THE RHINE CYCLE ROUTE
Author: Mike Wells
Well, this is just what you would expect from Mike Wells and Cicerone. The consistent format that runs through the bicycle guides published by Cicerone is clear to use and straight-forward to navigate. The maps shows plentiful tourist information and the route is clearly marked. Combined with through route descriptions, there really is all you need to find your way from the Oberlappass to Rotterdam.
Flowing through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands, the Rhine is one of the World's great rivers. As the author points out, the start can be reached by cycle-friendly Swiss railways and from there it is really all downhill (well, not quite, but you get the general idea).
The Rhine has been both a thoroughfare uniting nations through trade and a fiercely contested border. Throughout its journey culture, food and wine change with the river offering unity. The author provides sufficient information on towns, cities and sights - indeed it must have been quite a job to keep the guide so conveniently pocket-sized. Information about the very well-developed tourist infrastructure is given, though again one is likely to find more - just watch out for July and August, the author suggests, recommending booking if you don't want to search at the end of your day's ride.
Though the Netherlands stretch is pretty easy-going - indeed most of the route could be ridden at any time of year - it is worth taking note from the guide that snow can remain in the ground until June at the Oberalppass and that snow can fall at any time of year at that elevation; take your hat and gloves and suitable warm and waterproof clothing when heading for the high hills.
So, this could be a real adventure - all the way from source to estuary - and, with Mike Wells to guide us, this book, along with its counterparts, should inspire us to seize the day.
As ever, good for the armchair traveller and the long-distance, though not necessarily speedy, cyclist on the trail.
Reviewed by Steve Dyster
ALSO BY MIKE WELLS
REVIEW FIRST PUBLISHED 2014