One of the more exciting plans we have for this year is a short visit to a fellow organisation in Aachen, Germany – to meet with the local member group of the ADFC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club or German Cyclists Federation) – to see how they do things over there.
We have a programme of rides to take us over there and back (with a little assistance from boats and trains), and a small selection of rides to participate in whilst over there.
We are also planning to spend some time seeing how German cycling infrastructure and rights stack up against ours.
There is a possibility of some homestay accommodation in Aachen, although this is rather limited. There is plenty of other accommodation in the area, including a campsite.
Outbound riding dates: Wednesday 17th April & Thursday 18th April to reach Aachen in the late afternoon. We are planning to muster at Dover docks at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday 17th April for the noon crossing to Dunkirk. We will pedal from Dunkirk to Ostend (45 miles) and stay overnight in Ostend. On Thursday 18th April we will take the train from Ostend to Liège and then pedal from Liège to Aachen (40 miles).
In Aachen: Friday 19th April, Saturday 20th April, Sunday 21st April.
Return riding dates: Leave Aachen early on the morning of Monday 22nd April, either pedalling or taking a local train to Liège. We will then take the train from Liège to Ostend and pedal to Dunkirk. We will stay overnight in Dunkirk, catching the 10.00 a.m. ferry on Tuesday 23rd April from Dunkirk to Dover.
Programme in Aachen
Rides are planned in Aachen for both the Saturday (led by the local group) and the Sunday (led by former ADFC’er Philip Gray), with Friday being set aside for tourist sights, seeing how the ADFC operates, discussing German cycling policies and, perhaps, a visit to the famous Thermal Baths.
- Thursday evening: meal with hosts
- Friday: Free morning to visit the cathedral and city centre, a World Cultural Heritage Site. Afternoon visit local ADFC office in the Welthaus to see their operation and to meet their full-time intern, Karin.
- Saturday: In the morning, either tour the city’s key cycling infrastructure or join the ADFC “sporty” ride. In the afternoon, join the ADFC “leisure” ride to Dreiländereck (“Three Country Corner” – the spot where Germany, Belgium and Holland meet.) In the evening, we will host our ADFC friends at a local restaurant.
- Sunday: Philip Gray will lead a day ride to Monschau in the Eiffel.
Of course, you are free to join us for part or all of the week, but we have reckoned that the cost of the whole week, following our riding plan, to be approximately £350 – £400. That includes the costs of ferries, trains and hotels en route, plus meals and other incidentals, from Northampton to Aachen and back. It does not include the cost of accommodation in Aachen itself (see below for why). Of course, your own costs may vary.
Accommodation in Aachen
Philip Gray and his contacts in Aachen have kindly agreed a deadline for homestay requests of February 28th – the day after the Slideshow at Park Avenue Methodist Church. If you are interested in this option, and have not already emailed Phil, do so before the 28th or come and talk to him at the Slideshow.
Hotel accommodation is not difficult to find in Aachen, there is a camper-van site within the city and a pleasant-looking campsite about four miles away across the border in The Netherlands so you have options other than homestay if you so wish.
Whether you choose to ride with us there and back, or just meet us there for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, let Philip Gray (01604 720522) know your interest as he’s collating this. Philip lived for some years in Aachen, where he was a member of the ADFC.
- This is not an organised or led tour. Riders are responsible for making their own arrangements for accommodation, ferry crossings and train tickets.
- Riders are responsible for their own passports, EHIC cards, and insurance.
- Bring lights, spare batteries and/or a charger. Don’t use flashing lights in Germany!
- French law requires hi-viz clothing, e.g. a jacket or waistcoat, outside built-up areas at night or in conditions of low visibility.
- Please do a “test run” – a fully-laden ride – with the gear that you are planning to take mounted to the bike in advance of the visit.