Tandemtreffen 2022

At last! After two cancelled years due to Covid, we were able to meet up with the Tandemtreffen group in Germany again. This time the event was held in the Saarland, an area of Germany that nestles up against the French and Luxembourg borders. We travelled out mid-week, stopping overnight outside Dover to catch an early morning ferry and then overnighting in Belgium to arrive on the Thursday for a ‘meet and greet’.

The view from our room in Belgium on the way out. Overlooking the River Meuse south of Namur.

Our hotel for the weekend was the Hotel Restaurant Laux in the small village of Weiler, not too far from the River Saar. With 25 ‘pairs’ and one solo it was a full house for breakfast and evening meals but the staff of the hotel coped well. For lunch we were given a few extras to add to whatever we wanted from the large choice of foods at breakfast. This was handy for Karon as she could avoid the bread rolls and other carbs and focus more on hard-boiled eggs and cold meats etc.

Karl and Ruth, organisers of TT2022 and ride leaders of the main (medium) group.
All the rides were led, with the majority of pairs choosing the ‘medium’ length rides at about 50 miles. There was plenty of bike storage in the two double garages. The village was quiet – we probably doubled the population for the weekend!
Day 1: We rode the route clock-wise, climbing into the hills and crossing into France, then dropping into the Mosel Valley and running alongside the river then crossing to the Luxembourg bank. After a lunch stop at Remich we re-crossed back into Germany and climbed into the hills again, heading for the River Saar for a short stretch before turning for ‘home’. 40 miles with some chunky bits!
Regrouping high on the hills of the Saarland, about to cross into France.
Alongside the Mosel on the Luxembourg side.
After lunch in Remich, another long climb away from the Mosel and back into Germany.
None of the climbs were particularly steep fortunately but the group ended up well spread out. Like us, quite a few had e-assist, which made the climbs easier.
Stefan and Anja managing under their own steam.
More time to chat after the climb as we regroup again.
The network of small farm roads was perfect for virtually traffic-free riding and, for much of the ride, kept us off main roads.
After our rides, we would sit on the patio for a while and grab a glass of apple juice – provided by the hotel – or something stronger from the bar then get changed for the evening meal.
Once we’d eaten, there would be a short talk/presentation about a tour one of the pairs had undertaken – I gave a presentation on our ride to the Med in 2019. We were also told about the location for next year’s TT.

Day 2: Riding the Saar. We crossed the Saar soon after joining it and followed the east bank almost as far as Saarlouis. There we had time for a quick stop before the group split with some staying in the town while the rest of us pushed on to Volklingen. Then it was back to Saarlouis to meet the Mayor in the town centre before we split into smaller groups for a brisk ride back along the west bank of the river.
A brief stop at the Heilquelle Bietzen (Healing Spring). Water bought to the surface from Bietzen‘s Spa Spring is groundwater that is between 5,000 and 15,000 years old.
The outskirts of Saarlouis alongside the ‘Alte Saar’ – the original course of the river, the banks of which were heavily fortified. The river now skirts the town to the east, changed sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century.
The first stop at Saarlouis, at a small rest area by the river. Some of the group stayed while the rest of us pushed on to Volklingen, returning later to all meet up back here.
Back at Saarlouis we all cycled into the town centre and were greeted by the town Mayor. We were singled out, along with Alan and Margaret, also from the UK and Johannes and Annie from the Netherlands, and were presented with a gift from the town for coming so far to visit! As this wound up, it started to rain, so most of the group headed for home. We split into smaller groups and the pace back was pretty brisk!

Day 3: A ride of two halves – first alongside the Saar, heading north for Saarburg then returning via a long climb to reach the Cloef viewing area high above the big bend in the river and overlooking Mettlach.
A bright start, heading for the river.
Later on in the day we would visit the viewing area on the skyline.
At the Lutwinerskappele, above the River Saar.
At Lohmüle we crossed the river and ran beside the road towards Saarburg.
We would re-cross the river in Saarburg, to reach the old town.
The old town was very popular with tourists, so finding a place for coffee, food or an ice-cream was not a problem.
It was a long climb out from Saarburg and a mechanical on one of the bikes meant a long wait at one point. Later the route went off-road for a while and we passed one of the other groups near Orscholz and the Cloef.
Looking down from the Cloef, on the way we had passed earlier.
Alan, Margaret and Karon at the Cloef viewing terrace above the River Saar.
After a short main road-side stretch we were back onto quiet forest tracks and farm roads between the fields and the wind-turbines.
And the rest was downhill! (Almost)
The long descents off the high hills were most welcome and great fun.
All bar one of the Pinos on TT2022 – Roll on TT2023!