A tour boat I "raced" in the Rhine Gorge
I'm in my second cheese city of this tour: Limburg an der Lahn. The important part is an der Lahn - I rode the Rhine River George and the Lahn River Gorge today. The Rhine is much bigger than the Lahn, and has more spectacular man made things, mostly castles, to see. The Lahn was, for me, more peaceful and more enjoyable to ride.
The road - I kid you not - heading west from my hotel
I started heading east from my hotel - at which I enjoyed supper, my very nice room, and a good breakfast for 60 Euro including a tip - towards Bingen. The road looked like a bike path, but I followed it east until it came to a slightly larger road heading south. This took me to the autoroute and another, almost normal sized, road took me across the autoroute and into Heidesheim proper. There, after only two tries, I managed to get on the road that said it went to Bingen. It did, but not in the way shown on my map. First it ended trying to up send me to Bingen via the autoroute. That led me to ride into another town, Ingelheim, and ask a lady on a bicycle how to get to Bingen. I don't like the German road sign system - it is only marginally better than the French system! I also don't like the fact that Autoroute 2002 roads too often are not the same as the real roads.
Riding into Bingen - kind of neat
I stopped at a bakery in Bingen to get some stuff for lunch and snacks. I didn't stop again for food or supplies till after the Lahnweg ended in Nassau, some sixty miles later. Then I rode out of Bingen - which actually goes on for quite a while, on B9 heading north into the Rhine river Gorge. I saw the start of the Bachweg - the radweg up the Rhine - but I chose to stay on the road. It didn't have a rideable shoulder or bike path at that time, but, after ten miles or so it had a good bikepath along it and in another five miles or so, that path became the Bachweg. So, I didn't join the radweg, it joined me. I did sample it at an earlier point, but quickly decided to go back to the road.
B9 without a good bikepath
Note the speed limit - roughly 45 mph
B9 with the good bikepath
It kept a variation of this almost all the way to Spay
The views across the river were quite nice
Not only the Gorge itself, but towns, vineyards, churches, and castles
Riding was pretty easy and pretty fast. I averaged about 13 mph. That meant I was able to catch and pass - several times since I would sometimes stop to take pictures - a boat pushing a barge. It was moving at about 12 mph. I was passed by, and later caught up with, a fancy tour boat. When it passed me, I measured its speed at about 16 mph, but it slowed to 12 later and I was able to catch it. When I stopped to snack, it left me behind and the boat I passed earlier passed me again. I stopped at a bench which gave me a nice view of a castle well above the river on the other side. This was after Spay where B9 and the radweg part company. I chose to ride the radweg the rest of the way to Koblenz.
The boat with the barge and the tour boat with the castle across from Spay above it
The bike path and bridges over the Rhine in Koblenz
The path soon became smooth dirt through woods
Riding the radweg into Koblenz, I had to hunt for a way to cross the river. I couldn't find a way to get on the first bridge and the second bridge was for the railroad, so I rode on into the center of Koblenz and crossed on the third bridge. Riding back south on the other side, I saw a pedestrian/bicycle crossing on the side of the railroad bridge. If I had ridden under that bridge, I might have seen a sign telling me how to cross there, but I left the radweg between those two bridges, looking for access to the first bridge.
Finding the Lahn radweg was a bit tricky, requiring going over several bridges over railroad tracks, but I just kept heading south and east as needed until I reached the Lahn. Once on the Lahn radweg, riding was very pleasant. Everything was on a much smaller scale than on the Rhine and there was a sense of peace that wasn't present along the busy Rhine. I rode east on the radweg, not knowing when it would end, but figuring I would be able to get to the road running near the river when it did.
The earlier bike path, running on the north side of the river
The path ran for quite a while - five miles? - on the north side of the Lahn, in an area where the river gorge was narrow. There were lots of pleasure boats and camping places along the river in this section. Then it crossed the river and ran first through farms area and then, when the valley narrowed again, along the railroad tracks to Nassau. At Nassau, the radweg, now marked as R32, seemed to climb out of the valley, so I left it, crossed the Lahn, and rode to Limburg on B417.
The radweg running along the train tracks
The Lahn is on the other side of those tracks
The start of B416, Limburg 31 km, and a food store on the right
I stopped a food store to get some snacks and to take a break then rode B417 east. It was good riding, although traffic was a bit of a problem at first. Then 417 got a good bike path for a while and things were easier. Then the bike path went away, but so did almost all of the traffic. In this section I could see the railroad tracks on the south side of the river and, when B417 climbed, I could see that there was no bike path over there. However, there was a very nice bike path under construction on the north side. Unlike the bike path, B417 did have hills, but they were small.
At Laurenberg, B417 left the river and climbed over 200 meters out of the valley before descending back to the river at Diez. It was a pretty hard climb - 4 to 8% grade for four km - but there was a sidewalk/bikepath for the entire climb and the climb followed a creek up. There are smaller roads on the other side of the river which probably would require less climbing, and there could even be a radweg along the river. I didn't look, I just cranked up the hill. At the top there were several large wind powered generators and on the way down I saw several more on the other side of the valley. The view of the valley was worth the climb.
Hirschberg and wind machines
Looking down into the Lahn valley
The Limburg Dom - The Cathedral of St George
Thanks to food from that store in Nassau, I'm spending a bad food day in Limburg. I'm not complaining too much, since my room is comfortable and relatively inexpensive and Limburg is an interesting town. The fact that it has rained a couple of times already today makes it easier to be inside where it is dry rather than out on the road with a tummyache, riding in the rain.