So old, so green, so rusty — 3 discovery rides through the Ruhr area

Martin Donat

So old, so green, so rusty — 3 discovery rides through the Ruhr area

Road Cycling Collection by komoot

Riding a bicycle through the Ruhr area is a bit like window shopping. There's a little surprise around every turn. Something old, something big, something rusty—something exciting with a great story. In fact, hardly any other region in Germany offers such a density of sights; the Ruhr area is a true treasure chest of industrial culture. And to help you experience it all, think of this Collection as your treasure map: Three 100-kilometer (62-mile) rides that will reveal the best of the region.

Each ride has a different theme: We start with the most beautiful old towns of the Ruhr area - a wonderful combination of urban life, culture and culinary stops. The second ride leads almost exclusively over the railway cycle paths, the green "backyards" of the Ruhr area, and the historical heritage of coal mining, which have been regenerated as cycle paths for use again today. Ride number three then takes you past beautiful reservoirs, little brooks and gentle canals, culminating at Dortmund's harbor, a place that's refreshingly peaceful and packed full of nature. Where each ride starts is completely up to you. We suggest Hattingen and Bochum as starting points due to the easily accessible public transport that'll bring you in and take you home again.

These rides are a combination of destinations that are beautifully peaceful yet still road worthy. We avoided many main roads and instead have planned each route along quiet country roads, cycle paths and sometimes the odd gravel road. At around 100 kilometers (62 miles), the distance is ideally suited for a half day in the saddle—something that might be a little challenging for beginner riders, but easily doable for those with experience. If it really gets too much, however, remember: You are still in the Ruhr—the nearest train station is certainly not far away.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    67.9 mi
    10.4 mph
    3,675 ft
    3,675 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This tour combines an extensive race bike tour with a really nice sightseeing! We not only show you a great route here, but have built five of the most beautiful old towns in the Ruhr area into it. Okay, that's not quite correct: with Dusseldorf and Solingen, we leave the beautiful pot for a while. But what does not change anything: The tour is great, the cities too.It starts in Hattingen, where really an impressive old town is waiting for you. If the weather is nice, you can plan on spending some more time here and start or end the tour with a stop in the beer garden of one of the cafes or restaurants. Out of the city, you will now dive the Ruhr a few times, especially the section on the towpath that leads you directly to the next highlight: the old town of Essen Kettwig.Now you leave the beautiful pot and enter the Rhineland. But everything is close together here. In Dusseldorf Kaiserswerth worth a short stop on the market square of the old town or alternatively on the banks of the Rhine. The route then takes you past the airport and we are pretty sure that the taking off and landing jets will inspire you to take a break.Now follows a small "mini gravel part". But this is no problem with the Renner (unless you are very sensitive) and bypasses a good deal of road with heavy traffic. On the way to Mettmann, you will follow in the footsteps of the Tour de France pilots who came here in the summer of 2017. From Kaiserswerth to here you have now mastered the busiest stage of the tour. From now on it will be rural again.Via the corkscrew route you reach Solingen Gräfrath, the penultimate beautiful old town of our tour. You pass Wuppertal (with a view of the famous suspension railway) and take a wonderfully secluded mountain trail heading for the book city of Velbert-Langenberg. Another crisp climb through the quiet Wodantal and you're back in Hattingen.Especially the last part of the tour is quite demanding with a lot of ups and downs. You can abbreviate well in various places, for example, by leaving out the stop in Dusseldorf or Solingen. Alternatively, there are plenty of opportunities to end the tour by train, if you should have enough. Dusseldorf, Mettmann, Wuppertal or Langenberg - all cities are super connected to the S-Bahn network and from where you can easily return to Hattingen.

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    67.2 mi
    12.6 mph
    2,625 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This tour is great if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city in no time. It leads you almost 100 kilometers criss-cross through the Ruhrpott and for the most part without car traffic. The meanwhile very dense cycle route network of the Ruhr area makes it possible and a legacy of the industrial past of the "coal pot" plays thereby a special role: the old railway connections. In the past, coal was transported here from the coal mine to industry, today many of the old routes have been converted into cycle paths. We wrote nine of them in this nice round. A round through the green Ruhr area and at the same time a round of industrial culture.You start at the Bochum station - after less than two kilometers, the first route, the Springorum bike path. Follow it a little bit before you reach a wonderful gem. A small cycling training course, which was built in 2009 in honor of cycling legend Walter Lohmann. It is located in the middle of a small grove and so wonderfully quiet that you will enjoy shooting a few laps here.It continues: Past the old Opel factory, you will soon reach the "Rhenish donkey", one of the oldest road bike paths in the Ruhr area. You follow him on the recently re-asphalted section to Witten. Past Wittener Bahnhof you cross the Ruhr and are spat out directly on the Ruhrtalradweg, which you follow for a few kilometers.The Elbschetal bike path is still brand new. He was inaugurated in 2017, his asphalt is virtually virgin. The path is beautiful and leads straight through the middle of the green. Since the route has not yet been completely finished, it is followed by a small piece of country road. But it is so small and contemplative that it also goes through as thoroughly enjoyable. Before you turn back to the next track, we can recommend a gastronomic highlight: The small "Café Kännchen" is totally cozy. It is decorated with love and everything is homemade. A small coffee and cake break, we can only recommend.Then you follow the "Kohlenbahn" to Haßlinghausen and further to Hattingen. At the old station of Spröckhövel offers another break. Next to the organic farm shop is a cozy café where you can enjoy homemade food and home-baked cakes.Behind Hattingen waiting again the Ruhr Valley Cycle Path on you, which you follow on one of the most beautiful sections immediately adjacent to the Ruhr to Essen Steele. The Grugatrasse leads you right through the middle of Essen directly to the new highlight of the Ruhr area: the "Radschnellweg Ruhr", also called RS1, which will eventually run for more than 100 kilometers from Duisburg to Hamm. The first ten kilometers are already set. If you like and still have some time and air, we can advise you at the junction of the Grugatrasse turn left and follow the RS1 to the present end in Mühlheim. Simply, because you must have seen this bike path, which leads almost right through the middle of the Mühlheimer main station.The last big highlight of the round is the Erzbahntrasse in the direction of Bochum, which you can give real cult status with another food stop. "Holgers Erzbahnbude" at the intersection of the "Kray-Wanner-Radweg" and the Erzbahntrasse does not really need a great introduction. Stop short at the iconic trailer, treat yourself to a soda or a piece of cake and have a good time.On the Erzbahntrasse the highlights are lined up again. You see an old winding tower, cross impressive bridge structures and end directly at the Jahrhunderthalle in Bochum and the interesting outdoor area, on which there is a lot to discover. From here you are back in a few minutes at Bochum main station.Some of the railway lines are not paved. Instead, they are finely graveled, but that is no problem with the road bike, if that is okay for you. Some of the route sections are very popular, so it can be busy at peak times in good weather. If you drive relatively early in the morning, you usually have free rein.

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  • Difficult
    65.8 mi
    12.1 mph
    2,325 ft
    2,325 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    If you ever wondered how green the Ruhr area is ... today we want to show you how humid it can be! This beautiful tour integrates everything that has to do with water. Of course, during a tour through the pot the Ruhr must not be missing. But we have a lot more in stock. You pass beautiful reservoirs, drive along rippling streams through idyllic, small valleys and follow the dead straight course of canals, on which large freighters with their heavy loads schippern. We even take you through a busy harbor and you ferry over. More water is not really possible, right?Start of the tour is the Bochum main station. Because he is so easy to reach and so beautifully located. From there, it's a breeze to roll down to the Ruhr and enjoy the lake view for the first time at Kemnader See. It follows said ferry ride: a real highlight - such a ferry ride is always a little adventure and a nice change - only note the travel times.Along the Ruhrtalradweg you pass the Harkortsee and the Hengsteysee, before it is short but crisp uphill. The serpentines up to the Hohensyburg are, so to speak, the mountain classification of the day, because the overall height profile of this round is rather flat. The effort is immediately rewarded with a nice descent through the Wannebachtal. The underpass of the A45 motorway reminds you once that you are in the middle of the Ruhr area, before we lead you over wonderfully secluded paths and side roads to Dortmund. Here are the beautiful Phoenix Lake with its great bike path, the Emscher bike path and the harbor, the wet and cheerful highlights.Out of Dortmund you can let it run on quiet country roads and cycle paths on a beautiful overland trip. Next stage destination: the Rhein-Herne-Kanal, where there is a lot to discover again. Be it the ships, the locks or the industrial monuments along the route - it will not be boring here.The way back to Bochum is again a highlight in itself. You will fly back to the starting point, Bochum main station, via the completely paved Erzbahn route.We have chosen for this tour a nice compromise from a quiet as possible, natural route with simultaneous road bike suitability. You drive mostly on quiet roads or bike paths, only very rarely directly in traffic. However, some roads are not paved, but still feasible with a normal road bike (the typical compacted bike path gravel). The super light racing file with 23er tire is honestly not the right tool.Some of the sections are a popular weekend destination for cyclists and pedestrians. At peak times, you should not just plan your time trial here, but drive accordingly considerate. If you prefer to enjoy the beautiful trails for yourself, just start earlier. At sunrise, the rivers, lakes and canals are particularly appealing.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    201 mi
  • Duration
    17:16 h
  • Elevation
    8,625 ft

So old, so green, so rusty — 3 discovery rides through the Ruhr area