31 May 2019

Home sweet home!

The journey home was just as we expected and our BBF told us it would be. The route was generally along the B 59.  But first we had to get out of Cologne.

 Cologne does have, unlike Mönchengladbach a good Cycle path net. This perhaps explains why there are so many bikes in the city. We now were right in the middle of the rush hour after a day off. Cars, trucks, and bikes came at us from all directions. Alan took it easy but needed his full concentration not just to avoid the other bike path users, but also to navigate the correct route out of town.

The B 59 is the main road which goes from Cologne to Venlo, so there was a lot of traffic on it which made it loud. We had a cycle path all the way so at least the traffic was no danger to us.

We stopped only once to take a photo and once for coffee. The wind was against us all the way and Alan used the e-Motor to good advantage to overcome it. 

So it was that we arrived home around 13:00 hrs. In 11 days we have cycled 648 kms and learnt a few things about long distance cycling! 

At the beginning in Belgium another cyclist we passed complemented Alan on his e bike. He is pleased with it too, particularly the disc brakes which on this tour proved their worth on the steep downhill sections in the woods.

We carried more kit than we used! One pannier was dedicated to camping. We had brew kit and a stove as well as a sleeping bag . Then the roll on the back contained the tent and sleeping mat.

We didn’t camp because our BBF was uncertain of being able to recharge his bike battery and his, Garmin watch, iPhone and additional phone power pack. 

We learnt that there are towns on the Mosel which have e bike charging points. One could use them to recharge all, it would just take extra time!

Alan did say to us before setting off that we were not tourists! He wanted an adventure. Not knowing where we were going or where we would end up was all part of it. Being old soldiers and sailors we were of course prepared for any thing. We just took it one day at a time, deciding where to go next,  each evening. 

The helmet with visor paid for itself as we had countless encounters with flying insects, even from the side. But poor Alan did get sunburned on his bald patch! Clearly one of the holes let the sunshine in. Alan will either have to wear a Kippa or glue a piece of cloth over the hole in question!

So all in we had a great time. We wonder what the next adventure will be! 

30 May 2019

Father‘s Day

At breakfast our BBF mentioned that it was rather quiet outside the window, but didn’t really twig why until much later!

As we did not have far to go we took it leisurely, but then some time after 10 o‘clock we set off. Alan now rode at ease, so to say never exceeding 15 km/h! Under normal circumstances we would arrive in Cologne in under two hours, but we were in no rush. Check in our hotel was not until 13:00 hrs. Alan’s idea was to check and the spend the afternoon shopping! 

Before we had gone very far he realised that today, Ascension Day, was a public holiday and all the shops would be shut! They also call it Fathers Day in Germany and the men go off with their mates on a cycle trip. A lot of alcohol is also involved.

We more or less followed the route set us by Komoot. Quite a number of cyclists were out and about too. Whole family’s with their children big and small all on bikes. One father and son team we encountered the father’s bike and his 8-9 year old were packed the same as us. Two side panniers and a sausage bag on top. Clearly these two were out to camp.

Even going slowly we arrived well before check in time! And now there was no shopping to look forward to! 

Alan pulled in to a restaurant and we now chilled and just watched the Rhine flow and the passersby. 

An isotonic drink or two was consumed with a light lunch. As we are in Köln a Kölsch is the Beer in question! 

There is something peaceful about sitting by water and just watching the world go by.

When we got to our accommodation run by a Gelateria and Pizza parlour on the river front, they showed us to an apartment one street back.

It’s big enough to have a party and the kitchen has all that one would want.

As our shopping was cancelled we consoled ourselves with a Siesta! 

Then a shower and a change of clothes and we went out to see what’s what!

The crowds were out in force. It seemed young students were celebrating the conclusion of their course, some bachelors were celebrating their impending marriage, but generally we thought the Kölner needs little excuse for a party.

The strole made us peckish so we returned to an Italian close by our accommodation!

Alan had Spaghetti Caprese followed by an espresso, two chocolate truffles and a small tiramisu which they called a Cafe Giorisio! 

He intends to copy and improve the recipe! 

We discovered some interesting statistics on his Garmin! We had no idea they produced them!

Home tomorrow he says! 

29 May 2019

Enough excitement for one day!

After breakfast Alan got help to get his bike out of the cellar!

The man kindly carried the bike out where Alan could then load it up!

Our route took us across the bridge and the up a long long hill! The last view we had of the Mosel was lovely with clear blue skies! 

We Bears never feel that the length of time it takes our human to climb the hills is the same as the Adrenalin rush we get going down the other side! Why is that? 

Even looking back the way we came does not do justice to the effort expended to get there. This slope looks innocuous! 

But then look the other way and in the distance you can just see the motor Way bridge over the Mosel Valley! 

We have to say that today the length of time taken to get to the top was equal to the time we took free wheeling down the other side! Some of it was on dirt tracks which required concentration to avoid the potholes at speed. Consequently though we had a nice long adrenaline rush it was at a more sedate pace of 34 km/h rather than the 50 plus we have had. 

Then there we were on the banks of the Rhine! 

The going now was, as on the Mosel bike path relatively easy, but not always straight forward!

Needless to say we did have the feeling that we were now on a mighty river.

There were twists and turns on the route which led us sometimes on to picturesque paths.

At others it demanded of us that we cycled beside a busy road.

In Bad Breisig after some 35.8 kms we stopped for an early lunch of chicken soup and a large isotonic drink. Alan now sought out suitable accommodation for us in 
Bonn and reprogrammed the navigation app to get us there.

On the way through Bad Godesberg we were prevented from continuing on the cycle path by some event that was setting up on the grass banks.

We took the detour and by a tower on the Rhine bank we got back onto the path and this is where the Navi spoke to us last.

We cycled on, but it was now in a nature reserve and no longer the cycle path. This path was dark as it was covered over by trees.

Suddenly Alan screeched to a stop as he noticed his mobile had fallen out of its bracket!

This is the bracket and the corners are fixed by two thumb screws on the back and our stupid BBF had not done it up tight! He now immediately turned round and rode back the way we had come casting for the lost mobile. He falsely thought he must have lost it just after it last spoke to us! 
A passerby tried to help by allowing Alan to use his mobile to call Alan’s in the hope we would hear it ringing. Sadly we were now too far away. Alan wished he had his iPad as it has an App on it called Find my Phone, but we told him it wouldn’t work as it needed a WLAN Access! Alan walked back slowly to the place where we had turned round, and Lo and behold there was the phone, a little worse for wear but still operating! He should have looked down at his feet when we first stopped!
Relieved we cycled on! That was enough excitement for one day!

The views were nice and sometimes historic as you might manage to see in the picture above.

Recognise it now?

The Bridge at Remagen. Some of you may remember the film at least!

On the hill in the distance above Königswinter is an old palace where Alan and Hanna once attended a formal dinner! 

The first view we have of Bonn! 

We were told to park the bike in the corridor of the entrance!

A siesta was in order next, then showers and washing and Alan went out for a meal. He chose a Chinese restaurant he told us, which was full of young Chinese students. Christopher would be pleased to know that they had an excellent buffet! Feeling suitably full he returned to plan the next stage!

28 May 2019

Change of plan!

The forecast before we set off this morning was for heavy showers. Consequently our BBF prepared for it! His rain trousers, over- shoes and helmet cover were placed in readiness in the basket. We had to travel in the backpack which also had its cover on. 

It didn’t matter in which direction you looked the clouds looked ominous! The going was easy and Alan set a good pace. His idea was to get to Koblenz, weather permitting today, some 86 kms away. 

We stuck to the right bank of the river which we knew was shorter than the route on the left bank and that it World take us on unpaved tracks through two nature reserves. 

This old Abbey at Stuben was just along the start of our first unpaved section.

At one stage in the morning it attempted to rain, but this fortunately came to nothing more than a few drops. 

There were few cyclists about so we made good progress at 22-25 km/h. 

This first woodland section the track was quite good though sometimes bumpy.

There was a bench by this Motiv of the first cyclist so we stopped for a short break after some 25 kms or so.

There were quite a few castles on the route, some more ruin than fort others more impressive dwelling places.

The sky was still not good looking so we only stopped long enough to take a picture.

At Cochem we had a proper stop for Kaffee und Kuchen!

Once we set off again we were soon onto the next bit in a nature reserve. 

At this point there was a sign indicating that we should take the ferry as a detour as the path ahead was not recommended and rough going! 

Although Alan rang the Bell and shouted no ferry came to get us. We waited about 15 mins and then gave up and rode on!

The path started ok, but did deteriorate as we went on.

Stages of it were very muddy and so we ploughed on through them slipping and sliding.

The sun came out though and so at one stop Alan took his rain jacket off and let us out into the fresh air.

This was an enjoyable adventure. Occasionally we passed some intrepid cyclists going the other way, but generally we had the woods to ourselves! 

Once out of the woods we came to a village that offered our human a toilet so we stopped and chilled on the river bank for a bit. 

Then it was crack on for we had some 30 kms still to go! 

As we passed through Niederfell the thunder started to roll in. When the wind increased we knew we were in trouble. Alan stopped to put his rain jacket and helmet cover on, as well as putting us in the dry. We still had some 20 kms or so to go and it was clear that we would get drenched. 

So Alan decided to quickly find accommodation in the village we had passed through, which luckily he did. We turned round and rode hell for leather before the storm reached us. 

The Thunder passed and followed the River it seemed but the rain stayed as you can see from the photo above which is the view from our window! 

So here we are nice and dry. After a shower and a short nap Alan made a new plan for us.

He intends now to strike across country to reach the River Rhine which we will then follow more or less all the way home!