Lake Constance cycling path bikes cycle promenade travel holiday Nadja's Germany

Cycle your way to good health

Cycling is fun

Cycling was part of my childhood

I grew up in the Lower Rhine region of North Rhine-Westphalia, close to Dusseldorf. The area is quite flat, compared to other regions in Germany, making it perfect for cycling. As a child, I would think nothing of cycling the five-mile round trip to school every day. I think I was about nine when I was allowed to do the trip unaccompanied. Looking back, I seemed to cycle everywhere, and I often took off for the weekend with my dad and brother.

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I absolutely loved my bike! My friends affectionately called it my ‘Mary Poppins’ bike because of the little basket I had attached to the front. I’m certainly not an expert or an extreme cyclist in any shape or form, but for me, it’s more about the enjoyment and being outdoors. There’s no better way to explore the countryside and discover new routes than with your family.

 

 

Family cycling trip in the Glottertal Valley (Black Forest) – Copyright: Nadja’s Germany

Cycle routes – the safest way to travel

Germany’s cycle network

Since moving to the UK, I certainly don’t cycle as much as I used to when I lived in Germany. This is mainly down to not feeling safe. I’m more accustomed to the highly-developed, safe routes through the cities, villages and forests in Germany.

Like so many of us, I often took my surroundings for granted and didn’t fully appreciate the hassle-free cycling we enjoyed around Dusseldorf and the Rhine; Krefeld, Monchengladbach, as well as areas closer to the Dutch border. Now I’m in the UK, I always look forward to organising my next cycling trip whenever I go back – to the amusement of my mum! When I am cycling, I also make the effort to absorb what is around me – from the poplar trees that line the rivers and streams to the beautiful meadows along the Rhine.

 

 

 

 

Cycling for pleasure is on the up

Why not leave the car at home and cycle to work?

Cycling is becoming more and more popular in many aspects of our lives. According to (Statista), the number of bikes in Germany has gone from 68 million in 2007 to 75.5 million in 2018; meaning every household has an average of two to three bikes. Sales figures show that trekking, city and e-bikes are the most popular. Many people cycle to the train station for their commute to work, with some putting on their cycling gear and cycling all the way in.

However, this enthusiasm isn’t always reflected in other European countries. Figures published by (Cycling UK) shows that only 4% of the UK population cycle daily.

 

Travel to work 2015 (England): % trips per person by main mode
Walk Cycle Car/van driver Car/van passenger Other
11% 4% 56% 9% 21%

 

Although, the organisation does mention that cycle traffic in the UK has risen almost every year since 2008.

A cycle to work scheme was introduced in the UK to promote healthier lifestyles and reduce pollution. The 1999, UK Government’s Finance Act introduced a tax exception for employers to loan cycles to employees as a tax-free benefit.

On 26th January 2017, the transport minister, Andrew Jones MP, announced that thousands more people would be encouraged to cycle or walk to work, thanks to a £64m government investment. It is aimed at supporting local projects over the next 3 years and will form part of a wider government package of more than £300m to boost walking and cycling. He goes on to say that by 2040, the government aims to make walking and cycling part of everyday life and a natural choice for shorter journeys.

 

Good reasons to cycle

Cycling keeps us fit and healthy

Cycling can so easily fit into daily life without needing to find that extra time to exercise. A good friend of mine, who is a keen cyclist, told me that he cycles to work around two or three times a week, killing two birds with one stone. By the time he starts his day, his exercise is done, and he starts work feeling fully refreshed. I must admit, I do take my hat off to such determination and discipline. Nevertheless, any form of activity is good for us. Cycling UK shows us some of the fantastic benefits of cycling.

 

  • It improves physical and mental health
  • It fits easily into our daily routine (cycling to work, to school, to the shops)
  • It’s inexpensive
  • It’s environmentally friendly

 

Cycling holidays are becoming more popular

A cycling holiday is on my list

 

Whenever I go on a cycling trip, I like to plan in some great places to stop along the way. Cafés, restaurants or even a beer garden are just perfect to enjoy something to eat before heading off again. Germany really does have some amazing routes that pass through the most amazing scenery. Add in some great historical landmarks and some fantastic food and you won’t go far wrong.

At some point, I’d like trying out a longer cycling trip that includes some overnight stops. Although I would choose a more luxurious version and book with a company that transports your luggage to the next overnight stop😊

 

My personal bucket list

Do you know any of these cycling routes?

I’ve been lucky enough to have cycled part of the Rheinradweg trail, which makes its way along the Rhine River through some truly breath-taking scenery. I cycled between Oberwesel and Bingen with friends last year, and I was even able to introduce them to my favourite wine bar in Bingen. The WeinZeit Vinothek really is well worth a visit with its stunning views over the Rhine.

River Rhine cycling route – Copyright: Dominik Ketz/Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH

My cycling trips have made me curious about discovering so much more. I’ve created my personal bucket list of some of the best cycling routes in Germany. I’ve added the German route name in brackets so that it’s easier to navigate around once you’re in Germany. The length of each route refers to the German section, as many of the routes do extend into other countries. More information can be found on each individual website.

 

 

Baltic Sea cycling path – Copyright: www.ostsee-schleswig-holstein.de

Baltic Sea coastal route (Osteeküstenradweg): This 670km route starts in Flensburg, in the far north of Germany. It winds its way along the Baltic Sea, passing through Eckernförde, Kiel and Travemünde, before finishing in the lovely seaside town of Heringsdorf.

Difficulty level: Easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elbe cycling route – Copyright: Augustus Tours

Elbe cycle route (Elbe Radweg): This 805km route starts in Cuxhaven, in the west and finishes in Saxon Switzerland in the east (Sächsische Schweiz in German). It was voted as one of the nation’s favourite cycling routes several times by the German cycling club organisation ADFC.

Difficulty level: Moderate (recommended for children over twelve).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ems cycling route – Copyright: IG EmsRadweg

Ems cycle route (Emslandradweg):

This 375km route starts at the source of the Ems River, and runs through East Frisia as far as Emden

Difficulty level: Easy (family friendly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weser cycle route (Weserradweg): 

This 515km route starts close to Hanover and runs along the Weser River as far as Cuxhaven.

Difficulty level: Easy

Ruhrtal cycling route – Copyright: Dennis Stramann RuhrtalRadweg

Ruhr valley cycle route (Ruhrtalweg):

This 240km route starts in Winterberg, at the source of the Ruhr River, and passes through the cities of Meschede, Dortmund, Witten, Bochum, Essen and Duisburg.

Difficulty level: Easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moselle cycling route – Copyright: Mosel Tourismus

Moselle cycle route (Moselradweg):

This 238km route starts in Perl, close to Trier, and makes its way along the Moselle River as far as Koblenz.

Difficulty level: Easy (suitable for children).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Main River cycle route (Mainradweg):

This 600km cycle route starts at the source of the Main River, and passes through Kulmbach and the UNESCO world heritage sites of Bamberg and Würzburg. It then continues through Schweinfurt, Karlstadt as far as Aschaffenburg.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Danube cycle route (Donauradweg):

The German section is approximately 800km long, and starts at the source of the Danube River, close to Donaueschingen in southern Germany. It passes through Ulm, Ingolstadt and Weltenburg, where you can see the famous Weltenbourg Abbey. It then continues through Regensburg as far as Passau.

Difficulty level: Easy

Lake Constance cycle route (Bodenseeradweg):

This 278km route takes you around the enchanting Lake Constance – giving you the perfect excuse to take a dip in the lake. The route continues through some beautiful old towns, with their museums, castles and fortresses. Mainau, a flower island, aptly named for its beautiful flower gardens, is also well worth a visit.

Difficulty level: Easy

I’m looking forward to getting back on my bike in this summer.  I wish you lots of fun cycling trips, discovering new things and collecting happy memories. I’d love to see some of your favourite snaps from your bike rides!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy cycling!

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

By Nadja Thom / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

Follow nadja-thom
on Jun 23, 2019

I’m Nadja – a mum to a nine-year-old and a dog lover. I’m German but I’ve been living close to London since 2004. I absolutely love the British humour, traditions, landscape and culture and London inspires me every time I go there. Since living in the UK, I look at my home country from a completely different perspective. I now travel to Germany as a ‘tourist’, exploring and rediscovering it with new eyes. I hope my website and blog inspires you to discover my home country.

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