Thursday, October 25, 2012

Transport Bicycle and Rickshaw Rental in Berlin

We have written before about bike hire in Berlin. We found a new shop recently: If you wish to hire a transport trike or a rickshaw check out: 
Moghul Rikschas in Neukölln: Elbestraße 1, Ecke Sonnenallee, 12045 Berlin.
eMail:, T: 030 544 88 393, M: 0178 143 99 82. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Our new website

We have just uploaded our new website: It needs some work, but we have been thinking about it for months. It will summarise a lot of the ideas in this blog.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bike Hire in France

I have just spent some time looking at the SNCF (French Railways) bicycle website recently as we putting together an article for "AtoB". The website is in French unfortunately, so if you don't know your le's from your la's you might find it less than useful. However if you looking for a place to hire a bike in France then check out: This is a site that's simple to follow. Just click on the map in the region where you want to hire to a bike, to generate a list of louers (hirers) approved by the SNCF. Each region of France with the exception of Limousin (aucun louers) has a number of hire stations spread across the region. The list offers address details, telephone number, website and opening times.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bike hire in the Czech Republic

As we blogged two days ago you can hire bikes in Prague, but if you want to to at the views  Z českých luhů a hájů - From Bohemia's woods and fields, it might well be better to hire from elsewhere in the country. CD, Czech Railways offers trekking bikes for hire at railway stations over large areas of the country between April 1 and October 31. This is a bit late for this year, but next year…

CD offers:
  • On selected lines you can transport your rented bike by train free of charge
  • You can store the bike free of charge at ČD luggage storage locations
  • You can usually return the bike at a different location from where you rented it
  • You can reserve a bike in advance
  • Low rental rates. In 2012 it was about €8 for one day and €48 for a week. Prices vary from region to region.
More information is available on Click on the map to find detailed information on hire stations and prices.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Bike Hire in Prague, Czech Republic

We found the following. There may well be other bicycle hire centres in Prague. We can neither recommend nor advise you against these shops. The shops are listed alphabetically. We think that city hire bikes are not going to be pristine and new, but well maintained, a bit like your bike at home, hopefully. By the end of the season the bikes will be well used.  These companies also offer guided tours of the city.

Bike Rent

náměstí Curieových 43/5
Prague 1 ( Pařížská st.)
110 00 Czech Republic
e-mail: info@bikerent.cz
T: + 420 725 40 56 15

Bike Types: City bikes.

Broadway Bike and Scooter Rental

Telephone: +420 774 345 747 (Non-stop reservations, Info line)
E-mail: Office: Jindrisska 7, Prague 1 (Inside the arcade, opposite the main Post Office)

Skype:  rentcarprague1

City Bike

Králodvorská street 5, Praha 1 Czech Republic
phone: +420 776 180 284
Bike Types: Trekking bikes, cruisers and tandems

Praha Bike - Tours & Rental

Dlouha 24
Stare Mesto
Prague 1
Czech Republic
info@prahabike.cz tel:+420 732 388 880
150 bikes.
Bike types:
-Mountain 26"wheel bikes-Trekking/Hybrid 28" wheel bikes-Tandem-Kid's bikes-Team Bike(bike for 7 persons!)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Cycle Touring in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia

We have recently found two websites that are of interest for cyclists planning to cycle in the Czech Republic and Slovakia: for information about cycle routes and route planning and for cyclist friendly accommodation.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Google Maps for Cyclists, Great but…

Whilst cleaning the layers of papers, mail, scribbled notes and similar off the desk in the office, I came across the August September  issue of  "Radwelt", the ADFC members' magazine. I scanned through it to see if there was anything of interest I could use in the blog before I flung it in the bin. A big mistake, because I started to read it so the pile of papers on the desk stayed the same. I found a paragraph on the new Google Maps cyclist routing function. Basically the "Get Directions" function has been extended to include bicycles.  The bicycle routing app does not yet work in Germany, but has been opened for use in Switzerland and in Austria. If you request a cycle route in Germany, you receive the message: "We could not calculate directions between …" although you are shown the cycle paths and routes in the area of interest. These still need a lot of work, at least around Viernheim, where for example the signposted cycle route along the old railway line to Lampertheim is not shown.

I checked out cycle routes in Switzerland. As test routes I used Grindelwald to Meiringen and Andermatt to Basel.

  • There are two cycle routes between Grindelwald and Meiringen: 
  • Grindelwald to Interlaken and follow National routes 8 and 9 to Meiringen on the south side of Lake Brienz. 
  • Grindelwald via Grosse Scheidegg and Rosenlaui to Meiringen.
  • Both of these routes are to be found in our Cicerone Guide: "Cycle Touring in Switzerland", ISBN: 9781852845261.
  • Google Maps suggests neither route. It shows a route down to Interlaken and then along the main road between Interlaken and Brienz on the north side of the lake. You can pull the route using the cursor across the screen to follow one or both of the suggestions above. This is fine if you know the area, but less than useful if you don't.

  • There are again two signposted cycle routes between Andermatt and Basel
  • Swiss National Cycle Route 2 along the Rhine.
  • Swiss National Cycle Route 3 through Lucerne and Aarau
  • The Google route follows neither following "Route 2" through Schwyz, Arth and Rheinfelden. What this Route 2 is not clear. It could be Road 2. You can pull the route using the cursor across the screen to follow one or both of the suggestions above. This is fine if you know the area, but less than useful if you don't.

Before one uses Google Maps to work out cycle routes in Switzerland, we would advise cyclists to obtain a copy of Switzerland Touristic Cycling Map (1:301 000) from Kümmerly + Frey ISBN3-359-00533-1 or check out the maps section of Once Google Maps suggests a route then check to see if it does really follow cycle routes and modify it accordingly, if needed.

PS We have informed Google and await their reaction.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Bike Hire at Weeze Airport

It is often easier and cheaper to fly to a country without a bicycle. On the other hand a major disadvantage of bike hire is having to return the bike to the start point, especially if you wish to cycle along a linear route like a river. Niederrhein Tourismus, the tourist authority for the Niederrhein (Lower Rhine) an excellent cycling area northwest of Cologne have cracked this problem, by setting up a region-wide network of bike hire stations. You can hire from one station and return it to another. The bikes are popular. We saw several groups using them last week when we were cycling in this area.  With over 2000 km of signposted  cycle routes you will not be bored.

The bicycles cost €9 a day for the first two days, €8 a day between the third and fifth day and €6 a day after that. Returning a bicycle to a different hire point costs €4. You can reserve bicycles in advance on

The bicycles are sensible Dutch tourers manufactured by Koninklijke Gazelle and are ideal steeds for the flat Rhine plain. The bicycles feature:

Seat height is adjustable with quick release without tools
Special frame design for comfortable cycling
Tyres with puncture protection  
Gel saddle
Sturdy baggage carrier
Easy to use 7-speed hub gears
A coaster/back pedal brake
Easy-running hub dynamo

Bicycles are available at Weeze Airport from the 2-LAND Tourist Information Office, Flughafenring - Terminal, 47652 Weeze, Tel +49 (0) 28 37 - 66 63 82 from 09:00 until 22:00. If the Tourist Office is closed the left luggage counter takes over. Not only can you pick bikes, you can drop them off here as well.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Bicycle Rental in Switzerland

The Swiss are amazing. Their country is not a natural place to build railways, so they build them up to the top of mountains. They live in a country that does not naturally spring to mind when one thinks of cycle touring. The country is full of mountains and lakes, so common sense would suggest that it is a great place to go mountaineering, hill walking, sailing, or sailboarding or board sailing but cycling? The gut wrenching pictures of the top of the Tour de France climbs come to mind, but can we expect grannie to make it? Yes, we can! You too can, actually. We did, too. The Swiss have done the impossible and turned their country into a cyclist’s paradise with 4500 hire bikes.

If you arrive in the country without a bike and want to hire a bike for a day or two, the good news is there are bicycle rental stations all over the country at railway stations, hotels, youth hostels and camp sites. The bad news is the bikes are not cheap. In 2012  the basic bikes: touring bike, MTB and children's bicycles cost CHF 33 a day for one day if you return the bike to the same rental station and CHF 40 if you drop it off at another station. The rate drops to about CHF 22 a day if you hire for a week, about CHF 17 if you hire for two weeks. (At the time of writing one Euro was worth: CHF 1.20, $US 1 about CHF 0.93 and £1: CHF 1.50.) The bike rental company is called Rentabike. Its website: The website unfortunately is only in French and German. If you cannot speak either language use Google Translator. We have never hired from Rentabike. We don't live that far away from Helvetia, so always take our own bikes. Helmets are supplied. What we have noticed is that it is a good idea to take a few tools and a puncture repair outfit. They are not supplied. However it is probably not a advisable to wave your repair kit under the noses of the hire station personnel. They might not appreciate you taking their bike to bits.

Although the major Swiss bike rental company is Rentabike, there are others. We picked up a leaflet about a bike shop in Basel (Basle) called Obst&Gemüse GmbH, Kasernenstrasse 32, CH-4058 Basel, T: +41 (0)61 683 07 80,, The shop will rent you a Bakfiets, a Bullitt or a Christiana cargo bike for a weekend. If you have ever fancied buyuing one of these, but thought you would like to give it an extended try, here's your chance.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

On-the-spot fines for cyclists in Zurich, Switzerland.

As promised yesterday here are a number of offences for which you as a cyclist can receive an on-the-spot fine in Zürich. I assume that similar fines apply to the rest of Switzerland, but unfortunately this blog is a nonprofit effort and we cannot afford to travel from city to city and canton to canton in Switzerland to pick up a list of fines, so for safety's sake assume that these apply throughout the country. Some of these appear to be ignored but you shouldn't push your luck. You might just meet a policeman who takes matters seriously.

You can be fined CHF 20.- :
  • For riding without holding the handlebars or taking your feet off the pedals.
  • Stopping on Zebra Crossings.
  • Carrying an item that prevents you giving hand signals.
  • Riding more than two abreast.
  • Being towed or pushed.
  • Cycling without lights through a lit tunnel. 
  • Carrying a person who is more than seven years old, unless there is a seat for this purpose, I assume.
  • Parking your bike where it is forbidden.
  • Cycling without a bell or a lock.
  • Cycling on too worn tyres.
  • Turning right without giving a hand signal.
You can be fined  CHF 30.-:
  • For ignoring traffic signs.
  • Cycling on pedestrian ways.
  • Cycling on a cyclepath in the wrong direction.
  • Not stopping completely at a Stop sign.
  • Turning left without giving a hand signal.
  • Cycling in a bus lane (or does this only apply to motor cycles?)
  • Cycling on a path that is not suitable for bicycles or is not intended to be used by bicycles.
  • Not using a cyclepath or a bicycle stripe.
 You can be fined CHF 40.-
  • For cycling without lights on a lit street during the hours of darkness.
  • Cycling on the pavement (US sidewalk) or on road stripes for pedestrians.
  • Carrying a person who is or less than seven years old, unless there is a seat for this purpose, I assume.
  • Cycling without a rear facing reflector.

 You can be fined CHF 60.-:
  • For cycling without lights on an unlit street during the hours of darkness.
  • For ignoring a traffic light.
 Happy cycling!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Police on Bicycles in Zurich

We went to Zurich for a few days last week. By chance we went to the Züspa - an ideal home exhibition. The Zurich Police were represented and we enquired about bicycle police. "Oh yes", said the young policeman we asked, "we have seventy two policemen and -women on bicycles, obviously not all the time. I, myself, would normally be out there, but I am here today." He said that the bicycle police were faster across the city with its pedestrian zones and tram tracks as well as being quieter than the vehicles the other police use. These factors lead to high arrest rates for the bicycling bobbies. We were also able to get a copy of the Zurich Police list of on-the-spot fines for cycling transgressions, but that's tomorrow's blog.

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