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Railway lines & industrial heritage – Cycling through the Bergisches Land

Bike Touring Collection by einfach bergisch radeln

The railway lines through the Bergisches Land were synonymous with relaxed travel in times gone by. Today, this idea is still very much alive although the trains have long since disappeared. The lines along which passenger and freight trains would once have travelled have been converted into a network of more than 136 miles (220 km) of cycle paths. The well-maintained paths, which are almost entirely flat, lead through wonderful green countryside. You can enjoy a panoramic ride through the Bergisches Land in the west of Germany with no challenging climbs standing in your way.

In this Collection, our five routes take you on a journey through railway history and introduce you to the panoramic cycle paths that connect the Bergisches Land with the southern Ruhr area and the Sauerland. You cross numerous tunnels, the longest measuring 2,375 feet (274 m), and several viaducts which tower up to 131 feet (40 m). These engineering masterpieces bear witness to the railways’ pioneering construction. As a cyclist, you are the main beneficiary of these impressive structures today.

You will not only encounter industrial and railway relics on your journey through the Bergisches Land. Several reservoirs offer spectacular panoramas and dense forests provide welcome shade during your ride. The region also offers an abundance of cultural history; such as the Schloss Burg in Solingen, the largest rebuilt castle complex in western Germany. If you have a sweet tooth, you should try the famous Bergische waffles or Bergische Kaffeetafel, afternoon coffee served with delicious delicacies.
Even though the train lines have been converted into cycle paths, the start and endpoints of the routes are still easy to reach by train today. Along the Bergische Panorama Cycle Path there is even a bicycle bus that stops at several stations and can transport up to 20 bikes. For more information: dasbergische.de/en/our-topics/active/cycling-in-the-bergisches-land/bergische-fahrradbus-bergisch-bicycle-bus. You can also connect the routes as you wish, divide them into several stages and even ride them in a loop. The best way to do this is to take a look at the Collection map to get a good overview. To get a feel for the mountainous railway lines, take a look at our video:

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Difficult
    04:45
    41.7 mi
    8.8 mph
    2,925 ft
    2,350 ft
    Ferry
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    With a length of just over 130 kilometers, the Bergische Panorama-Radweg is the longest bike tour in this collection and it offers you many different impressions along the entire route. As described here, you can either ride the bike tour in two roughly equal stages and spend the night in Wermelskirchen, or alternatively split it up into several smaller sections - you can find accommodation in most of the towns along the way.The highlights along the route include not only beautiful towns and varied landscapes, but above all the engineering know how to impress with what it used to do in the course of railway construction: 14 tunnels, viaducts up to 40 meters high and the highest railway bridge Germany will amaze you.This stage takes you on its first section from Hattingen via Sprockhövel to Wuppertal. Shortly before Wuppertal you cross the 722 meter long Schee tunnel. The border between Westphalia and Rhineland runs in the middle of the tunnel; a mark on the wall indicates this. Please note that the tunnel is closed at special times, for example on New Year's Eve, in order to provide a quiet shelter for the bats that live in it. But it can also be bypassed without any problems - at best, it gets a bit "mountainous".In addition to other tunnels, in Wuppertal you can expect especially viaducts designed for rail traffic that lead you high above the roofs of the city over the Wuppertal districts - clearly a special experience. But the functional trolley at Loh station, the creative town "Utopia City" at the old Mirker station and the suspension railway in Vohwinkel also have their charm and are all worth a visit.On the last part of the first stage, not only Germany's highest railway bridge in Müngstener Brückenpark awaits you behind Solingen, but also a little further south with Castle Burg, the largest reconstructed castle complex in West Germany. If you want to save yourself the climb from Unterburg to Oberburg, you can also use the cable car - it also transports bicycles. In Oberburg you finally leave the Wupper and drive the last four kilometers via Hüngers to just before Wermelskirchen, where you can find a place to stay for the night.

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    Difficult
    04:41
    44.1 mi
    9.4 mph
    2,925 ft
    2,825 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second stage on the Bergische Panorama-Radweg is lined with great views of the many dams - also called the water quintet - that are built along the rivers of Wupper, Wipper, Genkel, Agger and Bigge and invite you to refresh yourself. Likewise, on long stretches of road through lush green nature you will now clearly leave the industrial centers south of the Ruhr area behind you. You drive through idyllic floodplain forests, while there are always great panoramic views to enjoy from time to time.Shortly before Wipperfürth, an old rail bus reminds of the past of the abandoned railway line between Wipperfürth and Remscheid-Lennep, before the route continues along the Wupper, which is not far away also becomes a Wipper. Again and again information points along the old railway line invite you to inform yourself about the landscape, flora and fauna that can be found here in the floodplain forests.After the passage of the Aggertalsperre and its picturesque peninsula, a very special highlight awaits you in Wegeringhausen: the longest bicycle tunnel in the entire cycling network in the Bergisches Land. This is 724 meters, almost a whole kilometer long. Please note that the tunnel is also closed in winter, i.e. from November to mid-April, in order to give the bats at home a quiet hideaway. Of course, the tunnel can also be easily circumvented with a few meters of altitude.It is roughly ten kilometers from Wegeringhausen before your tour ends on the Bergische Panorama-Radweg in the city of Olpe. A short passage along the Biggetalsperre and you are already at the train station, from where you can start your way home.

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  • Intermediate
    03:34
    36.8 mi
    10.3 mph
    1,425 ft
    1,875 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From the hilly landscape of Bergisch to the lowlands of the Rhine: The Balkan route creates the ideal connection. Incidentally, the name of today's bike route is reminiscent of the "Balkan Express" - this was the popular name for the former railway line between Leverkusen-Opladen and Remscheid-Lennep.Trains used to roll here from 1868 to the 1980s; today, from a saddle perspective, there are attractive (ins) views: forests, meadows, pretty houses and gardens, the town centers of Lennep, Bergisch Born, Wermelskirchen and Burscheid - urban life and rural idyll take turns.On the way on the route, milestones remind of the railway past. There are rest areas and restaurants in many places, some housed in old train station buildings. A great advantage of the railway line route is that there are hardly any gradients to climb and the Bergisches Land - known for its hilly landscape - can be explored wonderfully by bike in this way.Our tip: If you have arrived in Leverkusen, there is still a lot to look at: whether culture, sports, architecture, parks & gardens - Leverkusen, for example, has the newly designed railway site "Neue Bahnstadt Opladen" with the Morsbroich Palace and Museum, the BayArena. to offer the Neuland Park and excursion destinations on the Rhine many different attractions. Maybe you just stay overnight and check out some of the sights the next day?

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    Difficult
    03:10
    30.4 mi
    9.6 mph
    1,725 ft
    1,600 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    In the middle of the hilly landscape of the "neanderland" the panorama cycle path Niederbergbahn runs on a former railway line that was built in the 1920s with a slight incline in order to be able to use it for passenger and goods transport.The approximately 40 km long bike path leads from Essen-Kettwig via Heiligenhaus, Velbert and Wülfrath to Haan through the "neanderland", the district of Mettmann. In places, the route runs over old, brick arch viaducts of immense height. Today, impressive evidence of engineering skills from the last 100 years can be explored and impressive views of the landscape can be enjoyed.In Heiligenhaus you actually drive over an old freight wagon that bridges the cut in a railway embankment - the first wagon bridge in Germany. The Mariendom in Velbert-Neviges is also worth a detour - a church like a concrete rock, in the imposing interior of which the glass windows glow with extraordinary color.Also on the route: an old limestone quarry with a crystal-clear lake, rugged stone walls and a museum tunnel nearby - the time tunnel in Wülfrath. Here 400 million years of earth's history are explained in an impressive way. A small branch to the historic half-timbered town of Haan-Gruiten is also worthwhile.Our tip: The famous Neanderthal Museum is only eight kilometers away from the end of the railway line and a visit is simply a must. So that you can easily find the museum, we have included it in the tour.

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    Easy
    00:50
    9.16 mi
    10.9 mph
    400 ft
    875 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The cycle path along the old railway line in the Agger and Dörspetal has several highlights, especially for those interested in history and railways. On the comparatively short 15 kilometers from Pernze via Bergneustadt to Dieringhausen, 18 information boards along the way tell you about the exciting industrial history of the two valleys.Shortly after Wiedenest, the Kreuzkirche, idyllically situated between half-timbered houses, invites you to take a short break. A fountain with fresh, clear spring water rounds off the little break. In Bergneustadt a short detour to the old town is worthwhile. A few half-timbered houses are traditionally kept here in the mountain colors (black, white and green). In the old coffee shop you can also take a rustic break and spoil yourself with the famous Bergische waffles.Already in the next town, Derschlag, the Dörspe flows into the Agger, which you follow for the next six kilometers until shortly before Dieringhausen in the suburb Vollmerhausen. The train station of Dieringhausen is easy to reach and is not one kilometer from the end of the tour.Where you have been cycling along the old track beds all the time, it is definitely worth visiting the local railway museum in Dieringhausen before you leave. On the 11,000 square meter area of the former railway depot you can experience real contemporary history and get an impressive feel for what mighty steam locomotives used to roll along here.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    162 mi
  • Duration
    17:00 h
  • Elevation
    9,400 ft

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Railway lines & industrial heritage – Cycling through the Bergisches Land
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