“Basically it’s a serious of left and right turns!” (Alex Morrison)
On the 30th May 2012 At 2.30pm I will be boarding the ferry at North Shields,Newcastle upon Tyne, which will take me across the North sea to Ijmuduin in the Netherlands. The ferry departs at 5pm and is an overnight service. At 6.30pm I have made a reservation in the all you can eat restaurant , so my intention(weather permitting) is to eat as much as I can as I do not know the next time I may have a decent meal. At 9.30 the following morning I will ride off the ferry and start what is hopefully one of the best experiences of my life, spending the following months cycling around Europe.
I have been very lucky to have stumbled upon a fellow blogger, Shane Little shanecycles who is at present cycling back from Africa on his adventure. Shane who has been living and working in the Netherlands has provided me with information about the Netherlands which has been very useful. Another site I always refer to is travellingtwo which Andrew and Friedel, run. They are experienced round the world cyclists so know what they are talking about and again their site is an excellent reference source. In addition I’ve spent far to many hours reading numerous sites, blogs, resources, but they again have been invaluable.
My first few days are now booked , and I have detailed them on the Route map page.
The plan is to take it nice and steady for the first week with only short distances to cover, allowing me time to find my feet so to speak. After I reach Pieterburen(5days) I begin the first of my long rides the Fiestapad route ,500 km. upon completion of this I will be touring the rest of the Netherlands as I have a list of places I wish to see. I’m hoping to stay as a guest of Warmshowers hosts or Couch Surfing as I progress along my trip.
I’m then heading for Arnhem in the Gelderland area to pick up the start of European Cycle Route R1: Arnhem – Berlin – Polish Border (1030km) . I’m using a dedicated waterproof map from bikeline Europa Radweg R1, the scale is 1:75000 and the route is highlighted . although in German it has English text on the index pages and the map pages are self-explanatory, it’s also waterproof , but hope I don’t have to put that element to the test!
Once I reach Berlin , I plan on Spending a few days sightseeing as there is so much to see, and it will be a welcome break. Then it’s back on the bike and off to Barby on the river Elbe for the routes below.
Saale Cycle Route: A classic between mountains and castles
The river Saale flows out of the Fichtelgebirge mountains towards the Elbe, lined with castles perched on hilltops, tranquil villages and bustling towns. The 427km Saale Cycle Route offers fabulous cycling with plenty to see.
- Length:427 kilometres
- Starts:Zell im Fichtelgebirge
- Route info: hilly in parts, steep gradients
At the end of this route I pick up the River Main cycle Route followed by the route’s below ,I will be riding them in this order but in reverse so I finish up near Metz in France.
First-class cycling along the river Main: River Main Cycle Route
Germany’s first ADFC premium route to be given five stars boasts exemplary signposting, outstanding scenery with vineyards as the dominating feature of the scenery.
- Length:600 kilometres
- Starts:Bischofsgrün (source of the White Main) or Creussen (source of the Red Main)
- Route info: mainly flat terrain.
A riverside tour with a distinctly French feel: Glan-Blies Cycle Route
The Glan-Blies Cycle Route is a transregional cycling tour par excellence. From France it runs through the Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate to the Nahe river. Its constant companions along the way – the Blies and Glan rivers.
- Starts:Sarreguemines (F)
- Route info: mainly flat terrain.
That takes me to Metz, France Where again I’ve been very lucky to find some fantastic information supplied by a another experienced cyclist (thanks Leo) .
I have a general route planned through France , but I intend to be very flexible with it to allow for the hopefully nice roads , villages, towns along the way. Here is my approximate route from Metz to the Spanish border.
Metz to St-Dizier– Chatillon sur Seine–Montbard– percy sous-Thil–Autum–Digoin– Vichy–Olliegues–Carpone sur-Arzon–St Agreve–Privas–Villefort–Ales–Ganges–Giganac–Mons–Olonzac–Tuchan– Perpignan.
So as you have just read, this is hopefully where I will be going , but I have made the decision to see how it goes, and when the time comes and I think “I’ve had enough” , then I will be heading Home, wherever that maybe when I return!
This trip has cost me a hell of a lot in my personal life, too much if I’m being honest, but decisions have been made. In the midst of planning all of this I made a list of promises to myself, which I fully intend on honouring, both during, and upon my return.
The Future! – I’m a self-employed Painter and Decorator so have that to pick up and commitments to honour. After that who knows, certainly not me!