Luxembourg was considered a cycling country long before the success of the Schleck brothers. And this has become more apparent in recent years with the nationwide expansion of cycle paths and a whole series of other initiatives. The impressive variety in such a small area, the seemingly endless impressions of Luxembourg’s street life and the many people who provide an insight into their region, was admirably captured by Rom Helbach in his book 'Lëtz Bike'.
When Rom Helbach talks about cycling in Luxembourg, he goes into rapture: 'You can find everything in Luxembourg', says the freelance photographer and cycling enthusiast. 'There are many possibilities of combining activities in Luxembourg. You can ride a whole afternoon along the flat stretches of the Sauer and Moselle rivers, and only 20 minutes further on you will find more difficult areas where you’ll immediately know whether or not you dare face those challenges.'
This diversity is reflected in the regions. More traditionally, the Éislek, as the foothills of the Ardennes are called in Luxembourg, is a hilly area; while the Guttland and the routes along the Moselle and the Sûre are rather flat. However, Rom Helbach cannot completely confirm this. 'Luxembourg is a passe-partout cycling country – even in the Éislek, you can ride along relatively flat routes. However, there are also stretches here which even professionals admit are very difficult to master.'
Whether you’re a cycling tourist, a family or a passionate biker, everyone gets their money’s worth in Luxembourg.
Who is Rom Helbach?
Rom Helbach, born in 1959, is a passionate cyclist and photographer – two passions he likes to combine. He left his job at a bank in 2016 and has been working as a freelance photographer ever since.
High quality cycling paths
The routes are generally of very good quality. Most of the paths can also be used with a racing bike or a travel bike, as most of the field and meadow paths are asphalted. This means you seldom have to take the country roads. Just be careful if you have to though, because traffic has increased in the past decades, and this is even noticeable on the back roads.
'If you don’t ride a lot, then you should choose tours that take you along cycle paths or field and meadow paths,' says Rom Helbach. 'However, the LVI [Luxembourg Bicycle Initiative – editor's note] also offers courses, and this is very welcome.'
A whole different world
What is on offer is extraordinary: just a stone’s throw away from the country’s streets, a whole different world opens up.
'On my home stretch around Mondorf, I come to a point where I can see the whole border area of the three countries.' For Rom Helbach it is clear that the bicycle is the perfect means of transport for discovering the country: 'When you travel by bike, you simply see more of the country.'
The book, titled 'Lëtz Bike', can be ordered via Letzshop or purchased in any bookshop in Luxembourg. Across the book’s 240 pages, personalities and inhabitants of Luxembourg present their favourite routes and provide insider tips. The 30 Bike Tours + Bike Spots are all available for download as GPX files. At the same time, an app is available for download via a QR code.
A book for all who love cycling
And so the idea behind Rom Helbach’s book 'Lëtz Bike' was born. Luxembourg has a lot to offer, both in terms of cycling and landscapes, and Lëtz Bike' should give you a good idea of that. Occasional cyclists are just as appealing as families or passionate bikers. However, readers who have little to do with cycling will also get their money’s worth.
In concrete terms, the book presents 30 routes that have been selected together with Luxembourg citizens of various origins. Among them are cycling professionals like Elise Maes and Ralph 'Dizzy' Diseviscourt, as well as hobby cyclists and friends who regularly undertake tours. The routes have also been carefully selected – there is (almost) no overlapping of the 30 tours, so each one offers something different.
All regions and difficulty levels are included here, from small family tours to XXL tours of over 100 km in length that demand everything. 'The book should appeal to everyone,' says Rom Helbach. 'The project has been a lot of fun for me and all the people involved in it.' Besides that, his other passion on top of cycling is very much part of the book, namely photography. Large-format photos show completely different sides of Luxembourg, which should also give locals new insights into their home country.