EuroVelo 15, The Rhine Cycle Route Nears Completion

While the French cycle route ViaRhona struggles for support to complete many provisional sections south of Lyon, the Rhine Cycle Route is leaping forward, on target for completion this year.  If you are looking for a route to cycle this year, you definitely need to add this one to your list!  It’s amazing that this project began in 2011 (although some local segments had been completed), and it will be completed well before the end of this year.  Hat’s off to the Demarrage partnership that has directed this cooperative venture with 18 different partners from 5 countries, and a budget of 2.3 Million Euro.

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As a result of this development effort, you can now bicycle along the Rhine past the Dutch windmills to the Lorelei, through the heart of Germany and the Alsace region of France, to the Swiss Alps….on roads signposted in both directions.  The final sections are being signposted, with the entire route to be completed by spring of this year.  The project team will also soon be releasing a Rhine Cycle Route Handbook in four languages–German, English, French and Dutch.  This comprehensive guide will provide cyclists with information on where to stay, what to see, vineyards to explore, wines to taste, as well as information on where to rent bikes, and other support services.

One of the most impressive parts of the EuroVelo 15 project is the development of the European Certification Standard. This new standard will help insure the uniform quality of the Rhine Cycle Route from one end to the other on a number of different criteria, all designed to encourage all types of cyclists to experience the route and to improve the quality of the experience for cyclists of all ability levels, utilizing any type of bicycle from hybrids to tandems to hand bikes.  Use of this new standard is certain to quickly move this route to the top of many cyclists’ bucket list of rides to do, including mine!

EuroVelo 15, The Rhine Cycle Route

EuroVelo 15, The Rhine Cycle Route

In case you are not familiar with the details of EuroVelo 15, here are some of the key details:

  • 1,233 kilometers in length, through four countries from its source in the Swiss Alps:  Switzerland, France, Germany and to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands
  • Includes UNESCO World Heritage sights:  the Vauban Fortifications in Neuf-Brisach, the Speyer Cathedral, the Romantic Rhine in Germany, the Rock of Lorelei, the Cologne Cathedral, Augustusburg and Falkenlust Castles in Bruhl, the Convent of Saint Gaul, the city of Strasbourg and the Windmills of Kinderdijk
  • Some of the best food and wines in Europe
  • Suitable for cyclists of all abilities, signposted for the entire length, most of the route can be cycled on either side of the Rhine
  • Seven major stages:  Andermatt to Lake Constance, Lake Constance to Basel, Basel to Karlsruhe through Alsace and the German Vineyards, Karslruhe to Bingen through the vineyards, Bingen to Cologne along the Romantic Rhine, Cologne to Arnhem, Arnhem to the North Sea.  You can read additional information on the stages here.

Bottom line, EuroVelo 15, the Rhine Cycle Route is shaping up to be one of the top cycling itineraries in Europe.  Whether you think about cycling this itinerary in 2014 or later, it’s a route that you should stay up to date on.  Watch for more updates on new resources for trip and itinerary planning.  If you are planning a trip along this route this year, I hope that you will consider sending an update of your trip, or send me the link to your trip reports!

 

 

 

 

Posted by Maggie LACoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.

  1. We cycled the whole route in 2013. Taking into account the Snow at the start, the floods through Germany, it was still a great route. Well signed, very varied, failed on the camping as virtually all the campsites were flooded. It was the first time we saw Diversion Signs on Cycle Routes. They were very welcome. My Blog for the trip is – http://rhine-sourcetosea.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Hi John!

      Thanks so much for the note and for reminding me that you did this route last spring. I will add your blog to the reader comments section. Have you made any plans for this year yet? Let me know, always like to hear about your trips.

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France By Bike
      http://www.experiencefrancebybike.com

  2. Just a quick note to say that we are currently on the Rhine route. We have cycled from Strasbourg to Germersheim, initially on the French side, then took a ferry across the Rhine to the German side and then another ferry about 14 km south of Germersheim to the other German side of the Rhine. I have to say that contrary to our expectations of this route, it has so far been very disappointing. I will report in more detail in my blog later (I’m behind by about 2 weeks!) but we were not able to get anything on the route in Strasbourg except a very basic map. That only took us so far and the Eurovelo 15 signage has been good in places but disappears in others and it gets quite confusing with all the local bike route signage. And while we have gone through the odd pretty section, so far we would not recommend it for its scenery. Very industrial and ugly in many places – huge gravel crushing operations right on the river, an enormous gas/electric plant and an enormous oil refinery area. In other places it is just rather boring particularly the southern end after exiting a beautiful forested area just outside Stasbourg, where you cycle for many kilometres on a road below the Rhine dike. This sounds rather harsh but so far all I would say about it is that yes, it’s very flat so if that’s what you are looking for, it would provide that. We are going to try to get a better map and book today in Germersheimer and will decide based on that whether to continue on (we are ending our trip in Frankfurt) or stay here for a couple of days and take the train.

    1. Hi Jennifer!

      In addition to the other note that I just left you, you may want to refer to John and Ann Cave’s posts about their trip last year along the Rhine. They had a great time, other than dealing with the flooding that was everywhere in Germany. I am hoping that you just hit a bad section and that by the time you read this, you will be in more pleasant surroundings. Here is the link to John and Ann’s trip: http://rhine-sourcetosea.blogspot.co.uk.

      Stay safe!

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France By Bike
      http://www.experiencefrancebybike.com

  3. We (family with 2 kids, 3 and 8 years old) cycled part of this route this summer 2014 from Basel to Arnhem, where we left the route to reach Amsterdam.
    It took us 15 days to reach Amsterdam and we found the route to be very good for a family with a trailer (which is not always the case for the previous bike trips we have done…). Overall the route is of good quality with sometimes (not so often) an imperfect pavement (cobblestones, sand, roots…). Even the large cities are well equipped for bikes. Well signed overall (we sometimes missed the signs, probably our fault). Diversion signs (work ongoing on the bike path) were sometimes difficult to understand for non german speaking guys like us, but we managed.
    No problem to find something to eat, no problem to find somewhere to sleep.
    We slept mainly in campsites and youth hostel (many very good ones in Germany) when the weather was bad.
    We discovered very nice landscapes (even if very industrialized in some regions) and met very nice people.
    We enjoyed this route a lot and would recommend it! We had a great time on it!
    I’m writing a report and will send you a link ASAP.

    1. Thanks so much for the great note about cycling the Rhine Route! There have been severak people who have cycled this route this summer and I’d like to compile all of the comments, postings into one story, so please do send me your report when you get it done! I particularly love the fact that you are the first family with kids to report on cycling this route, so I am especially interested in your comments on doing it as a family! What a great adventure to share with your kids! Thanks again and I’ll look forward to reading more!

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France By Bike

  4. Hi Maggie!
    Loving your blog, just recently signed up with your facebook page as well. While you cycled the northern coast I did a stretch of the EuroVelo 15 – ca. 530 km from Colmar to Erpel, Germany (the village across from Remagen where I live). Though I did enjoy it there were a couple detours set up in both France and Germany due to repair work being done on the dikes. The detours were not too bad, they led us through some vineyards and nice villages but it meant keeping an eye out for the detour signage, which was often overlooked or not posted/removed. The German signs did post that work was expected through till the end of 2015. I do have a blog, just not very professional, but just posted day one that included travel with a bike using the new ADAC Postbus coach and TER in Alsace and quite a bit about my visit to the Auguste Bartholdi Museum in Colmar which was an absolute treat. Hopefully I will find time this week to post daily about the rest of the journey.
    🙂 Anne
    http://suburbiadeutschland.blogspot.de/2014/09/rhine-route-cycle-tour-2014-day-one.html

    1. Dear Anne,

      Thanks so much for the great note and I apologize for the tardy response…I think your note got lost in my mail when I was overseas last month! I loved your comments on EV 15, and was so glad to get your notes on the detours you encountered. That’s why it’s so great to get reader updates from trips. It seems that most of the routes are always undergoing some type of change, so it’s very helpful to get reader reports when they are overseas too! I will post this information on my Facebook page and I will look forward to reading your blogposts. Please let me know if you have the time to post more. I understand that this takes a lot of time!

      Thanks for reading Experience France By Bike!

      Maggie LaCoste