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Start: Altenkirchen station
Finish: Au station (Sieg)
Distance: 30.1 km
Route description: Starting from Altenkirchen station, the tour generally follows the well-signposted Altenkirchen circular network for the first two-thirds of the way. From in front of the station, turn left along Route 5 and follow it to a left turn-off over the tracks (0.9 km) onto a path through the meadows of the Wied Valley with a narrow bridge and on past the edge of Almersbach to Schöneberg and Neiterschen. In the next town, Neitersen, follow the cycle lane along the urban main road for 0.6 km (5.8 km), before embarking on a long stretch through the valley of Birnbach on a long, gradual, barely noticeable climb on the quiet K15 country road through Hemmelzen (9.0 km) to Birnbach (10.5 km). This is the first summit of the day and the last 500 m stretch through the village is quite steep. From the centre of the village you can follow the new cycle route signs to Hamm and Au (Sieg). The signs give distances in km to local and more distant destinations as far as Hamm. A fast downhill section takes you to Wölmersen. Leave Route 5 before the village, continuing straight ahead. Ride straight through the village, turn right at the church, then leave the village and continue straight ahead into the forest (13.0 km). Continue through a dip in the meadows to Heupelzen and the little village of Beul. Just a few hundred metres away, the Raiffeisen tower is waiting to be climbed (15.8 km). This is the highest point and the watershed between the Sieg and Wied rivers. Continue along a tarmacked farm road across the field and through the forest on the outskirts of Hilgenroth to country road K140 with a turnoff to the former Marienthal Abbey (20.3 km). The route continues along narrow, quiet country roads to Racksen and down into the valley of the Seelbach stream (23.4 km), where it follows a wonderful valley path beside the stream for 3 km – in preparation for the final strenuous climb to Hamm with its attractive centre (27.7 km) and the Raiffeisen Museum. You can freewheel down the last 2.5 km into the Sieg Valley and cross the river to Au station (Sieg).
Attractions: Altenkirchen · Almersbach: Protestant parish church · Hemmelzen: Glückauf ore mine · Birnbach: 11th century Romanesque church (oldest half-timbered building in the Northern Westerwald) · Raiffeisen tower (35 m high, 177 steps, 300 m from the route) on the Beulskopf with panoramic views of the Westerwald · Marienthal: former abbey and pilgrimage church (0.7 km from the route) · Hamm/Sieg: Raiffeisen Museum
Bus & train: Tel. +49 (0) 64 31 / 5845 -13 · www.hlb-online.de (only german)