Author Topic: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?  (Read 652 times)

Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« on: January 12, 2017, 09:14:37 am »
Last summer, me and mrs Y went touring in the Low Countries. When in southern Belgium (Wallonia) we rode along several disused railway lines which had converted to cycle paths. These were on the whole were well-surfaced and took you along beautiful Ardennes scenery. The longest one we rode was 40km. 

Anyway, we ended up in Luxembourg and visiting the tourist office, discovered the Vennbahn, which is a 120km cycle path between the northern end of the Dutchy and Aachen in Germany, running along the eastern Belgian border, following an old railway line. Unfortunately we run out of time to try it.

The thing is, the Vennbahn isn't just a cycle path but an experience with hotels, cafes and other attractions along the way according to its own website www.vennbahn.eu

So the thing is, has anyone done it? Is it worth going back to ride it?
I am often asked, what does YOAV stand for? It stands for Yoav On A Velo

Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 09:50:53 am »
That looks awesome! That might make a good tour with a small person at some point. I wonder how many campsites there are - I see they have a couple listed, I wonder if there are others.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 11:17:03 am »
It does look rather fun. I like that you're not just riding on something that used to be a railway but riding alongside remains of the railway; old track, station buildings and so on.
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 01:48:44 pm »
No experience myself of cycling the route but examples of campsites along the route can be found in the following article:

Tips For Cycling The Vennbahn Rail Trail
http://travellingtwo.com/13786

There is also a write-up of a 3 day tour on CrazyGuy with some good pictures of the conditions on the trail. Train to Aachen and a bimble around the route would make a good weeks tour.

Vennbahn and Ardennes
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=tS&doc_id=15971&v=24


Kim

  • An appetite for the epic, but no real stamina
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 02:37:54 pm »
Watching the TV without subtitles is like riding up a hill without using the gears :)

redfalo

  • known as Olaf in the real world
    • The Fridays
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2017, 02:46:10 pm »
I did a 200k DIY Audax from Aachen this summer with some friends which followed the Vennbahn and some other similar "ravels" in Belgium. Really utterly outstanding stuff, one of the best days out on the bike last year. Unlike many disused railway tracks, which are often enclosed by trees and have restricted views, the Vennbahn has outstanding vistas.




Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 03:17:25 pm »
This sounds like something we need to do...

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 03:39:51 pm »
It was great, the only downside being the few bits with loose stones/gravel rather than asphalt. For the trike that's a pain.

I fancy trying it in my Velomobile sometime... the 30km downhill to Aachen at the end would be fab!!
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 05:49:31 pm »
Have tried twice to install the app. For some reason will not run properly on my phone.
'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.

Martin John Rees.

redfalo

  • known as Olaf in the real world
    • The Fridays
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2017, 08:38:19 pm »
here are the pics again, this time hosted somewhere else and hopefully visible





the following two are not Vennbahn, but a different ravel




track is here: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=kfsruszylmvmlrdq

As for the surface, the entire Vennbahn these days has tarmac, apart form some very brief stretches (1 or 2 km) with have very tight gravel (for nature preservation purposes).

It's really an utterly stunning route.

Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2017, 09:10:25 pm »
Some of the Belgian Ravels are brilliant. We did one between Charleroi and Dinant which still had some of the old station buildings and platforms, and also a section of rail with the same pedal powered railway buggies mentioned in Auntie Helen's article. It was doing a roaring trade. Another was between Bastogne and Houffalize. The only problem with that one is that when we got to the end, there was no alternative to riding 20km on the main road to get to the next cycle path.

I am often asked, what does YOAV stand for? It stands for Yoav On A Velo

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2017, 09:33:38 pm »
Yes, I did it last year on a Brompton from Aachen to Sour Brot, and did the section from Luxembourg border to Sank vitt the year before. It's beautiful landscape, completely unlike what you would expect to find in the Low countries.

I wrote about it on my blog (part 1, part 2). I wild camped on both trips. Which is do able if you're careful. The biggest issue I had was finding water, so few shops/pubs directly on my routes.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

bhoot

  • Mrs RRtY
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2017, 09:59:58 pm »
This looks very interesting. Contemplating riding from home to Luxembourg this year, as we reckon it's the last capital that we haven't been to yet that's accessible in not too many days' riding from London (with help from a ferry at some point).
Thanks for all the info and bringing it to our attention.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2017, 10:03:51 pm »
This looks very interesting. Contemplating riding from home to Luxembourg this year, as we reckon it's the last capital that we haven't been to yet that's accessible in not too many days' riding from London (with help from a ferry at some point).
Thanks for all the info and bringing it to our attention.

Luxembourg City is entirely made of uphill. It was here I was surprised to find a spiral stair case on a cycle path...

There is also a nice cycle route from Luxembourg city that runs north and eventually meets up with the venn bahn. I did it on the Brompton as far as Wiltz April 2015.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2017, 09:22:59 am »
That's an interesting read, thanks. I will include the Vennbahn into another European cycle tour in the future no doubt.

Agree with you about Luxembourg. The Dutchy does have a good network of cycle routes. Not especially traffic free but along quiet roads and well signposted. We rode west from the city to Bastogne.

BTW Andy Schleck has a bicycle shop on the south east edge of the city.
I am often asked, what does YOAV stand for? It stands for Yoav On A Velo

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2017, 01:30:59 pm »

BTW Andy Schleck has a bicycle shop on the south east edge of the city.

That reminds me, once, you leave Luxembourg City the availability of bike shops becomes problematic. There seems to be about a dozen in the whole country and 8 of those are in Lux city (numbers based on memory).

What also surprised me is that what are marked on the map as villages tend to actually be just collections of houses. If you're lucky there is a bus stop. But the hope of a shop or even a bar is unlikely to be met.

It's slightly better once you cross into Belgium, but still hard to find.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2017, 02:32:17 pm »
True, when we rode out of Lux city, there was nowhere to stop until we got to the Belgian border. Luckily, we brought sandwiches with us!
I am often asked, what does YOAV stand for? It stands for Yoav On A Velo

Dave_C

  • Trying to get rid of my belly... and failing!
Re: Vennbahn - anyone ridden it?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2017, 11:10:17 pm »
Looks intriguing, but from experience in Fife, Scotland, riding our local 17km long railways line cycle path, doesn't it get a bit boring? I've ridden between Ashborne to near But on and back, which was OK as it had great views.

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