and Mainz, as well as Koblenz and Bonn). It's castle time, baby! We have briefly been to Heidelberg before. What else?

Leg 3: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124587
(Bonn - Venlo via Eiffel national park and Aachen. I am still a bit unsure about this. Is the Aachen - Venlo part worth riding, or shall we just take a train?).
It seemed to me that the Rhine cycle route becomes a bit boring north of Koblenz. Anything north of Cologne makes me skeptical because of the industry and population density. Is this justified from a cycle-tourist's perspective? This got me to consider looking towards the Netherlands sooner. Any words on Bonn/Cologne?

Leg 4: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124646
I have no idea about the maasfietsroute (LF13) from Maastricht along the Maas/Meuse. Is it worth the detour? Any tips for Maastricht? Going by train from Aachen to Venlo might be an alternative.

Starting point, end point, and Karlsruhe are the only really fixed points, as they relate to dear people in that place. Originally, I was thinking to tour the Rhine cycle route. But the more I play with the ideas, the shorter the actual Rhine segments become and the more other places come into the picture.

Thanks!
alias5000 is offline  
Old 01-03-19, 02:51 AM
  #2  
HobbesOnTour
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NB, NL
Posts: 167

Bikes: 90's Trek 800 Sport, setup for Fully Loaded Touring

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Hello everyone!
I am currently roughly drafting out a tour that my GF and I will hopefully be able to do this year: southwestern Germany (Tübingen) to Utrecht in the Netherlands.
CGOAB has been a good resource, friends have helped out, and maybe you all also have some thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on this? I'm mostly looking for things we 'should' do, things we could do along the way and hints, if other options would make more sense.
It's very rare that I would suggest to someone that there is something they they "should" do as we are all different and from my own experience the places and things that have had the most impact on me are not the ones that I expected. However, in that part of the world it's all good! :-)
Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Se here we go:
We have about 4 weeks for our vacation, reserving 2.5 for the actual tour sounds like a reasonable maximum. We'll be bringing our Cannondale Tandem across the Atlantic by plane (Never done this, 0 experience with it, but I read it can work). Land in Stuttgart (via Amsterdam), return from Amsterdam. Daily average mileage should not exceed 60km, otherwise the tandem team will not be a happy team anymore. Also, we want to see stuff! People, nature, animal and plant life, history, culture, fun...
If both our bosses give a final agreement, we'll be on the way in the month of May.
The bike transport is the weak link. Personally, I'd want a bit more assurance than having read about it. I'd also build some flexibility into the schedule to allow for transportation issues with the tandem whether that's on the plane or on trains.

Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Approx. route idea:
Leg 1: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124236
(Tübingen - Karlsruhe via northern black forest Murgtal)
Some saunas seem to be waiting along the way. Was considering a more southerly route (Freundenstadt, Kinzigtal, Offenburg, Strasbourg), but that does stretch the route quite a bit...
Strasbourg is beautiful, I have been there 2-3 times before.

Leg 2: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124408
(Karlsruhe - Koblenz, roughly following the Rhine, possibly with a few train shortcuts between Koblenz and Mainz, as well as Koblenz and Bonn). It's castle time, baby! We have briefly been to Heidelberg before. What else?
Of all the places to take trains along the Rhine, Koblenz to Mainz and to a lesser extent to Bonn are probably the poorest choices. There are spectacular spots along here. Lots of castles sure, but steep hills to get there! :-)
Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Leg 3: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124587
(Bonn - Venlo via Eiffel national park and Aachen. I am still a bit unsure about this. Is the Aachen - Venlo part worth riding, or shall we just take a train?).
It seemed to me that the Rhine cycle route becomes a bit boring north of Koblenz. Anything north of Cologne makes me skeptical because of the industry and population density. Is this justified from a cycle-tourist's perspective? This got me to consider looking towards the Netherlands sooner. Any words on Bonn/Cologne?
The Eifel national park is a fantastic place to cycle, but..... it is hilly, Not especially long climbs, but certainly steep. There is a well known cyclepath (old railline) known as the Vennbahn running from Luxembourg to Aachen if you wanted to branch off from the Rhine earlier.

Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Leg 4: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124646
I have no idea about the maasfietsroute (LF13) from Maastricht along the Maas/Meuse. Is it worth the detour? Any tips for Maastricht? Going by train from Aachen to Venlo might be an alternative.
Is it worth the detour? That's for you to decide, but it is nice cycling.
Maastricht itself is a pretty, historical town, well worth a visit.

Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Starting point, end point, and Karlsruhe are the only really fixed points, as they relate to dear people in that place. Originally, I was thinking to tour the Rhine cycle route. But the more I play with the ideas, the shorter the actual Rhine segments become and the more other places come into the picture.

Thanks!
That's always the problem - trying to optimise the whole experience

A couple of observations and suggestions
Check out https://cycle.travel/map for routing ideas. Easy to manipulate and has the added advantage of showing existing cycle routes - handy for linking up different routes.
If you count on using trains make sure you check them out well in advance. Not every train takes bikes, those that do have limits on the numbers and I can see a tandem causing more issues.
What are you planning for accommodation? If hotels, I'd check in advance that there is secure storage for a tandem, don't just assume that it exists.

I'd suggest getting onto the Rhine route as soon as possible, then follow that as far as at least Koblenz, but maybe as far as Cologne, then train to Arnhem (NL) and follow the Rhine to Utrecht. Lots of history in that part of the world, especially around WWII. Navigation will be easy and stress free.

Have a great trip!
HobbesOnTour is offline  
Old 01-03-19, 06:48 AM
  #3  
avole
Banned.
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: France
Posts: 1,045

Bikes: Brompton, Time, Bianchi, Jan Janssen, Peugeot

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 598 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Tubingen is very pretty, but note it is hilly round there. Lots of sites, of interest, and the university is noted/was noted for its work in genetics.
Bebenhausen is not to be missed, and neither is the Rittersports coffee shop in their factory at Waldenbuch. Yes, it's a factory, but you won't want to miss it. Steinenbronn is a typical newish German town, and, since you'll arrive their, not far from Stuttgart airport. Nice trip, that, it was my pleasure to pick people up at the airport. From their, you can take the road to Böblingen, which features the Mercedes factory, and the train down to Stuttgart. You'll probably want to train it to Karlsruhe, those hills can be steep. The stop for me after that would be Heidelberg - just imagine walking the hills in company with some of the great minds of the time.

You aill find that, in the smaller towns, not necessarily everyone, even in the post office, will speak English, but they'll usually find one who can for you. Spatzle (a type of local pasta) and beer are the local specalities - if you think English or American beer is good, avoid Germany and Belgium ! What may cause trouble is the tandem. Cycling is as big in Germany as anywhere else in Europe, and your tandem will cause interest, but may also cause trouble on public transport. in terms of adequate space. Consider buying bikes there - I bought my Bianchi at a knockdown price in Sindelfingen, as in around the 460€ mark,and was offered more a year ago for a bike 10 years old. Note, also, that Baden Wurtemberg is one of the areas that does not allow flashing lights on bikes, or was 10 years ago.

I wouldn't be too negative about the town further up the Rhine. Köln is great, not merely for the Cahedral, but its museums and, of course, the Turkish quarter, worth visiting if only for the food. There's also, and closing in on Holland, Duesseldorf, a town whose merits you begin to discover the longer you stay there, and the design captal of Europe, plus the river cafés you see in Utrecht, but on a larger scale. The beer isn't bad, either..

I've gone on about this part of Germany because the area you have chosen is on the tourist routes, but less well known, except for the Black Forest and Heidelberg, than it deserves to be. The trip up to Utrecht is equally interesting, though I'd argue the food is better in Germany. Don't be fooled, by the way, the currywurst is generally popular, but not the staple that macdos are to the US. Only the Indian food leaves a little to be desired, while the pizzas are cheap, huge and very unhealthy.

Last edited by avole; 01-03-19 at 07:05 AM.
avole is offline  
Old 01-03-19, 08:21 AM
  #4  
alias5000
Raised a new winter bike
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario
Posts: 464

Bikes: HP Velotechnik Streetmachine GTE, 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4, 2012 Cannondale Road Tandem 2, 2007 Trek 6000, Circe Morpheus

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thank you guys for your inputs. I forgot to mention that I have lived in Germany for many years, so I am familiar with many things from a resident's perspective (less so as a tourist/visitor!). I have not seen anything north of Heidelberg along the Rhine and west of it myself, yet. Sorry that I did not include this earlier.

The tandem is quite a bit of a logistical concern, but it's the only way for us to make it a bike tour together. The alternative is me cycling alone with GF travelling by other means. She does not like that idea, either.
alias5000 is offline  
Old 01-03-19, 10:59 AM
  #5  
avole
Banned.
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: France
Posts: 1,045

Bikes: Brompton, Time, Bianchi, Jan Janssen, Peugeot

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 598 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Sorry - I too have lived in Germany before for several years so was trying to move beyond the tourist thing.
avole is offline  
Old 01-03-19, 01:19 PM
  #6  
Stadjer
Senior Member
 
Stadjer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Groningen
Posts: 1,117

Bikes: Gazelle rod brakes, Batavus compact, Peugeot hybrid

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2094 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Just a few general points:

- The Ruhrgebiet/ Die Kohlenpott (Ruhr area/ Cole pott) is rapidly changing. There's no coal mining anymore and I've understood the sites have gotten cultural and recreational purposes with some industrial history monuments and musea. I didn't see it myself. It's certainly interesting what has happened there but not necessarily immediately the best part for a cycling vacation. It's still very densily populated and it's the heavy industry that has decreased, not all industry.
- Cologne has a very nice vibe, there's something laid back about the people. But in general German cities don't get any prettier from Cologne to the North because of the range of the allied bombers, that part of German history has translated into a lot of post war architecture which gets a bit boring.
- There are a lot of small, local festivals in Germany, about wine, medieval times, spring, beer whatever. Could be nice if you're in the neighbourhood, so you might want to check some local festival calendre.
- If Strassbourg is to much of a deviation to the South you might consider going through Saarland which is a bit more up north.
- Really don't know the Limburg province (Maastricht, Venlo) very well, but I have my doubts about the route between Nijmegen and Utrecht. Not because there's anything wrong with it but I think you might the prettiest part of there by only about 20 kilometers. I would have to check that but the whole area is full of cycleways and you can plan the exact route in the morning. And if you're that close you might want to just cross through Houten, not because it's particularly pretty but because it's entirely build for cycling.
Stadjer is offline  
Old 01-03-19, 05:46 PM
  #7  
raybo
Bike touring webrarian
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 1,893

Bikes: I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 4 Posts
I'm not sure if this will help you or not, but I did a ride in the other direction, from Amsterdam to Passau, that included Utrecht, Nijmegen, Aachen, the Vennbonn, and south to the Saar via Clervaux. I went south to Baden-Baden, so didn't really go near Tubingen.

I found the Saar to be deadly boring. Skip it!

The Vennbonn starts/ends (depending on direction) in Aachen. I went through the Eifel, not on the Vennbonn, but it rained the entire day, so didn't see it at its best. It is hilly and completely forested. Here is the journal page for that ride.

I rode the Vennbonn from near Monschau south past the end to Clervaux. It was a very nice ride through undulating forests, lots of rivers and streams, and no cars. If you get close to it, take it. I was told that the section near Aachen was hilly, but I didn't ride it. Here is the journal page for my ride down the Vennbonn.

My ride through Eastern Netherlands was not all that exciting, though riding on Dutch biking infrastructure is a fabulous experience.

I liked the town of Nijmegen and the surrounding area, though it is a bit hilly. Once past Groesbeek and along the Maas, the riding was not all that interesting. To have more time elsewhere, I'd skip the part from Aachen to Nimegen or even further north, though the National Parks north or Arnheim are worth a ride through.

Here is the journal pages starting in Zeist.
raybo is offline  
Old 01-03-19, 08:05 PM
  #8  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,259

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3588 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Best tip I can give on Netherlands, and possibly Western Germany in the border area: Vrienden op de Fiets is a wonderful AirBNB style association exclusively for hikers and cyclists. Decent accommodation at a fixed rate around 20EUR a night per person, always located near the cycling/hiking routes.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 01-04-19, 02:08 PM
  #9  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,613

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6757 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 164 Times in 140 Posts
Entered DE via Passau, On the Danube, traveled thru Bavaria to Strasbourg on the Rhine , Luxembourg, Belgium then into NL from Antwerp ..

Well before the mobile Phone technology era ..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 01-06-19, 06:13 PM
  #10  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,484
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 764 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Approx. route idea:

Leg 2: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124408
(Karlsruhe - Koblenz, roughly following the Rhine, possibly with a few train shortcuts between Koblenz and Mainz, as well as Koblenz and Bonn). It's castle time, baby! We have briefly been to Heidelberg before. What else?

Leg 3: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124587
(Bonn - Venlo via Eiffel national park and Aachen. I am still a bit unsure about this. Is the Aachen - Venlo part worth riding, or shall we just take a train?).
It seemed to me that the Rhine cycle route becomes a bit boring north of Koblenz. Anything north of Cologne makes me skeptical because of the industry and population density. Is this justified from a cycle-tourist's perspective? This got me to consider looking towards the Netherlands sooner. Any words on Bonn/Cologne?

Leg 4: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29124646
I have no idea about the maasfietsroute (LF13) from Maastricht along the Maas/Meuse. Is it worth the detour? Any tips for Maastricht? Going by train from Aachen to Venlo might be an alternative.
My wife and I have used major sections of the Rhine Route as part of longer routes on three occasions. We have not started a tour in the Netherlands, but we like to finish our rides there, departing from Schiphol Airport. It is an excellent airport when travelling with a bike. Our longest section was from Basel before cutting west to Nijmegen, and a loop around the country.

I believe there are a lot of interesting towns and scenery between Koblenz and Cologne. This summer we used quite a bit of the Rhine from near Mulhouse, France to Cologne. We turned west from Cologne (Cathedral and Chocolate Museum) and picked our way to Brugge. From there we went up the NL coast to show our daughter the Delta Water Works (Part of the "largest engineering project in the world"), and then turned inland. It was high season and very hot, filling campgrounds and hotels to capacity. We got the last camping spot in a campground near Domburg, NL that had 700 sites. If you are camping you might want to tie into the Farm Camping network.

From there to Kinderdijk (windmills) > Gouda (cheese) > Lelystad (20 mile long dam) > Hoorn> Haarlem > Leiden (my favorite city in NL) > Hoofddorp > Schiphol. We took the train into Amsterdam, which is a good way to go, it is a lot more convenient than riding into the city. You could easily rearrange that route to end your ride in Utrecht. Starting from Tubingen my estimate of this route is about 1000 km.

Good luck on your tour.

P.S. IMO the west side of the Rhine offers the best scenery and riding conditions. If you are not riding in the high season, going right up the NL coast is always a good option from Brugge.

I believe your biggest challenge will be getting your bike to the start of your ride, and the return home. I often find this to be the most difficult part of the tour. Right now we are trying to figure how to finish the last leg of our ride across Canada- Windsor, Ontario to Halifax. Bike shipping logistics are the crux right now.

Last edited by Doug64; 01-07-19 at 11:54 PM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 01-07-19, 10:24 PM
  #11  
alias5000
Raised a new winter bike
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario
Posts: 464

Bikes: HP Velotechnik Streetmachine GTE, 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4, 2012 Cannondale Road Tandem 2, 2007 Trek 6000, Circe Morpheus

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thank you everybody for your input! I think we have a pretty good idea of the general directions, rough timelines, and a couple of alternatives. It seems like we're closer to getting time off for the month of May.

We're aiming for a non-camping trip this time, so a mix of hotels and warmshowers, hopefully.

Regarding the Netherlands, it does sound a bit as if it would be very worth cycling near the sea, but the (south-)east may not be the most interesting part... I'm still unsure about this. If all fails, we'll take more trains and do some North Sea cycling instead. Which brings me to tandems and dutch trains... A quick google search suggests that tandems on trains (local / long distance?) are not that much of an issue (off-peak + bike ticket required). Anyone got any experience with this?

@raybo: Thanks for the journal links! I went through most of your trip, looks like you got your load of history in Your reports from NL to around Saar were helpful. And it looks like I'll have to do the Kinzigtal another time when I'm around there

@jefnvk: Thanks for the tip regarding Vrienden op de Fiets, that sounds pretty neat!
alias5000 is offline  
Old 01-08-19, 01:48 AM
  #12  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,401

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 128 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2851 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 34 Posts
We kind of went the other way ... from Utrecht through Germany along the Rhine Route:

Charlene Barach (Machka) - 2012 Round the World Tour

Scroll down a bit and you'll get to the story.
Machka is offline  
Old 01-08-19, 03:40 AM
  #13  
HobbesOnTour
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NB, NL
Posts: 167

Bikes: 90's Trek 800 Sport, setup for Fully Loaded Touring

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Which brings me to tandems and dutch trains... A quick google search suggests that tandems on trains (local / long distance?) are not that much of an issue (off-peak + bike ticket required). Anyone got any experience with this?
From the Dutch train site www.ns.nl

Travelling during off-peak hours with a special ticketWith a Fietskaart Dal, you can bring your bicycle (recumbent/racing bicycle/e-bike/tandem) with you in the bicycle compartment for only € 6.20 (€ 6.90 as of 1 January 2019). The following rules apply:
  • You must have a Fietskaart Dal ticket.
  • You can only bring your bicycle in the train during off-peak hours.
  • You may not bring your bicycle in the train during peak hours, between 06:30 and 09:00, and 16:00 - 18:30, due to the limited space available. This rule also applies if you check in before the peak hours, but travel during peak hours.
  • You can bring your bicycle in the train all day, even during peak hours, at the weekend and during the months of July and August.
  • You can also bring along your bicycle during off-peak hours in the Intercity Direct and all domestic NS routes.
  • You may bring along your bicycle during off-peak hours on the domestic routes of the IC Berlin and the IC Brussels. Reservations are usually unnecessary, but during the months of July and August you must have an international bicycle ticket and a reservation if you wish to travel on the IC Berlin, due to high demand during this period.
  • Always remove any baggage (bicycle panniers, etc.) from your bicycle to make room for other bicycles in the compartment!
  • You can bring along a folding bicycle for free at any time, even during peak hours (but the bicycle must be folded of course!).
  • If your walking cycle or tricycle was provided via the Social Support Act, then you may take it on the train with you for free without a special permit. Your vehicle may not be more than 150 cm long and 75 cm wide, including luggage.
In all cases, there must be sufficient space in the bicycle compartment. During the summer months, the bicycle compartment can be very crowded, and there may not be enough space to carry all of the bicycles.
Tickets are available from machines (English language available) at every station.
Bike carriages are marked with a bike sign on the doors.
HobbesOnTour is offline  
Old 01-08-19, 02:21 PM
  #14  
Stadjer
Senior Member
 
Stadjer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Groningen
Posts: 1,117

Bikes: Gazelle rod brakes, Batavus compact, Peugeot hybrid

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2094 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Regarding the Netherlands, it does sound a bit as if it would be very worth cycling near the sea, but the (south-)east may not be the most interesting part... I'm still unsure about this. If all fails, we'll take more trains and do some North Sea cycling instead. Which brings me to tandems and dutch trains... A quick google search suggests that tandems on trains (local / long distance?) are not that much of an issue (off-peak + bike ticket required). Anyone got any experience with this?
I know Dutch trains quite well and there is the option to take a bike or even a tandem if you need to, but it's a compromise on travel comfort. Prepare to improvise, bring a bungee cord and pick the train with the most direct connection instead of having to switch trains 1 or more times because it's not an issue but a bit of a hassle. It's for occasional bike transport and for cycling tourists, the Dutch use the NS (Dutch Railways) bike share or have bikes at both train stations. The NS doesn't want everybody to take their bike because it's just impossible, so it's not made too nice and easy or cheap.

The South-East and the East in general is often praised for it's landscape by the Dutch, especially the locals, but in a flat and wet land hills and forests are easily overestimated. Probably Germany does hills and forests a lot better (I'm from the most Eastern corner and live in the upper North now, no chauvinism here). There's no real nature in the Netherlands anyway, it's all man made, managed and kept, even the rivers are rerouted, split or created. That brings uniquely Dutch landscapes like in 'Rivierenland', West of Nijmegen, south of the Waal river. With lots of waterways, quite a few castles, ****s, blossoming fruit trees in may and picturesque towns and villages. A small river like the Linge is probably nicer to follow then the Rhine or the Waal. West of Utrecht it becomes very dense on basically everything, dense on different landscapes but also dense on history, Leiden, Delft, Amsterdam, Gouda, The Hague,Haarlem, it;s really a small area but it has been the centre of the world for a 100 years. It's dense on population too, but not entirely urbanized, the stretches of 'nature' until the next village are just not that long and there's 'the Green Heart' in the middle of the 4 biggest cities, and there are the dunes at the coast of course.
Stadjer is offline  
Old 01-08-19, 04:07 PM
  #15  
Philly Tandem
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: SE Penna., USA
Posts: 1,094

Bikes: Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion Pangea S&S, Co-Motion Nor'wester S&S, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Ellsworth Enlightenment Carbon, Niner EMD9, old-school C'dale F2000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Regarding your German parts of the trip, a few thoughts are below. We have bike-toured in Germany many times on both tandem and triplet (self-supported, non-camping), and I've also done a few short solo tours in some of the areas you are looking at. I work for a German company in Baden-Württemberg and travel there a lot. Usually I try to tack on some riding, either with a rental bike or bringing my own.

1. Transporting your bike on the airlines: we have S&S bikes, so I can't 100% comment on how easy it will be to fly with your uncoupled Cannondale. That said, I've seen plenty of people in the FRA airport unboxing full-sized, uncoupled tandems, so I know it can be done. But it will cost you. Most airlines specifically EXCLUDE "bikes with two or more seats" from their bicycle policy, which means you may get stuck paying airfreight/oversize/overweight rates if they won't let you fly it under the standard bicycle fee. In my experience, the counter people in Europe are less likely to look closely at your oversize box, as they are more used to dealing with people checking bikes compared with those in the USA. At the very least, do your utmost to get the box down to the smallest size possible. I suggest posting a specific question on the tandem forum here on BF to get more recent input. A lot of people in that group tour with their tandems.
2. Since you have Germany experience, I assume you know that the Black Forest has a lot of hills that might be challenging on a tandem! Do you have a particular reason for starting in Tuebingen? Just curious. It's likely to be a bit of a roundabout trip to get there by train to start. The Schwarzwald is beautiful, of course. Another option would be to ride the Neckar River Route from there up through Heidelberg and then into the Rhein at Mannheim. On the BF Tandem Forum there is one guy (Hans Christoph) who lives in the Black Forest and is a very experienced tandemist; he may be a good resource for you.
3. I suggest a side trip to the town of Speyer, a bit south of Heidelberg and right along the Rhein. It's a small city, but has a nice center and a very impressive, famous cathedral. Worth a detour. Also, don't miss the town of Ladenburg, just north of Heidelberg and right on the Neckar, and only slightly off your route. Very cool old Roman town and worth a lunch or snack shop. Basically, around point "25" on your mapped route I'd cut over to the Rhine and visit Speyer. Then head over through Schwetzingen, which is a very nice town with an excellent castle/lodge/gardens sort of thing that's well worth a visit, and then onto Heidelberg and then Ladenburg. It's not a very long detour, but is WAY nicer than the route you have mapped from point 25 in Heidelberg (I've biked that route you have mapped many times and it's meh). If you are into auto or motorcycle racing at all, the famed "Hockenheimring" is more or less on the way to Speyer, too.
3a. If you want to stay in Heidelberg, message me and I'll put you in contact with a friend who has a great Air B&B right on the main street with an amazing view of the castle.
4. The Rhein Route from Mannheim up to Koblenz is a nice ride IMO. I did a short 2.5-day tour along it tagged onto one of my business trips and enjoyed it a lot more than I had anticipated, even the sections between Mannheim and Mainz that some people complain about. Not sure why you are looking to shortcut by train any of these sections, especially between Mainz and Koblenz? That's the famed "Romantic Rhine" and has lots to see.
5. We rode the Mosel last fall (2017) from Trier to Koblenz. We had been wanting to do it for years by bike and just never had it fit in with any of our other tours. That was a REALLY nice ride, and only took a few days. Consider adding that into your itinerary. Ride to Koblenz, take the direct train from there up the Mosel to Trier, and ride back. Then continue up the Rhine by bike, train, or ship.
6. We've taken our tandem and triplet on many German trains, so let me know if you have questions about that side of things, too.
7. Unrelated to your route, but thought I'd mention it: the Bodensee/Lake Constance is a great, relatively short bike tour, too, that you could easily add on to your itinerary. I did it last May and it was really nice, and only took about three days for the "main" route.
7a. One of my favorite areas to ride in SW Germany is the Alsatian Plain more or less between Freiburg and Colmar, France, and in particular the "Kaiserstuhl" region around Breisach am Rhein. Great tandeming area.
8. If you are using trains and don't mind regional trains (which you'll probably need to use anyway if you are traveling with a tandem), look into special tickets like the "Schones Wochenende" ticket (good for anywhere in Germany for one day for several people) or a "Regional Ticket" good for certain states. Often you can save a lot of money over point-to-point tickets this way.
8a. We've never had a problem getting our tandem/triplet where we needed to go using trains in Germany.

Message me if you have more specific questions...

Last edited by Philly Tandem; 01-08-19 at 05:01 PM.
Philly Tandem is offline  
Old 01-12-19, 05:08 PM
  #16  
alias5000
Raised a new winter bike
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario
Posts: 464

Bikes: HP Velotechnik Streetmachine GTE, 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4, 2012 Cannondale Road Tandem 2, 2007 Trek 6000, Circe Morpheus

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thank you everyone. I think with regards to the route, we have a pretty good idea of what we're looking at and what our options are now.
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
...
Scroll down a bit and you'll get to the story.
Thank you for that. Actually, your travel journey was one of the first resources I used when scouting which parts of the Rhine Route might be the most interesting ones!

Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
I know Dutch trains quite well and there is the option to take a bike or even a tandem if you need to, but it's a compromise on travel comfort. Prepare to improvise, bring a bungee cord and pick the train with the most direct connection instead of having to switch trains 1 or more times because it's not an issue but a bit of a hassle. It's for occasional bike transport and for cycling tourists, the Dutch use the NS (Dutch Railways) bike share or have bikes at both train stations. The NS doesn't want everybody to take their bike because it's just impossible, so it's not made too nice and easy or cheap.

The South-East and the East in general is often praised for it's landscape by the Dutch, especially the locals, but in a flat and wet land hills and forests are easily overestimated. Probably Germany does hills and forests a lot better (I'm from the most Eastern corner and live in the upper North now, no chauvinism here). There's no real nature in the Netherlands anyway, it's all man made, managed and kept, even the rivers are rerouted, split or created. That brings uniquely Dutch landscapes like in 'Rivierenland', West of Nijmegen, south of the Waal river. With lots of waterways, quite a few castles, ****s, blossoming fruit trees in may and picturesque towns and villages. A small river like the Linge is probably nicer to follow then the Rhine or the Waal. West of Utrecht it becomes very dense on basically everything, dense on different landscapes but also dense on history, Leiden, Delft, Amsterdam, Gouda, The Hague,Haarlem, it;s really a small area but it has been the centre of the world for a 100 years. It's dense on population too, but not entirely urbanized, the stretches of 'nature' until the next village are just not that long and there's 'the Green Heart' in the middle of the 4 biggest cities, and there are the dunes at the coast of course.
Thank you for your input, I've been looking for something like this.

Originally Posted by Philly Tandem View Post
Regarding your German parts of the trip, a few thoughts are below. We have bike-toured in Germany many times on both tandem and triplet (self-supported, non-camping), and I've also done a few short solo tours in some of the areas you are looking at. I work for a German company in Baden-Württemberg and travel there a lot. Usually I try to tack on some riding, either with a rental bike or bringing my own.

1. Transporting your bike on the airlines: we have S&S bikes, so I can't 100% comment on how easy it will be to fly with your uncoupled Cannondale. That said, I've seen plenty of people in the FRA airport unboxing full-sized, uncoupled tandems, so I know it can be done. But it will cost you. Most airlines specifically EXCLUDE "bikes with two or more seats" from their bicycle policy, which means you may get stuck paying airfreight/oversize/overweight rates if they won't let you fly it under the standard bicycle fee. In my experience, the counter people in Europe are less likely to look closely at your oversize box, as they are more used to dealing with people checking bikes compared with those in the USA. At the very least, do your utmost to get the box down to the smallest size possible. I suggest posting a specific question on the tandem forum here on BF to get more recent input. A lot of people in that group tour with their tandems.
I did read about flying with uncoupled tandems a long time ago and still remember a few good resources - but I haven't gone back to them. We're probably restricted to a few airlines just because of the route to avoid unnecessary transfers, with KLM being the most prominent one (direct flights from Amsterdam to Toronto AND service to Stuttgart). Packed a single bike for a flight last year and it made it very well across the ocean.

Originally Posted by Philly Tandem View Post
2. Since you have Germany experience, I assume you know that the Black Forest has a lot of hills that might be challenging on a tandem! Do you have a particular reason for starting in Tuebingen? Just curious. It's likely to be a bit of a roundabout trip to get there by train to start. The Schwarzwald is beautiful, of course. Another option would be to ride the Neckar River Route from there up through Heidelberg and then into the Rhein at Mannheim. On the BF Tandem Forum there is one guy (Hans Christoph) who lives in the Black Forest and is a very experienced tandemist; he may be a good resource for you.
3. I suggest a side trip to the town of Speyer, a bit south of Heidelberg and right along the Rhein. It's a small city, but has a nice center and a very impressive, famous cathedral. Worth a detour. Also, don't miss the town of Ladenburg, just north of Heidelberg and right on the Neckar, and only slightly off your route. Very cool old Roman town and worth a lunch or snack shop. Basically, around point "25" on your mapped route I'd cut over to the Rhine and visit Speyer. Then head over through Schwetzingen, which is a very nice town with an excellent castle/lodge/gardens sort of thing that's well worth a visit, and then onto Heidelberg and then Ladenburg. It's not a very long detour, but is WAY nicer than the route you have mapped from point 25 in Heidelberg (I've biked that route you have mapped many times and it's meh). If you are into auto or motorcycle racing at all, the famed "Hockenheimring" is more or less on the way to Speyer, too.
3a. If you want to stay in Heidelberg, message me and I'll put you in contact with a friend who has a great Air B&B right on the main street with an amazing view of the castle.
I'll reply via PM. Thanks for your suggestions for Speyer, and Ladenburg. I am familiar with these places but missed them.
Originally Posted by Philly Tandem View Post
4. The Rhein Route from Mannheim up to Koblenz is a nice ride IMO. I did a short 2.5-day tour along it tagged onto one of my business trips and enjoyed it a lot more than I had anticipated, even the sections between Mannheim and Mainz that some people complain about. Not sure why you are looking to shortcut by train any of these sections, especially between Mainz and Koblenz? That's the famed "Romantic Rhine" and has lots to see.
I think I caused some confusion in my initial post. Mainz to Koblenz is set for cycling, was thinking that the parts south or north of it would potential candidates for train shortcuts if we feel like cutting things short.
Originally Posted by Philly Tandem View Post
5. We rode the Mosel last fall (2017) from Trier to Koblenz. We had been wanting to do it for years by bike and just never had it fit in with any of our other tours. That was a REALLY nice ride, and only took a few days. Consider adding that into your itinerary. Ride to Koblenz, take the direct train from there up the Mosel to Trier, and ride back. Then continue up the Rhine by bike, train, or ship.
Thanks, that is a great suggestion, too!
Originally Posted by Philly Tandem View Post
6. We've taken our tandem and triplet on many German trains, so let me know if you have questions about that side of things, too.
7. Unrelated to your route, but thought I'd mention it: the Bodensee/Lake Constance is a great, relatively short bike tour, too, that you could easily add on to your itinerary. I did it last May and it was really nice, and only took about three days for the "main" route.
7a. One of my favorite areas to ride in SW Germany is the Alsatian Plain more or less between Freiburg and Colmar, France, and in particular the "Kaiserstuhl" region around Breisach am Rhein. Great tandeming area.
8. If you are using trains and don't mind regional trains (which you'll probably need to use anyway if you are traveling with a tandem), look into special tickets like the "Schones Wochenende" ticket (good for anywhere in Germany for one day for several people) or a "Regional Ticket" good for certain states. Often you can save a lot of money over point-to-point tickets this way.
8a. We've never had a problem getting our tandem/triplet where we needed to go using trains in Germany.

Message me if you have more specific questions...
Thank you so much for all these suggestions!
alias5000 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Dannihilator
Foo
2
12-12-08 08:00 PM
Durward_Kirby
Foo
0
10-09-08 12:41 PM
keith r
Bicycle Mechanics
3
05-09-06 12:19 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.