Waldniel


This is the last of my routes in and in the area of my old hometown Mönchengladbach. It leads into the same direction as the previous Niederkrüchten route, but follows different paths leading to Waldniel. Waldniel is one of several districts in the municipality of Schwalmtal/Viersen.

The route starts through Stadtwald Rheydt again — this time not passing the miniature golf place, but following a different path through the park parallel to the A61 Autobahn. At Waldesrand the route crosses the A61 toward Voosen and continues through Kothausen, Gerkerath, Koch, Genhodder, Rickelrath and Lüttelforst to Waldniel. In Waldniel it continues back on Schulstrasse towards Berg, Steeg south to and through the British Forces base, the Joint Headquarters (JHQ) or Military Complex in Rheindahlen, the Hardter forest, and through Hehn and Holt back into the city.

This route leads through a number of very beautiful areas including Stadtwald Rheydt, Kothausen and Hardter forest, but it is especially fascinating and historically interesting because of the JHQ. This base is open for visitors and can be entered through one of their checkpoints after showing your id or passport. And once you are inside you are really visiting a different country. Street names and signs are all written in English, and even the sidewalks and buildings look distinctly different. I remember when I was a child I thought of the headquarters as a very strange and mysterious island in the woods, such a different world. Even years later I find myself surprised by how different this area looks and feels compared to the surrounding cities and villages. Not so much because of the obvious language difference, but the smaller details, the overall quietness or the emptiness of the roads. I would like to ride this route again and see what this area is like today, more than a decade later.

On the way to or from the JHQ there also is a nice incline I always enjoyed. The route is about 49 kilometers long and ends my series of routes in and in the area of my old hometown. I hope you found any of the previous routes interesting or enjoyable. I’m not sure if and when I’m going to have more routes in Germany as I’m not living there anymore — and I will not begin to collect other routes I haven’t ridden before and that can’t ride myself right now. Instead I will continue to work on a collection of complete routes in and in the area of Baltimore City. I hope I can find a few routes that are also between 30-50 kilometers (18-30 miles) long and relatively easy and pleasant to ride. Longer routes might be interesting, too. I would love to tackle challenging destinations like Washington DC or finding another way to the Northern Railroad Trail. It will be an interesting journey :)

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