Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Triking on the German Baltic Coast or Murphy lives!

Unfortunately a recent bout of illness means that if I am going to cycle in future I should use a recumbent with electrical support. As my sense of balance is largely in the bucket, as the Germans say, it looks as if three wheels would be better than two. I do want to cycle in future, so we plan to slaughter the piggy bank and will triking around the cycle paths and minor roads of Baden Württemberg, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate with a grin on our faces.
Being cautious souls before handing over a wadge of coarse notes to our Local Bike Shop (LBS) we decided to hire a pair of trikes for a few days to be sure that trikes are as much fun as their protagonists make out. We decided to hire from Ostsee3rad, Olaf Reinike, Lindenweg 41, 23974 Alt Farpen, Tel: 0049 (0)151 50589799, Website: https://ostsee3rad.de (in German, use Google Translator). We had cycled through Mecklenburg-Vorpommern along the Baltic Coast four or five years ago and had enjoyed it greatly. This time however we decided to stop in one place and take day trips, rather than touring. If we were not up to touring it could be awkward if we had to cycle 50 to 80km to reach our next hotel. All the hotels were full in August so we waited until our next appointment-free week in early October. We arrived in Groß Strömkendorf near Wismar on 1 October. The cycle hire company had recommended this hotel as it has a lockable garage. The trikes cost around five thousand Euros each, so it is worth chaining them up at night in the dry. 

Places on railway lines or bus routes in this area, have reasonable connections especially during term time, but  bus and train routes are thinly scattered. On Tuesday  Herr Reinicke collected us from our hotel on his Ruhetag (rest day) when the shop is normally shut and were driven 8 or 9km to Farpen. We were very impressed with his trikes and his professionalism. He has a good hire fleet: a number of KMX trikes, two Hase TRIGO trikes, an ICE Full Fat trike, two ICE Adventure trikes and several conventional bicycles. Some of the trikes are pedelecs. Farpen is not visited regularly by bus and the nearest railway station is 5km away, so we were glad of the lift. His workshop, is a brick and timber barn dating in part from the 13th century. We were both given ICE tadpole machines. Judith's was an ICE Adventure HD, so that we could  both ride the same ICE tadpole machines. Herr R Rapidly twiddled the seat and width of the handlebars were changed to fit Judith's cross section. The previous hirer must have been well fed.  The boom on Judith's trike was shortened to fit her lack of inches. She was then sent off to ride gingerly round the block.
I was assigned an ICE Adventure pedelec fitted with a Pendix electromotor. I had taken shoes for click pedals and after adjusting the boom to fit me, Herr Reinicke changed the pedals. I was lent a Hase TRIGO Up - a delta trike - fitted with a Shimano Steps motor to play with while this was going on - very enjoyable. It is a pity the Hase company does not offer a folding version of this trike, because it ticks almost all the boxes and I think we'd buy one, but DB - German Railways and other German railway operators do not allow unfolded trikes on their trains.

Finally Herr Reinicke was finished, after about an hour thoroughly checking the bikes and explaining how everything worked. He lent us a waterproof map, a tool kit, a puncture repair outfit, panniers and showed us where the trike rain covers and the lock were to be found. We fitted the trikes or they fitted us, so we set off after I had managed to click my feet into the pedals. This took some time and it was even somewhat of a problem two days later, after getting on and off the trike a number of times. Notice the look of concentration:
 
"Get in, you so and so!"

Both trikes were in excellent condition and well maintained. They both had a 3x8 SRAM Dual Drive hub gear/derailleur system with twist gear grips mounted on the steering bar ends. In my case the trike was fitted with a Pendix brushless electromotor and a Pendix battery (https://pendix.com/edrive.html). The Pendix is a German designed and built system, often used as a bolt-on modification for a unpowered bike. I found it excellent and very smooth in operation contrary to the one review I saw of the motor. The feature I found slightly odd was the on/off and power controls mounted on the battery. We are more used to a combined controller, battery charge level meter and speedometer mounted on the steering. Although there is an app that we could have used to control the power output of the motor, we did not download it. On the last day I pedaled some way before I realised that the motor was not switched on.

We cycled off towards the hotel initially following quiet roads. The weather forecast for the day was basically "Build your Ark, Noah!". It was windy but dry as we followed a local road to Blowatz where we turned south west into a gale. Fortunately we were sitting down and offered a lower profile to the wind than if we had been on road bikes, but this didn't stop us getting wet as the forecast rain arrived. We cycled back to the hotel, locked the bikes up and retired to our room to wait out the storm. You probably know the story:
"Cheer up. It could be worse." 
I cheered up and matters got worse. 
This was very true in this case. 

It was not cycling weather, so we took a bus to Wismar to look at the Altstadt (old town) and buy various essentials. Just to make matters clear, we are both prepared to cycle in the wet if we need to get to our next booked hotel or catch a train. We've been there, done that. If there is no need to cycle why run the risk of getting wet through?

On Wednesday, the German Day of Reunification we intended to spend the day cycling to one of the coastal villages between Travemünde and Wismar to meet a friend. He decided however that it was too cold and windy to cycle so he drove over from Lübeck by car. I had another rehearsal of fitting my shoes into the click pedals followed by a short five or six kilometre tour in the morning before our friend came. We spent the rest of the day on foot playing the tourist in Wismar, which is well worth doing, but it wasn't cycling.


The town was Swedish for about 150 years until the start of the nineteenth century. Gradually the older houses and the churches in the centre left unrepaired for the better part of 40 years in the German Democratic Republic have been restored. The town is historic and charming. 

On Thursday morning we had a good Mancunian drizzle and decided to wait an hour before leaving. We set off across the cyclepath on the causeway to the Insel Poel (Island of Poel). We crossed to Kirchdorf and found a NETTO supermarket to stock up on emergency chocolate and then through the village to reach the harbour. Beyond the village we picked up the excellent cycleway again and cycled over gentle hill and dale to Timmendorf Strand, a small resort on the outer edge of the island. We enjoyed Kaffee und Kuchen there watched by two pairs of eyes willing us to drop crumbs.


We then set off on agricultural roads through fields of Brussel Sprouts to follow the route near the shore north.  Brussels are a speciality of the area, much loved by local children, according to an informant. We dropped down into the hamlet of Am Schwarzen Busch, cycled along the sea shore on unmade forest tracks to reach Gollwitz before turning south towards Fährdorf and the causeway back to our hotel. Herr Reinicke was due to pick up his trikes at 17:00 Hours.

Judith's trike was a little too wide for the typical German Democratic Republic two concrete strip agricultural roads north of Timmenorf Strand. Notice the large legible signposts on the right.

Gulls following the plough. Truly rural
To sum up we were very satisfied with the trikes. This an excellent cycling area with good cyclepaths and signposting. There is no shortage of cafes and accommodation, but one needs to book ahead in the summer season. There are plenty of good beaches and enough pleasant rolling hills to add interest for cyclists, especially for those with electrical support. J says that despite initial worries she found the trike easy to handle and the gears adequate, even able to have a five minute conversation, on a hill, while sitting in the driving seat.



Monday, August 20, 2018

Fashion and the cost of bikes and trikes

For a number of health related reasons, I am thinking of acquiring a recumbent e-trike. If you look at the catalogues of the four major recumbent trike European manufacturers (AZUB (CZ), Hase (D), HPVelotechnik (D), ICE (GB)) you quickly realise that these vehicles are not cheap. It is not surprising since the trikes are hand built and in very small numbers. If you are looking for a fully equipped e-trike you can expect to shell out at least 7000 Euros, maybe a thousand or so more. If you take delivery of a trike and then tell the neighbour that you've just coughed up the price of a newish secondhand car for a funny little vehicle, he will think you are off your trolley. We have a car we bought secondhand when it was 4 years old. It cost us 8000 Euros some years ago.
However if you look at the prices of high end bicycles, that are built in similar numbers their prices are similar to trikes. The TITICI Gravel bike frameset, i.e. just a frame, no wheels, no cranks, no gears, no brakes, etc costs about 4000 Euros in the UK and I suspect even without buying diamond studded cranks converting the frameset into a bicycle will cost at least 1000 Euros if not more. However if you buy this Italian handbuilt frameset your neighbours will think not that you have more money than sense, but that you are a man who knows his own mind, a man of distinction, who is prepared to spend money to get what he wants. It's a funny old world. (BTW the way I have used the male form, because I think men are much likely to spend this kind money on this kind of bike.)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Is riding an e-bike as good for you as riding a normal bike?

There is an article in today's Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6001373/Riding-electric-bicycle-just-healthy-pedalling-normal-bike-researchers-say.html) that reports on work done at the University of Basel in Switzerland that has shown similar improvements in fitness amongst overweight unfit patients riding e-bikes as those riding normal bicycles. The addition of the motor allowed longer rides.
The only niggle I would have with the article is that the photograph accompanying the article shows a man pedalling a non-electric Klapprad.

Monday, July 23, 2018

An interesting article about e-bikes

Slight plug to start with. We wrote a book on cycling in Switzerland some years ago now. It was published by The Cicerone Press in Northern England. Cicerone originally published books about hill walking and mountaineering. Later the company branched out additionally into books about cycle touring and fell running. The company produces a digital newsletter for which we have contributed the odd article. I was just sent the latest version of the newsletter in which there is a article on e-biking in the Alps. Paean of praise would be a better description. We are in process of buying e-bikes or maybe e-trikes so I found the article: https://www.cicerone.co.uk/e-bikes-are-just-for-softies an excellent introduction into using e-bikes. If the £2000 to £3000 price tag of a decent e-bike puts you off buying an e-bike, do not forget that you can hire e-bikes reasonably cheaply in just about all tourist areas on the continent which cuts out the problems of transporting the bikes from home.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Speed pedelecs mixing with normal cycle traffic?

A few weeks ago I read about the new EU regulations meaning that e-bikes should be insured and thought this would make e-bikes/pedelecs less popular. I was not in favour of this idea, but I think I am changing my mind with the latest news from Denmark. Although the insurance changes could well be the start of compulsory helmet wearing, licence plates for bikes, bike riding tests and probably insurance for normal bicycles and their riders. A normal pedelec within the European Union is designed to have a maximum powered speed of 25kph (15mph). If you wish to reach speeds faster that 25kph you will need to pedal and considering that most e-bikes are heavy you (at least I) cannot cycle fast for that long. There are e-bikes that can be ridden faster up to 45kph, but these are treated as mopeds or light motorcycles and banned from using cycle paths.

Some Dutch cycle paths especially in cities allow mopeds and light motorcycles to use bike paths and these cycle paths do not make for easy cycling. Playing chicken with pimply-faced youths on souped-up mopeds or scooters is not my idea of enjoying cycling touring. One of my more unpleasant cycle touring experiences was crossing the Belgian city of Ghent on cycle tracks in the morning rush hours. Apart from a group of people moving house towing trailers carrying beds and wardrobes we were continually being harassed by commuters on their work. They made their displeasure very plain at being held up as we checked our route. Just to explain, although my wife and I are well past the biblical three score years and ten, we have both cycled extensively. We are not nervous cyclists. We are not whiteheads who have recently taken up cycling. We are experienced cyclists. I commuted by bike from the central station in Frankfurt two or three km to the office for at least ten years.

We have cycled in Denmark and was impressed by the way that there is excellent provision for cyclists even in cities. Cycle traffic at speeds between 20 and 25kph is largely kept separate from slower moving traffic (pedestrians) and faster motor traffic. I was therefore more than somewhat surprised to read that the regulations in Denmark have been changed to allow high speed e-bikes to use cycle lanes (https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/02/e-bikes-can-now-go-crazy-fast-in-danish-bike-lanes/). The stated aim is that commuters who presently drive cars will transfer to high speed e-bikes. However this ignores the advice of The Danish National Police, The Council for Safer Traffic, The Accident Investigation Board Denmark, The Danish Cyclists’ Federation, and The Danish Pedestrian Federation, who have all warned that  higher speeds mean more accidents and injuries. High speed e-bikes are not only fast but heavy. If there is a collision, it's every man, woman and child for him- or herself. The inherent dangers of mixing high speed e-bikes, e-bikes, normal bicycles and especially in Denmark cargo bikes are plain to see. There is a good chance that many cyclists will give up cycling in spite of its advantages. Whether the Danish move is a deliberate attempt to make utilitarian cycling less popular I will leave to the conspiracy theorists, but I do wonder what the Danish government is doing? To be fair the change will be evaluated in a year, but still…

There is a way around this problem of decreasing the number of cars on the road while still allowing fast commutes: Build special bike tracks (cycling superhighways) for these faster vehicles. These however cost money. The costs of the planned Heidelberg - Mannheim fast bicycling link (23km long) (https://rp.baden-wuerttemberg.de/rpk/Abt4/Ref44/Seiten/Radschnellverbindung_HD_MA.aspx) will cost about 12 million Euros. Eighty per cent of the route will be at least 4m wide,  lit at nights with a smooth good quality asphalt but have a Richtgeschwindigkeit (design speed) of just 30kph - less than a possible 45kph. The Heidelberg-Mannheim link will take several years to be realised.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Riding in the snow

The eagle-eyed reader of this blog will have noticed a blog just over a year ago (19 May 2017) about winter cycling in Finland. I was recently sent a link to short film about a group of hardy souls cycling across a National Park in Finland in February - "Arctic Cycle" under https://www.groundeffect.co.nz/blogs/news/. Lovely photography. The film is well worth watching.

Ground Effect is a biking clothing company in New Zealand (www.groundeffect.co.nz). They make good gear, in fact great gear. We have a number of their biking jersys and shirts. We started buying stuff from them because the company offers summer weight cycling jerseys with long sleeves. I have suffered from skin cancer so I prefer to wear clothing to cover up in the sun rather than using a sun cream. There is only one problem: The clothing is fairly priced, but there is a sting in the tail. Not only must one pay duty and VAT on the clothing when it arrives in Europe, but also when the goods are presented to customs, you need to pay the carrier - £8 in the UK for each package for this arduous work if you have your order sent air mail. If memory serves me rightly FedEx, the other carrier used by Ground Effect charges more. If your order comes in two packets it can get quite expensive.

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.”

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.

Friday, April 06, 2018

The British railway system does it again and helps cyclists!

One of us is a member of what we still call the CTC, the Cyclists' Touring Club, but is now called Cycling  UK. The name was changed because the management of the club decided that the British public could not understand what the purpose of the club was, even though the name had been good enough for over a hundred years through a recession and two world wars. End of rant! We receive the club's magazine every two months which we read and criticise extensively, but only between ourselves*.
A recent edition included a small brochure tucked into its pages about PlusBike, a cooperation between the British organisation, National Rail, the Enabling Innovation Team and the Bicycle Association of Great Britain. Information useful for cyclists is available under PlusBike on the National Rail website and as free of charge iOS and Android apps.
BikePlus offers information on:
  • Cycle facilities at stations, along with the number of cycle parking space.
  • Cycle-hire at stations or nearby with links directly to them.
  • Cycle carriage rules, including taking cycles on train specific to your rail journey.
  • Whether a cycle needs to be reserved to take on board. 

Whether the usual British lack of provision for cyclists and their bikes has been solved is not clear from the brochure, but at least you can easily find out whether there is space on the train you intend to take.

*Just as examples, we cannot understand the British fashion for bikes without mudguards (fenders) and luggage racks and stands: 
  • Unless you cycle regularly in Arizona or in southern Spain or only on sunny days, lack of mudguards mean that you could end up getting very wet and mucky on a summers day in Wigan. 
  • Lack of a luggage rack means carrying your gear in a rucksack (back pack). Welcome to the sweaty back syndrome unless of course you’re in Wigan on a typical summers day and even then the sun does shine there from time to time. 
  • Stopping for a break without a bike stand means fiddling about looking for convenient wall whereas with a bike stand you can stand the bike by the side of the road.

Monday, April 02, 2018

NOx pollution in German city centres. Is there a cure?


NOx pollution in city centres arising from Diesel powered vehicles is a major problem in Germany. The Federal Government is under pressure from environmental groups and from the EU to reduce levels of pollution in city streets. The government has chosen five communities to act as Lead Cities: Bonn, Essen, Herrenberg, Mannheim and Reutlingen. The original Federal proposal was that the five should just offer free public transport. This idea was rapidly rejected because the communities had insufficient vehicles and staff to meet the expected demand. The five towns and cities were then requested to suggest ways of reducing motorized traffic in centres. The cities delivered their proposals recently. If the suggestions convince the Federal Government, serious financial assistance will be forthcoming. None of the cities in this group wishes to only implement banning vehicles in the city centres.
Bonn called for exhaust gas clean up systems to be fitted to vehicles paid for by the motor manufacturers to reduce pollution. It has been suggested the introduction of a blue sticker to identify cleaner diesel-engined vehicles will enable the choice of vehicles that need to be banned from the city centre. The city intends to persuade more people to use public transport and cycle.  Public transport use will be encouraged by either a regional BahnCard 100 (a go anywhere ticket) for all public transport including long distance trains or a KlimaTicket (Climate Ticket) limited to public transport and regional trains costing €365 annually. These tickets will be matched by electrification of the Voreifelbahn into the Eifel Hills and a new S-Bahn (urban railway) between Bonn and Cologne. New cycleways including a high speed bicycle-Bahn will improve the cycling infrastructure.
Essen wants to increase the number of Park and Ride Stops and build new cycleways.
Herrenberg, a small town, in the Black Forest has suggested creating an app that displays real time traffic information, better bus services, a subsidized monthly season ticket for public transport and financial grants for the purchase of cargo bikes and e-bikes.
Mannheim is keeping its cards very close its chest, but is concentrating on improving its public transport system. There is also a move to build a depot in the harbour close to the city centre where packet services and local deliveries can be transferred to electrically powered vehicles.
Reutlingen is backing the blue sticker to decide which vehicles can enter the own when pollution levels are high. The town council has presented a number of other innovative ideas: Owners of Euro-4 Diesels who are prepared to give up their car for a year could receive an annual season ticket for the public transport system, vouchers for car sharing, vouchers for taxi trips and a Bahncard 50 which offers a 50% price reduction on on long distance rail trips. I think many people would be tempted to hand their car papers in for a year for an offer like that. The town council is also working on ways to make public transport more attractive.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

The Dachshund or Sausage Dog Museum in Passau

If you are cycling the Donau Radweg (Danube Cycle Route) and pass through or start from Passau to cycle off to Vienna don't miss Blumen-Seppi's (Josef Küblbeck's) and Oliver Storz's Dackel (Dachshund) Museum. They share a very special passion for the Dachshund. Their love for their four-legged friends is so great that they have opened a Sausage Dog Museum next to Passau Cathedral. They have collected 250 Dackel (dachshund) exhibits. The short-legged dog can be admired in all its facets in 80 square metres. For example, on beer mugs, beer mats, as pretsels, postcards or Nymphenburg porcelain. 250 dachshund exhibits have already been collected by Blumen-Seppi and Oliver Storz.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Recumbent Trike Hire in Germany

Although you can hire bicycles and even e-bikes in most German cities and towns, 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 weeks hire. We do not recommend any of these companies nor does omission from this list inply any criticism. 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. (Except if you take advantage of Ostsee3rad's offer to pick you at the end of your trip. This is not free of charge.) BTW if you wish to put the trike on a train, make sure it is a foldable trike, because German Railways will not carry unfolded trikes. AZUB, HPVelotechnik and ICE offer foldable trikes. If you wish to hire a trike and do not speak German 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.

Ostsee3rad, Olaf Reinike, Lindenweg 41, 23974 Alt Farpen, Germany

Telephone: 0151 50589799, Email: info @ ostsee3rad.de (Leave the blanks out!)
Website: https://ostsee3rad.de (In German)

This company offers trikes on the Baltic Coast. It is a good area to tour with plenty of accommodation, tea shops, snack bars and fine sandy beaches. The company also offers normal bicycles for rent.

Rental Prices / Service

Recumbent Trikes (2018)

     
Model Up to 2h One Day One Week Deposit  
KMX perf. / Anthrotech 15.00 € 25.00 € 125.00 € 50.00 €
KMX Kompact (Kids) 12.00 € 60.00 € 50.00 €
ICE Adventure / Sprint 15.00 € 40.00 € 200.00 € 50.00 €
ICE FULLFAT 15.00 € 50.00 € 250.00 € 50.00 €





Hase TRIGO / TRIGOup Check Later Trikes not yet available 50.00 €





Trike Pedelec-model 20.00 € 50.00 € 250.00 € 50.00 €





Cargo trike (Pedelec) 15.00 € 35.00 € Check 50.00 €





  • A week is seven days.
  • Extension rental 70.00 € (100€ for Pedelec) jfor each additional week
  • Cleaning  Costs: 7.50 € per Trike (Only in case the trikes are very dirty.)
Other demonstration trikes are available. They can be rented when available.
Prices include VAT. The deposit will be returned if the trike is returned clean and undamaged. An identification document must be shown when renting the trikes. Reservation is recommended. Group na dfamily tarifs are available on request.
Delivery to your hotel:
  • Less than 2 days rental up to 10km - 5€
  • More than 5 days rental up to 20km -10€.
  • Distances greater than 10km check with ostsee3rad. (Special deals are possible.)
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.

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TRAIX CYCLES, Dortmunder Str. 1, D-48155 Münster, T: +49 251.20891037, 
Fax: +49 251.20891039, email: info@traix.de, http://www.traix.de (In German and English, but there is no mention of trike hire in the english version.)

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.

Rental trikes and bicycles

ein Tag Verlängerungstag
+24 h
eine Woche
KMX Kids' Trikes


K-3 (ca. 1,00 - 1,50 m) 12 Euro +10 Euro 60 Euro
Kompact (ca. 1,35 - 1,75 m) 20 Euro +15 Euro 100 Euro




KMX Adult Trikes


16" / 20" Räder 25 Euro +20 Euro 130 Euro
20" / 24" Räder 25 Euro +20 Euro 130 Euro
20" / 26" Räder 30 Euro +25 Euro 150 Euro




Traix Liegerad (Recumbent bike)


Flash 25 Euro +20 Euro 130 Euro
Phantom 25 Euro +20 Euro 130 Euro




ICE Trikes


ICE Sprint 2645 Euro+40 Euro225 Euro
ICE Sprint 55 Euro +50 Euro 275 Euro
ICE Adventure HD40 Euro+35 Euro 200 Euro
ICE Adventure E-Trike75 Euro+70Euro375 Euro
ICE FullFat50 Euro+45 Euro250 Euro




HP Velotechnik


Speedmachine 35 Euro +30 Euro180 Euro
Grasshopper fx35 Euro+ 30 Euro180 Euro
Gekko fx 20 30 Euro +25 Euro 150 Euro
Gekko fx 26 Pedelec 75 Euro +70 Euro 375 Euro
Gekko fxs 45 Euro+40 Euro 225 Euro
Scorpion fx 50 Euro +45 Euro 250 Euro
Scorpion fs 20 Pedelec 75 Euro+70 Euro  375 Euro
Scorpion fs 26 50 Euro +45 Euro 250 Euro
Scorpion Plus 2050 Euro+45 Euro250 Euro
Scorpion Plus 26 Pedelec85 Euro+80 Euro425 Euro




Folding Bicycle


Airnimal Joey 20 Euro +15 Euro 100 Euro




Circe Cycles Tandems


Helios 25 Euro +20 Euro 125 Euro
Morpheus 35 Euro +30 Euro 175 Euro





All prices in Euros including 19% V.A.T.  This table is taken from the company's website, but changes in prices and conditions are the company's discretion.

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LLR Lausitzer Liegerad GmbH
Frank Budich

Dorfstraße 18
01968 Senftenberg OT Niemtsch

Telephone: +49 (0)160 350 2949, Email: info@lausitzer-liegeradverleih.de
Website: http://www.lausitzer-liegeradverleih.de

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.

The company offers rental ICE and KMX trikes, but we have no information about prices.

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VMW VeloMobilWerk
Sebastian Kittlitz
Dorfstr. 36
85435 Erding
Tel. 08122-558860
Fax: 08122-558861

Radhaus Erding
Sebastian Kittlitz
Landshuter Str. 39
85435 Erding
Tel. 08122-9660064

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.

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fahr radikalPlatenstr 6, 91522 Ansbach, GermanyNE BavariaAnthrotech, AZUB, Hase, HPVelo, ICE,30.- /day, 90.-/Weekhttp://www.fahr-radikal.de+49 (0)981-13501










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