Friday 15 March 2013
This morning was cold but at least there was no more snow.
I decided to do a mid-length cycle ride this morning and walk Poppy in the afternoon. This is partly because I’m going out to meet some people for breakfast in Krefeld tomorrow which means I need to leave by bike at 9am and I don’t suppose I’ll be back till 1pm. Poppy will need to chill out in the morning rather than expect a walk so I thought I’d use today to get her used to the change of schedule.
So Pops and I had a very short round the block walk this morning and it was then time for me to get Alfie out and go cycling.
Today’s route was from a booklet provided by Kempen Tourist Information which lists lots of different cycle rides with maps and points of interest. Unfortunately GPX files (to download onto a Garmin bike satnav) don’t seem to be available so I used the map to plan the route on bikehike.co.uk and then downloaded it to my Garmin. Today’s route was called “Alte Rheinarme” (referring, I think, to an old meander of the Rhein which has now become a lake up at Rheurdt).
The route wound its way through the woodland and then popped out at the bottom of the hill to Tönisberg which, of course, I then had to climb.
At the top was a strange concrete structure. The guidebook says “In Tönisberg befindet sich ein stillgelegter Förderturm. Ein kleiner Hauch Ruhrpott am Niederrhein.” It’s a headframe over a mining shaft. It was very obvious as I cycled towards it but I didn’t photograph it, assuming there would be a better shot later. Sadly the later shots weren’t as good but you can just see it peeping out behind these trees.
Here’s a photo I found on the Internet:
I had to go wandering back along the road to try to get that photo (I also needed to scale a grassy bank and didn’t quite feel up to that in my SPD cycling boots. Here is Alfie waiting patiently for me.
The view from the top of the stairs – Tönisberg is hill that appears out of an otherwise flat landscape (the guidebook calls it an Endmoräne which I think is something to do with where a glacier dumped all its contents when it finally melted at the end of the last ice age).
I left the windmill and cycled into Tönisberg which had yet another tall church.
The route goes up to a place called Windberg (and it was windy!) and then turned north-east and started heading through some woodland. At first the path was OK, not asphalt but manageable if bumpy with ice-filled potholes.
I could feel grot getting flicked up inside my mudguards and it was very hard going. I was not impressed with the track and when it came to a main road and the route required me to go straight on through more off-road path I decided to sort out my own route on the main roads, so I did a detour to Neukirchen.
There was so much mud in the cable run for the gearchange that the Alfine had a few hiccups in higher gears. I also removed a stick that was caught around the gear cable which did not improve its running!
It’s a big industry in Germany although my chum Olaf wrote an interesting article about how the German solar industry isn’t as competitive as we think:
Now it was time to cycle back over the Endmoräne landscape hump thingy. This time it was what was probably an old route as it’s cut really deep between the trees. The concrete surface was a bit rough at times.
I zoomed down several miles through open farmland before finding myself in familiar territory to the west of Escheln, having crossed the A40 motorway on a bridge.
As I hadn’t visited a bakery yet today I decided to divert to Sankt Hubert to get myself some rolls for lunch. This involved crossing a railway and the crossing lights started flashing as I got there.
The train came through less than a minute after the barriers came down – pretty quick really!
I bought my rolls at Sankt Hubert and then returned home.
Statistics for this ride:
Distance – 20.63 miles
Moving time – 2 hours 14 minutes
Average speed – 9.17mph
Maximum speed – 19.44mph
Average heart rate – 116
Maximum heart rate – 160
Calories burned – 817
Total Climb – 277ft
When I got home I took Poppy out for a half hour walk. She’s clearly getting into the German spirit as she found, beside the road, a discarded plastic bottle that had been flattened. It’s unusual to find litter and she decided to pick it up and bring it home with us in order to tidy up!
After faffing around a bit this afternoon I decided it was time to go out to REWE (supermarket) in Kempen and return my beer bottles. These were the bottles of beer I had bought for James whilst I was in Mönchengladbach in December; they have a Pfand which is a deposit for the glass bottle – if you return the bottles to the supermarket you get a discount from your shopping.
Of course, the extra fuel used in bringing eight bottles back to Germany with me would probably offset the money returned but it felt like a good thing to do as the Germans do.
I cleaned some of the mud out of the Alfine hub gear cable zone and his gears were working fine again – there were some big clots of mud stopping the cable moving correctly.
And here is where I went, to the mini industrial estate with a REWE (supermarket), Lidl, FressNapf (Pet shop) and Getränkemarkt (booze supermarket).
I bought a few groceries, using my discount of course, then went to FressNapf to see if there were any goodies for Poppy (nothing jumped out at me) and then I headed for the Getränkemarkt to refill the beer crate.
Time to head off home. I assumed the journey would be even more rattly than the way here – 3 miles of cycling with different-sized glass bottles in a plastic container isn’t exactly a peaceful experience.
Statistics for this ride:
Distance – 6.39 miles
Moving time – 40 rattly minutes
Average speed – 9.45mph
Maximum speed – 15.08mph
Average heart rate – 120
Maximum heart rate – 159
Calories burned – 271
Total Climb – 60ft