This post was last updated on Sunday 10th July to add days 6 & 7 – jump to this section
An epic 300 kilometre bike ride from York to Münster has launched a cycling exchange between the two twin cities – with support from YCC. The exchange is an opportunity for both cities to share their approaches to active travel – and as Münster has been voted Germany’s most cycle-friendly city on more than one occasion, it is likely to be an exciting one.
This blog will record the progress of the four York cyclists as they head for the capital of Westphalia and the understanding they gain, once they reach the city, of how Münster does cycling.
Tyburn, historic site of the demise of Dick Turpin, is the departure point for David, Ursula, David and Chris as they set off for Hull and the overnight crossing to Rotterdam.
An early start, as we disembark from the Pride of Rotterdam at 8.30 and then pedal out through the industrial port to take the ferry across the Maas to the Hoek. We then head north to Boskoop to join the Eurovelo Capitals Route, learning new habits along the way, such as riding on the right and taking priority over drivers at junctions.
We enter Utrecht on the Dafne Schippersbrug , a massive suspension bridge built exclusively for riders and walkers, which can carry 7000 users a day. The bridge deck is 7 metres wide, its access ramp looping elegantly around a local school. If you want to see how it compares with our own Millennium Bridge, take a virtual tour here courtesy of YouTube.
The route to Arnhem passes through Gelderland, a low country landscape of herons and water castles, which then rises up through shady woodland and over open heath. Paths for cycles are also be used by mopeds, a practice that is less alarming than might be expected. So would this kind of shared use be a good idea in the UK?
Days Four & Five
We push on eastwards, crossing the mighty River Ijssel, slipping over the German border and then rising up through the ‘Tree Mountains,’ which are slight undulations by Pennine standards, but high enough to make the final stretch to Munster feel like it is downhill all the way. I limp into the City Schloss on a slow puncture, just in time to receive a warm welcome and a Union Jack from local
members of the Twinning Association. Members of the Lach family, my hosts for the coming week, escort me to their home via the Promenade, a cycle path running round the old city walls. The value this and other cycling features bring to the city will be investigated in the coming days. For the time being, though, this You Tube gives a taste of what the Promenade makes possible.
Days Six & Seven
We spend a busy couple of days exploring the city and taking excursions into Münsterland courtesy of the cycling association and international office.
The Rüschhaus (house of the rushes) leaves a particular impression. This was the home of a figure comparable to Mary Shelley, who defied barriers of what a woman could achieve during her era. Annette von Droste-Hülshoff was a writer, musician and scientist, whose work can be experienced on the Lyrikweg, a cycle and hiking path punctuated by her poems. Truly poetry in motion!