Cycling the Eurovelo 6: The Rhine

Day 38: Wednesday 10th June

Mulhouse – Mohlin (74km)

We had a late start but enjoyed fresh tarmac on the EV6 trail… while it lasted. We ended up making our way along increasingly dire tracks until we arrived at a rubbish dump. Very lucky not to puncture tyres as we rode over screeds of broken glass.

Leaving the rubbish dump we turned south along the azure water of the Rhone am Rhine canal. Most canals have been a dark shade of brown but this looked almost inviting for a dip.

After riding south for a while we found ourselves in Basel and at the end of our EV6 maps. We crossed the Rhine into Germany and a few minutes later crossed a second border into Switzerland. Border crossing is easy these days but we were surprised even Switzerland didn’t have any controls on its borders; just a faded building marked the edge of the country.

Basel was an interesting mix of old, new and industry. The old town towards the east looked intriguing but by that stage we had seen enough cityscape and were keen to explore the route ahead.

The EV6 trail was well signposted, but took a long and hilly route out of the city. It became apparent we were being taken on a detour to a Roman Museum. This was great if you were expecting it, but frustrating if you are simply trying to exit the city to find a campsite and rest tired legs. Not knowing the route of the EV6 we were reluctant to deviate, should we lose the trail for several days.

Mohlin had a suitable campsite. A mix of the good (pool next door), the bad (waste water treatment plant also next door), and the ugly (old shower block that had been renovated on the inside only). The campsite was on the south of the river and therefore in Switzerland however they were happy to accept Euros.

Day 39: Thursday 11th June

Mohlin – Lienheim (67km)

Heavy rain overnight. We took the advice of the campsite owner (avoid Swiss gravel forest trail) and backtracked slightly to cross onto the north of the Rhine at one of many hydro stations on the river to the German side. The asphalt trail then led us east to Bad Sackingen and the world’s largest covered wooden bridge.

A massive cafe meal had us primed for an afternoon riding and we enjoyed visiting several beautiful towns on the Rhine.

Our planned campsite at Waldshut looked nice but full of energy we pushed east to a small camp on the north of the Rhine. All the shops were shut for a public holiday so we gladly tucked into some E3.50 wienerli and enjoyed a couple of 500ml beers at E2 a piece.

Day 40: Friday 12th June

Lienheim – Markelfingen (105km)

Also staying at the campsite were a couple of German cycle tourists. We hadn’t seen many other cyclists camping so tried to get some tips on the route ahead. Their English was worse than our German so after some waving and map pointing we gave up on making friends and headed on our way. The sun was shining so we were gone by about 8am.

We grabbed a picnic lunch at Hohentengen and then backtracked to cross the Rhine at Kaiserstuhl. Here we re-joined the EV6 trail east along the southern (Swiss) side of the river. We paused at a stunning bend in the river where a tributary joins. When the kids there on school camp started to throw rocks at the swans we decided it was time to move on. The incline out of the valley was steep and long.

Hilly roads took us east to the Rhine falls. We had previously visited back in 2006 and thought we would take another peek. It’s a fairly impressive phenomenon being the biggest waterfall on the Rhine. The Rhine falls are not very tall but the sheer volume of water is impressive – think Huka Falls and multiply by 10.

After the Rhinefalls we negotiated 20% inclines on gravel trails to the east. We crossed the river to the north side just before Schaffhausen, passed through some stunning little towns and arrived at Stein am Rhine, where the Bodensee becomes the Rhine. Stein am Rhine was awesome. The main square was back from the river and packed full of cyclists. Artworks painted on the buildings added to the atmosphere.

Riding on over rolling countryside we followed the shores of the lake to the north. We stopped to munch on more ill-gotten cherries and picked up fresh fruit and veggies from a roadside stall. Our planned campsite was closed, only the mini-golf remaining, so we continued east to Markelfingen where we found a lakeside camp spot full of German holidaymakers on a Friday night.

Day 41: Saturday 13th June

Markelfingen (6km)

The blazing sun and a crystal clear lake made the decision to stay easy. Susan spent the morning spotting trout in a nearby stream.

At lunch we biked to a supermarket and overstocked as usual – its feast or famine on a cycle touring adventure. A cyclist was hit by a car at the supermarket intersection minutes before we arrived. Police and ambulance were already on the scene and a chopper arrived about 15min later and landed in the intersection. It was a good reminder to have rest days as concentration does lapse after hours of riding, day after day.

The afternoon was spent swimming, sunbathing and sucking back on some great local beer (Markel….) at 35c per 500ml bottle.