Sunday, November 17, 2013

An excursion from Kleve

We have written about knooppunts, a grid based navigation system for cyclists in the Netherlands, in the past. We mentioned as well that some of the German communities on the Dutch borders have invested in this type of waymarking. These include Emmerich and Kleve both of which are on the Lower Rhine. Kleve is well known to the British because of its connections to Anne of Cleves, one of Henry VIII's wives. However the town has connections to another European blue blooded family: Orange Nassau the Dutch royal family.
The tourist office in Kleve has laid out the 53km circular Oranierroute starting in the Tiergartenstra├če  following: knoopunts 26 - 4 - 3 - 88 - 86 - 80 - 81 - 80 - 85 - 10 - 25 - 32 - 31 - 6 - 30 - 96 - 81 - 94 - 5 - 26. If you follow this tour you can visit the Huis Bergh chateau, one of the biggest  in the the Netherlands, climb to vantage point to look across to Kleve, take a barefoot walk, have a short ferry trip to Millingen aan de Rijn before returning to Kleve. There is no shortage of cafes along the route. There is a website: where you can download a flyer in German about the route. A word of warning though the map is rather indistinct.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bike Hire in Cherbourg, France

The area around Cherbourg is an excellent place to cycle. On a recent trip through the city we found a bicycle hire company: Location de velos, Port Chantereyne, Cherbourg, Tel: +33 (0)2 33 03 76 75. 2013 prices for touring-city bikes were:
  • Half day €9
  • Day €15
  • Two days €25
  • Three days €32
  • Four days €39
  • Five days €46
  • One week €56

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Safer tram lines?

One of the more exciting aspects of urban cycling in continental Europe are tram lines. Judith's knee still bears the scars she received when she fell off her bike, after the front wheel jammed in a tram line, some years ago. Tram lines are cunningly designed to take and hold a bicycle wheel. Whether it is front or back you will suddenly find sideways motion is impossible and the bike stops moving, all at once, with embarrassing results. They also offer a surprising wide flat area of metal which is slippery in wet weather and can lead to breakaway of the back end of the bicycle. This is interesting, but to be avoided.
VBZ, the Zurich traffic authority has started a pilot project to see if  tramlines can be made safer. It has filled a short stretch of tramline with rubber. The tram compresses this, but cyclists can ride over the filled section without the unpleasant effects mentioned above. The first results of this test phase are due in spring 2014. For more information in German see:

Saturday, November 02, 2013

An idea for cycle clubs

The ADFC section in Ottersweier, a village south of Karlsruhe in the Rhine Valley, organises free bike parking for the annual Dorfbachfest, a typical jolly German weekend fest with grilled sausages, beer and umpah bands. The village council supplies a car park and galvanised wire builders' fencing. The ADFC supplies volunteers to guard the bike park, organises a ticketing system and has an information stand. The chairman of the ADFC group and the organiser of this action wrote that cyclists are overjoyed to find secure parking and it is a good way to acquire new members.
I realise that do's with umpah bands and beer are few and far between in Britain, but there will be large numbers of cyclists to watch le Tour next year in Yorkshire and there will be more mass cycling events in London, so CTC local groups could help themselves and the cycling community by laying on bike parking at various events.
5 January 2014: I suppose it could even be seen as one of the ideas supported by David Cameron in the Big Society project.

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