Sporty Summer

The “Scheid Ride” with Mike McQuaide

McQuaide’s cycling friends enjoy the view over Bourscheid valley Mike McQuaide

McQuaide’s cycling friends enjoy the view over Bourscheid valley Mike McQuaide

Each week, Delano invites a keen cyclist to share their favourite rides in Luxembourg. This week Mike McQuaide, An American in Luxembourg, talks about the Scheid Ride, starting from Michelau train station.

Bike used

Road, mountain and gravel bike. 

Favourite cycling route

I have far too many favorites to choose just one so here’s one of my favorites, this one best ridden on a mountain- or gravel-bike. I call this the Scheid Ride, because there are several -scheids on this ride: Bourscheid, Lipperscheid and Luxembourg’s grandaddy of -scheids, Schlindermanderscheid. For good measure, there’s also a Dirbach.

Begin this route by taking the train (and your bike) to Michelau, the first CFL stop north of Ettelbruck. Once off the train, look west and up at the ugly clear-cut hillside on the far side of the Sauer River. That’s where you’re going. Clear-cuts are truly nasty, but like this one, they sometimes afford terrific views. 

To get there, cross the Sauer River and follow the dirt road to the left, up and into the still-wooded lower hillside. Climb steadily as you wind this way and that, eventually heading north and reaching the clear-cut. From here, Michelau looks like a tiny toy town down in the valley.

The road soon gets steeper and rougher, but no matter. Suck it up and sally forth for you’ll soon reach a viewpoint with the best views to be found of Bourscheid Castle, just a few hundred meters across the valley and perched perfectly atop the neighboring hill. (Reach this point about 3 kilometers from where you started in Michelau.) Once you’ve photo’d the fantastic scenery and selfied ‘til you can’t possibly selfie no mo’, follow the gravel road west and up where you’ll soon reach the paved road to Bourscheid Village.

Suck it up and sally forth for you’ll soon reach a viewpoint with the best views to be found of Bourscheid Castle
Mike McQuaide, An American in Luxembourg

Mike McQuaide, An American in Luxembourg

From here you have a couple options all with the same result: after a rollicking descent you end up at Goebelsmuhle, gateway to Schlindermanderscheid. The option I prefer is to first head west a bit (far-reaching views of the Éislek abound in all directions!) and just before Kehmen, turn right onto a paved farm road which soon becomes gravel and enters the forest. What follows is a crazy-fun, rumblin’-tumblin’ descent which ends up in tinier-than-tiny Dirbach, the very definition of a little-known, get-away-from-it-all, riverside village. Then again, there’s a big hotel and camping area here so I suppose it’s not all that little-known. (Dirbach is about 12 km from your Michelau départ.) 

Dirbach is just upriver from Goebelsmuhle, so go there and then climb up, up, up to Schlindermanderscheid. This is a tough hill, but it’s paved and also, it’s Schlindermanderscheid—with 21 letters, the longest-named place in Luxembourg! You could say it’s the Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch of Luxembourg. (I’d like to hear you try.) 

From Schlindermanderscheid, you can drop down via trail and dirt road to Ënnerschlënner, which is basically Lëtzebuergesch shorthand for Underschlindermanderscheid. From, here make for Lipperscheid, the last climb and Scheid of the day. Pass through the village and at the top of the hill, find a dirt road heading south and a scenic-overlook sign reading ‘Gringlay’. (Or maybe it’s ‘Gringlee’; Lëtzebuergesch spelling encourages variations on a theme.)

Gringlay (or Gringlee) is a paraglider launch spot, an open viewpoint offering spectacular views across a sweeping bend in the Sauer River to Bourscheid Castle which rises majestically above the valley below. It’s my favorite view in Luxembourg and one that my bikes and I return to time and again.

Fun too, is that much of the today’s ride can be traced on the view in front of you. Along with the castle, all three Scheids are visible and even the icky clear-cut too. (But not the Dirbach.)

There’s a picnic table here so enjoy a bite to eat if you’re peckish and again, load up your phone with scenics and selphies. Michelau is just a couple downhill kilometers away so when it’s time to go, just head southish and westish—there are several farm roads and trails up here that lead down—and you’ll be back in no time. 

Level of difficulty

Difficult. Total distance: about 24 km with 750 meters of climbing.

Highlights and comments

Hella views galore!

Why I ride

Cycling is maybe the only thing I know of that feels exactly the same to me as it did when I was a kid. That sense of fun, freedom and adventure, not to mention invincibility! Until, that is, someone much faster passes me by like my wheels are stuck in cement. So, I guess I ride to be a kid again. Then again, maybe I’m just kidding myself. (Ahem.)

What is missing from the cycle infrastructure in Luxembourg?

You know that cool bike wash station like they have at Hesper Park? I want them to install one of those just outside my front door so that I’ll quit tracking so much muck and mud into our apartment. 

More seriously though, when it comes to bike infrastructure, Luxembourg is so far ahead of where I came from (in America) that I’m not inclined to be critical; I’m just grateful as hell for what’s here.