Euro Bike 14

After being made redundant in southern England at the end of July, I had three months to do a little end-of-summer, start-of-autumn bikepacking tour through western Europe. I intended to spend a month getting to Italy and then two months through Italy (as I love the food, scenery, people & learning the language) before returning to the UK and then back home to New Zealand. But, best laid plans and all that – I ended up having a great time, but saw a lot less of Italy than I intended. However, the time I did spend in Italy was absolutely fantastic.

  • From a ferry
    As I sit on my first cross-Channel ferry crossing in over twenty-seven years, it’s a little difficult to know where to begin writing about this trip that for so long was just a vague “I’ll do that one day” idea nestled in the back of my mind (plus I’m out of practice writing here as … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Belgian Rain & Wind
    The ferry seems a distant memory now and it was only two days ago! Getting off the ferry & heading north, it was straight through an industrial zone to get to Dunkirk. An eni plant and then a versalis plant (while there were many spheres, none of them looked as good as the South Sphere) … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Antwerp and onto the GR5
    It’s amazing what a difference a reasonable night’s sleep and some brighter weather can make – also, the scenery and riding got more interesting, so that helps. Alas, I forgot that summertime-full campgrounds are not quiet places – so it was some time before I actually got some sleep. For my sanity, I decided that … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Ticking along around more canals
    Another advantage of the terrain turning more forested is that it is a lot easier to find an inconspicuous spot in which to wild-camp – so that’s one less thing to think too hard about. I got a much earlier start than my late Antwerp start – but this just meant I was riding when … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Now what am I supposed to not be able to speak?
    With seeing so much each day, I’m having trouble remembering what even happened this morning and what day it is. Thankfully my computer tells me it’s the fifteenth. It’s coming back to me now. I was awoken early by yet more rain, and as this sent me into despair I lay in so long that … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • GR5 done and tractors
    I’ve finally had some decent time online to try & get up to date – hopefully I can process & summarise all that the last three days has held tonight, as after that I’ve no idea when I’ll have so much time to do so. Saturday: it was damp, but huzzah not raining when I … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Rest day - or not; then actual rest day
    With a big breakfast to add to the previous night’s dinner, I was beginning to think I was doing cycle-touring all wrong. Paved trails, warm showers, a proper bed, big meals with good company – they could easily be handled, but I suppose I would get a bit bored with pavement all the time, so … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Rear-rack back-track
    I’d decided that I’d ride towards the north-east of France and the Vosges Mountains as there is a four-hundred kilometre MTB route that goes south towards Mulhouse. To get to the start should take three or four days, all going well as I head south-east from Luxembourg City by whichever route takes my fancy, mostly … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Deeper into the Saarland
    After a particularly poor night’s sleep, I was taken aback to find it almost nine o’clock before I got up. It was a still and clear, but very chilly, start to the day’s riding. I had better luck finding villages with open shops – so much so that first lunch was at 10.30. I think … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Volklingen Iron Works
    [Content Advisory: Here follows a gratuitous amount of industrial history, associated photos and general talk of ironmaking. If that doesn’t interest you, too bad – it was the highlight of the trip so far. Yes, I know that that is quite sad.] When I chose my camping spot for the night, I did not realise … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • To pretty Wissembourg
    Another leisurely start to the day, I was riding by nine. Descending out of the forest that sheltered me for the night, I headed south towards the French border – most of the day’s riding followed the rough outline of the border, just a few kilometres to the north. To start with it was quite … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • A Strasbourgian Birthday
    I’ve a hour or so up my sleeve while I wait for a train to Basel – yes, a train. But I’ve been convinced that the cycling from Strasbourg to the Basel/Mulhouse area is none too exciting and while pleasant, the ride from Wissembourg to Strasbourg was enough of the flat Rhine valley to see. … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Saint Louis south
    By the time I got off the train, it was mid-afternoon – so it was a gentle reintroduction to the saddle. Quite quickly I was out of town and steadily climbing up onto a ridge on nice gravel tracks as I just followed my nose heading generally south-west. Overcast, and at that nice temperature that … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • The hills may be getting bigger
    Well, my commandeered verandah may have kept me dry, but it was a rather broken night’s sleep. I still couldn’t manage to get away before nine – but when I did, I changed course south to cut across the bulge in Switzerland encroaching into France. I was off-road and with the overnight rain things were … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Continuing through the Juras
    It fair rained all night, but somewhere between being semi-conscious it was raining I managed a fair bit of sleep. Pleasingly, the rain abated just at the time I emerged to another day and decamped. But when the rain set in just as I departed for the day it looked like it would stick around … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Many metres lost
    For the first time in three weeks I rose to brilliant blue skies and they stayed that way all day. I did find the disadvantage of not wild-camping and hiding in forests – clear skies mean a lot of dew, so the tent went away just as wet as if it had been raining! I’m … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Back into mountains
    I’d promised my legs an easier day today – in light of the punishment that the Juras had handed out and what was sure to come in the Alps. And for once, the easier day plan actually eventuated. I set off at nine to follow the southern shore, approximately, of Lake Geneva until there was … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Great St Bernard Pass
    I crossed the Alps on my bike – via the Great St Bernard Pass. While hardly the Andes by frog, as far as my modest cycling achievements go – in an absolute sense (of metres climbed and time spent climbing) it’s one of the biggest and also most memorable. It was made all the more … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • A hike - Mont Corquet
    With over 2000 km of cycling clocked in the three weeks before, and a 2000 m climb the day before, I thought my legs deserved a rest. However, while they may have got a rest from cycling on Sunday there was a reasonably steep hike involved. When it was mentioned slightly after my arrival that … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • A week in the Aosta Valley, e un po più.
    Born of the despondency induced by the wet, muddy and lonely traipse through Belgium, I looked for a way I might spend a bit more time in one place rather than just riding through – so as to met and get to know some people a bit more than previously on my travels. Somewhere in … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Harvest day, wine-making and a departure
    I decided to stick around until at least Wednesday to help out with the big harvest day with many friends and family coming to help, and also for the opportunity to see at least some wine-making start. Tuesday was a pretty slow day, so I was looking forward to departing and exploring again. Come Wednesday, … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • A return
    With a big pizza, a beer, a chat to family back home and a good sleep under my belt I awoke Friday morning much happier and, although a possibility, I didn’t even really consider heading out east to tour Italy. Heading back to Les Granges was what I wanted to do, but I first I … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • A hike in the Alps - Col de Malatra
    A slightly longer and higher hike was planned than that of two weeks before. Also promised were good views of Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) for most of the day if the weather was good. Eight of us set off for the day out – it started with an hour or so driving up the Aosta … Continue reading Euro Bike 14
  • Les Granges - through another's eyes
    Sort of a guest post today – well, I’m still writing but all the photos are Zuza’s. Previous posts during my stay here at Les Granges have centred on activities away from the vineyard and winery – mostly because I don’t tend to carry my camera when I work and therefore don’t have many photos … Continue reading Euro Bike 14

With my Europe time over a month earlier than expected, I was delighted to be back in East Africa for a few weeks of cycling, exciting camping and spending time with friends.

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Biking to go places, going places to bike.