Friday, December 25, 2015

Knooppunts (navigation nodes) on the Rhine Bicycle Route

In August 2014  we wrote that the RadregionRheinland, i.e. the association planning cycle routes and signposting in the area between Bonn and just before Krefeld mainly on the left bank of the Rhine, was bringing in navigation nodes (knooppunt). It has announced in its Christmas 2015 newsletter that the work is completed. The nodes are shown in The association has issued a map: „Radwandern in der RadRegionRheinland – Mit Knotenpunknetz und ausgewählten Themenrouten“. The map should be available from February 2016 onward from decent book and map shops (ISBN 978-3-87073-756-6). We plan to travel up there sometime this spring to check out the node numbers to incorporate the information in our The Rhine End to End Part II Basel to Rotterdam (eBook) guide available from Amazon and Smashwords.
BTW I hope the success of this system persuades other regions including the area we live in, the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, to adopt this touring-cyclist-friendly signposting.

Friday, December 18, 2015

'nuff said! Tourist Offices recognise the importance of cycle touring.

A sentence or two I found in Huffington Post recently:

"Cities and states have long urged their residents to ride bicycles, as a healthy form of recreation and as a green alternative to driving. Now they’re recognizing pedal power’s economic potential.
Tourism officials and cycling advocates sometimes refer to tourists on bicycles as “wallets on wheels.”

"That’s because they stay longer in a state and spend more per day than other tourists."

I hope this is displayed in every tourist authority and planning office in the developed world.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Schools and Bicycles in Viernheim Part II

More on bikes in Viernheim…

We wrote to the member of staff who runs the bike team and he summed up the thinking behind the idea better than we could:

"…teenagers onto their bikes instead of watching them wait for their parents to take care of even such simple things in life as going to school.

Viernheim is small enough to make them all go by bike. I hope that once they have tried and realized that it is quicker, more convenient, and most of all it makes you independent from your parents, pupils will continue to enjoy the comforts of a bicycle."

This is an example that others could follow.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Schools and bicycles in Viernheim

A quick tale to cheer the heart, which in times like this, we all need.
Viernheim has an extensive sport park to the west of the town (or city if you're an American). There are two secondary schools, one secular and one Roman Catholic about 2km away north east of the town. The schools have sports lessons at the park that are two teaching periods, i.e. 1h30m long. It is a bit far to walk, so rather than using a bus or Mama-Taxi, the staff at the secular school investigated the option of the kids cycling to the sports park in groups supervised by a member of staff. The schools and the sports park are linked by a cycle paths. The journey would probably take about quarter of hour and allow a sensible period of time for sport training. In addition the children would learn about cycling in the town and recognise the use of the bicycle for short journeys. Many of the children at both schools come by bicycle, but there was a problem with children who lived far away or who came by Mama-Taxi. After making inquiries it was found that about 10 bicycles would cover any deficit amongst the children's bicycles. There then arose two problems:  where to get the bicycles and where to store them. 
  • German school budgets are under pressure as are public budgets anywhere. The staff at the school turned to Andreas Hofmann, who runs one of the local bike shops. He chatted up sponsors and manufacturers and came up with trumps with 10  simple robust bicycles for about €2000.
  • The staff at the secular school realised that their school did not have storage for all 10 bikes and enquired of the RC school who found they could store 5 bicycles. Both schools now share the use of the bicycles and storage. 

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