Rocking the Red Earth while exploring the former mining area of the South and its most exciting trails

 

The South of Luxembourg is the region of the Red Earth ("Terres Rouges") and the steel mills. After more than 100 years of mining activity, the pits were closed at the beginning of the eighties of the last century. The mining activity has changed the landscape dramatically but since then, nature has taken back its rights and now, the new green is contrasting with the old red rocks. Two Nature reserves ("Haard", "Giele Botter") have been declared within the whole area which has hence become a paradise for hikers and bikers with a maze of endless singletrails, assorted with short up- and downhills. Concentration and technical dexterity are essential but there are never more than 100 m of climbing in a row. The will be two day-trips, starting from Esch-Gaalgenberg, on the heights of Esch/Alzette, in the midst of a luxuriant natural environment.

 

 

The trailcamp as it is planned is most suitable for beginners and intermediate bikers with a sound physical condition (but can easily be made fun and full with challenges for advanced bikers within an "on demand" event). The difficulties of the trails in the South have a wide spectrum; often, the trickiest parts can be avoided, by just posting a small detour. Alternatively, the guide will always be able to spot an even “dirtier” descent than the last one… In any case, you should have an excellent command of your bike, as well as strong legs, for there may be steep climbs.

 

For beginners: approx 40 km and 750 m of climbing per day

For advanced bikers: up to 60 km, with around 1000 m of climbing per day.

 

Cool Videos on biking in that Area: 1 2 

 

 

Detailed description

 

1. Day: From Esch-Gaalgenberg to Rumelange (and back)

 

We will leave the meeting point direction south-east to warm up on the first singletrails of the day. In the forest between Esch-sur-Alzette and Rumelange, the trails are technically not too difficult and the biking is fluid. When reaching Rumelange, we may stop at the terrace of the “Musée des Mines” for a cup of coffee or a sip of history. Near Rumelange, the trails become more rocky and narrow and we will have some nice views over canyons created by the mining activity. We will continue to Tétange and Kayl, where some really steep uphills await us. As a matter of fact, around there, the tour includes some really beautiful paths in the "Haard" Nature Reserve. Towards the end, we will get our kicks on the “Rollercoaster” trails of the “Lallénger Bierg” in Schifflange, where there is a fully-fledged bike-park. We then head back to the hotel on the “Gaalgebierg” in Esch-sur-Alzette with some last really nice technical sections.

 

 

2. Day: From Esch-Gaalgenberg to Differdange (and back)

 

On the second day, we will leave Esch-Gaalgebierg North-West towards Belvaux, pedaling some 3-4 km on an easy road. On that occasion, we will cross Esch-Belval, where the former steel mills are being transformed into a Docklands-style business district, keeping whole parts of the old halls and machines to form a kind of open-air museum. Arriving on another “Gaalgebierg” (lit.: "the hill with the gallow"), we can do an extra round on a 3 km trail specially created for mountain biking, quite technical and strenuous. We will then continue to Differdange and Fonds de Gras, the following kilometres being very varied: singletrails, large forest tracks and some portions of paved cycling roads. In the valley of “Fonds de Gras” we will find an old railway station and a pub, unchanged since the 1950’s: time to take a break. Leaving “Fonds de Gras” behind, we will go up and down again into the next valley which hosts the old mining village Lasauvage ("the wild one") where we will admire the typical architecture of the 20th century mining worker's homes. We soon ride back to Belvaux following the French border, through a small valley with a little river, passing some more remains of the mining industry. Back in Belvaux, we return by road to Esch-Gaalgebierg.

 

 

 

Organizational aspects

 

The camp which is open to home sleepers or with 1 overnight stay is based in the southern part of the country, the so-called "Red-Rock Area". The overnight stays are foreseen in Esch/Alzette, in the Youth Hostel which is close to the train station, or in a very comfortable **** Hotel overlooking Esch/Alzette, lying in the middle of the trails. The minimum number of participants is 6.

 

The "Rocking the Red Earth" trail camp starts on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 9h00 and ends on the following day at 16h00.

 

Prices (full payment deadlines):

 - guiding only: 85 EUR (3.10.2019)

- Youth Hostel (2 pers. / room): 120 EUR (15.9.2019)

- **** Hotel (double rooms): 210 EUR (2.10.2019)

 

Hotel prices include the guiding, the overnight sleep and 1 breakfast, but are exclusive of any lunch or dinner. Please ask for single or double room options.

 

 

Programme

 

Day 1:

- 9h00: meeting at Esch/Alzette Youth Hostel (17, Boulevard John F. Kennedy, (+352) 26 27 66 450); welcome, introduction and briefing. We will ride in two groups.

- 16h00: end of the guided tours (50-60 km / 1200 m of climbing).

 

Day 2:

- Same as day 1, but groups may be reshuffled. End of the camp at 16h00. Showers, Bike wash, drink.

 

NB: distance and meters of climbing are indicative. The organizer reserves the right to change whenever appropriate or necessary.

 

 

Registration

 

Please register through this link (code: "RRE 2019"). Registration is not binding at this stage. An additional form will be sent to the participants with payment details and general conditions. This form will have to be signed and sent back (by email) to the organizer. Registration is effective upon payment of the full fee.