Cycling around Mönchengladbach
Inspired by the Google Earth routes of the Tour de France I compiled a collection of cycling routes in and around my hometown Mönchenglabach, Viersen, Neuss, Waldniel, Korschenbroich and Niederkrüchten.
It was a collaborative effort of my parents in Germany who snapped the pictures and provided the initial coordinates, and myself living in Baltimore who put it all together for Google Earth. I posted a blog about these routes back then, but almost immediately after I completed these routes I decided not to spend much more time with this project. It already took me a bit of time to compile the routes manually (had no GPS available), and I thought it would be pointless to present cycling routes nobody in Baltimore could ride unless he or she planned a major international cycling vacation. And even if somebody decided to take a bike all the way to Germany, I’m sure he or she would probably stay in more attractive places than Mönchengladbach.
These cycling routes around Mönchengladbach are probably only interesting to myself, as I used to ride them all the time when I still lived there. They may also be interesting to those who happen to live in that area and are trying to find some nice alternative routes. If you live in Baltimore or the US they are probably not very thrilling, but if you want to get a picture of where I come from and where I grew up, you are invited to browse these cycling routes and take a look at the snapshots.
The routes and photos haven’t changed since I compiled them back in 2006-2007. I’m adding them for completeness’ sake. I plan to post other routes in the Baltimore area as a cycling log, sharing some impressions and road-experiences more frequently. This will be interesting: I will be able to record and post routes now as I ride them. Until I have some new routes, I hope you will enjoy the virtual bike-ride around Mönchengladbach.
Below is the first stage of a series of nine routes following the borderline of Mönchengladbach. Each stage will be somewhere between 30-50 kilometers mostly flat, some with different inclines. They are all very safe and easy to ride and avoid traffic as much as possible. The first stage starts at the field at Zwölf Morgen, through a small park, to the castle Schloss Rheydt, along the Niers river to the airport, from there through more fields to the castle Schloss Neersen. The stage ends at the Neersen train station - from there it’s back to the Volksgarten park and swimming pool.
The following is the second installment of the cycling routes along Mönchengladbach’s borderline. It starts at the Neersen train station where the last stage ended, continues with the Niers lake, river and the water works of Helenabrunn. The stage ends at Kaldenkirchener street. From there it’s back to the city along Kaldenkirchener street toward the cemetery and the colorful garden. “Bunter Garten” is a park with colorful flower arrangements during the season. This stage is short with a length of roughly about 20 kilometers, flat and very easy to ride.
Hm…I wonder if there is an easier way to measure routes that already exist as a path or polygon in Google Earth or Maps. At this time I would have to trace the entire route with the ruler tool to find out how long a route is.
Yesterday I looked for a way to measure the length of my bike-routes and found this site. It’s a really helpful tool that allows you to calculate and measure distances found in paths, polygons and other geometries. Simply copy and paste the path and find out all about it. Not sure how accurate it really is, but it’s definitely accurate enough for my purposes.
The following is the third part of cycling routes around Mönchengladbach. It starts at water works Helenabrunn where the second stage ended, follows a nice field/dirt track next to the A52 Autobahn, to the sport center at Viersener street and the resting spot Wolfskull at A52. This stage ends in Windberg. From there it’s back home, passing the Maria Hilf hospital, the shopping district, and the Volksgarten park. This stage is short, again with a length of about 20 kilometers, flat and very easy to ride.
The following is the fourth stage around Mönchengladbach. It starts in Windberg where the third stage ended, follows a nice field/dirt track toward Schomm to Bleicher mill. Then the route leads through the Hardter Wald (forest of Hardt) via Waldweg and Schlaaweg. The Ponyhof has traditionally been a nice resting spot for hikers and cyclists. The stage ends at the next crossing street at Matthiaskapelle.
From there it’s back to the city, continuing through the forest the stage, passing the restaurant Fuchsbau and the Hardter Wald clinic. On the way back we pass Holt and the Holter cemetary, and return via Geroplatz and Rheydter street.
This stage has been one of my favorite routes because it offers a nice variety, changing sceneries. I especially enjoy the ride through Hardter Wald and the smell of the forest. The field tracks are very nice to ride, too. What I also like about this route is its connection to my childhood. The forest, the region of Holt where my grandparents and granduncle used to live, my elementary school, the streets between Holt and Geroplatz where we used to live have a strong meaning to me and I enjoy riding through this area and remember the days. Also, most of my family is buried at the Holter cemetary - so it’s a nice way to visit them and say hi from time to time. :) This stage is about 29 kilometers, mostly flat and easy to ride.
This is stage number 5 around Mönchengladbach. It starts at the Matthiaskappelle Hardter Wald (forest of Hardt) where the previous stage ended. Passing the Ponyhof of the last route, this stage continues to Rickelrath, and Holtmühle (mill of Holt) with a little lake. This is another nice resting place a lot of cyclists and hikers take advantage of. Several signed bikeroutes lead through this area.
The stage continues to Genhausen and its train station, toward the B57 country road and ends at Schriefersmühle. Then the route continues back into the city via Rheindahlen, Kothausen, Dorthausen, Engelsholt, Landwehr, and the bridge over Theodor Heuss street near my old high school. The route is about 35 kilometers total.
I always enjoyed this route because it leads through some nice areas including the Hardter forest and Holtmühle. I also enjoy the ride back through Kothausen a lot. It’s one long straight path you can ride fast. I always enjoy the segment at Landwehr which starts with a nice bumpy, rooty dirt track and continues on the road with a steep decline. That’s a really nice & fast ride. I wish it was much longer though.
Stage 6 of the tour around Mönchengladbach starts at Schriefersmühle where the previous stage ended and continues through the fields to Kipshoven and further straight to Herrath, Venrath and Kuckum. Near the end of this stage in Wanlo there is another traditional rest stop at the manor and farm of Wildenrath. The stage ends at the market of Wanlo.
The way back leads back through Wildenrath towards Beckrath, passing a glider airport and crossing the A61 Autobahn. It continues through some fields to Wickrathhahn and the Mennrath sports field to the municipal forest/park in Rheydt, and then back to Hermges via Dahlener street, Hohlstreet and the railroad in Rheydt.
This route is about 40 kilometers, mostly flat and very easy to ride like most of the other routes. It’s a very nice route through the beautiful country-side of Mönchengladbach, and there hardly is any traffic to deal with as a good part is through field tracks. My personal highlight is the park in Rheydt on the way back. It not only is a nice rest stop with cold drinks and food, but also a place to play table tennis and mini-golf. When I was younger I remember you could play chess there, too – with some foot-tall chess pieces. But I haven’t seen those since forever.
Stage 7 starts at Wanlo Markt where the previous stage ended. It leads toward and through Hochneukirch, turns left into the Wickrather street and continues to Wickrath, the manor-house of Wickrath and the surrounding park which has always been our traditional rest stop. The stage actually ends between Hochneukirch and Wickrath before it leads back to the city through Wickrath, Restrauch, Rheydt and the Rheydt, Breite- and Dohler street.
This route is about 35 kilometers and quite an easy, pleasant ride on long and smooth bike-paths. A good part of the route leads through finished field-tracks, and next to larger and busier roads like Wickrather street, but the bike path is completely separated and you don’t have to touch the road traffic at all. My personal favorites are again the park in Rheydt with its dirt track, Schloss Wickrath and the uphill-ride at Restrauch. It was a nice challenge to ride up that hill after a ride of 30+ kilometers. A pro would probably laugh at that, but to me it always felt like an achievement :)
This is the second to last stage around Mönchengladbach starting in Guedderath where the previous stage ended. It continues around Odenkirchen through Hackhausen, Schaan and Kamphausen, from Lenssenhof through Waat to Giesenkirchen where the stage ends. The route then leads back to the city through Bresgespark and along the Niers river to the manor-house of Rheydt and the Volksgarten park. One of these parks have usually been a final rest-stop.
This route is about 32 kilometers and like all the other routes a very easy, pleasant ride through fields, smaller, quiet villages and the countryside of Mönchengladbach. There is nothing spectacular or sensational about this route, but it’s very soothing and relaxing, and a nice way to get out of the noise, stress and pollution of the city when you feel like you need a break.
This is the last stage covering the easternmost area of Mönchengladbach including Giesenkirchen, Schelsen and the borders to Liedberg and Korschenbroich. The route starts at Duevel where the previous stage ended and leads through the villages of Schlich, Steinforth and Steinhausen to Haus Horst. The old main-residence of the Lords of Horst is surrounded by a moat and a park which make it a beautiful resting place. The route continues on a forest path through Trietenbroich toward Korschenbroich, Giesenkirchen Huetz, the bridge of the Niers river and finally back to the city via Schloss Rheydt.
This route is short with about 27 kilometers and a nice and easy ride. I especially enjoyed the segments through Trietenbroich and Haus Horst, but it’s always nice to see the villages and rural areas as well, because you wouldn’t expect that they still belong to Mönchengladbach. Although I grew up in Mönchengladbach and spent most of my life there, this diversity still manages to surprise me – it is one of the most enjoyable features of these nine stages around the city borders.
Coming next: Cycling around Baltimore Stages 1-1024. Just kidding :) Although it would be nice to learn more about all the different areas of Baltimore some day. In the next few days I will have a few other routes in Korschenbroich, Neuss/Rhine, Waldniel, Garzweiler and along the Niers river, all accompanied with photos – and after that I will continue with my bike-logs. Eventually I want to put together some longer routes and snap some pictures on the way. This would be a weekend or multi-weekend project.
I hope you enjoyed this route and the previous stages. Here are the links to Google Maps & Earth: