The best position from where to experience the vineyards of Alsace is the bicycle saddle. At just the right pace, you have time to capture the colours, the smell, the tranquillity and the freedom.
There is very good map over covering the area and the bicycle paths of the southern departement, Haut-Rhin. It can be bought in all small shops for tourists. The map is ideal for transport between the villages. In the villages, you should rely on maps at the main entrances and the signs to the different growers.
Alternatively, you can use the maps in this web-site.
In Haut-Rhin, the blue signs of the "Bicycle route des vins" are easy to follow. The bike paths make use of small roads croosing the vineyards, most of the time on pavement, sometimes on gravel. The roads will take you to the heart of the vineyards, and you will feel like you are all alone.
The official map of Bas-Rhin is called "Le tout Bas-Rhin à vélo". It is quite bad. In addition, it appears as it is only distributed via the Tourist Office in Barr. The network is not at all as good as in Haut-Rhin.
The bike road from Bergheim into Bas-Rhin follows the ancient Gallo-Roman road from Lyon to Trier. So here you will be on historic soil!
There is no excuse for not protecting your most valuable asset, your head. Use a comfortable bike helmet. The slopes can be very steep and suddenly you may find yourself running down into a runoff-ditch crossing the path or losing control in some other way.
In all villages, you will find a nice places to rest for a picnic lunch. When your plan your shopping however not that most shops are closed between noon and 2 p.m.
Along most roads, an occational tree will invite you to spread out your picnic blanket in some shade. Take a rest and a snack, but leave the spot at least as tidy you found it.
Do not underestimate the hills! The same slopes that give power to the wine will suck the power out of your legs. If the temperature is 30-35 C and the sun is out, the conditions can be very tough. Plan your ride so that you do not find yourself on a hillside under a burning sun and no water in your flask. If you have a blood pressure, be extra careful.
Remember that between villages such as Hunawihr and Riquewihr, the difference in elevation is a good 100 meters.
Take short stages, and aim for cool cellars with tempting wines. But do not forget to spit! If you are on a bike, no grower will expect that you should carry cases of wines, but you may come back for wines later on with your car.
Since Alsace or very long and not at all wide, you have to use your imagination to found good day-tours. If you stay in a certain village, you may have to through your bike in the car, and drive for half an hour to a good starting point.
Start anywhere on the circle created by Kayserberg-Kientzheim-Riquewihr-Hunawihr-Bergheim, the south via Ribeauvillé Gare directly to Bennwihr, followed by the Sigolsheim-Kienzheim-Kaysersberg.
Alternatively, when you cross Rue d´Ostheim, you may go to Zellenberg , and follow D1 to Mittelwihr and Bennwihr.
Park you car in Winzenheim and take the bike road to Wettolsheim and Eguisheim. From Eguisheim, you have a very demanding climb to Husseren-les-Chateaux. From there you have a wonderful descent via the Muscat villages of Voeglinshoffen and Geuberswihr to Pfaffenheim. From Pfaffenheim, you have a flat ride back to Winzenheim.
Go to Wihr-au-Val where you park yor car. Go to the railway station, Wihr-au-Val Gare. From there follow the signs into the Valley, way past Munster. Going down is very fast. From Munster you may go on the north side of the main road, in that case you come straight back into Wihr-au-Val.
After the bicycle ride, visit Shoenheitz, the only producer in Wihr-au-Val, but very very good.
Park in Andlau and follow the bike road west of Mittelbergheim to Barr. Then you may go back to Mittelbergheim, Eichshoffen, and Itterswiller. Unless you want to go a few km to Nothalten and back, take the main road back to Andlau.
The area is ideal for bike-rides. The small roads are abundant and the traffic is not at ll dense. The villages are close to each other, and the cherry trees offer refreshments along the way. Thanks to Mont Scharrach, the masochist will find many opportunities to feel the acids burn in the thighs. The possibilities are inexhaustible.!
From Ingersheim you may take fairly safe ride into central Colmar. You come straight at the museum Underlinden where you should spend a few hours.
If you are tired of vines, take a trip along the Rhine.
Go to Marckolsheim and park by the war monument. Go south on regular roads to Breichlau, a twin city on the Rhine. In Germany, you have a very nice and calm on or close to the banks of the river. At the power station in Marckolsheim you should, just as Tour de France in 2005, cross the river and find you way back to the monument.
It is very temping to start climbing the Kayserstuhl mountain, but that will take some more planning.