Having awoken in Neuf-Brisach, we glanced outside to see that the weather had mostly cleared and that is was shaping up to be a much nicer day than the last. That was very welcome news.
After a fantastic breakfast at the hotel, we gathered up our gear and were about to set out when #1 noticed that several of his spokes were loose. Though mechanical problems are never welcome on a bike, we were at least glad that we could make a quick repair under sunny skies rather than torrential rain.
#1 re-tightened and trued his wheel in short order, and we were on our way, stopping briefly at a local supermarket to pick up a bit of chocolate, sausages, cheese, bread, and some carrots to have for lunch.
Leaving Neuf-Brisach, we passed through the town’s wall and finally got a proper view of the epic fortifications that make Neuf-Brisach unique. Huge walls surround the entire town and serve as a permanent reminder that Neuf-Brisach was actually built as a border guard town in the early 1700s. The fortifications are well worth a visit.
Exiting Neuf-Brisach, the route took us first through some fields and the town of Biesheim before guiding us onto a tow-path alongside a canal. Turning North, the canal took us quickly to the town of Kunheim where it joined the larger Canal du Rhône au Rhin (Rhone-Rhine Canal).
From there, the route would follow the canal for 60 kilometres into Strasbourg, offering just a few sights to see along the way. The tow-path that parallels the canal is in great shape and perfect for riding on, so we covered distance very quickly. This was good news, because as the canal is arrow-straight and lined with trees, the scenery got quite boring long before we had completed the full distance.
Passing Artzenheim, we decided to dip into the town for a few minutes and see if there was much to see. Though it was just past 1:00pm, we found little going on and decided to press on after just several minutes in town. The relative quietness of the French towns was something we found to be quite common during our time in France. During the day, many of the towns we visited seemed to be nearly deserted. I expect this must be because the locals were either working in the surrounding agricultural areas or in the larger cities.
Rejoining the canal path, we rode for several more kilometres before making a suggested stop at the Maginot Line Memorial just outside of Marckolsheim, France. Built in the lead up to World War II, the Maginot Line fortified the French border for hundreds of kilometres, particularly the French-German border. Generally intact, components of the Maginot Line ranging from full casemates to small blockhouses are visible in many places along the Rhine route.
The memorial itself is worth a stop because the casemate can be entered to view the interior which houses a small museum. Located just a few minutes riding off the main route, it’s a must stop. We took many pictures and spent far longer than we planned enjoying the sights.
Leaving the memorial, we again rejoined the canal and quickly realized we were in danger of being very late to meet the proprietor of our overnight accommodation if we didn’t put the hammer down and ride as quickly as possible into the southern end of Strasbourg.
No matter, the tow-path continued to be completely straight, flat, and offered little to catch the eye. Thank goodness it was such a nice day. We made great time, found our way to our overnight halt, stashed the bikes, and went into Strasbourg to have some dinner.
Legs no longer getting sore after a day of riding, I hoped that Strasbourg would be well worth a stop. We had planned Strasbourg as our only rest day on the tour. No riding was planned for the following day; it was time to practice some walking.
Distance ridden: 80.21 km
Max speed: 31.6 km/h
Average speed: 19.7 km/h
Seat time: 4:03
Total distance: 780 km