Frame Breaker

Two adjacent districts in the North Eifel have pooled their resources to make 20 new mountain bike routes complete with signposting, leaflets and a website with downloadable tracks. The routes are in two groups, one for each district ('kreis' Düren and Euskirchen), and all the routes in each group are next to each other so that it is easy to combine them. There are a couple of 'difficult' black routes, a handful of 'easy' blue routes and the rest are moderately difficult red routes.

Freifahrt Eifel

Yesterday, I explored one of the black ones, route L, with the interesting name of 'rahmenbrecher' or frame-breaker. It is quite short, 28 km with 700 height-meters, but as I cycled to the start from Heimbach (and back) that added up to 66 km and over 1300 height meters.  This is a great route, highly recommended. Narrow singletracks perched along the edges of steep hillsides (encouraging accurate steering), grinding steep uphill toils which go on forever, and some wonderful flowing downhill singletrack through wildflower meadows and beautiful forest which you just did not want to stop. The landscape is also wonderful, with numerous great far-flung views.

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steep uphill

Wildflower meadow singletrack

The track was clearly signposted, not with the small signs near the ground that we are used to as mountain bikers, but with great big signs on metal posts that will be there for ever. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to take the GPS track with you because there are a couple of places where the signs are missing (or perhaps overgrown) and otherwise it is not immediately obvious which way to go.

You can get the GPS tracks from the website, which unfortunately is not up to the standard of the trails. It does not load properly on a phone, the text misses some information (how much of the trail is on roads?) and the photographs do not do the trails justice. Some functionality is a little hidden; to see the gradients along the trail you have to first click the 'elevation profile' button, then point your cursor to the line of the profile, and then a box pops up on the map (not the profile) showing the gradient. It is nice that they offer translations in Dutch and English, but very unfortunate that the translations read like something done in an old verson of Google Translate, although given the number of typing mistakes it is clear that this is a human translation. Let's hope that this first version will be improved on.

Nevertheless, if the rest of the trails are anything like as good as 'Rhamenbrecher' then I am happy to put up with a few shortcomings in the online information.


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