Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life

Biking The Elbe trail – Hamburg to the North Sea at Brunsbüttel

1-IMG_3854Today was the final day of me biking alongside The Elbe. I decided to keep to the East bank to Brunsbuttel as I wanted to cycle on into Denmark and the ferry from the West bank across the mouth is meant to be very irregular.

At Sandra’s suggestion I visited the ‘New Hamburg.  HafenCity is in the old docks, I didn’t find it to inspiring although certainly much better than her other suggestion, the dual carriageway called Reeperbahn which seems in terminal decline.

I left along a pathway which can’t make it’s mind up whether you can cycle along or not! at least it’s flat and avoids the cars & a hill. The views of the docks are very good and it’s interesting to see a ship dedicated to shipping bits of aircraft around for the great Airbus project.

Once out of the city the wind became ferocious blowing directly of the North Sea straight into my face 🙁 I had quite a few heavy squalls of rain as well so weather wise not the best of days. I was beginning to think you should definitely cycle The Elbe from North to South.

The cross channel ferry was operating but with a vast queue of several kilometres long waiting for the trip to Cuxhaven a side effect was a lady had set up a wagon selling fishy buns etc and drinks so I could stoke the boiler again.

The End of The Elbe!It was getting quite late when I finally arrived for the crossing of the Kiel canal, by ferry. Interesting to see a vast container ship nudging its way into the lock, I finally made it into Brunsbuttel at 6pm to find the first hotel full the second hotel a smokers den & more with the third hotel also full, I was starting to get a bit concerned 🙁 However, a charming lady across from the hotel ran a classic b&b, loads of little notices & very fussy but at least a bed with views over the river but no internet on the day of The Apple iWatch event & my 1GB of phone date used up even though it was on GPRS all the time.

The final Elbe Stats are:

833 1010 9042 76.17 Moving
Start Finish Miles Km of Elbe feet up Move time mph Hotel
Cambridge Harwich 68 1614 5.42 12.54 Boat
Hook of Holland Amsterdam 67 238 5.83 11.43 Train
Prague Melnik 43 69 1338 4.18 10.28 Hotel Jaro
Melnik Usti 51 81 855 4.43 11.41 Pivovar Hotel
Usti Dresden 63 100 2322 5.82 10.78 Motel One
Dresden Riesa 35 57 1451 3.17 11.18 Hotel Saxonia
Riesa Listerfehrda 64 103 564 5.85 9.93 Landgasthof Sonneneck
Listerfehrda Pretzien 74 119 404 6.63 11.19 Park Hotel
Pretzien Tangermude 64 102 542 6.48 9.84 Am Rathaus
Tangermude Tangermude 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 Am Rathaus
Tangermude Modlick 78 125 267 6.85 11.37 Alte Fischerkate
Modlick Geesthacht 65 104 812 5.62 11.57 Hotel Elbblick
Geesthacht Hamburg 31 49 191 2.63 11.66 Sandra’s
Hamburg Hamburg 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 Sandra’s
Hamburg Brunsbuttel 63 101 296 6.80 9.31 B&B

So biking The Elbe was 1,010km in 11 days of cycling. The surprising number to me is the 9042 feet of ascent, so it isn’t that flat! The other & more surprising to me, apart from the miserableness of other cyclists, is the poor quality of the internet. O2 could only offer GPRS throughout the trip except for a bit of 3G in the biggest cities. In the hotels speeds on WiFi were appalling every bit as bad as remote Cornwall. Staggering for a so called rich country famed for it’s engineering prowess.

My Strava for the day is here and pictures here


Day 10 on The Elbe Biketrail – Geesthacht to Hamburg

1-IMG_3830After last nights heavy rain & thunderstorms this morning was shrouded in thick mist. Today was going to be a short biking day so I thought I would go easy on the breakfast 🙂 although it’s incredibly hard to resist the brown bread rolls covered in sunflower seeds.

I eventually left at half past ten, after doing a blog post and answering loads of emails. Just around the corner you pass the now defunct Krümmel Nuclear Power Plant capable of producing in it’s heyday 10,000 GWh per year, always fascinating to me that Nuclear Power  Plants seem to be built near borders!  To continue the energy theme a mile or so further on there is a hydro electric scheme generating an annual 10GWh since 1958. I loved the few solar panels tagged onto the hillside.

1-IMG_0189The route was along dedicated cycle tracks for most of the way through farmland with lots of greenhouses, in Funfhausen it started to rain so made time for a plum tart & coffee both delicious.

Hamburg has very little urban sprawl so you seem to go from farmland to city centre very quickly. I eventually found my way to Carens for a coffee & some of her daughters cale 🙂 then for a quick walk and ice cream around the lake.

1-IMG_0191You can run around a lake and they have a cunning electronic system by Alster so you can automatically time yourself.

In the evening I met up to stay with Sandra,  Em’s au pair from 19 years ago, her husband & two gorgeous girls. Pleased to say she has decent internet but unbelievably O2 is still on GPRS in this part of Central Hamburg.

Strava says I did nearly 31 miles the days photos are here.


Biking The Elbe Day 9 – Mödlich to Geesthacht

1-IMG_3788Another glorious autumnal day 🙂 The tyre stayed up after my latest attempt at fixing the puncture in the front tyre. I pedalled across to the main hotel for a full on breakfast. It’s going to be interesting to see how my weight has changed, once I get back home, from eating mega breakfasts, chocolate bars & huge evening dinners. With Fitbit & Moves saying I’m only burning  3,000 to 3,500 cals a day.

Having said that there were no open cafes for the first 40miles of today’s ride plus no Lidl to get chocolate bars. The ride on the right bank was delightful although the engineers couldn’t decide if you should be biking on top or bottom of the dykes so a bit tedious to climb up to discover no track on the top sometimes.

1-IMG_3798Because the East bank of The Elbe was in the old East Germany there are still some of the watch towers and fencing that separated the Germans Interesting how Hamburg was carved out to be in The West with the border abruptly leaving The Elbe at Lauenberg to head over to Lubeck. So in fact I’ve been biking the Iron Curtain trail as well plus learning some history.

1-IMG_3827Lauenburg is a totally fascinating place, once the border town, almost medieval alongside  The Elbe with narrow cobbled streets and glimpses of the river. After the town the bikeway climbs steeply and heads through the woods. I got defeated by the steepness and loose sand so ended up pushing the bike up the hill 🙁  The poor bike was in agony as I crashed along very rough woodland tracks – a track more suited for suspension mountain bikes than a Dawes Galaxy Grand tourer!

The weather became decidedly threatening with the sound of thunder so once out of the woods in Geesthacht I dived into the first hotel – The very modern Elbblick where I was able to watch the rain & thunderstorm in comfort 🙂

A great 65 miles of biking and 85% of The Elbe covered according to my spreadsheet, Here is the Strava and a few pics.

PS My friend Christopher has solved my sisters Groyne mystery: the effect of groynes on rivers: literature review

Groynes are structures constructed at an angle to the flow in order to deflect the flowing water away from critical zones. They are made of stone, gravel, rock, earth, or piles, beginning at the riverbank with a root and ending at the regulation line with a head. They serve to maintain a desirable channel for the purpose of flood control, improved navigation and erosion control. 

Cycling Day 8 on The Elbe – Tangermünde to Mödlich

Weather wise an amazing perfect biking day especially with the wind coming from the South when I’m travelling North!

applestrudelBreakfast was an OK buffet so I was soon on my way to make a quick stop at Lidl and stock up on Rita chocolate and energy drink plus the obligatory banana. The first section was on quite a busy road but I was soon going around fields with the hedges smelling divine with wild roses, I couldn’t resist stopping at the beautiful inn in Buttnershof where they dealt me the most amazing Apple Strudel 🙂  I was going so well on the left bank I totally missed going over on the right bank to see Havelberg 🙁

Jennifers penisularsThe ride was reminding me of The Danube riding along the top of the flood banks with good views all around and at a good pace. I finally managed to cross over the huge railway bridge into Wittenberge once home to the Veritas/Singer sewing machine factory all now defunct of cause. I was going to stay in Wittenburg but it was still early (because I had ‘missed’ Havelburg. Also the place didn’t appeal to me; run down and I hate signs outside cafes that say don’t leave bikes on their wall.

So with the good wind and write up in the book,  I decided to head for Lenzen. Lenzen turned into a disaster with the Wassermuhle Hotel derelict,  Hotel Burg Lenzen allegedly full even though no cars or bikes parked there, TheHotel  Scutzenhaus not condescending to open till 5pm apparently. 🙁  So I rang (Yes you can use the iPhone as a phone)  the Hotel Alte Fischerkate in Mödlich, they had a room in their annexe so thats where I am now.

Still no 3G networks & the hotel WiFi is appallingly slow. The front tyre has had a slow puncture  all day from the poor repair I did the other day but hopefully I’ve now repaired it again.

I managed 77.9 miles (although at least 5 of them was messing about in Lenzen today which you can see on Strava here a few pictures are here.