In order to establish a connection to the living in the broadest sense, the association Ad Pacem regularly organises bicycle tours. Because the bicycle is an important means of mobility that is carbon-free, economical and good for physical and mental health.
On cycle paths that lead through fields and forests, participants (re)discover villages and neighbourhoods in the fresh air, sights and monuments that bear witness to the history of our regions, including the most recent.
The ecological change that is essential for a desirable and more nature-friendly future is also achieved through cycling. In the city, cycling improves the quality of life for all: less noise, less air pollution related to climate change, less dependence on energy sources related to the current wars.
On Saturday morning, 20 May 2023, eight of us had arranged to meet at Bettembourg station for a 46 km bike ride on the cycle paths in the south of Luxembourg.
We first cycled through Peppange (past the former Benedictine convent) and Hellange, then crossed the French border in the middle of fields and discovered the villages of Hagen and Évrange on our way, as well as the monuments to the victims of the two world wars. In Évrange, we paused to visit the neo-Gothic church dedicated to Saint Albin, which is open to the public, and to admire the stained glass windows inside, two of which have war and peace as their theme. (The church was partially destroyed during the Second World War and restored after the war) .
After crossing the border again, we stopped in Aspelt near the Baroque castle and the bronze statue of Peter of Aspelt (1240-1320, Elector and Archbishop of Mainz), erected in his honour in 2021 on the square in front of the church. The sculpture in question, however, left us rather perplexed due to the artistic choices: Peter von Aspelt is namely depicted without any episcopal insignia and has a strangely androgynous appearance.
The lunch break took place in Dalheim at the foot of the Eagle Monument. This is a column about ten metres high, with a Roman eagle perched on top of a globe. This monument was erected in 1855 by the “Société archéologique luxembourgeoise” to commemorate the presence of the Romans in Dalheim, in particular the Vicus Ricciacum. Just a few steps away from this site, we were also able to visit the Gallo-Roman theatre on our way down to Dalheim. This ancient amphitheatre, which could seat about 3,500 spectators, probably dates from the 2nd century.
We then drove back via Hassel, Alzingen and Hesperange, where we had a last break at the pond in the middle of the city park. At 4.30 p.m., our group arrived back at the car park at Bettemburg station, the end point of this cycle tour, in ideal weather conditions.
Twelve members of the Ad Pacem association met in the middle of the morning on Saturday 29 April 2023 on the car park of the railway station in Bettembourg (L) for a bike ride. After a rainy and cold start to the spring, this bike ride provided hours of fresh air from the meadows and fields.
Energy dependency The association supports cycling, also in view of the current wars, which are often wars for the control of oil and gas fields or for the dependence of entire populations who do not have them.
Oil and gas energies are powerful levers of power in the hands of certain belligerent states, as is the case of Russia, which has long been a major supplier of these energies to Europe and the Ukraine.
It is true that cycling is only partly a way out of these energy dependencies. But it symbolises the ecological transition to renewable and healthy energy sources for humans.
Dead miners for the development of the country After passing through Dudelange-Burange and Budersberg, Kayl, Tétange and Rumelange with its Mining Museum, the group took a lunch break at the place called “Léiffrächen”, at the foot of the National Miners’ Monument which commemorates the very many people who died in the mines of Luxembourg from the second half of the 18th century until the 1950s. It should be remembered that several young people between 13 and 15 years of age were among the victims of dangerous work in the mines.
The tour continued with the descent to the Ellergrond, a nature reserve near the French border, to Esch-sur-Alzette. The group then took the new footbridge of the cycle path that leads to the heart of the Belval site. After a short break, the group continued towards Lallange, Schifflange, Huncherange to arrive at the car park of the station of Bettembourg, terminus of the tour, around 4 pm.
Cycle paths without cyclists With this cycling day, the association reminds all political leaders that cycling must be politically encouraged among the population. During the whole day, the participants hardly met any other cycling fans on the cycle paths, which were all in perfect condition.
On Saturday 9 October 2022, the Ad Pacem association organised a bike ride on the cycle paths of south-western Luxembourg. Ten people met at 9 am to start from the station in Pétange. The group took several breaks along the 40 km route. At noon, everyone had lunch in the open air. As the route was organised in a loop, at about 5 p.m. the whole group arrived again at the station of Pétange from where they had started. This outing through the fields and along the woods was another experience to rediscover the bicycle as an ecological, healthy and group way of travelling.
Fifteen members of the Ad Pacem association cycled together for two days on cycle paths in Luxembourg. This bike ride made people understand how much this means of expression reduces air pollution and climate change. And it brings well-being and peace to the mind, soul and body.
On the morning of April 15, they left the Glacis in Luxembourg-city by bike, taking the cycle path no. 2 which, passing by the red bridge and the Kirchberg, led them to Echternach.
The lunch break was at the bus stop in the small village of Rippeg. At the height of Consdorf there was the possibility of seeing on a landscaped square, just on the edge of the cycle path, the enormous American bomb, found in 1990, and which dated from the 2nd World War. The group arrived at the edge of Lake Echternach around 3.30 p.m.
Visit of the Gallo-Roman villa just behind.
The guide of the Museum explained very well the life of the inhabitants of this Gallo-Roman villa which was inhabited from the 1st to the 5th century of our era.
From the roof, which is also the terrace of the museum, you can get a good idea of the size and considerable dimensions of this farm and the land that surrounded it at the time. Inside the museum, the visitor can realize the importance given to the classical studies of the young people of the Gallo-Roman aristocracy as well as to the art of cooking at the time.
The site offers a good overview of the many details that the excavations have brought to light so far.
Evening dinner was taken outdoors on the terrace of the Echternach youth hostel.
Visit of the Basilica and the crypt
On Friday morning, everyone got on their bikes in the direction of Echternach where the group attended the 9 a.m. mass in the basilica. Afterwards, the priest Mr. Erasmy was kind enough to briefly explain the history of the basilica from its beginnings in the 7th century to the present day. He reviewed the various destructions and reconstructions that the basilica has undergone over the centuries.
Under his guidance, the group visited the crypt where the sarcophagus of Saint Willibrord is located, who evangelized this region by propagating the Christian faith there. He is notably the patron saint of Luxembourg and the dancing procession celebrated on Pentecost Tuesday to honor his memory has been on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity since 2010.
Around 10:30 a.m., the group left Echternach along the Sûre on cycle path n. 3. Shortly before noon a lunch break took place in Born, a small village near the Sûre. After regaining strength, thanks to a barbecue, the group set off again on track n. 3 to the port of Mertert to now take track n. 4 to Niederanven. It is precisely here that the route joins the cycle path n. 2 and the last kilometers of the course thus corresponded to the first of the day before. The arrival at Glacis was around 7:30 p.m.
Tired after these two days of cycling, everyone was able to realize how much, in contact with the air and nature, these physical efforts on the bike help to find relaxation and satisfaction.
But traveling by bike avoids CO2 pollution and reduces greenhouse effects. They support the desired ecological change.