Click here for a zoomable version of this map of the approximate route
So I'm planning to cycle across Europe.
No idea. Seemed like I good idea when I first thought about it. Now I've told too many people I'm doing it not to at least try. I can't promise I'll make it all the way though! Northern Europe may not be the most obviously stunning countryside, but it still has it's charm, and it's PRETTY FLAT with some good cycle paths!
Setting off on 28th July. If all goes according to plan, I aim to get to Warsaw by the end of August, then I'll get the train back home to Bristol.
I'm going to get the train to London, and start from Greenwich. The first couple of days will take me up to Harwich - chances are I'll go south of the river to start, as there's a path alongside the Thames, then get the ferry from Gravesend to Tilbury. This will take me through some of my old stomping ground from when I was in short trousers. From Tilbury I'll weave through country lanes to Colchester then turn right for Harwich. I'll have company from London to Colchester, then I'm on my own most of the way, unless anyone wants to join me!
A 6 hour ferry from Harwich takes me to Hoek van Holland, and then after a brief stop to visit a schoolfriend, its off across the flat landscape, through Utrecht and Arnhem and into Germany. There is a signed route (R1) that runs all the way from Boulogne, France to St Petersburg, Russia - I'll be vaguely following that for most of my journey. Assuming I make it of course. I'm not promising to get any further than Dartford; anything more is a bonus. Keep your eye on this blog to see how far I get!
Where will I stay?
Well I'm not going to be camping! It's too much extra weight to carry for one person, and after a hard day's cycling, I can't imagine being thrilled at the prospect of having to set up camp, and sit alone in a tent with a mug of mud and rainwater. The plan is to find Hostels, cheap B&Bs, and hopefully make some use of http://www.couchsurfing.org.
How far will I cycle?
The route is roughly 2000 kilometres, though it could be a bit less if I cut some corners, or a bit more if I get lost. The aim is to start off doing about 50-60 km/day (30-40 miles), but increase that up to about 80+km/day (50+ miles) when I get more used to it.
What am I taking with me?
Not much! A few changes of clothes (all pretty lightweight; some good stuff from Rohan*. Tools and some spare parts for the bike. A Garmin Edge 705 cycle computer, loaded on with maps. And a few other bits and pieces like a reading book, camera, phones. Oh and a small laptop (of course) to keep you all updated through this blog! The bike is a Trek 7.3 FX.
(*) Happarently, as well as being very lightweight and packing up small, their clothes don't need washing for several days use. I'm not certain I want to test that out too thoroughly though!