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

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Real Name: Barry Evans
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Hook of Holland to Central Switzerland (and on to Vienna)

Post by slogfester » 03 Aug 2017 16:47

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-be ... itzerland/

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=1bFJv6 ... sp=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.


Belt up, we're going for a ride

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

Post by Neil Compton » 09 Aug 2017 13:39

Hello Barry,

When I went through Luxembourg a few years back I followed the river Mosel for some way and it was very pleasant cycling and not boring. The cycle path was very good as well. I don't have the exact route I took any more but there are details of my trip on my site.

I came through Switzerland and went through Basel in the opposite direction you will be taking.


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