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0014: River riding adventures

main-image The Rhein path is part of the Eurovelo networks that the EU is slowly funding and updating. This route is now complete from Source to Mouth.
I joined at Bonn then headed south.
Its difficult not to be impressed by the size of River, the varied scenery and the path itself.
Winding along side the river this 1230 km path is popular with walkers, cyclists alike.
Being easter weekend made it more popular, and often little traffic jams of pedestrians and cyclists occured.
The route is mostly flat. Running along the left bank of the river. Occasionally it it will detour around an industrial complex, village or nature reserve.
(I'm sure more than a few councils have paid to re-route the path through their town or village as there is plenty of opportunity to stop at local shops or cafés along the way.)

Campsites are regular, but expensive. There are plenty of opportunities to wild camp, but equally lots of threatening signs. And enough pedestrian traffic that someone might spot you.

The Rhein is a working river so you will often see huge barges making their way up or downstream carrying a wide variety of cargo.
Coal, wheat, gravel, cars, containers, cement, timber, tyres amongst many others. On the river banks, the path will often weave through bank side processing plants.

Mainz was a rest day. I stayed at the hill top Youth hostel for a couple of nights. And wandered around the city doing my various chores.
Continuing on south, I came across several other recumbent riders. It seems the annual SPEZI festival was approaching at Germersheim, and several riders made an annual 'pilgrimage' to join in the festivities and try out lots of "weird bikes"
If I didnt have a time limit, I would have stayed to have a look, but frankly recumbent riders can be a unique bunch. I am not sure I would have enjoyed it for more than a few hours.

I spent a few hours riding with a very friendly chap called Andreas on his HP Velotechnik Scorpion 26 with electric assist.
As it can reach speeds in excess of 45km/h, it has to be licensed as a moped in Germany, and legally cannot actually be ridden on cycle paths!

Strasbourg is a city I have a loose connection with. Rather, a small village just south of Kehl on the German bank.
As a child I lived for a time in Marlen so I took the opportunity to vist.

The place wasnt anything like I remember, and apart from our old house I did not recognise any significant landmarks. I guess a lot has changed in over 30 years. It was now a sad looking little village.
I carried on.

Internet has been difficult to access. In England, it is quite common for many bars and cafes now to promote free access and I expected civilised Europe to be the same and better.
Not so.
Daytime access comes from McDonalds or by directly accessing the mobile network.
The latter is very expensive and the former, very greasy....
In Basel, I stayed at the Youth hostel again, where they have internet access and communication with my friends in Italy, plus the delays with the headwinds, mean I will jump forwards by train to Lucerne.
Also the weather has turned nasty. Heavy rain and winds overnight.
I rode from Basel to Aarau in the morning though.
The Swiss hills dont break you in gently!
I only rode 50km but about 70% was uphill, and it was great ride.

Now writing from Lucerne, I decided to have another rest day here and since discovered that as I suspected the high mountain passes will be closed for another month or so.
The San Gottardo pass and the Tremola I wanted to cycle is still buried under three or more metres of snow and ice.

This chap rode over it one summer.

As impressive as it is, I will have to save this one for another day unfortunately.

So to the train again and on to part 3 and the final leg of the journey, in Italy...

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Post by Matthew Hopkins

An avid cycle tourer and Bicycle Mechanic, I also enjoy cycling, cooking, camping, cinema, computers, internet and tech.

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