Monday, June 18, 2018

East Frisia

Ostfriesland (East Frisia) is the stretch of Germany between the Dutch - German border on the River Ems to Wilhemshaven. It is great cycling country criss crossed by cycle routes with a multitude of bike hire shops.
The people of East Frisia have the reputation of being slow, non intelligent. There are large number of East Frisian jokes in German often the same as Irish jokes in English. If the East Frisians are thick which I doubt, they have been sensible enough to adopt the Dutch knooppunt system of route guidance. This makes navigation very easy. We have been trying for some time to persuade the local cycling club to push for the adoption of this navigation aid, but the attitude appears to be one of  “I know how to get to where I am going. Do we need any more navigation aids or GPS systems are more than adequate.”

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Insurance for e-bikes

Fifty or so years ago a fellow student whose name I forget, who had worked for the Daily Mirror, a British tabloid, recounted that when he first started on the paper the subeditors aimed at producing copy where each paragraph had a maximum of one sentence with each sentence having a maximum of one word. He was an excellent source of stories most of which I cannot remember and they were probably libellous.
It's long struck me as a good aim although rather impracticable. I never thought I could use this concept until I read of the European Commission plans to have all electric bicycle (e-bike) users take out third party insurance. There is only one word to describe this plan: 

DAFT!


We Europeans live in cities where the air quality is lousy; where too many of us get too little exercise with its attendant effects on the waistline; where a short trip to the bakers is made by car wasting resources on a grand scale. Cycling whether electrically assisted or not would decrease air pollution,  increase exercise, reduce waistlines and waste fewer resources. It will cause additional annual costs of at least 40€ for each e-bike user in Germany. To what end? The mind boggles. Practically all Germans have a third party insurance for accidents.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Human powered trike hire in continental Europe

Although you can hire bicycles and even e-bikes in most European cities and towns, very few shops or organisations offer trikes for hire. We have looked at the rental market for trikes and there are not many companies offering trikes for a one or two week period. Some shops really only offer trikes for hire as a way of letting the customer try a various models for a few hours to help in deciding which trike to buy. We will not list these organisations, just the ones we think offer a week's hire. We do not recommend any of these companies nor does omission from this list inply any criticism. The majority of the websites are in a foreign language. If you don't read this language use a translation app to convert the text into something that is similar to english. In any case it is not possible to pick up a trike in one shop and drop it off somewhere else, so you will need to plan a circular route. BTW if you wish to put the trike on a train, make sure it is a foldable trike, because continental railways will not carry unfolded trikes. If you try to smuggle the trike onto a train, Murphy's Law means you will meet a jobsworth who will throw you off the train at the next station. AZUB, HPVelotechnik and ICE offer foldable trikes. If you wish to hire a trike and do not speak the local language write to the company of your choice in simple English to reserve your trike/s.

The following companies offer trike rental for more than one day.

Locations 
If your European geography is not up to much, use Apple or Google mapping apps to find the locations.

GERMANY 

LLR Lausitzer Liegerad GmbH, Frank Budich, Dorfstraße 18,  01968 Senftenberg / Niemtsch, Tel: +49 (0)160 350 2949, Email: info @ lausitzer-liegeradverleih . de (Leave out blanks), Website: http://www.lausitzer-liegeradverleih.de (in German), Brands: ICE, KMX, We have no information about prices. The Lausitz lies between Dresden and Cottbus near the German - Polish border with good access to the River Spree, the Oder - Neise cycle route and extensive landscaped lakes formed from opencast mining sites. 

Ostsee3rad, Olaf Reinike, Lindenweg 41, 23974 Alt Farpen, Tel: 0151 50589799, Website: https://ostsee3rad.de (In German), Email: info @ ostsee3rad.de (Leave the blanks out!), Cost: 25-50€/day, 125-250€/week, 70-100€/additional week, Brands: Anthrotech, Hase, ICE, KMX,  
Pick up and drop off of the trikes from a railway station:
ostsee3rad will deliver trikes to the mainline station in Wismar and pick them up at the end of your tour. This service is free of charge for a rental period of at least five days. The company can also transport your luggage to your hotel. Price on application.
One way trips: 
The company is prepared to pick up trikes and their riders either after a day trip or a longer several day tour along the coast. Costs on application. 


mietrad.de, Schillerstraße 43 - 45, 27472 Cuxhaven, Tel.: 04721/554100, Website: https://www.cuxhaven-mietrad.de/, Email: info @ mietrad.de (Leave the blanks out!), Cost 20€/day. Discount for multiday hire, Brand: Hase

Tetrion Spezialräder, D-46537 Dinslaken, Tel: +49(0)2064-472566, Website: http://www.tetrion.de (in German), E-mail: tetrion @ tetrion . de (Leave the blanks out!), Brands: Flux, Flevobike, Hase, HP Velotechnik, KMX, ICE, AnthroTech, Traix, No information about prices.

TRAIX CYCLES, Dortmunder Str. 1, D-48155 Münster, T: +49 (0)251.20891037, Fax: +49 251.20891039, http://www.traix.de (In German and English, but there is no mention of trike hire in the english version, E-mail: info @ traix.de (Leave the blanks out!)  Cost: 12-85€/day, 60-425€/week, Brands: Hase, HP Velotechnik, ICE, KMX. With 4500km of cycle ways, nine major cycle routes and some of the cyclist friendliest towns and cities in Germany the Münsterland is one of the best places to cycle in the country.

VELOCITY Stahlroß Fahrradladen GmbH, Belderberg 18, 53111 Bonn, Tel.: (0)228 / 981366-0, Website: www.velo-city.de (in German), E-Mail: miet-me@velo-city.de Cost: 30€/day, 60€/weekend, 120€/week, Brands: Hase, HPVelotechnik. Hire period limited to one week, which if my calculations are correct, is enough time to cycle the ca. 400km from Bonn to Aachen via the Rhine and Ahr Valleys and the Vennbahn followed by a trip back across country to Bonn, as long as your leg muscles are up to the mark.


VMW VeloMobilWerk, Sebastian Kittlitz, Dorfstr. 36, 85435 Erding Tel.: +49 (0)8122-558860, Fax: +49 (0)8122-558861,  
Radhaus Erding, Sebastian Kittlitz, Landshuter Str. 39, 85435 Erding, Tel.: +49(0)8122-9660064 
Website: http://velomobilwerk.de/ (in German),  E-Mail: info @ velomobilwerk.de, (Leave the blanks out!), Erding lies north of Munich. The area offers extensive cycle routes. VMW offers KMX and Sinner trikes with and without electrical assistance for 30 Euros a day.


Zweirad HeinsBeckersbergstrasse 78, 24558 Henstedt Ulzburg, Tel: +49 (0)4193 / 758423, Website: www.zweirad-heins.de (in German), E-mail: info @ zweirad-heins . de (Leave the blanks out!), Cost: No information, Brands: Hase


NETHERLANDS

Cycling in the Netherlands is superb, but flat and windy with great cycling facilities and signposting. I always feel like taking the various European Ministers of Transport there and "Look, this is how it's done! This is how you get people cycling."

Advanced Cycle Engineering, Weurden 60,  Winterswijk 7101 NL,  Tel.: +31 543530905, Website: www.ace-shop.com (in English, Dutch, German), info @ ace-shop.com (Leave the blanks out!), Cost: Trike 40€ / day, E-Trike 61€ / day, Discount for multiday hire, Brands: Hase, HPVelo, ICE, Winterswijk is just over Dutch-German border on Rhine Plain west of Münster, Germany. With 4500km of cycle ways, nine major cycle routes and some of the cyclist friendliest towns and cities in Germany the Münsterland is one of the best places to cycle in the country.


Maia Dordrecht, Stevensweg 79a, Dordrecht, 3319AJ, Tel.:  +31 78 616 6302, Website: www.maialigfiets.nl (in Dutch), E-mail: info @ maialigfiets.nl (Leave the blanks out!), Cost: 39.50 - 69.50€ / day Discount for multiday hire, Brands: AZUB, Hase, HPVelo, Dordrecht is near Rotterdam. 

Maia Leiden, Energieweg 67, Zoeterwoude, 2382ND,  Tel.: +31 71 203 7999, Website: www.maialigfiets.nl (in Dutch), E-mail: leiden @ maialigfiets.nl (Leave the blanks out!), Cost: 39.50 - 69.50€ / day Discount for multiday hire, Brands: AZUB, Hase, HPVelo, Leiden is between The Hague and Amsterdam

FRANCE

Roulcouché, 32 bis-34 rue de la gare, 775 80  Guerárd,  Tel.: +33 (0)164047332, Website: www.roulcouche.com, E-mail: info @ roulcouche .com (Leave the blanks out!), Cost: First day 40-50€, Following days 20-30€, Brands: AZUB, Hase, Guerárd is 45km east of Paris. 




Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Bett und Bike in English soon

We went to SPEZI in Germersheim am Rhein over the weekend and complained to the volunteers on the ADFC stand that the recently published new app and the online database was only available in German. The Bett und Bike representative on the stand assured me that an English version will be published this month. The online database is available under www.bettundbike.de.
(Editorial note: I notice on 8 June 2018 that the addition of English still has not happened. I will drop the ADFC a line to politely enquire what's up.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bike Hire in the Moselle Valley

Schaltwerk in Cochem on the Moselle offers a wide range of reasonably priced hire bikes.

Schaltwerk
Ravenestraße 18-20
56812 COCHEM
T: +49(0)2671 60 35 00
info@schaltwerk-bikes.de
www.schaltwerk-bikes.de (In German, use a translation app)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Gimme a chance, will you?

I managed to be fairly ill last year and was in hospital for three months. One of the side effects of my stay is that I am not sure if my sense of balance is good enough to ride a bike. I am thinking about buying a recumbent trike, but at the moment we try to walk 10 000 steps a day. This means we are in the local woods a lot. As a pedestrian I notice that although cyclists want motorists to pass them with a distance of 1.5m, the same does not seem to apply to them. We have been passed recently by speedy cyclists within 10cm and it's no joke, because I am not that stable. I can move sideways without warning. A request to my fellow cyclists: Do me a favour, play fair and warn us walkers that you there, slow down and give us room. Just say "hallo". It is all we need. We can't always hear you and we are likely to jump the wrong way.

Cyclist-friendly accommodation in Europe

This list is intended to help you find databases giving cyclist-friendly accommodation in Europe:

Germany the ADFC cycle club set up one of the first databases showing cyclist friendly accommodation: www.bettundbike.de in German only.

Austria - In 2013 the Radtouren cooperative project was started with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Vienna. Information on cyclist-friendly Radhotels are available at https://www.radtouren.at/en/cycling-accommodation-providers/ in English and other languages.

The Czech Republic - based on Bett + Bike. Accommodation is accredited by tourist authorities and must meet certain minimum criteria http://www.cyklistevitani.cz/Uvod.aspx in Czech, English and German.



Denmark - https://www.visitdenmark.com/denmark/bedbike-0 

France - The https://www.francevelotourisme.com/contenus/preparation-et-conseils/accueil-velo/searchpoi_view website offers information about the Accueil Vélo (Welcome Bicycle) project. It is of course all in French.

Italy - Hotels and guesthouses can register on an internet list.Approximately 1000 houses are represented. The hotels and guesthouses describe themselves as cyclist-friendly. The accommodation is not checked and certified. http://www.albergabici.it/en/ in English.

Luxembourg - LVI the Luxembourg cycle club has certified "bed + bike accommodation”. It uses the same logo as the ADFC website and the same criteria. www.bedandbike.lu in French and German.

Montenegro - the first accommodation with the "Montenegro Bed & Bike" sign on the door was located along the national "Top Trails" in the north and the central region of the country. In addition to the well-known bed + bike standards, there are other services such as free jersey washing, luggage transport, booking of the next accommodation and other useful ideas. www.bedandbike.me I am tempted to go, but as the boss just said, “It’s a long way to go just to get your shirt washed.”.

Netherlands - Try https://www.hollandcyclingroutes.com/practical/cycle-friendly-places-and-lodging

Norway - Check http://www.cyclingnorway.no/en/cyclist-welcome/

Slovenia - There is cyclist-friendly accommodation: Hotels, B&Bs and campsites in Slovenia, but you will need to contact the National Tourist Organisation to find out more: www.slovenia.info

Switzerland - Cyclist-friendly accommodation can be found on www.veloland.ch. Hosts must meet certain minimum criteria, which are very similar to those of Bett + Bike

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bed and Bike Luxembourg

The Bed and Bike Luxembourg website now includes a list if cyclist friendly accommodation in eastern Belgium, so if you are planning to cycle the Vennbahn cycle route from Aachen to Troisvierges (Luxembourg) you can information on where to stop. The website is in French and German, so maybe Google Translator will need to be used, but this is better than the original ADFC German website which is now only available in German after some years being bilingual in German and English. Quite why this should be so I don't know. Some years ago we suggested a quick and dirty translation method which was turned down in favour of a bells and whistles luxury full translation, but this was probably too expensive to maintain.

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