Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
slogfester
Posts: 92
Joined: 6 May 2009, 11:47pm

Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby slogfester » 3 Aug 2017, 6:33pm

Plotting a fast/light tour from Birmingham to Vienna via the Alps in Sept :)

Train from Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport and ride across Essex for overnight ferry from Harwich to the Hoek van Holland. Simples.
First real destination is Andermatt in central Switzerland where I will go play in the Alps for a few days with an old mate:

http://www.cycling-challenge.com/the-best-road-bike-climbs-in-central-switzerland/

So, how best to get to Andermatt? I've got about a week to get there and I'll be on my Van Nicholas Yukon do-it-all Audax road bike carrying minimal luggage (2 light panniers and a handlebar bag), so I reckon on 100-125 km a day to be comfortable. Equipped with 28 mm tyres so off-road light gravel feasible if necessary. Its about 870-1000 km to Andermatt (see below), so I'm probably going to have to jump on a train for a section and give the legs a rest for a day. I don't know Belgium/Northern France at all so I started plotting using some well known and lesser known route planning websites. Here is a map of the roues plotted together (btw, Mapmyride gpx export doesn't seem to work?):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bFJv6SIre6YxX7cPMH-oYoy5Q8U&usp=sharing

Up to Basel, they take different routes, but generally fall in to 3 categories:

1. VALLEY FLAT BIKE PATH. Follow, mostly, the Rhine River (RidewithGPS). c. 965 km / 4000 m. As flat as it gets. My only previous experience with the Rhine valley was from Heidelberg to Strasbourg which was pretty boring.

2. CROSS COUNTRY BIKE PATH. Follow Belgium/NL/German border via Luxembourg (GPSies-bike,cycle-travel, Bikemap, Openrouteservice-touring bike). c. 920-950 km / 5000 m. Using lots of bike paths. Never been to Luxembourg! Some climbing in the middle. Joins the Rhine valley at Strasbourg (previously visited)

3. CROSS COUNTRY ROAD HILLY. Belgium/N.France (GPSies-roadbike, Openrouteservice- roadbike). c. 870 km / 6500 km. The Opensrouteservice-roadbike tracks almost direct to Basel and climbs the Vosges at Col du Bonhomme (c. 950 m) before joining the Rhine valley at Mullhouse, whereas the GPSies route avoids the climb by tracking further north and joining the Zinsel south river like group 2.

After Basel there is not much difference, but its fascinating to see the variation in routes locally, for example around Lake Zug. Zoom in and have fun.

So which route? Personally I am not attracted to the idea of following the Rhine. On paper I like the idea of heading straight for Basel (openrouteservice-roadbike) and climbing the Vosges, but the legs may say otherwise! Of course I am not going to follow any of the routes exactly. In practice, and the beauty of touring, is that you can make it up as you go along as I mostly do when heavy/slow touring using OSMAnd+ Navigation app on my smartphone. But in this case, it would be nice to have some sort of plan.

And where to take an opportunistic day off train ride? Weather might dictate that. Might be best to knock out some of the boring flat stuff? Or may be my legs will thank me for taking Basel-Andermatt (just 3 hrs x 2 change). But I want to keep it relatively simple and avoid lots of changing trains, so a long single section would be best. However I am not familiar with the rail network along the route.

I'd really welcome your comments and advice.

Thanks
Last edited by slogfester on 3 Aug 2017, 7:24pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Tigerbiten
Posts: 1920
Joined: 29 Jun 2009, 6:49am

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby Tigerbiten » 3 Aug 2017, 7:17pm

It's the Rhine you'll be following, not the Rhone as that river goes to the Med ..... :oops:

Luck ........... :D

slogfester
Posts: 92
Joined: 6 May 2009, 11:47pm

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby slogfester » 3 Aug 2017, 7:21pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: now edited :oops:
Tigerbiten wrote:It's the Rhine you'll be following, not the Rhone as that river goes to the Med ..... :oops:

Luck ........... :D

User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 4539
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby foxyrider » 4 Aug 2017, 9:06am

I'd go for a route cross country from coast to Koln,then follow the Rhein to Mainz area. If you follow the Weinstrasse south to Karlsruhe you get some small climbs and more scenic riding. This is where i'd take the train south to Basle. Then i'd leave the river and head to Lucerne, around Vierwaldstattersee then climb up to Andermatt.

None of the climbing is too bad, a couple of low passes and you could train up the last climb to Andermatt if you don't have the legs. I would suggest that you try to avoid using off tarmac trails if you want to cover the distance, they really eat time.

Sounds like a good trip!
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

m-gineering
Posts: 140
Joined: 23 May 2015, 12:01pm

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby m-gineering » 4 Aug 2017, 9:57am

Head straight for the station in Hook and buy a ticket for you plus bike to Maastricht (get it stamped before boarding). Then put on your cycling kit and start with only half a day in the hills (alternatively you could do the Vennbahn cycleroute). Luxembourg is boring (a bit like Belgium, but sanitized for your protection) northern France is rather empty, but Alsace is fine and not to streneous, and Germany is nice and civilized with lot's of Stehcafe's for coffee and a bun
Marten

Touring advice for NL: www.m-gineering.nl/touringg.htm

slogfester
Posts: 92
Joined: 6 May 2009, 11:47pm

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby slogfester » 8 Aug 2017, 1:14pm

Thanks foxyrider and m-gineering for thought provoking useful replies.
I now quite like the idea of catching the train to Maastricht and then cycling to Cologne and riding through what looks like the interesting part of the Rhine through to Bingen? Then picking up the wine route south as far as I can get before taking trains again to Andermatt which will serve as a days rest before I go play in the Alps for a few days sans panniers.

But if anyone else wants to add comments they would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

ChrisF
Posts: 335
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 7:34pm

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby ChrisF » 8 Aug 2017, 5:45pm

The cycle path along the Rhine between Bonn and Bingen is very old and in need of some TLC - it won't be very fast, and in Germany if there is a path you're legally obliged to use it. I was doing it in the reverse direction a couple of years ago (maybe it's been improved since, I don't know) ; when I got to Bonn I gave up and got a train north up to the Netherlands border. The Dutch paths were much better (although there are so many of them that navigation is a bit of an art!)
Chris F, Cornwall

mikeonabike
Posts: 166
Joined: 20 Jun 2016, 8:22am

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby mikeonabike » 8 Aug 2017, 7:57pm

From Maastricht I'd aim for Bonn rather than Cologne, unless you want to see the city. From Bonn south to Bingen is scenic, not very fast on the bikepath. The stretch into Boppard has been redone recently and is a lovely smooth rise. Coming into Bingen has some unnecessary speed bumps - if I was doing that route again I might cross to the east bank for that stretch.

ossie
Posts: 662
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby ossie » 8 Aug 2017, 8:38pm

It took me 8 days to get from the Hook to Clerval (North of Basel) fully loaded, so 4 panniers, camping gear and I was on a steel framed 90's MTB. I wasn't pushing it but its so flat you cant help but knock up some decent mileage if not sightseeing.

Follow Eurovelo 15, its excellent, you may want to cross the bend between Bingen and Manheim to save some time but I'm not sure.

Had no issues between Bonn and Bingen as mentioned above..seemed a very good path.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14010
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby mjr » 9 Aug 2017, 11:42am

m-gineering wrote:Head straight for the station in Hook and buy a ticket for you plus bike to Maastricht (get it stamped before boarding).

The Hook harbour station is closed and reopens as part of the Rotterdam metro next year https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoek_van_ ... ay_station so you'll need to ride to Schiedam, Delft or Den Haag.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

slogfester
Posts: 92
Joined: 6 May 2009, 11:47pm

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby slogfester » 9 Aug 2017, 2:27pm

mjr wrote:
m-gineering wrote:Head straight for the station in Hook and buy a ticket for you plus bike to Maastricht (get it stamped before boarding).

The Hook harbour station is closed and reopens as part of the Rotterdam metro next year https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoek_van_ ... ay_station so you'll need to ride to Schiedam, Delft or Den Haag.


Yes, I discovered that as soon as I started looking at train options. No worries, just 30 km in to Rotterdam for brunch :)
Thanks

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14010
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Postby mjr » 9 Aug 2017, 2:32pm

slogfester wrote:Yes, I discovered that as soon as I started looking at train options. No worries, just 30 km in to Rotterdam for brunch :)

Then you'll miss the breakfast at the cafe in the square in Prins Hendrikstraat... liqueur with coffee at breakfast... not sure it did much for our cycling speed but it meant we didn't mind so much whether there was a headwind or not :lol:
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.