I normally don’t do this… advertise on my blog…. but I wanted to share info about the Great Rhine Adventure, BGA’s 2 week, 800 mile ride from Lake Constance on the border of Switzerland and Germany, through northern Switzerland, into The Alsace of France, into western Germany and ending with a ride through the Rhine Delta in Holland to the North Sea.
We have spaces still available…. one on the 1st week, 4 on the 2nd week. This trip will be filled with beautiful views, historic locations and Castles galore (especially the second half in the Rhine valley).
Here is an itinerary (still subject to slight changes) with some of the highlights of each day.
Contact at: capnben22 @aol.com OR Facebook.com/bgadventuresllc
I’m sitting in Francie, our motorhome, waiting for The Super Bowl game to start and enjoying Queso con Carne. And I’m thinking of the BG Adventures Ride coming up. So I thought I would put together some information. REMEMBER this is still subject to some change….. but it’s firming up rapidly!
28 May – Flight from USA to Frankfurt –
Enjoy your flight! Some people will need to make at least two stops getting to Europe. Try to get a nap on the Transatlantic crossing.
29 May – Arrival in Germany –
On your arrival, you’ll take a Taxi to the hotel in Hattersheim where we will acclimatize to Europe overnight. A good night’s sleep will get us ready for the ride to start on the 31st.
30 May – Hattersheim to Konstanz – Van
We’ll get up early for breakfast and about 9 am we’ll drive to our starting location, Konstanz. Konstanz is a city on Lake Constance, the Bodensee in German. Boden in German is “ground” or “floor” and since the Bodensee sits at the floor of Germany, I guess it makes sense. This day will be a full one…. hopefully, you won’t be tired from the flight and we’ll need to get ready for the ride in the morning. Once we get to the hotel in Konstanz and you get your bags in the room, you’ll get your bikes set up for the ride beginning the next morning.
PACKING TIP – you will need to bring your own helmet, pedals and, if you wish, saddle. This is in addition to your usual kit and particulars. We do have a few tools, usually enough to do minor repairs. We will not attempt major repairs on the ride…in that case, we will find a nearby bike shop for those repairs. What else to bring… Definitely bring a jacket of some sort, just in case. I usually bring two… one is simply a “windstopper” while the other is a Gore-Tex. I also bring a long sleeve warm undershirt. And speaking of sleeves, I’ve discovered that the sleeves you can get…I use Voler SolSkins…. give me a little warmth on cool days, are cooling when sweaty on warmer days and offer sun protection.
We’ll plan an early dinner and then to bed…. Breakfast will be at 7 am in the morning with planned departure at 9 am.
31 May – Day 1 – Konstanz to Bad Zurzach – 84 km
Day One will start with a typical German breakfast…. lots of bread, cheese, meats, eggs (usually scrambled or hard/sort boiled). Figure an hour for breakfast and an hour to get ready and we’ll be on the road by 9 am. We’ll pass a number of town as we ride toward a nice midpoint town of Schaffhausen. Just a little way past Schaffhausen, we’ll come to one of our first sights on the ride, the Rheinfall. The Rheinfall is the largest waterfall in Europe, by volume, being 150 m wide and 23 m high. We’ll try to find a place for a mid point stop after seeing the falls since we will be about 50 km into the ride now. From there, we will ride another approximately 35 km on into Bad Zurzach, hopefully arriving by around 4 pm. From past experience, on these tours, while we will ride faster at times, our average speed will be 10 mph (16 kph).
At Bad Zurzach, we will check into the hotel, store our bikes, perhaps take a dip in the thermal spa there and clean up for dinner.
PACKING TIP – We’re on Holiday….pack accordingly!! I usually wear a pair of jeans for the flight over then start wearing shorts. Late May in Germany is usually much like the Midwest of the US…. very pleasant. I always have the jeans just in case the weather is chilly but I honestly have never had a problem. Shorts and Polo shirts is my usual “go to” uniform after the ride. I do have T-shirts but I ALWAYS try to keep them low key…. nothing with the Stars and Stripes. I have ALWAYS felt safe in Germany and France BUT I don’t ever want to make myself stand out. Look as much like a European tourist as possible. Don’t advertise your being an American.
1 June – Day 2 – Bad Zurzach to Ottmarsheim, FR – 94 km
Same morning plans… plan for 9 am departure. After we leave, we’ll ride about 35 km to Bad Sackingen where we may or may not see the longest covered bridge in Europe. Then shortly before we reach Basel, we will roll through Augusta Raurica, an old Roman city. According to the course, we will pass the amphitheater.
We’ll roll through Basel, leaving Switzerland behind, going through the Dreiländereck, or Three Country Corner. From here, we’ll head north into France and The Alsace. The Alsace region in France is well known for its cuisine and wine, which are influenced by German flavors, since the area was once part of Germany. We’ll have an opportunity to try foods which are a blend of France and Germany. One that I’ve heard of is Tarte flambée, a flatbread-type of pizza made with crème fraîche, onions and thinly-sliced bacon. Try having a Riesling or a Gewürztraminer from the region. These are usually served in the wine glasses with green stems. But honestly, we’ll be eating and drinking well
2 June – Day 3 – Ottmarsheim to Erstein, FR- 80 km
This day we’ll be in the heart of The Alsace. If you know your history, you’ll remember that this area of France changed hands many times over the centuries, mainly between France and Germany. And this area was home to a military innovation that is now known as being a dismal failure. The Maginot Line was found in this area and about halfway to Erstein we’ll get to the small town of Marckolsheim, the site of a Maginot Line casemate, now a wonderful museum. We’ll try to plan a visit here as we continue North. And speaking of heading North, to the East we’ll be able to see the Black Forest. After the ride, if we feel like it, we may plan a drive over that way.
3 June – Day 4 – Erstein to Worth am Rhein, DE area – 100 km
This day will see us heading north through France, passing Strasbourg, arguably the capitol of the EU. The EU Parliament is based here, along with numerous other governmental buildings. At the end of today’s ride, we will enter the German stretch, the longest country segment of our ride.
4 June – Day 5 – Worth to Worms – 90 km
There will be some interesting sights along this stretch of the trail. In Speyer, there are, at minimum, two interesting items…. a displayed Lufthansa 747 by the Technical Museum and the Speyer Cathedral. Both of these sights appear to be close to the trail.
Worms dates from Roman times and the Battle of Worms in 436 is said to be the source for the Nibelungen saga (Wagner‘s “Der Ring des Nibelungen“). The Nibelungen Bridge Tower is close to our hotel in Worms.
5 June – Day 6 – Worms to Hattersheim – 70 km
This will be a shorter day, symbolizing the end of the trail for some of our riders. We’ll try to follow the east side of the Rhein to the confluence of the Rhein and the Main rivers. From here, we’ll head east, following the Main for about 15 km to this day’s end town of Hattersheim. Hattersheim is a convenient stopping point for this ride, as well as the Main Radweg Tour.
6 June – Day 7 – DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL/REST DAY in Hattersheim
This will be the day when we will say “Auf Wiedersehen” to those only riding the first half and “Willkommen“ to those newcomers arriving. And we fortunate few will take a day of rest before going on for another week. From the confluence of the Main and Rhein, there is an 85 m (300 ft) difference in elevation to the North Sea. It will be flat and downhill but we will have some of our longest days to come. So get some R&R…
7 June – Day 8 – Hattersheim to Koblenz – 114 km
This is the day for Castles! We will have 29 or more castles scattered on the hillsides overlooking the Rhine in this stretch, the Rhine valley. On this segment, we will pass by the Loreley, a 130 m rock outcropping on the east side of the river, overlooking the Rhine. There, it is said, the mermaid Loreley sits on the rock, combing her golden hair, luring unsuspecting sailors to their doom on rocks in the river below.
8 June – Day 9 – Koblenz to Königswinter – 70 km
After a long day yesterday, we are keeping it a little shorter today to allow us a little time for history and sightseeing. On the way to our overnight, we will pass what is left of The Ludendorff Bridge in Remagen. Yes… the “Bridge at Remagen”. Any reader of WWII history will recall the significance of this Bridge. At Königswinter, we will be located below the Drachenfels mountain and castle. There is a tramway to the top of the mountain for some gorgeous views of the Rhine valley.
9 June – Day 10 – Königswinter to Duisburg – 100 km
This will be a long stretch through some of the biggest cities we will find….Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf…..Industrial areas similar to those around Frankfurt.
10 June – Day 11 – Duisburg to Arnhem, NL – 100 km
I think the high point of this day will be in Arnhem, the goal of Operation Market Garden. Our hotel is close to the “Bridge Too Far” and an associated museums.
11 June – Day 12 – Arnhem to Gorinchem – 85 km
Now we are starting to reach the end of the road at the North Sea…. as such, the Rhine is turning into a Delta and meandering much more. We’ll also see and drive by windmills (for RAGBRAI’ers, just like the ones in Iowa at Pella and Orange City).
12 June – Day 13 – Gorinchem to Hook of Holland – 75 km
This is our last day…. flat and meandering, our hotel not far from the beach on the North Sea. I’m not sure we need to “dip our tires” but photos (and maybe some schnaps) will be required.
13 June – Day 14 – LIBERTY DAY (optional departure from Amsterdam)
Since we are near some historic areas, we will try to get some sightseeing in. There is the Dutch Atlantic Wall Museum close to us and The Hague is close by.
14 June – Day 15 – DEPARTURE from Hook of Holland to Amsterdam Airport OR ride back to Frankfurt (for departure on the 15th)
15 June – Day 16 – DEPARTURE from Hattersheim hotel to FRA to the USA.