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Day 5 - Mosel Day Trip

Day 5 - Mosel Day Trip

Today was brilliant. It was the highlight of my trip so far. I won't say I loved every minute of it, there was plenty of swearing into the wind, but overall it was an amazing day in a beautiful part of the world.

Mat Hollingsworth
Mat Hollingsworth

7 min read

Today was brilliant. It was the highlight of my trip so far. I won't say I loved every minute of it, there was plenty of swearing into the wind, but overall it was an amazing day in a beautiful part of the world.

I woke up rode my luggage across the bridge to the old city and dropped it off at my next hotel. I set out nervous about the pains in my arms and unsure if my revised bike setup would be enough to keep me comfortable. I hadn't really done much planning other than 'ride south along the river until I've had enough and get the train back'; usually I ride with a plotted route that I load into my GPS bike computer. I had a minimum goal of reaching Cochem and an outside goal of Trier. I'd heard Bernkastel was really nice so I was hoping I'd make it to there at least.

Koblenz to Cochem

From the hotel, I rode to the start of the Mosel river, just near the Deutsches Eck.

I continued south along the east bank of the river.

I was a little concerned for the first 45mins as the only place to ride was a narrow shoulder on the edge of a highway. On the northbound side, there was no shoulder at all. But the road was quiet at 8 am and the drivers were courteous giving me a wide berth so it was still very relaxed.

Not long out of Koblenz I started passing through cute little villages. Once I reached Deiblich the path improved and then was separate from the road. The air was still and cool. And the river was glassy with deep blues and blacks.

There were geese and ducks swimming along the river's edge and the sun was just beginning to peak over the edge of the valley. It was going to be a good day.

Cochem to Zell

Cochem is a striking village with it's castle sitting high above the town. The terraced houses, hotels, restaurants and shop front line the river's edge.

Soon after Cochem I was lured in for a break by the Früh sign. A quick Kölsch, a water refill and sit down before I take off again.

There were two Dahon parked out the front and a group of four other cyclists. I rolled up swung my Brompton into the park position and drank my beer. I kept catching the group glancing at me and my bicycle.

As I started preparing to leave one of them said "Schön Fahrad!" (Great bike.), I told them it was made in England and gave them a demo of the fold explaining that I could take it on an aeroplane. They all gasped and cooed like I'd done a magic trick and then enthusiastically wished me well for my journey.

Zell to Bernkastel

This section was really great. Zell/Mosel is unremarkable but the little villages after it like Pünderich are pretty. There are camping grounds, restaurants offering 'Radler menus' and 'Mosel Terraces' to stop and have a drink and a feed. One particular highlight was riding in between the vines for a short section.

Traban Trabach is a gorgeous little town, though these photos don't do it justice.


​Bernkastel is a picture postcard town. It's quaint and touristy but charming. Castle on the hill, river up front, ornate buildings in between. ​

Cursing the Wind

It turns out I should have done a little more planning as I discovered Trier is 170km away and there is limited access to train stations after Cochem.

Long story short I road to Bernkastel with a slight headwind the whole way (125km) and decided that rather than ride an (at the time) unknown distance to Trier on on an unknown route inland to a look for a train station I'd double back to Cochem (presumably with a slight tail wind). I figured with a tail wind I could do 75km in about 3 hours.  

What I didn't figure was that while I was munching down my schniztel and beer at the Bernkastle curry wurst was that the wind would change direction. So at 4:30pm with a belly full of fried pork and potatoes and a half a litre of beer (I'm sure thats what they have before a TDF stage) I set off with a target getting to Cochem in three hours to meet the train home.

The first 50km were pretty easy I just settled in an powered through. At Zell there are a couple of gentle climbs and I was low on water. So I visited the servo and stocked up on refined sugar and cold water to push me through. Servos are like an oasis on long rides like this, a wide range of cool drinks and sugary snacks and minimum requirement to converse.

I refuelled and pushed on. As I neared Cochem I slowly started to weaken as the wind got stronger and stronger. It felt like every bend in the river there was an even stronger head wind. If I was heading north, headwind, east, headwind, west headwind "F&*K!"; all the while passing amazing scenery in a setting sun. In the end it didn't slow me up too much, It just required a bit more effort and a lot more swearing to get the job done.

I arrived in Cochem and headed straight to the train station. I felt pretty damn good. No cramps, no pain in my arms, no pressure points or strains in my joints. I felt strong and limber. I briefly considered riding the next 50km back to Koblenz, but quickly dismissed the idea and jumped on the train.

Back to Koblenz

German trains are great. Bikes get their own carriage and seat belts.

I arrived at my hotel. Had a quick shower to wash the road of me. And then headed straight to Altes Brauhaus for a mushroom sauce schnitzel and pint of Erdinger.

What an amazing day. I'd love to come back and spend a week on the river camping and taking my time with it.