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near Imgenbroich, Nordrhein-Westfalen (Deutschland)
Beautiful cycle trip through the (German and Belgian) Eifel. The first half is largely on paved cycling paths on former railway tracks (Vennbahn and Vennquerbahn and Kyll Radweg) and therefore easy and with little ascent. The way back is a bit more strenuous on roads through the Eifel, but apart from the last stretch in the Rur valley, not difficult. Contrary to the Belgian Ardennes, there are not much small paved roads in the German Eifel, so on the way back the roads are larger and in some areas quite busy.
The route starts in Imgenbroich, just off the Aachen-Monschau road. You directly cycle to the Vennbahn (see waypoint, and website www.vennbahn.eu), and follow this cycle path all the way (about 23 km) to Oberweywertz. You pass through beautiful scenery, the Hohes Venn and quiet countryside, as well as past Sourbrodt station (see waypoint), where you can still see old buildings, railway cars and other rail relics. In Oberweywerz, you turn left on the Vennquerbahn or Ravel 45A (see waypoint) cycle path to Losheimergraben (see http://ravel.wallonie.be/opencms/opencms/fr/parcours/sections/L45A/). Near Bütgenbach you pass over a railway viaduct and then past the Bütgenbach reservoir. Unfortunately, the smooth asphalt turns into rough gravel just past the reservoir, and I took a detour on my racing bike, staying close to the cycle track. You pass through Büllingen and Honsfeld to Buchholz. I continued on the road towards Losheimergraben, but could only connect to the cycle path at Losheim (no level junctions). Later I learned the stretch between Buchholz and Losheim is asphalted, but I missed the connection at Buchholz. At Losheim, I connected to the Kyll Radweg (see waypoint), on the former Jünkerath-Weywertz railway junction. This cycling path is brand new with wooden fences to avoid you falling off the track. You cycle down all the way to Jünkerath, passing by the reservoir Kronenburger See. In Jünkerath the cycle path ends. Here you go uphill towards Dahlem (see waypoint). From Dahlem you go to the airstrip Dahlemer Binz and on to Schmidtheim. Here you go up another hill on the K61 towards Oberschömbach where you have a beautiful view across the Eifel. You descend towards Manscheid and then through the Reifferscheider Bach valley on a busy road to the Olef valley at Blumenthal. Here you find a cycle route which takes you all the way to Schleiden, along a still intact rail track and the Olef river. In busy Schleiden you take a winding road up to Herhahn (see waypoint). On former army training ground Vogelsang you follow a concrete road to the entrance of the former Nazi Ordensburg Vogelsang. Here you take the busy B266 road down to Einruhr (see waypoint) on the Rursee, where you can eat or drink something close to the lake. You continue on the B266 on a smooth climb before you get to the turn-off for the Rur valley on a smaller road. About 3 km past Hammel the road steeply climbs back to Imgenbroich, the starting point.
The entire route is suited for the racing bike. On a tourbike you do not need to avoid the gravel on the Vennquerbahn and you can follow the former railway track all the way to Losheim. Some of the roads in the Eifel can be busy with cars and motor bikes, especially the B266. You can eat and drink something in several places on the Vennbahn and Vennquerbahn, as well as in Dahlem, Schleiden, Einruhr and Imgenbroich (among others). Route Imgenbroich-Bôsfagne/Sourbrodt-Weywertz-Oberweywertz-Bütgenbach-Büllingen-Honsfeld-Buchholz-Losheimergraben-Losheim-Kronenburg-Stadtkyll-Jünkerath-Dahlem-Schmidtheim-Oberschömbach-Winten-Manscheid-Wiesen-Reifferscheid-Blumenthal-Oberhausen-Schleiden-Herhahn-Einruhr-Dedenborn-Hammer-Imgenbroich.
Here starts the climb on the B266 away from the Rur reservoir. It is a busy road, with a cycle path next to it on the first stretch. To the right you have views of Einruhr and the reservoir. It is a smooth climb.
You climb out of the valley on a small country lane past a church. At the end of the lane you turn right on a broader road towards Dahlem.
Climb on the wide L207 to Herhahn. Quite a few cars pass you during this climb. On arriving in Herhahn you turn left on a smaller road and then continue on concrete slabs on a former military training ground.
Here the steep (15% grade in places) climb towards Imgenbroich starts. You ascend 135 m in 1.5 km (9%), and the first 800 m have an average grade of 12%.
On the K61 secondary road you climb smoothly through the forest towards Oberschömbach. From here you have a nice view across the Eifel.
To avoid the gravel I took parallel country roads. You pass through Büllingen and Honsfeld to Buchholz and on to Losheimergraben. I could only connect to the asphalted cycle path at Losheim. Later I learned the stretch between Buchholz and Losheim is asphalted, but I missed the connection at Buchholz, and between Buchholz and Losheim there are no level junctions to get on the cycling path.
At this waypoint there are two restaurants on the lake. There is also a small ferry landing nearby which you could take to make a boat trip towards Rurberg.
Here the asphalt ends and is replaced by gravel. It looks quite coarse here and I decided to take a detour on country roads. The cycle path is gravel all the way to Buchholz.
Here you get back on the cycling track on what is called the Kyll Radweg in Germany. This is a brand new cycling path with wooden barriers to prevent cyclists falling off... The cycling path alternately enters Rheinland Pfalz and Nord-Rhein Westfalen which is indicated with white lines on the asphalt.
In the Olef valley you take a cycle route parallel to the busy B265.
Here starts the Vennquerbahn, or Ravel 45A. This cycle path goes all the way to the German border, but is partly gravel (see waypoint).
From the B266 you descend to Dedenborn and follow the Rur valley after a short climb in Dedenborn.
At Sourbrodt station you will find all kind of railway relicts: station buildings, rails, railcars, etc.
Here you enter the Vennbahn, a beautiful cycling path on the former railway track of the Aachen-Troisvierges line.