Getting to Germany with bikes

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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby quilkin » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:14 am

Ron wrote:If you want to go to Bonn anyway, would it not be possible to extend your holiday for a few days and cycle along the Rhine Radweg from the Hook to Bonn? It would be easy from there to catch a day train from Bonn to Koblenz for the start of your Mosel tour.

I may possibly do that, but was worried that perhaps that stretch is a bit too flat / boring / industrial? More research needed!
But I do want to ride the Bonn / Koblenz part (Rhine Gorge) - unless others have done it and find it too busy / over-touristy?

And Johnson, thanks for the info about Bristol/Zurich, that could be a good way to return if I get down that far. I didn't know there was such a service.
Chris F, Cornwall
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby foxyrider » Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:40 pm

quilkin wrote:But I do want to ride the Bonn / Koblenz part (Rhine Gorge) - unless others have done it and find it too busy / over-touristy?



The Rhein gorge is actually south of Koblenz, down past Boppard, Loreley etc. Yes its touristy but we aren't talking Blackpool here, a few postcard shops and restaurants, you might get a coach party or two. There aren't any bridges south of Koblenz until at least Mainz but there are several ferries which cost about €2 with a bike so you can swap banks so you don't miss anything - a lot of stuff to see is a little way from the river. The west bank has the better cycle facilities but more traffic generally not that even in August its exactly busy compared to say the Peak District.

Between Bonn and Koblenz you use a very nice cycle track, often almost in the water (summer high water beware!) so interaction with other traffic is almost entirely in the towns. Beware of Dutch 'cycle tourists' suddenly stopping or filling the track :lol:
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby burroc » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:09 pm

Belated response to Lollykat re bike hire in Austria: we hired them in a place called Illmitz, SE of Vienna, on the eastern side of Neusiedl See (an amazing lake - 35km long and 5 foot deep max - apologies for mixing metric and imperial units). The lake is criss-crossed by dedicated cyclists ferries. Bike hire was from Murner bike hire, they have two outlets in Illmitz. http://www.radverleih.at/ A cycling/birdwatching paradise.
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby greyhead » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:04 pm

Like the OP I've spent hours juggling with the options of getting to the start of a new touring area on the Continent having exhausted most of the obvious tours starting/finishing at ferry ports.
As you may have seen in my recent posting, one of my options was to fly Lufthansa from my home base of Birmingham to Frankfurt and then a train to Wurzburg for a ride down the Romantische Strasse.
Lufthansa claim that the bike needs no dismantling or packaging, just wheel it up to the check-in. Not a cheap option but apparently very straightforward and all completed in one day thus loosing less touring time. However, I'm still struggling with the idea of trusting my bike to the baggage handlers at Brum and Frankfurt, so has anyone any experience of travelling with a bike in this way on Lufthansa?
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby slowpeddler » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:28 am

Arrived back from Germany last Saturday. German Railways were as usual, fantastic.

I had seven changes with my bike back to Hoek. All connections were perfect and except for Breda where they haven't finished the rebuilding of the station, all the lifts were bike sized with a simple roll on and off the trains. In Germany the lifts are double ended so you push in and push out.

I had one international rail ticket for my bike from Xanten back to Hoek and not one person looked at it. Come to think of it my ticket were only looked at once the whole trip.

Only two changes of more than 20 (max 40) minutes allowing plenty of time for snacks and coffee along the way. I always think that travelling by train to where I start or finish my bike rides as part of my cycling holiday.

John
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby tyreon » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:47 pm

I travel on an ad hoc basis: the weather and the terrain can beat me...and I don't like to hammer thru the countryside to meet some dealine(and what if you have a mechanical breakdown,apuncture) So I buy the ticket on the day. That costs: usually more!
When my wife and I came thru Germany earlier this year it WAS NOT simple. Any rural station has no staff,just a machine. To get the right ticket from the machine you have to understand the machine,then put in the prescribed money in the prescribed notes. It aint easy. We had a German Rail employee and his wife help us: it took an hour. And when we proceeded with the machine given ticket the German guard was asking for more £: some regions of Germany charge for bikes,others don't.
Don't let me put you off: I'm now ready to take on any SAS assault course,cos...you often had to lug your bike(s)and panniers up steep flights of stairs to get to the platforms(first,lug your bike down a steep set of stairs,walk underground,then lug 'em up again) Oh! and I forgot: you gotta get onto the train: that's up,and often thru a very narrow opening...and with another cyclist with his and her bikes there already. Oh! and the trains waiting to go...and when you try to get off,ready to leave...with your wife and her luggage still on it. I really don't know how we did it. On reflection I think I'm almost falling in love with the British Railway network...a real first! Back to the above: Germans were coming to us with bikes to ask our advice on what they should pay for bikes from the machine(s). I wondered aloud what should happen if you were blind or illiterate or couldn't follow the techno wizadry instructions form the machines...or were just foreign. How do you get the ticket? No one knew. Of course,this helps the major rail companies: you just pay for the highest ticket.

I'd say,if you can,fly. It's cheaper. And tho you may have kittens thinking your bike may be in pieces the other end,usually it isn't. The whole travelling thing I find very stressful. To go into all what can happen...is the stuff of nightmares. Thank G I do it rarely. I need therapy or anxiolytics after most raiwayl journeys.
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby BlueRomany » Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:57 pm

greyhead wrote:Lufthansa claim that the bike needs no dismantling or packaging, just wheel it up to the check-in. Not a cheap option but apparently very straightforward and all completed in one day thus loosing less touring time. However, I'm still struggling with the idea of trusting my bike to the baggage handlers at Brum and Frankfurt, so has anyone any experience of travelling with a bike in this way on Lufthansa?

I used Lufthansa in 2013 from Manchester to Frankfurt. No problems with damage to the bikes. After booking the flights I had to ring Lufthansa to book the bikes on the flight. They wanted to know the weight of the bikes. At Manchester one of the bikes was weighed; at Frankfurt they didn't bother. I'd certainly use Lufthansa again with bikes.
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby slowpeddler » Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:00 pm

"When my wife and I came thru Germany earlier this year it WAS NOT simple. Any rural station has no staff,just a machine. To get the right ticket from the machine you have to understand the machine,then put in the prescribed money in the prescribed notes."


I sympathise and have been there myself. The machines are supposed to be multilingual but I've yet to find one that is. But if you want an international ticket, say to Hoek then you can bypass the machines and use the DBahn Info Service. Now I realise that many stations are unmanned but even smallish towns have a DBahn Information Service for international travel amongst other things, on the station. To my knowledge this covers most of western Germany say Rhineland, Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

For info, there is a new system on Dutch railways and you can get a day ticket to anywhere in Netherlands for 16.5 Euro plus 6 Euro for the bike. That is a good deal for crossing the country and you can buy the ticket on the ferry using your debit card. The new Dutch platform machines take cards but whether my UK bank card works I didn't have time to find out. You now have to check you ticket in and out each journey. I'll leave others to discuss this new system (which the Dutch appear to hate)

Enjoy

John
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby andymiller » Sun Sep 21, 2014 1:06 pm

Bad news for those travelling by train on the City Night Line services from Paris. These are threatened with closure:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... r-services

SFAIK the services to Amsterdam are unaffected (at least for the moment). I haven't looked to see whether there's an option to connect with the Amsterdam train via Paris.
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby foxyrider » Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:02 pm

+1 for Frankfurt airport - used it this summer - excellent and you can ride unmolested from/to the terminal on designated cycle tracks - in fact no one even blinked at a bike inside the terminal! If you do take a bike box/bag there is a 24hour left luggage counter on the ground floor.

Ticket machines at rural DB stations - never had a problem - they all have a language choice at the bottom of the screen, I have used my debit card on occasion but paying cash is simple enough. I've used the machines across the whole of Germany over the last dozen years without issue. Check out whether you can get a Landeskarte or similar for longer journeys, can work out much cheaper than a single fare although you will need a bike ticket. You can of course buy from the conductor if you get in a pickle, its fare dodgers they don't like, confused tourists get treated with a wry smile!
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby RickH » Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:17 pm

andymiller wrote:Bad news for those travelling by train on the City Night Line services from Paris. These are threatened with closure:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... r-services

SFAIK the services to Amsterdam are unaffected (at least for the moment). I haven't looked to see whether there's an option to connect with the Amsterdam train via Paris.

According to another Guardian article I posted about on here earlier today (link)

The Guardian wrote:The Amsterdam to Prague and Warsaw sleeper will be cut back to run from Cologne to Warsaw and Prague.

Is that the "services to Amsterdam" you were refering to?

Rick.
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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

Postby scoot » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:48 pm

Hi Newbie member here,

Probably a real softie option but this is what I did:

The wife and I took the Harwich to Hoek ferry and drove down. Its about 300 miles from Hoek and an easy drive. First time we stayed in a hotel in Cochem and the second we hired an appointment in Bern Castel Kues.

We rode from the accommodation up one side and then back down the other (bridge permitting)

You could drive to other locations and do the same. There is a route through the Eifel close by too worth investigating.

We have had 2 very nice cycling holiday, perhaps not tours but superb riding - very easy miles mostly on the flat but with options to go off route and into the countryside.

Looking at the Loire valley for next year. I'll be back on the forum for advice on this :D

Cheers,

Paul
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