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near Mützenich, Nordrhein-Westfalen (Deutschland)
Cycling track from Monschau on the Vennbahn (www.vennbahn.eu/en ) to St. Vith and then back on mostly quiet roads to Monschau. In 2016, the part of the Vennbahn between Waimes and St. Vith has been asphalted, and now suited for the racing bike. On the way back you also ride a stretch of the Vennquerbahn, another cycling track which has recently been completely asphalted (April 2017). Highlights of this tour include the High Fens area, the valley of the Our, the quiet roads in the Ardennes, and the picturesque town of Monschau. Between Monschau station and St. Vith you ride on a former railway track with very gradual ascent and descent. On the way back, there are more hills, but apart from the steep climb between the town of Monschau and Monschau station, the climbs are not very difficult.
The tour starts in Monschau station (Belgian territory), where there is also free parking. From here you cycle on the Vennbahn all the way to St. Vith, passing by the castle Gut Reichenstein, the station at Sourbrodt with old trains, Waimes, the valley of the Amblève, and the old railway viaduct in Born. In St. Vith, you leave the Vennbahn and climb the Prümerberg to Schlierbach, and then descend into the Our valley. You follow this valley up past Schönberg to Andler, and then start the longest ascend of the day from ~440 m to ~640 m past Eimerscheid to Holzheim. You then descend to Honsfeld where you enter the Vennquerbahn, another cycling path on a former railway line. You can continue on this cycling path to Weywertz where it connects to the Vennbahn, but on this tour you leave the cycling path shortly after the reservoir near Bütgenbach. You descend into the Warche valley and then climb to Nidrum. On quiet roads you continue to the entrance of the Elsenborn Lager (military camp) and then follow the N669, which is a bit busier, to Kalterherberg in Germany. From Kalterherberg you descend to the Perlenbachtalsperre and then climb a short stretch on the busy B258 to Höfen. From here you have a great descent into Monschau in the Rur valley. After a short touristic tour through the center a steep climb (100 m ascent in 920 m, or an average 11 %) brings you back to the station. If you do not fancy the steep climb you can also use the main route to the station which does the same ascent in 2 km (i.e. 5%).
You can find something to eat and drink on various places along the Vennbahn, and e.g. in St. Vith, Schönberg, Bütgenbach and Monschau.
Here the climb starts to Holzheim taking you from about 440 m to 640 m, the highest point of the route.
Here starts the steepest climb of the day (100 m ascent in 920 m, or an average 11 %), bringing you back to the station. If you do not fancy the steep climb you can also use the main route to the station which does the same ascent in 2 km (i.e. 5%).
Here you have a nice descent with great views on a broad asphalt road into the center of Monschau
Castle close to the Vennbahn
Picturesque town on the Rur river.
Valley of the Our river is quiet and scenic.
Here you climb the Prümerberg through fir forest. At the end you have a great view of the Our valley.
Former railway bridge in disuse near Born.
Bridge across the Rur with great views of the "Fachwerk" houses.
Station of Sourbrodt with old railway tracks, disused trains and carriages, and station buildings.
Here two former railways split, which are now both popular cycle paths. Left you continue on the Vennbahn, right takes you on to Malmedy. The stretch from here to St. Vith has recently (2016) been asphalted.
Here you enter the Vennquerbahn, another former railway track. The last former stretch of gravel has now been asphalted. The tarring was very recent on my trip, but should now be ready.
You go through the Warche valley on a small road.This river feeds the reservoir at Bütgenbach-