The First 100km Ride: Railroad Tracks, Cyclepaths and the Ruhr river in the Ruhrgebiet!

After an incredible long period of time of constantly trying to ride bicycles further and further, it was finally about time to reach for a magical three digit km distance.
I spend a handful of hours to plan a route that would fit my skills and would also lead me across some new routes and places.
The perfect area for such route proved to be western of Dortmund, close to the heart of the Ruhrgebiet and also right along the most important river of that area named the “Ruhr”.

A midweek day would be best to go for that route, due to less traffic (bicycles, pedestrians, runner etc.) along the route.
This might sound a bit hard and misanthropic, I know, but there’s a simple thought to it.
Most bicycle paths in the Ruhrgebiet are build on either old railroad tracks from the coal mining time in the 20th century or placed right along rivers and channels like the “Ruhr”.
One thing these places have in common is, there’s not enough room for huge wide bicycle paths at all, which means, the bicycle paths are actually just wide enough for one lane in either direction. On weekends, when most people don’t have to work and thus have time for spare time activities, traffic is at a maximum on the bicycle paths in the Ruhrgebiet, especially when the weather shows its best side. A lot of traffic on the cyclepaths means a lot of time and energy wasted with waiting behind and overtaking slower participants in traffic.
Of course, I wanted to finish the route as easy and fast as possible, that’s why a midweek day was perfect for the route.

Time to look on the ride itself in detail:

Like always, I started at the university of Dortmund, then sneaked my way through the western suburbs to get to the first cyclepath of the day: the “Parkway Emscher Ruhr”.
This cyclepath offers cyclists a connection between the “Emscher” channel and the “Ruhr”. It’s partly graveled and often sneaks around large roads and much frequented places by using hidden backroads and in my case got me straight to the city of Bochum, where I ended up looking for the entry to the “Springorum Radweg”, only to find the first detour of the day.

The entry to the Springorum Radweg was blocked, because the one and only bridge leading to it is currently under construction. And just like this, the first 100km loop ever gets 5km longer.
However, once I made my way to the Springorum Radweg, I was able to finally make some km’s.
My brand new Fuji SL-A ran super well and fast along the paved railroad tracks of the past.

Once I left the Springorum Radweg behind me and entered the Leinpfad right next to the Ruhr river, it started raining and it shouldn’t stop for the next 50km … anyway, the Leinpfad is a great cyclepath too, even though it’s way older and even more narrow than any other cyclepath around. It’s so cool to ride along the river for endless km’s, with the water not even one meter away from your bike.
Thus, time went by super fast and the km’s did as well. Thirty kilometre later, at around 80km. the last challenge of the day showed up right in front of me.
The serpentines up to the Syburg memorial and ruins. This is one of the hardest and longest climbs around Dortmund, especially after 80km’s, but the view from the top of the hill is absolutely worth the effort, even on a rainy day like this.

However, enjoying the view was really hard that day, because I was so out of breathe, that I really needed to take a break right in front of the memorial. Climbing up to the Syburg was the last real challenge of the route. The ruins are the highest point around Dortmund, so the last 20km’s back to the university were just downhill almost all the way. When the tall buildings of the university showed up right in front of me, I knew I made it. The first 100km ride of my bicycle career was a real challenge, especially the last 25km’s.
At the end of the day, I managed to ride 105,85 km’s in 5 hours and 20 minutes, which is round about a 20km/h average. It felt great to see the triple digit distance on the screen of my smartphone at the end of the day and I already planned the next long rides for the weeks ahead. So, there’s still a lot of things left to discover!

-Dennis

P.S: Check out the full Video on my YouTube Channel, if you interested in more footage from that day


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