Friday, June 28, 2013

Bicycle (Bike, Cycle) Hire (Rental, Renting) in Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg like most of northern Germany is fairly flat. It is a university city, so there are a lot of cyclists and cyclepaths. It seems to be well equipped with bike hire shops. We have checked an earlier list and these companies appear to be still operating. The order does not play any role. We can make no recommendations. This is an edited version of an earlier list.

Hamburg City Cycles
Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 89-91
20359 Hamburg
Tel.:  +49-(0)40-74214420
Mobil: +49-(0)176-64330623
Cruiser and city bikes: 13€/day, 55€ a week. City tours offered. 
(These prices updated summer 2016)

Bardowicks Go-Kart-Hof und Fahrradverleih
Neuengammer Hausdeich 101
21039 Hamburg
Tel. (040) 723 38 66
Fax (040) 72 37 06 60
Tourenräder: 13,00 € pro Tag inklusive Transport, Tourenvorschläge, Karten

Fahrradverleih Altona
Thadenstraße 90-92
22767 Hamburg
Tel. (040) 4 39 20 12
Fax (040) 430 73 15
Mobil (0171) 6 95 15 15
Opening times: Mo - Fr 10 - 18 Uhr, Sa 10 - 13 Uhr or by appointment
15 City bikes (7 Gear): 8,50 € per day, 22,50 € per weekend (three days), 51,00 € per week (Rebate from three bikes)

"Hamburg anders erfahren"
Stefan Petersen
Hire only on condition that the bicycles are delivered probably free of charge.
Tel. mobil (0178) 640 18 00
Fax (040) 6 40 18 00
Over 200 bicycles;
City, Trekking and Mountain-Bikes: 12,00 € per day; 49,00 € per week; 150,00 € pro month (Minimum charge 40,00 € per order; (06/2013)
Road bikes, Child bicycles, Tandems, etc.: ask about rates or check the home page. The website has an English section, but you will to look at the German to find the prices.
Also: City tours, short bike tours

KOECH 2-Rad Technologie
Sievekingsallee 96
20535 Hamburg
Tel. (040) 219 46 34
100 bikes: 9,90 € per day/39€ a week for seven gear ladies trekking bikes with a back pedal brake.
Child bikes, trailers can be ordered, delivery possible

If you don't find what you want above then check the ADFC Hamburg's website. It is likely to be more up to date than our list.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Radsalon Mannheim 2013

For several years now the City of Mannheim in conjunction with the chamber of commerce and the city's marketing agency has organised the Radsalon, an annual cycling festival with an exhibition. This is held in a square in the middle of the main shopping area of the city and attracts not only bike freaks but shoppers out to pick up some new clothes. Last Saturday (22 June 2013) stands included the ADFC - the German cycling club, a secondhand bike sale, a number of local and regional bike shops, bicycle manufacturers, an energy agency, the car sharing club, free bike checks - as part of the Baden-Württemberg provincial campaign to encourage cycling and VELOTransport - a government sponsored project to encourage the use of cargo bikes by families and by small businesses.
I would like to have visited the Riese and Müller stand with its cargo e-bike and electro- and normal versions of these exceedingly clever bikes, but we had very little time to spare. We were on the ADFC stand advising folk about buying cycling helmets, discussing the advantages of membership and giving out our tour programme.
The VELOTransport stand was next door to ours and I did notice the lads on the stand were kept busy with visitors. In a quiet five minutes I had a quick chat with both members of staff and looked at the five or six cargo bikes and trikes on the stand. The VELOTransport project is designed both to demonstrate the usefulness of cargo bikes to young families aiming to dump the car or small businesses who need to move small amounts of stuff in city centres where car parking is expensive and restricted. The stand offered hands-on experience of these bikes. The group had cleverly visited a wide range of events over the last year including the biannual German Protestant Church annual meeting, an Ideal Home exhibition and a caravan show, so did not restrict themselves to cycle exhibitions. As a back up the project offers a well thought out and extensive database of bikes, trikes and equipment for cargo carrying available in Germany ( The website is in German unfortunately, but a lot of the links are to English language websites and if not there is always Google Translator.
The highlight of the Radsalon is a mass ride around Mannheim and Ludwigshafen, across the Rhine in  Rhineland Palatinate. This year over 650 riders on all sorts of bikes and trikes took place. The trip across the Rhine was cancelled because of a major fire in Ludwigshafen harbour.
Before the Ride
The smoke from the fire was visible from Mannheim

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A new source of campsites?

If like us you prefer quiet small campgrounds, it's worthwhile casting an eye on The website aims to link house and garden owners with campers seeking a micro camp site. At the moment only the UK in Europe is well covered, but give the site time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rixen & Kaul Klickfix

We are fans of KLICKfix products. The company offers a range of devices to fix devices: bags, maps, water bottles, locks, etc. on bicycles. As we write guide books (available from us, Cicerone, Amazon and Smashwords) and therefore need to do a lot of exploratory cycling, we find the KLICKfix map holders, a simple perspex clip to be a very good way of attaching a paper map to a bike. If you pop the map in a sealable plastic sachet it is reasonably waterproof as well.  On our last trip down the Weser, the first tour of the year after the winter, I assembled the map, plastic cover and clip on the bike. A minute or two later the clip cracked open. I wrote to Rixen & Kaul the makers of the device to enquire whether because we'd stored the clip inside the plastic map cover, plasticiser from the bag had caused some form of stress corrosion cracking. The company replied the same day to tell me that this was unlikely, but that the odd Minimap can be highly stressed as a result of processing  and cracks in use. We received a new Minimap clip by Post a day or two later without needing to send in proof of purchase. Well done Rixen & Kaul!

I was also interested to noticed that Rixen & Kaul now do a handlebar bag (PadBag) for an iPad/tablet with a transparent plastic covered drawer to hold the iPad which can be pulled out for reading and navigation. This bag solves a problem that we had been debating about using an iPad/tablet with one of our e-guide books.

KLICKfix products are distributed in the UK by
Greyville Enterprises
GB-WS 14 9TZ Lichfield, phone +44 (0)15 43 / 25 13 28
and by 
Zyro Limited
YO7 3BX Thirsk Business Park, phone +44 (0)1845 521700
and in the USA by 
United States: VeloFred LLC
New York, phone +1 (0)646 4359805 

We have no financial interest in Rixen & Kaul or any of their distributors. We just like the gear. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Würzburg bike parking

Würzburg lies on the River Main in Germany and is also the start of the Romantic Road to Füssen. It has has much to offer, the Residenz - the bishop's palace said by Napoleon to be the finest vicarage in Europe, the Marienberg Fortress, the cathedral, the churches in the old town amongst other items and the beer is not bad either. If you want to play the tourist for a couple of hours but are worried about leaving your bike, but don't want to push it around the city, then the city's tourist office offers a solution that we have not found anywhere else. The tourist office has set a up a guarded bike park in conjunction with the city's parks department, the city council and the employment office. It costs one Euro a day and  if you buy a meal, a snack or something by the Bike & Park Payback Partners for more than 5 Euros, even this will be returned to you. It is still advisable to take your core valuables, passport, camera and the 20 000 Euros in cash your auntie gave you to pay into a numbered account with you, but your panniers with their dirty washing can be left behind.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Accommodation on the lower River Weser IV

We cycled into Bremen, stopped for a quick glance at a historic building or two, lunch and then, as ever, had trouble getting out of the city, even though we had only drunk coffee with our Bratwurst. We stopped underway in a village between Bremen and Bremerhaven. We would try to avoid the hotel in future. It was very noisy, so we will mention neither its name or the village.
The next day we fought a Dutch style headwind to reach Bremerhaven where we were faced with the problem of finding our hotel. It was for once dead easy to find. We followed the cycle route into town and arrived at Bürgermeister-Smidt-Str 1 near the Columbus Center. Our hotel was the havenhostel (T: +49 (0) 471 30 96 69 0) at Bürgermeister-Smidt-Str 209. Part of the Straße is in a pedestrian zone where cycling is only allowed between 22:00 and 10:00, so watch out  and walk unless you wish to contribute to the city's coffers.
The havenhostel is a former navy barracks, built around 1902. It offers simple lean but clean accommodation. The rooms are large and all ensuite with plastic floors. Breakfasts are self-service, but good. The staff are very friendly. At 75 Euros a night plus 6.50 Euros pp for breakfast in a big city the rooms are good value for money. One slightly weird thing is that the website is only in German though the staff speak English. Evening meals can be available during the week, depending on demand. It was weekend, anyway, when we were there. We ate an excellent Lobscouse in the Treffpunkt Kaiserhafen, "The last pub before New York" in the docks and a good Italian meal in a nearby restaurant the night after.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Accommodation on the lower River Weser III

We met our one flooded section on this day and discovered the only way through is to pedal fast and ignore the wet feet.
Keep on pedalling!
So far we had been paying about 50 Euros a night and decided to make a stop before Bremen where, according to the Bett und Bike website, prices for a double room can be as high as over 100 Euros. We arrived in Thedinghausen and discovered that the bridge over the River Eiter on the edge of the village was being rebuilt. As a result the village was host to a number of visiting building workers and there was no room at the inn for us. We talked to the mayor, but he was unable to help and so cycled 2-3km to the off route village of Morsum where we stopped in Döhlings Gasthaus at Zum Fleet 1 (,  doehlings-gasthaus(at), T: +49 (0) 4204 91710). It was fine. If you decide to eat the cold cuts Platte then order one between two of you. Two were too much for us.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Accommodation on the lower River Weser II

The next night we stopped in Bücken, Lower Saxony in the 18th century Pension Rosengarten, (Manfred Behrmann, Markstraße 15, D27333 Bücken. T: +49 (0) 4251 6522, F: +49 (0) 4251 671796, E: This is an excellent B&B where we enjoyed a pleasant room, a superb garden and an extensive tasty breakfast. 
A garden is a thing of beauty and a job for ever,

The house was built in 1740.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Accommodation on the lower River Weser I

We cycled last week from Minden to Bremerhaven along the Weser Cycle Route. It was a great trip. We started in pastoral splendour amongst large fields dotted with cows and good views across the river with the occasional barge.  We visited the ancient city of Bremen and then followed the Weser estuary with sea going vessels as far as Bremerhaven. The route appears to be unknown in Britain which is a pity.
We had met our friends Maxa and Tim when they joined our train in Kassel and we travelled to Minden together. After lunch in Minden we set off down the Weser or parallel to the Weser as although  the river levels were not as high as on the Elbe, parts of the cycle route were blocked by flooding. At about 16:00 after about 20km we discussed where we wanted to stop the night and decided to stop at the next Gasthaus. Within 200m a notice board pointed us left to the Mühlengasthof & Pension "Zum Letzten Streich". * This was an excellent decision. We had small but comfortable ensuite rooms and for one night lack of space is no problem, especially at these prices: 27 Euros per person in a double room. Dinner in the beer garden was excellent and breakfast equally so. A bike repair service and e-bike battery charging is available. The owners are mildly offbeat souls. The house and gardens are decorated with mosaics and ornaments that remind me of those created by the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The owners feed and offer shelter in the garden to 18 ± sterilised cats, castoffs from the local farmers. (No fear if you have a cat allergy, the cats know their place. They stay in the garden and on the ground floor. Just check the chairs before you sit sit down.) The pub has an annual blues night at the end of June. What more could one want?

*Mühlengasthof & Pension, Großenheerser Mühle 4, T: +49 (0) 5765 7330,
info (at)

The decision makers at work. The notice board is on the left of the photograph.

Mühlengasthof & Pension "Zum Letzten Streich".

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Bike Hire in the Ruhr

As we have written before, we are rewriting our Rhine II downstream from Basel to Rotterdam cycle touring guide as an e-book. We have altered our philosophy. We no longer attempt to describe both banks in detail but lay down a route which is mainly on the left bank. If there is anything very interesting on the other bank,  Heidelberg, for example, we will run our route through the city. We will however describe the Ruhr in very general terms, but not run our route through it. If you find yourself in Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund or one of the other Ruhr cities when Schalke or Borussia are not playing then think about taking a cycle ride. The Ruhr like Gary, Indiana or the Black Country used to be an area of heavy industry: coking plants, steel works and coal mines. These industries have declined since the 1960s leaving some magnificent industrial architecture and a number of railway mineral lines that have since been converted into cycleways. Check out Ruhr Tourismus: . Bikes are available to hire at various sites. We will add to this list over the next few weeks. 

Radstation am Bochumer HBf (Main railway station)
North exit of HBf Bochum
Kurt Schumacher Platz
ViA Bochum
T: +49 234 41411-24,

Very reasonable prices for 7 gear trekking bikes for daily (9 Euro daily) or weekly hire (5 Euro daily). 

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