Monday, March 02, 2015

E-Bike Hire in the Black Forest in Bad Säckingen



The Black Forest features some serious climbs and those of us who are long in years are beginning to think about renting an e-bike, rather than our usual technique of cheating by sticking to river valleys and even taking to the train or bus to ascend the hills. Over the next few weeks we will try to list those hotels, organisations and shops who rent out e-bikes in the Black Forest. We will also try to mention in addition whether a hire company has normal bikes in case you have purists or keeny-beanies in your party. There are over two hundred e-bike charging points in the Black Forest and a goodly number of hire points. While your bike is charging you can lunch or eat a serious sized portion of Black Forest gateau. (All of the portions of BFG in this neck of the woods are enormous.) Obviously you need to check beforehand whether your hire point has bikes available and whether in the case of a hotel the management is prepared to hire to non-guests. You will need a passport or identity card and probably a returnable deposit to hire the bikes in addition to the rental fee.
Where
Tel/Internet
Open
Comment
Tourist Office, Tourismus GmbH, Rheinbrückstr 48 79713 Bad Säckingen
T: +49(0)7761 5534523 www.badsaeckingen.de
Daily 8-13:00, 14-19:00
10 E-Bikes
3h: 10€
Day 19€

Friday, February 20, 2015

E-Bike Hire in the Black Forest (Germany) near Basel (Switzrland)

The Black Forest features some serious climbs and those of us who are long in years are beginning to think about renting an e-bike, rather than our usual technique of cheating by sticking to river valleys and even taking to the train or bus to ascend the hills. Over the next few weeks we will try to list those hotels, organisations and shops who rent out e-bikes in the Black Forest. We will also try to mention in addition whether a hire company has normal bikes in case you have purists or keeny-beanies in your party. There are over two hundred e-bike charging points in the Black Forest and a goodly number of hire points. While your bike is charging you can lunch or eat a serious sized portion of Black Forest gateau. (All of the portions of BFG in this neck of the woods are enormous.) Obviously you need to check beforehand whether your hire point has bikes available and whether in the case of a hotel the management is prepared to hire to non-guests. You will need a passport or identity card and probably a returnable deposit to hire the bikes in addition to the rental fee.

Where Tel/Internet Open Comment
Stadt Neuenburg am Rhein, Rathausplatz 5, 79395 Neuenburg am Rhein T:+49(0)7631 7910
www.neuenburg.de (in German)
Mon, Tue, Th, Fri 9-16:00
Wed: 9-18:30
Sat: 10-12:00
4 E-bikes
Pappelhof, 79415 Bad Bellingen T: +49(0)7635 81130
www.pappelhof-badbellingen.de
Daily: 9-18:00
Closed on Sundays
4 E-bikes
Half day: 10€
Day: 16€


Schwarzwälder Hof, Von Andlaw Str 9, 79415 Bad Bellingen T: +49(0)7635 81080 www.ebike-bellingen.de Daily 8-18:00 30 E-bikes
Half day: 10€
Day: 16€
follow me, Bahnhofstraße 1
79539 Lörrach
T: +49(0)7621 165551 www.fome.de Mon-Sat 9-18:00
Closed on Sundays
15 E-bikes
Half day: 17€
Day 22€
Other bikes available

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Car Fasting in Lent

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, better known as Pancake Tuesday in the civilised world. We have been trying to convert the German nation to the true faith for years. In many parts of Germany between November 11 at 11:11 am and midnight on Shrove Tuesday people celebrate with increasing intensity the nearer it gets to Ash Wednesday. From the Thursday before Ash Wednesday (known as Dirty  or Womens’ Thursday when ladies in the Ruhr and on the Lower Rhine cut mens’ ties off) until Rose Monday and Fasnacht/Fasching/Karneval Tuesday there are Balls, street parades, variety shows with jokes of a simple kind, young men and women dancing in sequinned costumes which don’t leave much to the imagination, with costumed audiences including much cross dressing. It is definitely Saturnalia. We have tried over the years to persuade our neighbours that it is better to just have a plateful of pancakes with sugar and lemon on Shrove Tuesday than all this cavorting. We haven't had much success and I don’t rate our chances highly in future.
Afterwards on Ash Wednesday life in Germany resumes its serious Teutonic ways. People give up various practices for Lent.  They leave alcohol, tobacco or sweets out of their diets. The Catholic and Protestant churches in Rhineland Palatinate and in Luxembourg as well as the Roman Diocese of Aachen in North Rhine Westphalia have a new variation: Autofasten (Car Fasting). During the period of this action from 1st March to 29th March church members agree to using their cars less and this includes commuting. It is a voluntary action. Participants will travel by public transport, by forming car pools, by bicycle or on foot. It might well be difficult in this year as two trade unions are fighting for control in the German railway industry and there will be serious strikes. Apart from the strikes it does appear that the SW German/Luxembourg approach to fasting has a lot to offer and could well be taken up elsewhere. See the church's blog: http://blog.bistum-trier.de/autofasten/?page_id=3 (in German and French). Obviously the idea over the long term is to encourage people to use their cars less all the time.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The different pleasures of winter cycling

We do not usually take many cycle tours until the local temperatures reach 10°C, at least at midday. A quick ride into Viernheim is fine, unless there is snow or ice which we avoid since at 70 plus we do not bounce too easily. However our weather folks had been forecasting a taste of spring, possible sunshine and we had a pressing need to write a tour report for our cycle club.

On a grey Wednesday, we unearthed winter cycling togs, pumped up our bike tyres and feeling like Michelin men set off through the woods and fields. The temperature was just creeping up to a raw 3°C and soon bit through the layers and our eyes started watering. Still needs must so we continued to our first goal, some 12 km from home, Hemsbach Station where the tour description started. Hemsbach is a small town at the break of slope between the Odenwald Hills to the east and the Rhine Plain. We snaked along through the narrow streets following the Bergstrasse Cycle route northwards towards our county town, Heppenheim, which has an attractive inner core of half-timbered houses and a huge parish church above. The Bergstrasse Cycle Route bypasses these and follows a currently unpleasant road past a large shopping centre, where the cyclist is threatened by vehicles turning in or out. Despite the red marked bicycle lane we were glad to turn left towards the edge of town, only to realise that this led us past a huge new composting and biogas plant, with its necessary stream of huge trucks. It was only a few hundred metres and then we reached the quiet of a farmer’s route underneath the Autobahn and out into the winter fields of the Rhine Plain. Herons patrolled the water channels, wild ducks and geese flew over as we sped past clumps of leafless bushes and the dark ploughed soils, waiting for seeds and spring. 

In no time we reached a steep gravel path leading up to a bridge over the straightened out course of the R. Weschnitz, which eventually flows into the Rhine. We dismounted and walked over the muddy path across the narrow bridge. Here there are sluices and a flow measuring station where another drain joins the Weschnitz. We ate a sandwich, moaned about our cold hands and feet, commiserating with a couple of sheep and a few ducks, in what was a protected area where rare birds could nest safely. They were keeping a low profile that day.

From here, fortified by the sandwich we continued into Lorsch, site of an ancient monastery where the monks’ records of life, crops, land ownership and historical events are preserved in a sort of Domesday Book, the Lorsch Codex. Not much of the original monastery remains, apart from a rather fine Gatehouse but the whole area is now a Unesco World Heritage site, with a museum, a reconstructed medieval village, complete with ancient breeds of cattle and even more importantly a little jewel of a town where cafés were open and hot coffee beckoned. It seemed a long time since I had needed to warm my fingers on a large cup of coffee, but it and a substantial pastry even got the blood moving in my feet too.

Then out of Lorsch following R9 cycle trail, parallel to the railway on a gravel track towards the next small town of Bürstadt. A few zigzags through the houses and factories on the edge of town and we were out into the fields again on quiet farm roads. Earth clods and ploughed fields reminded us that the farmers had been busy in this predominantly cereal growing region. In the distance woods marking the Rhine’s course stretched across the horizon and soon we could see the familiar outline of the gatehouse tower on the Rhine bridge in Worms. The towers of the fortress-like cathedral were briefly visible as we joined the cycleway along the main road into Worms. We had seen enough, battled the unrelenting cold for long enough and turned away south to Lampertheim and Viernheim, still about 15 km away. We had cycled about 60 km when we rolled up to our house door, not bad for the first tour of the season, in chilly weather. Ten minutes inside, hot mugs of tea in hand, warm woolly socks on feet, we were already talking of our enjoyment of the day.

However, two days later we rejigged our route, riding on another cold day but with weak sun and wearing our winter caps under our helmets. We used a much pleasanter route via Hüttenfeld, where the Rothschild family had a small Schloß, now a Lithuanian School, to reach Lorsch. This route was almost all on roads, virtually traffic free across the Rhine Rift Valley. Because the R. Neckar once meandered over this whole region before flowing into the R. Main much further north there are old willows marking the meanders, now silted up. In winter, these and other large field edge trees show their fantastic skeletons of branches, fallen limbs or ancient injuries, turning the mainly monotone landscape into an artwork. The leafless hedges also revealed to us the site of yet another cloister, the Hagen nunnery which seems to have been abandoned sometime after 1400. We continued towards Lorsch taking the newly signposted Unesco Heritage Cycleway around the town to reach the museum, monastery site and town centre. We reversed our route to reach home, chilled but not frozen and with 30 km to our credit.
Lorsch Monastery Gatehouse

The trees 
It was cold!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Renting a bike or e-bike in Neuenburg not far from Alsace or the Black Forest near Basel/Basle

The following shops and organisations offer bike for hire in Neuenburg near Basel/Basle/Bâle. You will need a passport or identity card and probably a returnable deposit to hire the bikes in addition to the rental fee.

Dreiländer Camping- und Freizeitpark
Oberer Wald
Telefon: 07631/77 19

Fahrrad-Fachgeschäft
Alfons Harwardt
Verleih und Reparatur
Rebstraße 12
Telefon: 07631/7 41 60

Jürgens Bike Shop
Verleih und Reparatur
Westtangente 6
Telefon: 07631/70 53 98-0

Stadt Neuenburg am Rhein
E-Bikes for rent
Rathausplatz 5
Telefon: 07631/791-0

You don't have to cycle up into the Black Forest. What about nipping over into France, turning left to cycle to the gates of Basel and then come back up the German side of the Rhine.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Thoughts on hiring bikes on the Romantic Road between Würzburg and Füssen

We are rewriting our Romantic Road guide book at present to make it more compact and readable. Judith is rewriting the pages at the moment. When she is finished I'll play the editor and copy-edit. My job at the moment is the boring one: checking our appendices - accommodation, bicycle shops, bicycle hire etc.
I have noticed that more bike shops are renting bicycle and e-bicycles these days. However, and this is a big disadvantage, we have only found one shop offering a one way hire either from Würzburg to Füssen or vice versa. Considering that cyclists on the Berlin-Copenhagen Route can hire a bike at one end and drop it it off at the other, i.e. in two different countries with different currencies, it strikes me that it should be possible to cross one province: Bavaria with a set of bikes, picking them up at one end and dropping them off at the other. If you hire at one end and wish to take the bikes back, it's not that expensive to travel back to your start point by local train, but it takes at least six hours involving one or two changes.
There is one company that will allow you pick up a bike in Füssen (with pre-programmed GPS) and drop it off a week or so later in Würzburg. The Romantic Road cycle route is about 420km long and so a week would be a pleasant trip. The company is Radstation Allgäu, Abt Heß Straße 11, in the Multicycle store, D-87629 Füssen, Germany, T: 0049/0171/2056371,  info@radstationallgaeu.de, http://www.radstationallgaeu.de  (in German and Portuguese). A week's bike hire with bike pick up will cost you 179€ or a five day trip with four nights accommodation in middle class hotels for 599€. The company has a minibus and will pick you up after a week or so's cycling in Würzburg or somewhere before. How much this return trip costs is not clear. You could also just hire a bike or an e-bike for a week for between 55 and 120€, cycle to Augsburg or even Donauwörth and take the Via Claudia Augusta cycle route back to Füssen.

Friday, February 06, 2015

E-Bike Hire on the western edge of the Black Forest near Kaiserstuhl and Freiburg

The Black Forest features some serious climbs and those of us who are long in years are beginning to think about renting an e-bike, rather than our usual technique of cheating by sticking to river valleys and even taking to the train or bus to ascend the hills. Over the next few weeks we will try to list those hotels, organisations and shops who rent out e-bikes in the Black Forest. We will also try to mention in addition whether a hire company has normal bikes in case you have purists or keeny-beanies in your party. There are over two hundred e-bike charging points in the Black Forest and a goodly number of hire points. While your bike is charging you can lunch or eat a serious sized portion of Black Forest gateau. (All of the portions of BFG in this neck of the woods are enormous.) Obviously you need to check beforehand whether your hire point has bikes available and whether in the case of a hotel the management is prepared to hire to non-guests. You will need a passport or identity card and probably a returnable deposit to hire the bikes in addition to the rental fee.


Where Tel/Internet Open Comment
Radhaus Schulz Friedrichstr 54 77955 Ettenheim T: +49(0)782 21493 www.rad-schulz.de Mon-Fri 09:00-13:00 & 14:00-19:00pm
Sat:09:00-14:00
6 e-bikes
Half day 15€
Day 20€
Peter Ssch, Reifen-Zweirad-Zubehör
Elszwiesen 2
79365 Rheinhausen
T: +49(0)7643 6906 Mon-Fri 09:00-12:00 & 13:00-18:30pm
Sat 09:00-13:00
20 e-bikes
Half day From 13€
Day From 20€
Kaiserstühler Verkehrsbüro (Tourist Information) Adelshof 20, 79346 Endingen T: +49(0)7642 689990 www.endingen.de Mon-Fri 09:00-12:30 & 14:30-18:00
Sat 10:00-13:00
4 e-bikes
Half day 15€
Day 21€
Hotel Gathof Adler Endinger Str 35 79346 Endingen-Königschafhausen T:+49(0) 76 42 / 32 12 Mon & Tue From 17:00
Wed-Sun 08:00-22:00
2 e-bikes
Half day 16€
Day 21€
Posthotel Kreuz-Post Landstr 1
79235 Vogtsburg-Burkheim
T: +49(0)7662 90910 www.post-kreuz.de Daily 11:30-23:00 3 e-bikes
Half day 14€
Day 21€
Bierhäusle
Breisgauer Str 41
79111 Freiburg
T: +49(0)761 88300
www.bierhäusle.de
Open Tue-Sun
Closed Sun evening all day Mon
2 e-bikes
Half day 15€
Day 25€

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