Friday, February 26, 2016

Baggage Transport in Rhineland Palatinate west of the Rhine along the Weinstraße (Wine Road)

Rhineland Palatinate is making serious efforts in tourism.  Various companies in the south of the province along the 200km or so Weinstraße (Wine Road) from Bockenheim north West of Worms to the French border at Wissembourg (Alsace) are offering services to cyclists and walkers that we feel are worth knowing about.
For example: Gepäckservice Pfalz (Palatinate Luggage Service) based in Deidesheim, offers both walkers and cyclists the chance to have their bags carried. We ourselves are not madly bothered as cyclists about having somebody carry our gear, but as the company states in its advertising:
  • You can take more than two panniers of gear. (However on a bike we find we only need one Ortlieb pannier for a week or so, but are quite prepared to wash clothes and wear the same stuff every night when touring.)
  • You can lock your bike up to go for a swim or an ice cream without having to lug your bikes with you or worrying that some rustler is going to steal the bags. You also don't have to find someone to look after your gear. 
  • You can buy something along the route and have sent with you without having to carry it. Personally I am not too sure if this is a disadvantage, because not being able to carry the stuff means it is possible to avoid buying a case of wine at a vineyard.
It strikes me as well if you are going cycling for a week or so as part of a grand European tour, you may well have more gear. This service could be useful.
Gepäckservice Pfalz, Kirschgartenstraße 49, 67146 Deidesheim, Germany, (In German),, T: +49 (0) 6326 982284
Baggage Transport:
1-2 people/day  €20
3 people/day €27
4 people/day €36
Each extra person €2.50
The company also rents out touring bikes.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Car fasting in Lent 2016

Last year we wrote about the Lent car fasting action of the protestant church in Rheinland Palatinate and Luxembourg. The action was a success and over 2000 people took part. The action is being repeated this year from tomorrow February 21 to March 20: (in German and French*). It strikes us as an good idea to give up using one's car or using it less for a month and walking, cycling, taking public transport or forming a car pool. It has obvious health, social and environmental benefits. From the point of view of health it is probably more effective than giving up cream cakes for a month.

*Even text from religious organisations can be roughly translated used Google Translator.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cycle round Rhineland-Pfalz and effectively climb up to Tibet

I have noticed recently there is a fashion amongst road mean and women to climb the height of Mont Ventoux in a day. Basically one chooses a local hill and climbs it enough times until one has climbed the same height as the famous mountain in SE France. Why stop at Mont Ventoux? Why not head for the Himalayas? The south western German province of Rhineland-Palatinate has combined a number of cycle routes running around its borders and set up a 1040km long cycle route that climbs 8000m in total. It is a circular route.
We thought we'd give it a try. We will start in Hordt near Germersheim where we can pick up hire e-bikes. (We think we could do with some assistance at our time of life.) We will then follow the Rhine down to the French border to cycle up across the Palatinate Forest, along the border with the Saarland and then the border with Luxembourg. The route then crosses over the Eifel hills along former railway lines before dropping to the Rhine to cross it and climb into the Westerwald. The route then swings south across the Lahn to reach the Rhine at St Goar and St Goarshausen. Then its a case following the river back down to Germersheim.
There is all the information you need under The route is called Rheinland-Pfalz-Radroute in German.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Sending bicycles from Britain to western Europe

About three years ago we wrote a series of small articles for the website on travelling to Europe accompanied by a bicycle. We are in process doing a major spring clean and revision of these articles. Unfortunately the slow death of sleeper trains in Europe means that the Paris-Munich and Amsterdam-Copenhagen CityNightLine trains no longer run. These were keystone routes in our suggestions to whisk cyclists and bicycles across the continent. The night trains have been replaced by early morning high speed trains, but these unfortunately do not often take bicycles unless disassembled and put in bags. Apart from flying or hiring one cure for this problem is to send your bicycle on in advance and you can travel across Europe on High Speed Trains unencumbered by a bike bag. I recently came across two British firms that organise shipment. You can send the bike to one place and have it picked up somewhere else for the return, so a long linear ride along a river valley, for example, becomes a possibility. Unlike hiring a bike the you do not have to return it to the starting point. Details, prices, delivery times can be found on the websites.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Baggage (especially bicycles) forwarding within Germany.

Deutsche Bahn, German Railways offer baggage forwarding services including bicycles. The company does not transport baggage itself, but uses a German logistics company called Hermes. Information about these door to door services is only available in German.You cannot send your bike from a station to another, i.e. you will need a pick up address in Germany and a shipping address. The space formerly occupied by baggage express services on the station will now be filled by a shop selling ladies' underwear or a night club. Such is progress. However you can send a bicycle in two or three days from any German address to any other German address for 27.50€.  If you inform the railways of your wish to send one or more bikes, the pick up service will bring you packing for it or them. For four Euros more you can specify a three hour time window when the bike/s will be picked up. If you send the bike to an airport then it will be stored until you pick it up. You will have to pay a few Euros a day charges, but in case you have damaged your bike or yourself, shipping your bike might be worth doing, rather than lugging it about with you.

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