Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

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Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby greyhead » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:13 pm

Each year from my Birmingham base I try to fit in a one week (or longer, SWMBO permitting) overseas tour based on the various ferry crossings from the UK e.g. Portsmouth/Caen to Cherbourg, St Malo round trip, Fishguard/Rosslare round trip, Harwich - Esbjerg with train back from Copenhagen and last year the Donald Hirsch route from Dieppe to Paris with train back to Dieppe. This autumn, inspired by Edward Enfield's book "Downhill all the Way" I thought I might try the Burgundy part of his route taking Eurostar to Paris, then a local train to somewhere south of Paris say Fontainebleau, and then cycling to Dijon. From there I would return by train to Paris and then Eurostar to London. Being a decade older than Edward when he wrote the book I take things rather leisurely doing about 40 miles a day and staying B&B/small hotels.
Does anyone have experience of this area which I understand takes in part of the Burgundy canal? Although I take the title of the book with a pinch of salt, I'm assuming that it it is not particularly hilly (well, at least mountainous) but hopefully fairly scenic with the usual charming French towns and villages.
I've also considered round trips based on Hoek of Holland or Amsterdam but am rather put off by some of the long straight (albeit flat and perhaps windy) Dutch roads - however I'm sure that some areas are very scenic.
Another thought was the Romantische Strasse flying Lufthansa from Birmingham to Frankfurt then train to Wurtzburg - a fairly straightforward journey If I could just convince myself that my bike would survive the flights! Lufthansa claim the bike needs no packing/dismantling - just wheel it up to the check-in although they do charge €50 each way for the bike.
So any thoughts or advice on these, or indeed, any other options would be much appreciated.
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby Galloper » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:29 pm

I'm a big fan of cycling in Germany, they have an excellent network of cycle paths and the major routes are generally well served with good hotels, B&Bs and hostels. The Romantische Strasse is beautiful, I hiked it many years ago and more recently have cycled parts of it. It can be a bit undulating in parts. I would recommend pre-booking accommodation if you go in peak season as parts of it, particularly Rothenburg-o-d-Tauber is both beautiful and popular. There is a very good cycle route - the Main-Tauber-Altmuhl, which follows part of it and is very pleasant bu again, undulating.

The Netherlands is also well worth a visit. The North Sea Coastal route is pleasant and there's lots of quiet rural, if not dramatic, countryside to be enjoyed.
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby foxyrider » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:59 pm

How about fly to Frankfurt then follow the Main to Wertheim then along the Taubertal to Rothenburg. You can then get the bus back to Frankfurt Hbf and local s bahn to the airport. If you fancy downhill all the way do this in reverse - it really is downhill for the full distance! :D

I shall be doing some of this myself in a few weeks, a reprise of some previous travels. There are some great towns to see, stuff to do and loads of accomodation options!
Convention? what's that then?
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby greyhead » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:52 pm

Thanks, Galloper and Foxyrider. So two votes for Germany. Also been looking at other German tours mentioned in recent thread. Must admit I'm very tempted but still nervous about trusting my bike un-packed to Lufthansa , or rather the baggage handlers at Brum and Frankfurt. I know flying with bikes has been discussed many times but was wondering if either of you (or anyone) has experience of checking in an un-packed bike with Lufthansa or, more importantly, collecting it at the other end?

Anyone with experience of the Burgundy tour?
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby TonyR » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:39 pm

For me it comes down to a very simple choice:

Burgundy: Great food & wine
Germany: Great cycle routes
Holland: Great for avoiding hills.
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby MrsHJ » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:34 pm

We did the Netherlands, I'm mixed over hills v wind (which can be very bad) but the main problem we had there was rain. It's a tremendous experience though to cycle somewhere so bike friendly.

One bizarre part of our experience was how slow it was getting around. Because you mostly didn't just get on a road and head into the distance ( like the French yellow roads), it was quite difficult sometimes to get into any sort of rhythm because you were constantly being organised around complicated cycle routes! I feel that maybe I ought to return for another go at the navigation system!

I'm keen to take the family there and to enjoy cycling around with them but not desperate to return for another cycle tour just yet. If you do go the the national park in Arnhem with the modern art museum in the middle was very interesting and cycling across the long damn/road across the top of the IJsselmeer was an experience. The islands at the top might be fun too Texel etc).
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby TonyR » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:46 pm

MrsHJ wrote:it was quite difficult sometimes to get into any sort of rhythm because you were constantly being organised around complicated cycle routes!


And you are either heavily discouraged or even banned from cycling on the roads where cycle paths are in place so not much you can do to speed things up.
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby MrsHJ » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:59 pm

Of course the other reason to vote for Burgundy is the food ( and of course the wine!).
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby LindaB » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:29 pm

Slightly prejudiced here, since France is always my favorite place to ride! We (4 of us, unsagged, staying in hotels) did a loop trip in 2002 in Burgundy, beginning and ending in Dijon. It was fabulous! I got much of the routing from Lonely Planet Cycling France (2001 edition) and a book called Cycling in France.

Our overnights were Dijon, Ste Sabine, Montbard, Tonnerre, Cours, Vezelay, Les Settons, Chateau Chinon (2 nights with a loop day), Autun, Beaune, Nuit St. George, Dijon. Thirteen riding days and 671 kilometers, with lots of great sites to see. Castles, Abbeys, wineries, vineyards, Roman ruins. Stumbling on the huge collection of airplanes, bicycles etc in Sauvigny-les-Beaune housed at a gorgeous chateau was a real treat.

Good luck choosing your touring location! If you are interested, I have a Word document with the routes we took - no gps then!

LindaB (June 2014 LEJOG blog at crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2014LEJOG )
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby severs1966 » Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:05 pm

The Netherlands are a cycling environment that you have to ride to believe. It's SO easy. The superbly worked out bike routes, almost always on segregated paths unless the road is super-quiet… paradise.

Take the Harwich to Hoek ferry, and then ride around anywhere you fancy. I recommend either the coast route or inland towards the Hoge Veluwe.
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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby slowpeddler » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:38 pm

Done both these countries recently.

Burgundy is a big place, mostly agricultural, the wine growing area south of Dijon is only a small part.
I went on bike bus to Auxerre and was picked up in Beaune. Think of it as one big farm of 36000 sq kilometres with 9000 sq km of forests.

I must say Germany is a wonderful place for cycling much more varied than Burgundy and for me I prefer Germany even taking into account the weather risk. But 3 weeks ago I was cycling in North Rhine in 37 degrees.

Getting to Germany and back is straightforward but I allow a travelling day by train both ways to and from Hoek. The German tourist Office has a wonderful website fro cycling.

http://www.germany.travel/en/leisure-an ... cling.html.

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Re: Burgundy, Holland or Germany?

Postby jake » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:08 pm

In May I followed Edward Enfield's book a little over halfway to the Med (made it to Cluny). I would recommend you get a train from Paris as near to Tonerre as possible. The canal path is excellent from there. I followed it to Pont d'Ouche and from there took direct (very hilly) route to Beaune. Next time I will continue along canal towards Dijon.
Some good photos on here:
http://experiencefrancebybike.com/bicyc ... uro-a-day/
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