Monday, May 21, 2012

Folding Bike Tour along the Rhine: Bonn-Koblenz-Bacherach

Bicycle trail along the Rhine, formerly a towing path, near Boppard

This posting will answer the question whether our two day  Brompton Folding Bike tour over 146 kilometers along the river Rhine from Bonn to Koblenz and Bacherach was a good experience.

Before going into details:  Why did I take my folder in the first place?  Why not a touring bike? 
Mural mosaic showing how Rhine ships used to be towed 
I have two simple reasons: first, travelling with my 7 year old son I wanted to be on a small wheeler similar to his children`s bike in order to be at an equal height with him, and second, the folding bike is practical and free of charge when riding the train back home after the two day trip.

View from the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein when a Rhine ship is turning into the river Moselle at the "Deutsches Eck" with a statue of Germany`s last emperor William II on a horse
We stayed in the youth hostels of Koblenz and  Bacherach, both located in castles that offer spectacular views over the Rhine. The service was very friendly, the rooms perfectly clean, the beds made upon arrival and the breakfast like in a three-star hotel. The price:
for example Ehrenbreitstein, Koblenz, one night in a two bed room, with breakfast,  one adult, one child, 26,50 Euro and 13,25  Euro respectively. (Prices year 2012 - annual membership necessary)

Having travelled the route on a folding bike I need to comment on how comfortable the trail is. To tell you the truth, I have mixed feelings about it.  The scenery along the river is beautiful, historic sights, castles and medieval buildings abound.   The bicycle lane, however, does not always stand up to the prestigious image of a river valley that boasts its listing as a UNESCO world cultural heritage.

On a gravel road before Koblenz my folder had a puncture (see also the posting of my first puncture) in the front wheel.  A friendly bike shop repaired it at the cost of 14.50 Euros.  
In some parts of the trail, the biking lane runs awfully close parallel to a busy road, and the railway line goes by immediately behind the road.  On such parts of the route, the noise is considerable. 
But there are also parts with wonderful sights and nice places to make a stop.  We lunched in a beer garden restaurant outside the city of Koblenz right after the last Rhine bridge.  I had a beer, my son a soft drink, I ate a meal that was served in a hot iron pan: fried potatoes with two eggs; my son had noodles with cheese.  Both meals were served with a bowl of mixed salad.  Total for both of us:  20,00 Euros. Link to the menue of Koblenzer Privatbrauerei Biergarten

Alltogether our two day trip was most enjoyable. The Brompton folder was quite practical, especially when riding alongside my son on his children`s bike.  And finally, on our way back home by train it was easy to handle and it was transported free of charge. 

We would not hesitate to do the trip again, and I will go on using the Brompton on similar tours.
Entrance to Castle Stahleck, Youth Hostel in Bacherach

Youth Hostel  Burg Stahleck in Bacherach

View from the breakfast room of Burg Stahleck

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