Les Gets to Cambridge I made it home on my bike!

As most people know by now 🙂 I’m back in Cambridge after my mega bike trip.
I managed to bring my bike back, from my apartment in Les Gets, where I left it after last years ride out there.

To fit in with this years theme I decided to follow the Rhine (from its source near the Oberalppass) to the sea (near Rotterdam with its convenient ferry back to East Anglia). However, to get to the Rhine from Les Gets you have to follow the Rhone to its source as well. I managed to cycle from Les Gets down to Lake Geneva and then up the Rhone valley to Martigny but then decided to hop on the train to Andermatt where my Rhein-Radweg books start.

The overall trip was just under 1100 miles which I did in 14 days at about 10mph, 12 days of which was following The Rhine.

My Dawes Galaxy Tour worked perfectly standing up to the rough off road bits equally well as the super smooth bike paths. The gear ratios are all perfect 🙂 and Thierry adjusted the derailleurs so they clicked through effortlessly. After having it fitted with straight handlebars and click gears last year. This year I added the Altura drylined handlebar bag which worked perfectly. The new handlebar ends were disappointing and led to my rib damage! I need to find the ones like in Holland or that Gail has!

I fell off once with some damage to a rib which is still making me feel as though I’m having a heart attack a week later! However, it is improving.

I didn’t find the Germans or Swiss particularly friendly whilst riding so maybe the next trip will be to France / Spain or maybe New Zealand (A couple on a tandem had just come back from 6 months of touring NZ which they enjoyed).

Here is  a table of all the various blog posts, Everyttail’s and Picasa pictures:-

Day (Link to My Picasa pictures)

Trip Leg (Link to blog post)

Miles (Link to trip on Everytrail)
Moving Time
1 Thursday 8th July 2010
Les Gets to Martigny train to Andermatt 67 5 hr 30min
2 Friday 9th July 2010 Andermatt to Zizers
69 7 hr 40min
3 Saturday 10th July 2010 Zizers to Rorschach
72 6 hr 42min
4 Sunday 11th July 2010 Rorschach to Ellikon
64 6 hr
5 Monday 12th July 2010 Ellikon to Basel
73 7 hr
6 Tuesday 13th July 2010 Basel to Ottenheim-Schwanau
80 7 hr
7 Wednesday 14th July 2010 Ottenheim-Schwanau to Maximillansau 79 8 hr*
8 Thursday 15th July 2010 Maximiliansau to Oppenheim
92 8 hr 15min
9 Friday 16th July 2010 Oppenheim to Spay 69 6 hr 35 min
10 Saturday 17th July 2010 Spay to Cologne (Köln)
77 7 hr
11 Sunday 18th July 2010 Cologne (Köln) – Xanten
94 9 hr
12 Monday 19th July 2010 Xanten to Wijik bij Duurstede
78 8 hr
13 Tuesday 20th July 2010 Wijk bij Duurstede to Hook of Holland
91 8hr 13min
14 Wednesday 21 July 2010
Harwich to Cambridge 68 6hr 3min
Total miles cycled
1072.69 (Everytrail misses Day1 and Day 14)

Thanks to Joost and Chris at GlobalMotion I have a complete Everytrail of The Rhine part of the trip (hang on it takes a while to download):-
Cycling the length of The Rhine at EveryTrail

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Harwich to Cambridge

Before leaving home I had carefully plotted and loaded into my GPS a Harwich to Cambridge route on Bikely, avoiding all towns and main roads.

It proved an excellent route, although one part was down a track, but I was used to that by now!

What a pleasure to have fellow cyclists, passers by etc to smile, wave even say hello! It certainly brightens up your day to have a cheery smile rather than the ‘expressions’ you get in Germany & Switzerland which give you the uneasy feeling that they would mow you down rather than recognize your existence! I think life over there is VERY serious! I cannot say that I felt the same way when cycling in France last year. Although it has to be said the futility of marking cycle lanes on the roads which disappear when you actually need one is extremely frustrating for all road users.

This is a very pretty route if quite hilly, taking me past many of the places I have walked with Sally on the Cambridge Rambling Club walks. In fact I had a lunch break in one of the pubs we have used on our walks!

The ride was 67.6 miles which I cycled in 6hr 3min

Total ridden miles since leaving Les Gets was 1072.69 🙂 No punctures or breakdowns just one painful cracked rib!

Heres my Everytrail off the trip :-

Harwich to Cambridge at EveryTrail

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Wijk bij Duurstede to Hook of Holland

Today was the final Rhine day where The Rhine meets the North Sea, although a long time ago it met the River Thames and wound its way through what is now The English Channel to meet The Atlantic.

I did 90.5 miles in 8hr 13min making a near record 11mph! The smell of the sea beckoned!

For the first time I met a local cyclist who chatted to me on the Wijk ferry 🙂 , telling me about how their royal family’s home was in Buren, home of William of Orange which I was about to bike through! Not quite as glamorous as Windsor but very pleasant place.

I dashed on past the intriguing barns where the roof moves up and down on pulleys. Past the poignant memorial of Sylvia who never made it to her 16th birthday, yet another road death.

I crossed the river again in Gorinchen, a very pleasant place full of canals. Eventually making it to Rotterdam where I had the first experience of taking my fully laden bike down a long elevator to cycle through the long cool tunnel under The Rhine (Nieuwe Maas) then to hang onto the bike for grim death on the up elevator!

It was then, in what seemed like an eternity cycling down an endless path to the ferry! The lady at Stena said that only Comfort 2 berth cabins were available at €156 no breakfast but you could empty the mini bar! To wrecked to argue (apart from the additional €6 they wanted for the bike!) I sailed at 10.30pm with the big surprise of free open WiFi.

Xanten to Wijik bij Duurstede

Today I finally made it to The Netherlands leaving Germany behind when I crossed on the ferry at Millingen aan de Rijn.

I did the 77.6miles at 10.1mph on another really hot day, consuming 1 litre of Apple juice in just about one gulp! The countryside is pretty flat and uninspiring with no industry either. Although at Kalkar I came across a huge power station type of building which on close inspection revealed itself as Wunderland Kalkar some sort of Euro Disney/Butlins fun park I think.

There was a lot of uprooted trees and branches so obviously they have been having summer storms. It was good to see that all those modern windmills could be put to a useful task – as mobile phone towers!

I went through Arnhem thinking of all that lost of life trying to capture the bridge here. The cemetery is on a beautiful hill but I didn’t explore, but pressed onto Wijik, a lovely city sporting only one hotel, a quite expensive one at that! I couldn’t face searching around for b&bs so booked into the De Oude Lantaarn for €73.50 a night and enjoyed cheap mussels & chips around the corner at De Veldpoort!

Two things I hate about The Netherlands are (a) Scooters and small motorbikes are allowed on there otherwise fantastic cycleways. (b) The drivers get really agitated very quickly if you find yourself on their road instead of the cycleway hiding on the other side!

Having said that, the only other cyclist to have spoken to me whilst travelling along was here 🙂

Here’s the Everytrail of the day:-
Xanten to Wijk bij Duurstede at EveryTrail

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