Waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread was a perfect start into the day. After breakfast with our great hosts at Soziales Zentrum Bochum we welcomed Marlies, Peer and a friend, three locals accompanying us for the day. Already the evening before, Juno had joined us, who spontaneously decided to ride with us all the way to the Climate Camp.
Today’s 70km ride was all about black coal’s footprint in the Ruhr area. The first stop was Zeche Zollverein, once Germany’s biggest coal mine that stopped production already in the 1930s. Thanks to our fellow local riders, we got an introduction to the ways black coal has formed the identity of Essen and the wider Ruhr area. Contemplating the traditional alliance of social democrats, mining unions and dirty mining businesses – a challenge we are also facing in the case of lignite – we cycled on.
After the usual minor incidences, such as broken gear changers and punctures, our next stop was RWE in Essen. We did a photo action in front of their former headquarter, where big posters announced the new company Innogy, which was recently founded to take over the renewable business activities. This step can be seen as an indicator that even the most stubborn energy “dinosaurs” cannot ignore the trend to renewable energy any more. On the other hand continues lignite to take up over 35% of RWE’s electricity production, which uses all its lobbying power in favour of keeping Germany’s fossil fuel subsidies. This company thus remains on the wrong side of history and deserves naming, shaming… and civil disobedience.
Still having the better part of today’s journey in front of us, we struggled on over hills and through the forest towards Muehlheim. A short game of “ninja” in the heavy rain gave us the energy for the last bit towards Duesseldorf. Close to 8pm we finally arrived in Duesseldorf in the amazing Niemandsland. It was a long, but highly enjoyable ride!