We knew about the Rhine River route from research before the trip and the Eurovelo 15 that goes along it. Compared to The Mosel the Rhine felt a lot more built up due to it’s use as a shipping route still. We saw lots of cargo ships along the way as well as tourist and party boats. Sometimes the cycle lane ran right next to a busy road or the train line, so it didn’t feel as rural, and there was little shade in some parts to avoid the heat. But there are some really lovely castles on the hilltops along the river. On the first day we stopped at a campsite and met a man from the town that we live in in Greater Manchester (such a small world!). This part of the Rhine was very lovely and had vineyards along the side similar to the Mosel with the names of the towns painted into them. Most of them began with ‘B’ and our favourite was Bopparder Hamm!
It was so hot this day and with a strong headwind that we decided to stop somewhere for lunch but there was no shade or benches for what felt like forever! Finally got to a bridge to find shelter under and make lunch. There were a couple of other bike tourers who had the same idea also under the bridge who we chatted to – they had mainly been camping alongside and washing in the river – Bliss! We carried onto Bacharach where we agreed to stay that night. We found the campsite which had a small sandy beach to cool off in, but it was absolutely rammed with people as it was the weekend so the only spaces left were near the toilets (no!) and next to a motorcyclist who had commandeered the entire plot so we would be stuck right in the corner. We decided to go back into the town and look for a free spot. The only spaces we could see were on double benches and also in a small park area behind a bush!
We thought about bivvy-bagging it here, but as it was the weekend, would this be wise? After looking on Google maps we saw there were what looked like areas where we could camp further out of town. We cycled and cycled and saw some small beaches off the road but these were next to allotment plots with small huts that people were sat outside with their families enjoying the warm evening. We carried on past more allotments and then onto a path with thick bushes on both sides. It got later, so we started to worry about where we would stop in time before the sun set, until Becky spotted a small opening in the bushes and a rocky path that led down to the river. We carried each bike down as the sun was setting and decided to bivvy bag instead of put the tent up. In the morning we awoke to a glorious sunrise, and were so happy that we had found a secret beach which could not been seen from the path, we stayed one more night! We were only disturbed on the second day by a couple who came down onto the beach and started to strip off before we decided to cough so they’d know we were there! They didn’t stay much longer…
We woke up and really toyed with the idea of staying a third night on the beach…but as it began to cloud over decided to carry on. Our route took us through Rüdesheim am Rhein which was absolutely rammed with motorbikers at a festival. The noise was deafening as hundreds and hundreds of bikers were there. We carried on to Geisenheim where we found an amazing cafe called ‘Zwei und Zwanzig’ and ate allllllll the food. We had planned to get to Mainz that night but didn’t leave the cafe until 7.30 and still had 39km to go, so ended up even finding a local campsite to dump our stuff before going back for more food and cocktails as it was Friday night (has to be done). Blow out days are the best!
Our last day on the Rhine took us through the pretty village of Eltville before we came to Mainz. The remainder of the route to Mainz was industrial and mainly on the road so not enjoyable at all.
As it was Saturday the city was bustling with loads of people out enjoying the food stalls alongside the river. Saturdays are always so stressful with a fully loaded bike: the pavements were full of people strolling around and even though most paths are segregated there always needs to be extra vigilance in case someone wanders into your path! After Becky became panicked about cycling into a major city on a Saturday afternoon, we decided to stay at a campsite on the Main so we could cycle into Frankfurt the next day when it would be quieter. And our rule of ‘never cycling into a city on a Saturday’ was born!